President, PM stress threat of Iran to foreign diplomats
Attending an event celebrating Israel's 70th Independence Day in Jerusalem, foreign ambassadors and diplomats are urged by Israel's premier and president to work against Iran's growing regional clout; PM Netanyahu also called on them to move their embassies to the capital, insisting it will promote peace, as "recognizing reality is the way you build peace."
President Rivlin hosted Friday the 70th Independence Day reception for foreign ambassadors and diplomats at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, marking the historic occasion and taking the opportunity to stress Israel's continuing aspiration for regional peace and Iran's threat hinder it.
"We may have to build fences to stop terrorists, or to act in different ways to assure the safety of our people, but we will never close the door on peace," Rivlin said, referring to recent protests on the Gaza border.
"I know you all see this as a priority. So do we. And while there are no shortcuts in the Middle East, we can work together to show the Palestinians that we can live together side by side in peace."
The President went on to stress, "Of course there are others who do not want peace, and added, "The Iranian regime—not the Iranian people—continues to support terror and hatred and to endanger world’s security. This is a challenge for the whole world, and the whole world must face it together. We all must do everything we can to stop these evil regime."
He added, "The heart breaks when we look at the pictures in Syria. We took care of thousands injured that have arrived at our gates, but the atrocities by Assad’s regime and by Assad himself are of the worst in the history of the world and of this ancient region. The next generation will ask us all, what did we do to stop the tragedy in Syria? What did we do to stop these crimes; crimes against humanity, crimes against innocent children, women, civilians."
'A murderous tyranny must be opposed in its beginning'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also participated in the event, echoed Rivlin's assertions.
"There are two things that you can do to help Israel celebrate this great Independence Day. The first thing is—speak out against Iran," he opened. "Iran is the enemy of us all—of Israel, the Arab world, Civilization.
"It openly speaks today, 2018, the 21st century, it openly speaks about liquidating Israel, openly! It encircles the whole Middle East which it wants to conquer, it fires rockets into Riyadh and Saudi Arabia, it is occupying Lebanon effectively, it’s trying to inflame Gaza again, it is in Iraq, and it is trying to establish a military base in Syria, which all peace loving nations should resist, speak out against Iran.
"If history has taught us anything, it is that a murderous tyranny must be opposed in its beginning. Stop bad things as they start."
The premier urged the foreign diplomats to work towards international legitimizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"The second thing you can do to advance peace is to move your embassy here," he affirmed. "We are delighted with (US) President Trump’s decision to move the embassy here. It says a simple thing: Peace must be based on truth.
"Recognizing reality is the way you build peace. You cannot build peace on a foundation of lies because it crashes on the rocks of reality. It’s important to establish those principles that will ultimately guide peace: that Israel has a capital, that the Jewish people have had a capital for 3,000 years and that it’s called Jerusalem—is uncontestable. It’s time to recognize that fact."
Netanyahu then claimed there are "at least half a dozen countries that are now seriously discussing with us (about) moving the embassy to Jerusalem," and thanked Guatemala for following the US' example and announcing it will move its embassy.
"There will be others to follow," Netanyahu maintained. "So please, there’s a simple principle, you’re familiar with it: First come, first served," he said, telling attendants that the first ten embassies to move to Jerusalem will "get preferential treatment" from the Israeli government.
"We’ll help you!" he insisted. "All of you should do that."
He ended by thanking the diplomats for coming and for "celebrating our independence and our rebirth here in the Jewish state."