Netanyahu addresses The Jewish Agency Assembly

June 24, 2015 Agencies
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Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has addressed hundreds of Jewish leaders gathered for the 2015 Jewish Agency for Israel Assembly in Tel Aviv.

Speaking about the range of challenges facing Israel and the Jewish people and the importance of confronting them resolutely, the Prime Minister said:

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Prime Minister Benjamon Netanyahu and Jewish Agency Director-General Alan Hoffmann    Photo: David Sheather

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jewish Agency Director-General Alan Hoffmann Photo: David Shecther

“If we learned anything from our history, anything, it’s that when you recognize a clear and present danger, don’t sit on your hands, and for God’s sake, don’t keep your mouth shut. Speak up, be brave, be clear, be confident when you speak the simple truth. This is what is required of us. This is what is required of leaders. And I know this is necessary not only in the front of Iran but in the general front against anti-Semitism which is showing a resurgence. You all witness it, you’re dealing with it, you’re fighting it. The Jewish communities everywhere, and especially across Western Europe, are increasingly challenged, they’re naturally worried about their security. Some communities are worried about their future viability and not only their present security problems…

“Jews have a right to personal security and collective security and the ability to speak the truth, but Jews have another right that was denied to them for centuries, and that’s the right to make Aliyah, the right to return to their historic homeland. This is not a command, it’s a right. It’s a choice. And for those Jews who choose to exercise that right, we will welcome you home as brothers and sisters.

“And this year, with the help of The Jewish Agency, we’ve already welcomed home thousands of olim from France, and from Ukraine and from other countries as well. I’ve asked Ze’ev Elkin and Natan Sharansky to bring me a plan to ensure the successful Aliyah and absorption of these olim, and of the many thousand who will follow them and I surely can see that many, many thousands will follow them…

“I respect those who fight for their rights. I just want them to speak the truth. And we have the truth at our side. And the truth is that we seek a real peace with our neighbors. The second truth is that we are a real democracy and there’s nothing else like it in a very, very broad radius. The truth is that we’re fighting for our lives. The truth is also that we welcome every Jew here. I want you to know that. I have spent a good portion of my political life ensuring that Israel remain the homeland of every Jew, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox. Everyone is welcome here alike. This is what Israel is about and will remain about.”

Introducing the Prime Minister, Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky said: “Mr. Prime Minister, you have always viewed the challenges facing Israel and the Jewish people from a historical perspective and have never been willing to compromise your principles for short-term benefit. You established the Ne’eman Committee to deal with conversion and you asked me to handle the sensitive matter of the Kotel (Western Wall). Today, we are grappling with certain setbacks in the realm of Israel-Diaspora relations and Jewish pluralism in Israel, and we look to your leadership in addressing them and ensuring that all Jews continue to see Israel as a place they can call home.”

The Jewish Agency Assembly convened in Tel Aviv yesterday (Sunday, June 21) and will conclude tomorrow (Tuesday, June 23), at which point the organization’s Board of Governors will begin their summer meetings, set to end Wednesday (June 24). Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Ron Huldai welcomed the delegates to the city yesterday and Speaker of the Knesset Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein addressed them later in the day. Leader of the Opposition Yitzhak Herzog will address the closing plenary on Wednesday.

Over the course of the four-day gathering, leaders and representatives from Jewish organizations and communities around the world will discuss the most pressing issues facing Israel and the Jewish people, including Jewish pluralism, the assault on Israel’s legitimacy, rising Aliyah (immigration to Israel) from around the world, Israel experience programs to strengthen Jewish identity amongst young Jews, and projects aimed at strengthening all segments of Israeli society.

J-Wire understand that Sydney’s Yair Miller and Dr Ron Weiser and Melbourne’s Jack Smorgon attended the assembly.

The Jewish Agency receives find from the United Israel Appeal.

 

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