JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – In comments before the members of The Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governors on Monday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for extending the term of Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky.
Calling Sharansky a "symbol of Jewish unity and the triumph of the Jewish People over adversity," and a man of "supreme dignity," Netanyahu said their bond was based on a shared agenda of promoting Jewish unity and securing the Jewish future. He added that he "hoped" and "requested" that the Board extend Sharansky's term for another four years.
In this welcoming speech, Sharansky wished the prime minister success in ensuring the security and prosperity for the State of Israel and its people. He thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for devoting a high proportion of the national budget to strengthening the bond between world Jewry and Israel.
Sharansky also spoke about his friendship with PM Netanyahu's late father, Ben Zion z"l. He cited the idea present in Ben Zion Netanyahu's books of how Jewish history repeats itself, even today. He added that the State of Israel belongs to all the Jews of the world and Israel is the Jewish people's best guarantee of a secure future.
Netanyahu, noting that Iran's nuclear threat topped the agenda in his upcoming meeting with US President Barak Obama, declared that "The de-legitimization of Israel in the face of attempts to destroy it is one of the great moral failures of our time.”
The prime minister highlighted the "turbulence" and "regimes and its' weapons" surrounding Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. He emphasized that the government cannot respond effectively without a "government of national unity," and that this "extends to the Jewish People." He spoke about creating a better life for Jews and Arabs, and called the Jewish world to "stand up for Israel and for the truth."
Netanyahu said he supported seeking a "realistic peace with our Palestinian neighbors,” and that he hoped not to "waste another four years negotiating about the negotiations." He emphasized, however, that this peace needs to be based on mutual recognition: "It is about time they recognized the Jewish nation state of Israel."
Remarking on the positive state of the economy, Netanyahu touched on the "daunting challenges" facing the new Israeli government, and underlined positive steps that had already been made towards guiding the Charedi population towards greater inclusion in Israeli society.