Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu addressed hundreds of Jewish leaders gathered for the 2015 Jewish Agency for Israel Assembly today, Monday, in Tel Aviv.
Speaking about the range of challenges facing Israel and the Jewish people and the importance of confronting them resolutely, the Prime Minister said:
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“If we learned anything from our history, anything, it’s that when you recognize a clear and present danger, don’t sit on your hands, and for God’s sake, don’t keep your mouth shut. Speak up, be brave, be clear, be confident when you speak the simple truth. This is what is required of us. This is what is required of leaders. And I know this is necessary not only in the front of Iran but in the general front against anti-Semitism which is showing a resurgence. You all witness it, you’re dealing with it, you’re fighting it. The Jewish communities everywhere, and especially across Western Europe, are increasingly challenged, they’re naturally worried about their security. Some communities are worried about their future viability and not only their present security problems…
“Jews have a right to personal security and collective security and the ability to speak the truth, but Jews have another right that was denied to them for centuries, and that’s the right to make Aliyah, the right to return to their historic homeland. This is not a command, it’s a right. It’s a choice. And for those Jews who choose to exercise that right, we will welcome you home as brothers and sisters.
“And this year, with the help of The Jewish Agency, we’ve already welcomed home thousands of olim from France, and from Ukraine and from other countries as well. I’ve asked Ze’ev Elkin and Natan Sharansky to bring me a plan to ensure the successful Aliyah and absorption of these olim…
“I respect those who fight for their rights. I just want them to speak the truth. And we have the truth at our side. And the truth is that we seek a real peace with our neighbors. The second truth is that we are a real democracy and there’s nothing else like it in a very, very broad radius. The truth is that we’re fighting for our lives. The truth is also that we welcome every Jew here. I want you to know that. I have spent a good portion of my political life ensuring that Israel remain the homeland of every Jew, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox. Everyone is welcome here alike. This is what Israel is about and will remain about.”
The Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky said: “Today, we are grappling with certain setbacks in the realm of Israel-Diaspora relations and Jewish pluralism in Israel, and we look to your leadership in addressing them and ensuring that all Jews continue to see Israel as a place they can call home.”
Over the course of the four-day gathering, leaders and representatives from Jewish organizations and communities around the world will discuss the most pressing issues facing Israel and the Jewish people, including Jewish pluralism, the assault on Israel’s legitimacy, rising Aliyah (immigration to Israel) from around the world, Israel experience programs to strengthen Jewish identity amongst young Jews, and projects aimed at strengthening all segments of Israeli society.