Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his annual holiday greeting to Israel and the Jewish world Wednesday ahead of Rosh Hashanah, telling Israelis that their country is “an oasis of democracy” and “a beacon of stability,” and calling Jewish unity “a major source of our collective strength.”
In the 4:45-minute English-language clip, the prime minister hailed Israel’s technological prowess, pointed to the relative calm in Israel compared to its neighbors, warned about the Iranian threat, and talked about economic growth and the need for Jewish unity with Israel.
Netanyahu also touched on the US-brokered ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians, saying that Israel wants “real peace.”
“We seek to advance peace with the Palestinians while maintaining our security and ensuring that the peace will be a real and enduring peace. Not a ceremony, not an agreement that we celebrate for two minutes and then collapses. We want a real, genuine and enduring peace and this must be anchored in recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and in our security. This is what ultimately is needed,” the prime minister said.
As the war rages on in Syria, Netanyahu vowed to defend Israel and “act with resolve to protect our people,” if the need arose, even as he repeated that Israel was not involved. “No one should doubt our resolve.” He called the situation in Syria a “tragedy.”
He added that Iran continues to be “of paramount importance” as it pursues its nuclear weapons program.
“This poses a great threat to Israel, to the region, to the peace of the world. Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped. We simply cannot allow the world’s most dangerous regime to obtain the world’s most dangerous weapon. We already have enough indication of what this could do,” he warned.
The prime minister finished by praising Jewish unity for Israel’s strength and continued achievements.
“When we’ve acted together, we defied the laws of history, we’ve overcome such tremendous odds, and Israel is such a thriving, bustling, prosperous, modern, advanced country, and you can look at a very, very far distance, to the west and to the east and to other directions and you see that Israel is a beacon of stability and modernity and progress and it’s because we’re united, because together I believe we can continue to achieve great things for the Jewish people and for the world.”
President Shimon Peres kept his holiday greeting short — at 1:19 minutes — expressing his belief that next year will be a better year for the Jewish people and all of mankind.
“We are going through a stormy time but there is no room to lose hope and to lose faith. I do believe that out of this very complicated situation we can carry the hope of a better year for all mankind, for the Jewish people, for all your families, for each of us,” said the president.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid delivered his greeting in Hebrew, detailing what he said were the achievements of his Yesh Atid Party in its six months in office and the changes it has brought to Israeli politics — the equalization of the financial and social burden on Israelis, an increased budget for the care of Holocaust survivors, the renewal of the peace process, and the rescue of the Israeli economy from imminent collapse by passing a “tough” budget among others.
“We came to change and that’s what we did,” said Lapid.