December 22, 2000
By Arieh O'Sullivan
HERZLIYA (December 22) - In the first ever public address by the head of the Mossad, Ephraim Halevy said last night that Israel is responsible for the well-being of all Jews around the world.
Speaking at the Herzliya Conference on national security, Halevy said the raison d'etre of a strong Jewish state is to provide a source of strength to the Diaspora.
"Whether we like it or not, the security reality of Israel impacts and influences the fate of Jews abroad," Halevy said in an address entitled, "The Zionist Ethos and the Security of Israel."
"The sharp increase in the number of attacks on Jewish institutions and individual Jews since the beginning of the present intifada gives new dimension to the meaning of Israel's security in these very days," Halevy said.
Asking more questions than giving answers, Halevy queried whether the Zionist state is responsible for those Jews in Israel who are not Zionist and whether Jews in the Diaspora, Zionist or not, should be given a Zionist "umbrella."
"What happens in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa has an impact on the plight of Jews in New York, London, and Moscow," he said.
"I believe that when an [Israeli] fighter sets out on a mission he isn't endangering his life only to protect the borders of the state and universal values," Halevy said. "When he endangers his life he is doing so with a very deep awareness and desire to protect the existence of the Jewish nation."
Noting that the Holocaust played an integral part in shaping Israel's security philosophy, Halevy said that Israel's security is significantly based on the words: "Never again."
"These two words have much significance - certainly practical and operative - and this is translated by the State of Israel everywhere, by its character and by its foreign relations and more," Halevy said.
"The security of Israel includes being responsible for the lives and salvation of Jews wherever they may be," Halevy said. "A weakening of Israel directly affects the situation of Jews in various countries near and far. Some describe the State of Israel as the 'insurance policy' of the nation of Israel. I believe that Zionism fulfills a vital part of this policy."
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