Benjamin Netanyahu on Pesach

Within the new Israel Prime Minister’s broad and inspiring inauguration speech, he included a message about Pesach. The speech was included on the Prime Ministers weblink.

His comments about Pesach were as follows:

“We are on the eve of the Passover holiday and the Seder. At our national table, there is an empty chair: that of Gilad Shalit. I will do everything in my power to quickly return him healthy to the bosom of his family, and will act to return all our missing soldiers.

Citizens of Israel, I asked myself how best to express the depth of my feelings at this event, on the eve of Passover 2009. I chose to read an excerpt from one of the final letters written by my late brother, Yoni, approximately one year before he fell during the operation to rescue the hostages in Entebbe: “Tomorrow is Passover,” wrote Yoni. “I always saw it as our most wonderful holiday; it is an age-old holiday celebrating freedom. As I sail backwards on the wings of history, I travel through long years of suffering, of oppression, of slaughter, of ghettos, of ostracism, of humiliation; many years that, from an historic perspective, do not contain one ray of light; but that is not the case because of the fact that the core remained, hope existed, the idea of freedom continued to burn through the fulfillment of the tradition of the ancient holiday. This, in my opinion, is a testament to the eternalness of the aspiration for freedom in Israel, the continuity of the idea of freedom. The Passover holiday,” he wrote, “awakens in me an emotional affinity, also because of the Seder which, like it does for all of us, reminds me of forgotten moments from our personal pasts, my past. I clearly remember the Seder we held in Talpiot, Jerusalem when I was six. Among the participants were a number of elders like Rabbi Binyamin and Professor Klausner, and my father was also there. There was a large table and there was light. I find myself in my past, but I do not only mean my own personal past, but also the way I see myself as an inseparable link in the chain of our existence and independence in Israel.”

His comments about the Palestinians were as follows:

“My Government will act vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority to achieve peace on three parallel tracks: economic, security and political. We strive to assist with the accelerated development of the Palestinian economy and in developing its economic ties with Israel. We will support a Palestinian security mechanism that will fight terror, and we will conduct ongoing peace negotiations with the PA, with the aim of reaching a final status arrangement. We have no desire to control another people; we have no wish to rule over the Palestinians. In the final status arrangement, the Palestinians will have all the authority needed to govern themselves, except those which threaten the existence and security of the State of Israel. This track – combining the economic, security and political – is the right way to achieve peace. All previous attempts to make shortcuts have achieved the opposite outcome and resulted in increased terror and greater bloodshed. We choose a realistic path, positive in approach and with a genuine desire to bring an end to the conflict between us and our neighbors. “

Other excerpts included:

Alongside with excellence, we will also bring Zionism back. We will teach our children the eternal values of the people of Israel, and forge values of Jewish and Israeli culture in our country’s spiritual kaleidoscope.”

and

At the beginning of my speech, I mentioned the opening section of the Declaration of Independence. I am committed to the Declaration as a whole, including the promise for complete equality between all the citizens of the State, regardless of religion, race or gender. Our concern will be for all the citizens of Israel: Jews, Arabs, Druze, Muslims, Christians and Circassians.

To the Arab citizens of Israel I wish to say: you will find in me a loyal partner to your integration into Israel’s society and economy. I believe in this aim, and I will act in this direction.”

Since reporting often emphasises certain components and not others from speeches, ozi-zion has included a link directly to the site to read the full speech transcripts, and other activities of the office, including Avigdor Lieberman’s statements and background information.

PS Netanyahu seems to have selected a strong Bureau Chief and Director of Communications who will hopefully make a cohesive team, with Mark Regev, who has retained the position of foreign press spokesman. Regev, originally from Australia, spoke impressively during a video linkup as part of the recent AGM of the NSW State Zionist Council.

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