Welcome, Donald

May 22, 2017 Agencies
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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump at Ben Gurion Airport telling him that as he has arrived in Israel from Riyadh, he hopes that one day he would be able to arrive himself at Riyadh.

Sara Netanyahu, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu , President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump Photo: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking on the tarmac at the airport: “A very warm welcome to Israel. Your visit here, Mr. President, is truly historic. Never before has the first foreign trip of a president of the United States included a visit to Israel. Thank you for this powerful expression of your friendship to Israel.

Mr. President, yesterday in Saudi Arabia you delivered a forceful speech of clarity and conviction. You called on all nations to drive out terrorists and extremists. You called for the forces of civilisation to confront the forces of barbarism. Mr. President, for 69 years, Israel has been doing precisely that. We’ve manned the front lines of civilisation; we fought terrorism; and we’ve build a modern, vibrant, democratic, Jewish state. In doing so, Mr. President, we’ve protected all faiths – Muslims, Christians, everyone.

Throughout the Middle East, Christian communities are decimated, minorities persecuted. But here in Israel, we’re proud to have a growing and thriving Christian community, and we guarantee the rights of all.

Mr. President, Israel also shares the commitment to peace that you expressed yesterday. We’ve already made peace with Egypt and with Jordan, and Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbours, including the Palestinians. The peace we seek is a genuine and durable one, in which the Jewish state is recognised, security remains in Israel’s hands and the conflict ends once and for all.

Mr. President, you just flew from Riyadh to Tel Aviv. I hope that one day an Israeli prime minister will be able to fly from Tel Aviv to Riyadh.

May your first trip to our region prove to be a historic milestone on the path towards reconciliation and peace. I look forward to working with you in the years ahead, Mr. President, to advance security, prosperity and peace. I’m confident that under your leadership the remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States will become ever greater, ever stronger.”

President Trump responded saying: “Thank you and Shalom.

On my first overseas trip as president, I have come to this sacred and ancient land to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the State of Israel. In this land so rich in history, Israel has built one of the world’s great civilizations, a strong, resilient, determined and prosperous nation. It is also a nation forged in the commitment that we will never allow the horrors and atrocities of the last century to be repeated.

Now we must work together to build a future where the nations of the region are at peace, and all of our children can grow and grow up strong and grow up free from terrorism and violence.

During my travels in recent days, I have found new reasons for hope. I have just concluded a visit to Saudi Arabia where yesterday I met with King Salman and with the leaders from across the Muslim and Arab world. In that visit, we reached historic agreements to pursue greater and greater cooperation in the fight against terrorism and its evil ideology.

My future travels will take me to visit Pope Francis at the Vatican and then our NATO and European allies. We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace. But we can only get there working together. There is no other way.

Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, I look forward to working closely with both of you during my stay. We love Israel; we respect Israel. And I send your people the warmest greetings from your friend and ally, all of the people in the United States of America. We are with you. Thank you and God bless you.”

First Lady Nechama Rivlin, President Reuven Rivlin and President Donald Trump Photo: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Earlier President Reuven Rivlin welcomed President Trump and the First Lady saying: “Welcome to Israel, it is a great pleasure to have you here. Your visit is a symbol of the unbreakable bond between Israel and America. You are the President of Israel’s greatest, most important ally. You are a true friend of Israel, and of the Jewish people.

Mr. President, the world needs a strong United States. The Middle East needs a strong United States. Israel needs a strong United States. And – may I say – the United States also needs a strong Israel. In the Middle East – an area that suffers from terrorism, oppression, and madness the alliance between the United States and Israel shines like a beacon of liberty and progress. The bond between us is a bond between states, but also between people. We share common values, as we share the hope for peace. The people of Israel are excited by your arrival, and have great expectations from this visit. We thank you for your commitment to Israel’s ability to face the threats of today and of tomorrow.

Mr. President, today I will have the honor to host you in Jerusalem. We are honored to have you here with us, as we mark fifty years of ‘Jerusalem Day’, Yom Yerushalayim. It makes us very happy to know that Israel’s most important ally recognizes the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish People. Jerusalem is the beating heart of the Jewish People: as it has been for 3000 years.

Mr. President. You came here to Israel from Saudi Arabia.  In Jerusalem, you will be at the Western Wall, and visit the holy Church, and then you are going to the Vatican. In just one journey you will visit the three holiest places for Islam, Judaism and Christianity. We each have different beliefs – but we all worship the same God. We can work together towards a better future. We shall continue to do so, together. Welcome to Israel. God bless you. God bless America. God bless Israel.”

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