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On Jerusalem Day

August 14, 2012
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To a Knesset [Parliament] plenum on May 20: “We need to stop for one day every year and realize that we are witnessing and experiencing the fulfillment of a prophecy, the yearning for Zion, the return to Zion and the revival of Zion” Referring to Theodore Herzl, the father of modern zionism and visionary of the state: “He foresaw the problem and the solution, but he didn’t give up on Zion. He raised his right hand and said ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, .let my right hand wither ‘Today we are raising our hand with the same oath. We are taking an oath for a built-up Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.”

At a state ceremony at Ammunition Hill (a memorial in Jerusalem where one of the fiercest battles of the Six-Day War took place): “If we place this quadrate of the Temple Mount in the hands of others, I doubt we will be able to avoid a religious war. I know what history has taught us: only under Israeli sovereignty was peace and quiet among the faiths maintained. Israel without Jerusalem is like a body with a weak heart. Never again will our heart be divided. A nation willing to sacrifice its heart would convince its enemies it has no desire to fight for anything.

“Jewish history has changed forever: the divided city has been united and will stay that way. Our generation has a great privilege of witnessing the realization of the words of the prophets. It is up to our generation to secure this change for generations to come.”

—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“Disputing over Jerusalem is unbearable, yet being indifferent to its fate is a failure of the Zionist enterprise and Jewish education.”

—Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin

The President Speaks

 Addressing German President Joachim Gauck during his visit to Israel: “The Holocaust remains a bleeding wound in our hearts…Today’s Germany instills the horrors of the Holocaust and the lessons it has taught in its sons and daughters and fights with all its might against any budding signs of racism…German society managed to rise from the abyss of its terrible past without erasing its memory…Germany understood that…it was necessary to rationally and courageously confront the painful scenes of the past…”

Upon receiving America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom: “My vision is an Israel living in full, genuine peace, joining with all the people of the Middle East…with Jerusalem becoming the capital of peace…My vision is an Israel whose moral call is [as] old as the Ten Commandments tablets and whose imagination is as new as a digital tablet…My greatest hope is that a dawn will rise where every man and woman, Israeli or Palestinian, Syrian or Lebanese, young people…will wake up and be able to say…’I am free to be free.’ Amen.”

—President Shimon Peres

ANOTHER DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD…

Upper ranks form the Syrian military

…with Syria and Egypt

At an event marking 30 years since the Battle of Sultan Yacoub, a battle during the First Lebanon War (1982) to expel the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in which 18 Israeli soldiers were killed and three remain missing: “Syria has the world’s largest arsenal of chemical weapons, along with rockets and missiles that can reach all of Israel. They also cooperate with the terrorist organization Hizbullah and Iran…

[It is] “thirty years after that battle [Sultan Yacoub], and the Middle East still has the same players. Unfortunately, we are slowly returning to the reality of an existential war, a ritual that has spanned generations.”

Given the current state of Syria…“those Syrians who do that to their own people will do the same thing to us if they get the chance. Therefore, it is clear to us how they will treat our sons and how they will act against us…

“The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] must prepare for a third cycle of existential threats to Israel’s existence, with an unclear reality on the western border with Egypt, and with the Sinai’s evolution into a terror zone in a demilitarized area between two nations who have a peace treaty between them…

“The reality is that the neighborhood has not changed. We had hoped for 40 years of quiet [which Menachem Begin promised the Lebanese war would bring], but we were obviously wrong.”

—Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, from an article by the Israel Defense Forces

…with Iran

To an Israeli think tank: “Israel, unlike other countries, does not have the option, I repeat…Israel does not have the option to ignore this challenge…Their [Iran’s] aim is to play for time until they become firmly consolidated in the immunity zone—a status by which they have the ability to make the decision to develop nuclear weapons or facilities, or to reach the immediate threshold, i.e. the ability to become a nuclear power in a very short time, when no one can interfere.”

At a security conference in June:When people talk about nuclear capabilities, you cannot wait until the capabilities are acquired, built or deployed and only then act because then it is too late. You will be unable to act; there will be nothing you can do. Therefore the crucial moment is the last moment [when] the metaphorical sword is pressed closely against your neck.”

—Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

“Iran threatens Israel, peace, and the entire world. Against this malicious intention, the world’s leading countries must show determination, not weakness…I have heard those who have cast doubt on Iran’s intentions. They said that when Iran’s leaders declare that they will wipe Israel off the map, they really mean something else in Persian. It would be interesting to hear what they think of the Iranian chief-of-staff’s remarks: ‘Iran is committed to the complete destruction of Israel.’ This is clear and simple. Iran’s goals are clear. It wants to annihilate Israel and is developing nuclear weapons to realize this goal.”

—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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