Netanyahu at Jewish Federations GA 4 370.
(photo credit: Hadas Parush)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stuck to his often repeated warning about Iran's nuclear ambition, telling the Jewish Federations General Assembly in Jerusalem on Sunday night that, a deal which allows Iran the possibility of becoming a nuclear state in the future was "a bad deal"
Taking the stage at the convention center, Netanyahu immediately made clear what would be the main theme of his speech. He told the audience that the Iranians had only come to negotiate in Geneva because of the crippling sanctions that had been imposed upon them and that they had no choice. But, he warned that any agreement by the international community that saw an easing of those sanctions in return for "meaningless minor concessions" would lead to disaster.
The prime minister also expressed his skepticism on the Palestinian leadership's willingness to reach a peace agreement with Israel, yet voiced hope that an agreement between the two sides would be resolved.
Netanyahu criticized the global community's dealings with the Palestinians saying it "cannot be that the Palestinians are forever pampered by the international community".
"If the Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian state for Palestinian people, they must recognize a Jewish state for Jewish people," he said.
While reiterating his call for the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel as a Jewish state
, the premier voiced his hope that the current round of US-brokered peace talks will result in a "historic compromise" between the two sides.
"Cold peace is better than hot war, but I'm hoping for warm peace," he said.
Regarding Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky's plan to change policies and laws surrounding the Western Wall, the prime minister said that altough the holy site resides in Jerusalem, it belongs to all Jews.
The general assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America
got off to a gregarious start on Sunday afternoon, as hundreds of Jews from all over the world gathered at the Binyanei Ha'uma (convention center) in Jerusalem.
The convention center was transformed by dozens of booths and stalls, taken by Jewish charities and NGOs, Israeli businesses and even felafel and shawarma stands. Pride of place in the center of the lobby was taken by a mock market stall - no doubt signifying this year's theme of "the global shuk".
The annual general assembly of the Jewish Federations is held in a different location in the US and Canada every year, and in Israel once every five years. The conference is known for attracting big names, and this year is no different - the scheduled speakers also include President Shimon Peres, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.