Archive for the ‘judaism’ Category
The sun is shining, spring has arrived and I’m sorry; I know – it’s been a long time! Now Pesach is over my houseguests have left. It seemed uber-hard work this year (I must be feeling my age) still, for all that, the effort is really rewarding and I won’t deny it, I love a full house. The family stayed with me for ten days and I even had Jon stay a couple a days the week before as he was in London on business. Now my home is back the way it was – very clean and very quiet – it can never be too clean, but it can be too quiet!
So what’s been going on? Lots, but for this post I’m focusing on my last trip to Israel which seems so long ago – and I’ll be back there in a couple of weeks taking my ol’ ma to see her great-grandchildren – I’ve booked the flights, just need to sort accommodation! We’ll probably rent an apartment with a pool in Herzliya so Bridgitte can bring the children over after school, which finishes at 1.30, and Jon can see us after work as his office is there. We’ll work something out.
Back to the trip – last year we were a small group of nine souls; this time there were nineteen of us! It was fast-paced and hectic trying to fit so much into four days. Much was familiar to us old regulars although some in this year’s group had never been to Israel before or had only done the sun sea and sand thing and some of the itinerary was new ground even for us Israel frequent flyers. I won’t repeat it all as much is déjà-vu from last year, particularly the Old City, Rachel’s Tomb, Hebron and the Caves of Machpelah the burial place of our Patriarchs. However visiting Sderot, an Israeli town literally across the road from Gaza – a stone’s, no, a rocket’s throw – was a real eye-and mind-opener. It hit home the enormity of their situation when we saw the racks of ketusha, qassam and grad rockets fired relentlessly on the town’s residents, when we saw the war room, when we saw a playground where shelters are disguised as animals so the children can come out of their homes and when we saw streets where no house escaped damage.
and this is the response of the Mayor of Sderot – not what you may have expected; the word peace comes from the lips of Israel, not hate!
From Sderot we went to Independence Hall in Tel Aviv and the Etzel Museum in Jaffe – we met incredible, brave, heroic people who were there when independence was declared; who fought for our right to exist and when you see the first video above, nothing has changed in our fight for survival.
I hadn’t managed to get to Kibbutz Kfar Etzion before, which was in fact not so far from where Jon lived in the Gush. The story of this now thriving kibbutz is one of life and death and life again and they have set up a museum to relate its history and its legacy – it was poignant and moving especially when praying at the bunker. At Kfar Etzion, one of four kibbutzim in the area, the captured Jews were gathered together by soldiers of the Arab Legion and told they were going to be photographed, instead the soldiers opened fire and murdered scores, according to eyewitness accounts from Jewish survivors. The wounded from the battle had taken refuge in a cellar bunker. After the village surrendered, the Arabs blew up the bunker with grenades killing everyone in it. Only then were any survivors taken to captivity in Jordan.
I gathered acorns from around it and brought them home to remember – if the tree can survive, so can we.
I know I often fly off to Israel for my baby fix, but for me these trips are also as important, illuminating and valuable – I try to spread the word to my friends to go, to listen, to learn, particularly when we visit the victims of terror and hear their terrible stories or work the soup kitchen or pack challot and provisions with the beautiful Liore for over 400 destitute families who have nothing – poverty in Israel is a major issue. My synagogue has been raising funds and been supporting these poor people since the start of the intifada and it is humbling also to meet the wonderful volunteers in Israel who give so much of themselves. As a community we still raise much needed funds and visit them today as we did seven years ago and they know and appreciate that Chigwell still cares and they know they are not alone. After initial pain and grief, the scars and trauma last for ever; so must our endeavours.
