Netanyahu vows to fight inciters and sponsors of terrorism
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Netanyahu vows to fight inciters and sponsors of terrorism

At US Independence Day event, PM, president hail ties with Washington, call for speedy conclusion of military aid deal

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

PM Netanyahu, his wife Sara, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and his wide Julie Fisher, at a US Independence Day celebration, June 30, 2016 (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
PM Netanyahu, his wife Sara, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and his wide Julie Fisher, at a US Independence Day celebration, June 30, 2016 (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Thursday to fight not only terrorists, but those who support them and incite to violence against Israelis.

“We will always fight the terrorists. We will fight their dispatchers; we will fight the inciters; we will fight the sponsors. You do battle with terrorism by fighting the terrorists and those who back them,” he said at a Fourth of July event at the residence of US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro.

Netanyahu’s speech came hours after two bloody terror attacks, including one in Netanya in which two Israelis were wounded by a knife-wielding Palestinian and an earlier attack in Kiryat Arba in which 13-year-old Hallel Yaffe Ariel was brutally stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while in her bed.

“This night of celebrations comes after a day of tragedy,” Netanyahu said. “What makes someone slit the throat of a child? It’s not the quest for peace. It’s the mind flooded with hate and incitement, an ideology that says this child is not a human being.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara stand during a ceremony marking the US Independence Day at the residence of the US Ambassador to Israel in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, on June 30, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / DEBBIE HILL)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara stand during a ceremony marking the US Independence Day at the residence of the US Ambassador to Israel in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, on June 30, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / DEBBIE HILL)

Addressing hundreds of guests gathered at Shapiro’s Herzliya residence, the prime minister thanked US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry for the administration’s support for Israel.

“We have an increasing number of friends around the world. We do, and it’s heartening,” Netanyahu said. “But we never forget that the one true partnership is between the State of Israel and the United States.”

The US-Israel alliance has “weathered every storm and every difficulty and will continue to do so” because Americans and Israelis are so close to each other, the prime minister continued. The two nations’ “foundational ethos” is “nearly identical,” he said.

“I think Washington and Herzl would get along quite well; Ben Gurion and Jefferson would have a lot to talk about; unquestionably so would Madison and Begin, for sure.”

Since Americans and Israelis share the same values, they also have the same enemies, the prime minister went on. “The values we hold most dear are anathema to terrorist groups like ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, and regimes like Iran. The last thing they want is our pluralism, our diversity, our belief in choice. They cannot stand the sight of men and women mingling together, of minorities enjoying full rights, of gays and lesbians marching proudly, of free people electing their leaders.”

Netanyahu said he was grateful for the political and military support Washington has given Jerusalem over the years. “I hope that we’ll conclude a new memorandum of understanding for the invaluable American support for Israel’s defenses for the next decade.”

President Rivlin addressing an event to celebrate US Independence Day at the residence of US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, June 30, 2016 (Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Rivlin addressing an event to celebrate US Independence Day at the residence of US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, June 30, 2016 (Mark Neiman/GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin also spoke at the event, expressing hope for a quick end to the negotiations over the military aid agreement.

“I want to thank the American people — on both sides of the aisle — for years of financial, diplomatic, and military support, and for helping us carry the burden of defense,” he said. “Looking to the future, I hope that an agreement on this important issue will be reached as soon as possible.”

The US-Israel relationship will remain strong regardless of who wins the upcoming US presidential elections, the president said. “From time to time, the obvious should be said, and even written: Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America. The United States is Israel’s most important and strongest ally… We in Israel are very committed and we will stay committed to this special relationship.”

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