On the eve of Israel's 62nd Independence Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened the weekly cabinet meeting with a quote from State visionary, Theodor Herzl: "Don't rely on the help of foreigners".
As the cabinet marked 150 years since Herzl's birth, Netanyahu said, "On June 11, 1901, Herzl said something that captured me: 'Do not rely on the help of foreigners, nor on benefactors. And do not expect stones to become soft because benefactors give humiliating donations. A nation that wants to stand upright must rely on itself alone.'," Netanyahu said, "I was not familiar with this quote, but you learn something interesting and important every day."
Netanyahu's comments were not in reference to Israel's ties with the United States, but at a time when the Obama administration continues to pressure the Israeli government, the connection is hard to overlook.
According to Netanyahu, "The 62nd Independence Day marks the State's achievements on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Herzl, the man who began his activity at age 36 and ended it at age 44. In eight years he changed the history of the Jewish people and the history of mankind.
"He took a scattered people and gathered it. He foresaw the deterioration in Europe. It is incorrect that he did not write about the Holocaust – he wrote about it dozens of times."
He added, "It is important for every boy and girl to know who the State's visionary is. This rare personality that is, in my eyes, comparable to one of Israel's ancient prophets. Without him, there would be no State, and we would not be sitting around this table."
Steinitz: Obama's commitment must be honored
Before the start of the cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz commented on reports of an internal memo by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in which he admitted the US has no long-term strategy to black the Iranian nuclear threat.
"It is time for the United States to come to its senses, I am pleased with the Gates' clear-cut statement," Steinitz said. "President Obama has made a clear commitment in this matter, and it is time this is honored."
Meanwhile, other ministers addressed comments made on Saturday by Jordan's king Abdullah, who said that if the deadlock in peace efforts continues, another war could break out this summer.
Minister Eli Yishai stressed that, "Israel desires true peace and is ready for it, despite this difficult time."
Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said, "I am not one of those who believe there will be a war, but I do believe that this standstill will work against the region."
Minister Avishay Braverman said, "It is Israel's duty to proceed towards peace as quickly as possible and to do everything possible to prevent a war."