This year I met two lovely families, one from Russia, the other from Latvia, whose lives were destroyed through terrorist attack and whose stories of healing I may tell another time, but their progress and rehabilitation could never have happened without the hard graft and sheer dedication of one truly remarkable lady, Delysia Jayson, a true Eshet Chayil, a Woman of Valour…
“a woman of valour… she invests herself with strength… she opens her hand to the poor and reaches out to the needy… she is robed in strength and dignity and she smiles at the future… give her credit for the fruit of her labour and let her achievements praise her at the gates.” (Proverbs 31: 10-31)
Delysia sadly died shortly after our visit, on her 67th birthday. Maybe it sounds odd to say I was lucky, but I was lucky to have had the opportunity to spend precious time with her again, to have walked beside this angel on earth, to have had the honour and privilege to have known her at all. On our first day in Jerusalem she drove us to visit families in their homes and the following evening I sat with her at a dinner for more victims, their families and volunteers – always a brilliant evening of shared stories of despair and hope – for example beautiful young men cruelly injured by mines and suicide bombs whose survival hung in the balance and now they were loved and embarking on marriage, something they had never dared to hope for, something that was just a dream.
Delysia was the founder of Keren Klita – her voluntary work started in the early 70’s with a group called the “35’s Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry”. Reading her tribute brought back memories – I recall playing a small part in those days, just going on rallies and occasionally volunteering in charity shops to raise funds to help get those poor souls out of Russia and to raise public awareness of their plight. I remember wearing a pendant that bore the words “Let My People Go” and years later twinning my sons’ Bar Mitzvahs with 13 year old boys in Russia who could not get out, who could not celebrate openly as we could in the land of freedom, who could not live freely as Jews, whose families were imprisoned on false charges because they wanted to leave the Soviet Union. It was a very big thing then and Delysia courageously made perilous trips to Russia to see for herself and to do what she could.
When we saw Delysia again in February we knew something was wrong – she was a shadow of her former self, yet she was still working tirelessly for her cause. I wonder if she realised she had mere weeks to live; she knew she was sick, she told us she had cancer but when questioned she dismissed it as a nuisance, like one would flick a hand at a pesky fly. Please please read this tribute to her – it chronicles her life and her strength of character and determination and was written by someone who followed in her footsteps to help others, by someone who will miss her like everyone all over the world who got to know and respect and admire and love her. Her death leaves a void, an enormous loss to her family, her friends, her colleagues, her community and the many many thousands of people she saved. Future trips will not be the same without her.
I’m back on my travels and thankfully there’s no snow this weekend! Amazingly it’s been eight whole months since I was last in Israel, a long long time for me, although the children did come here in October. Of course I’m very very very excited. I won’t actually see my family until Thursday as I am heading straight to Jerusalem to do my thing there. I am so looking forward to meeting again the most awesome people I had the privilege and honour to meet last year; those who we, from a distance, support financially and spiritually who have gone through so much hardship and suffering – and of course meeting again with the wonderful people in Israel who give so much of themselves.
Hopefully I’ll find a little time to catch up with some friends whilst I’m there, but the actual days of the trip are jam-packed and hectic. One of the places we shall visit again is the excavated Southern Wall of the Temple. As moving as the Kotel (the Western Wall) can be the Southern excavations is a trip that anyone who is going to Israel should not miss. It never ceases to fascinate me – and I have been there a few times – to see how the people lived then – the road, the shops, the mikveh – and for me the most amazing experience is to walk the exact same steps the Priests and the people had walked to enter the Temple all those thousands of years ago.
Then I’m on to Ra’anana to meet my new grandson, Nadav Philip. The name Nadav means generous and noble and the name Philip has been passed down through Bridgitte’s father’s family for generations. I’m hoping to meet some friends there as well and even make new friends – more of that later!
Also in the meantime, there’s more news about the move, but that will also have to wait till I get back.
See you all in a couple of weeks.
lotsa luv ann x0x0x0x
One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things ~ John Burroughs
New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual ~ Mark Twain
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right ~ Oprah Winfrey
Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850
Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits ~ Author Unknown
A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other ~ Author Unknown
I know Christmas is not my festival, but it still ended up a very busy time indeed as my home turned into Hotel Chez Raven – again – bless my darling dearest and nearest – and I love it. Anyway although it’s not my holiday I want to thank all of you who included me at this time, for your thoughtfulness in sending me beautiful snail mail and email cards and good wishes; all gratefully and graciously appreciated – your friendship means a lot to me – thank you.
