PM: Future of Jewish people depends on Israel’s security
Peres: To survive, Israel needs US friendship
By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER, JERUSALEM POST STAFF
October 22, 2010 17:16
3 minute read.
Netanyahu Headshot 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Israel’s security is essential to the future of the Jewish people, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a crowd at the closing ceremony of the Jewish
People Policy Planning Institute’s annual conference at the Israel Museum in
Jerusalem on Friday afternoon.
“After 2,000 years the Jewish people have
the strength to defend themselves,” he declared. “Thus, defending the future of
the Jewish people means ensuring Israeli security.”
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At the same time,
Netanyahu said he was willing to reach a peace deal with Israel’s enemies that
would involve painful compromises so long as it upheld the rights of Israeli
citizens’ to live without fear of harm.
Addressing the delegitimization
of Israel, an issue heavily debated at the gathering, the prime minister said
attacks on Israel were actually veiled attacks on Judaism.
sentiment is the new anti-Semitism,” he said.
Netanyahu urged the world
to respond to the perceived threat of Islamic fundamentalism.
that Iran had “spread its tentacles throughout the Middle East including
Lebanon, Gaza, and Iraq – where the US continues to remain active.”
was also on the agenda at the ceremony which marked the end of the threeday
Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky
congratulated Israeli grandmaster Alik Gershon for breaking a record previously
held by an Iranian for the most simultaneous games played. “We defeated Iran in
the Guinness Book [of World Records] and that’s our first step,” Sharansky,
himself a big chess aficionado, said in jest.
Sharansky also commented on
his organization’s upcoming board meeting, that opens on Sunday, which is set to
approve its suggested shift in focus from aliya to Jewish
“There used to be a division between the Zionist notion that
all Jews need to move to Israel and the non-Zionist notion that they can also
stay and develop,” he said.
“Today we still encourage aliya but we
recognize the Diaspora isn’t going anywhere nor should it.”
People Policy Planning Institute is a thinktank founded in 2003 which holds its
annual meeting in Jerusalem, inviting academics, diplomats and journalists to
discuss issues affecting the Jewish people in Israel and around the
On Thursday, President Shimon Peres told the forum that Israel
cannot survive without the help of the United States.
Peres said that,
“for our existence, we need the friendship of the United States of
On how Israel can give back to the US, he said that just “as
the US is trying to understand the security needs of Israel, we Israelis
ourselves must understand the security needs of the US... We cannot give back to
the United States what the US is giving us, but in our own small way, we can be
The president said Israel could be of help to the US by
enabling an “anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East, and the contribution will
not be by declaration, but if we stop the secondary conflict between us and the
Palestinians,” in order to allow the US to focus on the Iranian
Peres also spoke of the former US president’s foreign policy in
the Middle East, saying that he appreciates George W. Bush’s “attempt to expose
them [Arab states] to democracy, but is that possible?” The president added that
it was “very difficult to come to a king and tell him to go to elections,”
saying that “it would be like inviting a turkey to a Thanksgiving
Peres also said that he believed “Muslims should be able to
choose their own path.”