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Full text of Yair Lapid’s Negev Summit speech: Making history in Abraham’s footsteps

‘The terrorists’ goal is to intimidate us,’ FM says at summit with Arab foreign ministers, in shadow of Hadera attack. ‘We have no intention of letting them dictate our lives’

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken address the Negev Summit, March 28, 2022 (GPO screenshot)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken address the Negev Summit, March 28, 2022 (GPO screenshot)

This is the full text of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s speech to the Negev Summit, March 28, 2022.

My friends,

Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

Last night, for the second time in a week, terror struck at the heart of Israel.

“At the heart of Israel” in two senses: in the heart of the country, in a crowded city. And also, at the heart of every Israeli citizen. This was murder for the sake of murder, terror for the sake of terror.

These terrorists fired in every direction, with one goal: to kill as many innocent people as possible. To shed as much blood as possible.

I send my condolences to the families of the murdered, and my wishes for a full and speedy recovery to the wounded. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all today.

Shortly after this attack, Islamic Jihad and Hamas praised it. They declared that it was a response to the Negev Summit that we are holding here.

The terrorists’ goal is to intimidate us. To make us afraid to meet and build the relationships and agreements between us.

They will not succeed. We will not let them. We have no intention of rewarding terrorists. We have no intention of letting them dictate our lives, or set our policy.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid addresses the Negev Summit, March 28, 2022 (GPO screenshot)

Israel is a strong and proud country, and will never surrender to terror. We will continue on our path: the path of peace.

I am not alone in this. Everyone here shares this sentiment. Last night, all the Foreign Ministers participating in this summit condemned, with one strong voice, this horrific terror attack.

On behalf of the people of Israel, I thank you for this.

My friends, Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion, who is buried 2 minutes away from here, once said: “history isn’t written, history is made.”

What we are doing here today is making history.

Building a new regional architecture based on progress, technology, religious tolerance, security and intelligence cooperation.

Closing their talks at the Negev Summit, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, left, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, and United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, pose for a photograph Monday, March 28, 2022, in Sde Boker, Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

This new architecture, the shared capabilities we are building, intimidates and deters our common enemies – first and foremost Iran and it’s proxies – they certainly have something to fear.

What will stop them is not hesitation or being conciliatory, but rather determination and strength.

Friends, we are standing here in the Negev, where our common father went after signing the original Abraham Accords, between him and God.

In the book of Genesis, it is written, “then Abraham set out, and continued towards the Negev.”

He came here to build a better future for his people and his family. We are here for the same reason.

The history of the Middle East is the story of smart and tough people who made the desert bloom. Our peoples are those who stopped right here and said, in this place, in this desert: we will make life flourish. From this desert will spring forth palaces and temples, schools and hospitals, inspirational art and literature, and groundbreaking technology.

This meeting is the first of its kind, but not the last.

Last night we decided to make the Negev Summit into a permanent forum. Together with our closest friend, the United States, we are today opening a door before all the peoples of the region, including the Palestinians, and offering them to replace the way of terror and destruction with a shared future of progress and success.

Thank you.

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