I’ve not been in the right frame of mind to write – my creative juices are just not flowing – the way I’m feeling right now I could simply regurgitate some of the old stuff – boring boring boring. Maybe it is all written in the stars and the waning moon and the flow of the tides. I remember much debate about the effects of a new millenium and boy did my life change then.
New Years Eve ten years ago, 1999, strolling along Fort Lauderdale promenade, my husband puffing on a cigar having just bought ‘us’ an apartment – little did I know what was in store. The last ten years saw many losses; my marriage, my home, my job, my father and many friends who passed far too young, but despite the sadness, I am still blessed and for that I am eternally thankful. I can’t say my cup is brimming over with happiness, but I’m not unhappy either – rather a sense of contentment and fulfilment. The joy for a mother to see her children happily married to loving, caring and respectful partners and the wonderful gift of a loving family and friends and the highlight of grandchildren cannot be underestimated or adequately measured and as long as they are all well and happy, what more can I ask for?
So what’s new for 2010? It’s probably just as well we don’t know what tomorrow brings, but for me I feel the time is right for a change of scene – they did it in Israel!
I really do fancy a new start – a blank canvas – gutting out rooms and remodelling, redecorating and refurnishing whilst I still have the energy and strength, but not this house – I do love it now and it has served me well – if I could lift it and move it I would. It is so true what they say – location location location is everything and living on an uninspiring characterless development is not where I wish to end my days. I’ve had my HIP done (no not that kind – a Home Information Pack) and in the new year I shall get the ball rolling.
As for other resolutions – humbug – nonsense – we don’t need a date to change or reflect or think of what was, what is, what might have been. We can look into our hearts and souls any day of the year; it’s never too late to change. As they say, out with the old (and the bad) – in with the new (and the good)!
Today was an amazing day – I had the opportunity to attend five brilliant lectures and I didn’t want any of them to end. We only got a taste, an hour each, enough for everyone to hunger for more, on subjects ranging from Polish Jewry; the Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet; the Enigma of Jewish History – Random or Design; the Proof for the Existence of G-d; and the keynote speaker on the Paradox of Freewill, a personal favourite. Each was a gem.
Language fascinates me. Many languages use the same words for modern inventions like radio, television, telephone etc. I thought the Hebrew for computer would be just that, but the word is machshev, the root of which is lachshov – to think – the one thing a computer cannot do for itself – interesting eh! Every letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the alephbet, is a word of its own and it’s formation is made up of component letters that represent words. For example the first letter aleph has several meanings from the number 1000, to teach and prince. The letter vav looks like a hook and means just that, so it is also the connecting word ‘and’ hooking words together. Also every Hebrew letter has a numerical value so that words have even deeper meaning.
Still as my body needs nourishment so does my soul. Many of you who know me well know that I live mostly in a state of perpetual confusion and uncertainty – everyday I struggle with my conscience and my morals. There is no deed or spoken word that I don’t analyse and agonise over, thinking I shouldn’t have done that or said this and why didn’t I do it differently – particularly why didn’t I do more or give more of myself. So I think I’ll do better next time. But that next time never seems to come; it’s like a never-ending circle. Yes, even my entertainment and relaxation choices bother me. Believe it or not I do prefer to read books or watch programmes that make an impact, deliver a message, teach a lesson. Yeah you’re thinking sure and all this coming from a Bon Jovi fan, but his lyrics aren’t all soppy love songs, he embraces war and politics and humanity and human nature. And the cop shows I watch – they send a message too – that good will triumph over evil.
Then of course there’s that eternal problem of temptation. The devil dancing on one shoulder urging you on saying go on, you know you want to, and the angel on the other reminding you that you really really shouldn’t. Then the regrets either way. Giving in and kicking yourself in the process, or not giving in and still kicking yourself when you should be feeling virtuous… oh the complexities of the conscience mind. And all the time I know I can’t hide away, that Hashem knows the truth of my every action, my every thought and that I do care what others think, but more so what He thinks and that it’s not His will but my will, the freewill He has given us all.
