Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Israel: Netanyahu Calls for Resolve to Confront Threats to Israel's Security

In a speech to The Jewish Federations of North America's 2010 General Assembly (GA), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the importance of maintaining unity among Jewish peoples around the world and the strength of the Jewish homeland.

"I will not permit anything to undermine the unity of our people. Israel must always be a place that each and every one of you can call home," Prime Minister Netanyahu said. "The more we speak with one voice, the more that voice will be heard, and in a rapidly changing world, it needs to be heard loud and clear."

Prime Minister Netanyahu lauded the efforts of the Jewish Federations of North America to counter efforts to delegitimize Israel, through the recently launched Israel Action Network. He said, to thunderous applause: "The absurd attempt to erase our past will fail as we reconnect a new generation of Jews with their history. The Jewish people are not strangers to the land of Israel, it is our home. It has always been our home and it will always be our home."

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the GA, a gathering of more than 3,000 Jewish leaders, the day after meeting with Vice President Joe Biden in New Orleans. He affirmed the strength of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel and spoke of his commitment to continuing the peace process this year.

"There is an opportunity to achieve peace and understanding," he said. "We are ready to recognize the Palestinian state as the state of the Palestinian people; and we expect that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state for the Jewish people."

In addition to supporting thousands of community programs across North America, the Jewish Federations movement has also worked for decades to strengthen Jewish communities in Israel and around the world. The movement also offers opportunities such as this year's GA to unite the global Jewish community in Jewish philanthropy, service and collective action.

"We were inspired by Prime Minister Netanyahu's eloquent address," said Kathy Manning, Chair of the Board of the Jewish Federations of North America.

Five hecklers created a brief disruption during the prime minister's speech. Manning said this was "indicative of an atmosphere of disruption rather than dialogue that is unfortunately all too common today."

"The thousands at the General Assembly left the speech inspired and invigorated to continue working together to meet the needs of Jews in Israel and around the world," Jerry Silverman, President and CEO of the Jewish Federations or North America said.

Also speaking movingly about the need to further support global Jewish needs were Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee CEO Steven Schwager.

Source: Jewish Federations of North America