JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Speaker of the Knesset Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein addressed The Jewish Agency's Board of Governors at a gala event at the Knesset this evening (Monday, June 23). Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Natan Sharansky and outgoing Chairman of the Board of Governors James S. Tisch addressed the gathering, as well.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
"We face many challenges. Our immediate challenge is to bring the three kidnapped teens home safely. Our working assumption is that the boys are alive and we are doing our utmost to bring them home alive." Discussing the Government of Israel-World Jewry Joint Initiative, which is being formulated in partnership with The Jewish Agency, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "We have embarked on a great partnership. The power of our nation and our people is based on the strength of our Jewish identity. That is what we are working together to give the next generation, to ensure our future. I want to thank you for investing in our common future."
Speaker of the Knesset Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein said:
"I would like to extend my condolences to the family of Mohammed Karkara, the son of an Israel Defense Forces employee, who was killed on the border with Syria yesterday. I would also like to express my appreciation of the IDF soldiers and security personnel who are posted along our borders, protecting the citizens of Israel, while sparing no effort to find any shred of information that might lead to our missing sons. I would also like to express my high regard for the kidnapped teens' wonderful families, for their strength of spirit and their steadfast support of the government and the soldiers of the IDF. I believe it is the duty of the State of Israel to enrich Jewish identity, both in Israel and abroad. This is a strategic imperative, in order to ensure the Jewish people's continuity in Israel and in the Diaspora. I encourage Members of Knesset to meet with Jewish communities around the world and look forward to advancing future partnerships and joint ventures with the assistance of The Jewish Agency Board of Governors."
Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky said:
"This is a fateful time for the Jews of Europe, the Jews of Israel, and world Jewry as a whole. The Jewish Agency is partnering with the Government of Israel in order to ensure that our common future is prosperous and secure."
Hundreds of leaders from Jewish organizations and communities around the world have gathered in Israel to participate in The Jewish Agency's Board of Governors meetings this week in Jerusalem. Speakers at the gathering have included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein, Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Piron, Minister of Environmental Protection Amir Peretz, and Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky.
Discussions during the three-day event have focused on initiatives spearheaded by The Jewish Agency in partnership with the Government of Israel and world Jewry to ensure the continuity of the Jewish people and strengthen young Jews' connections to Jewish life and to the State of Israel. Board members were presented with reports on the dramatic increases in Aliyah (immigration to Israel) from France and Ukraine and the expansion of Jewish Agency activities in those countries and elsewhere around the world. The participants also discussed the fight against rising anti-Semitism and efforts to combat the delegitimization of Israel. Tomorrow, members of the Board of Governors will go to the Knesset to meet with Members of Knesset from across the political spectrum and discuss issues affecting the Jewish world and Israel-Diaspora relations.