In an English-language message for Rosh Hashanah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu railed against the “bigoted and prejudiced” critics of Israel who level “slanderous charges against the one and only Jewish state.”

The short video message, posted to the prime minister’s Facebook and YouTube accounts on Sunday just hours before the start of the Jewish new year, hailed Israel as a “beacon” in the ailing Middle East and called for a united front against Israel’s detractors.

“Since last Rosh Hashanah, it’s become evident to all but the most bigoted and prejudiced that Israel stands out like a beacon of progress, of modernity, of democracy and of human rights in a region plagued by fanaticism, by terror, by unbelievable savagery,” Netanyahu said.

“I said it’s become obvious to all but the most bigoted, yet we have those people who are leveling slanderous charges against the one and only Jewish state, the only democracy in the Middle East, and we have to repel those slanders. We do that together as we build our state, because we’re united, proud of our past, confident in our future,” he added.

“And I ask you this Rosh Hashanah to join with all Israelis, with all the friends of Israel, with the Jewish people everywhere, in wishing for a better future for the world, for the Middle East, and most importantly, for the one and only Jewish state. [May we have] a good year.”