So I go to these talks and I go to synagogue. Sometimes when I go to pray I can’t focus, my head filled with a stream of abstract thoughts. On those days the sound of the familiar tunes helps and I hope the sermon will provide the spiritual lift my soul needs. It’s good to have my conscience pricked. Life is a constant learning curve; I sure don’t know it all; I have to ask questions even knowing that those questions cannot fully or necessarily be answered rationally, but faith and a willingness to hear what those wiser and learned have to impart does make a difference – it’s stimulating and food for thought.
We have been given freewill, we can perpetuate or break the mould, we can do good or bad, but at the end of the day it’s our lives. It’s not my place to judge anyone or yours to judge me; heaven forbid I try so hard not to do that and I know I am my worst critic. We cannot possibly know the circumstances of others’ lives, we can only know what’s in our own heart and soul and mind, but there is one conclusion I have come to and I do truly believe – we are judged on how we deal with our circumstances and not on the circumstances we are dealt.
A few rants on silly things and then a rant on something rather more serious.
Driving home from work yesterday I was dazzled. No, not the glare of the low hanging autum sun (the clocks had gone back, it was now dark, more of which later) but the tree on the big roundabout near my home was adorned with sparkly Christmas lights. For goodness sake, it’s still October! There should be laws and I hasten to add I am not a partypooper:
- Christmas decorations do not get put up until December
- Christmas music/jingles do not get aired on radio or in stores until December
- Peace And Goodwill To All Men. A philosophy that should be practised every day of the year. Like a dog, it’s not just for Christmas (sorry, think this should have been No.1)
- … and any others I’ve forgotten and you’d care to add!
Secondly, it’s half-term week! I’ve had to go out early every morning this week – my journey has taken half the time, or sometimes even less than that. There should be laws:
- All schools adopt the school bus system
- If you live in walking distance of your child’s school, walk them there, please
- … and any others I’ve not thought of and you’d care to add!
Thirdly, the clocks went back an hour- argh! My body-clock didn’t go back quite as easily as the millions of clocks in the house. At work my body-clock tells me it’s time to go home; the office clock tells another story. There should be laws:
- No one should have to get up until they are wide awake (i.e. me)
- No one should have to get up until the room is filled with natural light (i.e. me)
- On a day with no sunlight *stay in bed/stay at home/eat hot buttered crumpets and squaff lotsa hot chocolate/watch mindless tv/read trashy mags/read a book/have a long hot soak (*delete as appropriate)
- No one should have to go to work in the dark (i.e. me)
- No one should have to come home in the dark (i.e. me)
- … and any other reasons not to go work that you’d care to add!
Here’s the last of the silly rants – John and Edward are still in. Unbelievable! They purportedly collected the highest number of votes! There should be laws (or a change of rules):
- The judges (i.e. Louis Walsh) should pass a test of compos mentis
- The acts should be solely judged on their singing talent, not comic value, otherwise we may as well vote for a pair of chimps. Oh the voting British public did
- We should vote for the act we want to leave
- Someone on the x~factor should learn to count
- … and any others new rules you’d care to add – including one I’m tempted to do – switch off!
Auntie (for non-Brits the BBC) gave Nick Griffin free airtime, free publicity and freedom of bigotted racist speech. The man came across as an utter imbecile, laughing idiotically throughout the whole show; good grief it was serious man! Bonnie Greer wanted to slap him – read what she has to say here and also the views of his own mother-in-law.
The voting British public not only vote for a pair of untalented chimps on a show that is the launchpad of a glittering career for people with genuine talent like Leone Lewis and Alexandra Burke, but now a higher number of the voting British public are seriously considering voting for this bumbling fascist chump and his cronies. They are dangerous. In Europe Anti-Semitism did not lie dormant since the end of the Holocaust, it lie close to the surface and is now fermenting and bubbling away about to erupt. It is the same for all elements of racism today… the Jews are not the only ones who are hated and reviled and attacked and are not the only ones who should be alarmed.
