June 26, 2019

Excerpts from the President’s Speech at the GA

Dear friends, I remember the first and only time that my father slapped me.

It was just after my Bar-Mitzvah. Some relatives from the United States came to visit us.

I asked them: “Why don’t you make Aliyah?”

I told them: “Israel is the only place for Jews!”

And then my father slapped me.

He said: “Jews need  to take care of each other, not threaten each other.”

That slap made me realize that the relationship between us, the Jewish People, must be based on one simple demand: mutual responsibility.

A commitment to the security and the wellbeing of all our People.

This commitment, must be stronger than any disagreements. We have the challenge of establishing our relationship as a value. a value that is above any argument.

As for the Kotel agreement. The development of the agreement was a sensitive process, led by our government, in order to try and bridge the gap. I hope that in the future we can return to the table together, and reach an understanding on this important issue. It is our mutual responsibility, and a common interest. At the same time,we must all respect Israel’s democratic process. The decision-making process. Whether we like it or not, in the only Jewish-democratic state, Religion and State is a political issue. Maybe the most explosive one.

Around five Israeli governments have fallen on questions like: “Can combat aircraft (not on mission) land in Israel on Shabbat?” Or on the question of “Who is a Jew?” That is Democracy.

My friends, You have real, positive and effective impact on the Israeli system and society. We have built strong channels of cooperation on strategic issues. You have great impact on the Israeli agenda. I ask you, don’t stop.

As part of the challenge of building the relationship between us, We need to create an honest and open dialogue between the sides, this is our only way to move forward.

Today, Iran is establishing its control through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and up to the Mediterranean. This is not just a threat to Israel – It is a threat to the entire world. Iran is the number one exporter of international terrorism. It is a country whose leaders call openly for the destruction of the state of Israel.

We cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear capability. That is madness.

We must work together to prevent that.

The current agreement puts both Israel and the united states in danger, and shakes the stability of the entire region.

It is not enough to enforce all parts of this agreement. It has to be improved, so that we will be prepared for the day after it expires.

This is the Jewish and democratic state that we all dreamed of for two thousand years.

A state based on the vision of the prophets of Israel. A state that respects the unique identity of each sector in Israeli society, and in the Jewish people. A state that regards equality and fairness as its guiding light. A state that demands shared responsibility from all. A state that does not compromise on it’s Jewish identity or it’s vision of Jewish people-hood, while also having a vision of a shared Israeli-identity, for all its citizens. Jews and non-Jews alike.