Today the world is a smaller place – we travel widely – we live in a multi-cultural society – information is at our fingertips at the press of a button – BNP policy smacks of Ayranism – if your face don’t fit. I don’t want to think what these people may be capable of. Let’s think about it; the likes of Leone and Alexandra wouldn’t be given those same opportunities, assuming they were allowed to stay in this country along with anyone whose skin colour is not white, eye colour blue and not of whatever faith they deem fit is acceptable.
On Thursday, Channel 4 @ 10.00pm watch a programme called The Event: How Racist Are You? I am sure it will be an eye opener to many people and a warning not to be taken lightly. I have said it before, I will say it again – I am afraid, very afraid.
The Jewish people are approaching the conclusion of the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, known as The Days of Awe a time for reflection and introspection. For me that’s a constant. My conscience is very active; I know I say the wrong thing, make bad choices – many regrets. I search my heart and soul, I want to be a better person and seek answers that are elusive. We are made in G-d’s image; we are given freewill, the choice to be good or bad. G-d is all loving and all merciful. As I heard today, He doesn’t wish to destroy wicked people, He wishes to destroy their wickedness that they have a chance to become good.
Yom Kippur is the time to ask G-d’s forgiveness for the sins we committed against him; we also try to reconcile differences with each other; if I have upset or offended anyone, I apologise and ask for your forgiveness.
I wish those of my faith an easy and meaningful fast and may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.
I reproduce here Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly two days ago. I want to spread his words and pray they reach out and make their mark. The world has to understand that Israel is not alone in its potential destruction, the whole world is in danger and I do not stand alone in being afraid, very afraid.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland.
I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.
The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events. Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth.
Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.
Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments.
Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie?
A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie?
This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie? And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie?
One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife’s grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie?
Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.
But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?
A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!
Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You’re wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.
This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries.
In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated.
The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death. The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century. The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day.
Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope. The pace of progress is growing exponentially. It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet.
What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come.
We will crack the genetic code. We will cure the incurable. We will lengthen our lives. We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuels and clean up the planet.
I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances – by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment. These innovations the world over offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise.
But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after a horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind.
That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction, and the most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?
Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood?
Will the international community thwart the world’s most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism?
Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?
The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging.
Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims. That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.
For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities. Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single UN resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks.
We heard nothing – absolutely nothing – from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one.
In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza. It dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis.
We didn’t get peace. Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv. Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare.
You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent.
Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond. But how should we have responded?
Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country’s civilian population. It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II.
During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties. Israel chose to respond differently. Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians – Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.
That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances.
Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas. We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave.
Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy’s civilian population from harm’s way. Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel.
A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.
By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals. What a perversion of truth! What a perversion of justice!
Delegates of the United Nations,
Will you accept this farce? Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days, when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism and when an automatic majority could declare that the earth is flat.
If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity.
And in condemning Israel, this body would also deal a mortal blow to peace. Here’s why. When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop. Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense.
What legitimacy? What self-defense?
The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us –my people, my country – of war crimes? And for what? For acting responsibly in self-defense. What a travesty!
Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?
We must know the answer to that question now. Now and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow.
Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All of Israel wants peace. Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace. We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat. We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein.
And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and the people of Israel, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace.
In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples – a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted that resolution. The Arabs rejected it. We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state.
Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation state of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel. This is the land of our forefathers.
Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They shall learn war no more.” These words were spoken by the Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city – in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem. We are not strangers to this land. It is our homeland.
As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity.
But we must have security. The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.
That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized. We don’t want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.
We want peace
I believe such a peace can be achieved. But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order.
The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.
Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the “confirmed unteachability of mankind,” the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.
Churchill bemoaned what he called the “want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”
I speak here today in the hope that Churchill’s assessment of the “unteachability of mankind” is for once proven wrong.