Both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu gave speeches on Tuesday afternoon at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Following his speech, President Trump left Israel for Italy where he will meet with the Pope before ending his first foreign tour as president.
Netanyahu spoke first, thanking Trump for visiting Israel, Netanyahu stating “Mr. President, you’ve just gone through a fast-paced visit through our past, our present and we work together to fashion the future.”
The prime minister went on to state “Here you can see Hebrew texts of the Bible that are 2,000 years old. You can see the seals and coins that bear witness to nearly 4,000 years of our presence in this land. You can see the menorahs we lit, the synagogues we prayed in during our long exile.”
He spoke of the Jewish peoples’ history of resilience, stating, “The story of Israel is not simply the story of the past. It’s the story of a nation reborn, of a barren land brought back to life, of an ancient language revived, of an exiled people who returned, of Jewish sovereignty restored. We have a saying, Mr. President, “The Jewish people lives.” The State of Israel lives on, alive as ever: a thriving democracy; a powerful army; an innovative, free economy; and a proud, resilient people.”
Netanyahu spoke of the ongoing strong bond between the United States and Israel, stating that “Over the years Israel has had many friends, but Israel has never had and will never have a better friend than the United States of America. That friendship is reflected in the overwhelming support of the American people, strong bipartisan support of the American Congress and the support of American presidents from Harry Truman to Donald Trump. Thank you, President Trump, for your steadfast friendship to the Jewish people and the Jewish state. It is deeply, deeply appreciated. I believe that the alliance between America and Israel is more important than ever.”
He spoke of the common agenda and commitment to combatting global terrorism, stating that “Together we must defeat those who glorify death and protect those who celebrate life. Together we can defeat the forces of militant Islam who seek to destroy the civilized world. And together we can and we must defeat the forces of terror. Terrorism, the deliberate slaughter of innocents, must be equally condemned and equally fought, whether it strikes in Europe, in American or in Israel – or for that matter, anywhere else. And as you said this morning, Mr. President, funding and rewarding terrorism must end,” referring to Trump’s remarks in Bethlehem this morning.
He went on to state, “Standing next to you, President Abbas condemned the horrific attack in Manchester. Well, I hope this heralds a real change, because if the attacker had been Palestinian and the victims had been Israeli children, the suicide bomber’s family would have received a stipend from the Palestinian Authority. That’s Palestinian law. That law must be changed.”
On Abbas, Netanyahu stated “I hope that President Abbas heeds the principles, the clear, strong, moral and practical principles that you enunciated today, President Trump: Stop rewarding terrorists, stop glorifying murderers. I believe that this is the first and the crucial step towards the road towards a genuine peace that Israel seeks and that I believe that – together with you – we can achieve.
Netanyahu stated that “working with you, I believe we can advance a durable peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, as well as the Palestinians, because of the common danger that the Arab world and Israel face from Iran, and because of the leadership that you bring to this process.”
He finished his speech by stating “Ultimately, around the world, I have no doubt that freedom will defeat fear, that light will vanquish darkness, because that is the story of America, a nation that has defeated the forces of tyranny, that is the beacon and hope of all humanity. And that is the story of Israel, a nation that has overcome unimaginable horrors and impossible odds, and is the hope of the Jewish people.
Netanyahu thanked Trump for showing “a great commitment to Israel’s future and to its security. I want to thank you, Mr. President, for standing up for Israel at the United Nations and everywhere else, and I thank you for your unrelenting support and a friendship that comes from the heart to the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Thank you, President Trump.”
President Trump spoke after Prime Minister Netanyahu, speaking on the strong bond between Israel and the United States, speaking at length on his experience this week.
On Jerusalem, he stated, “Jerusalem is a sacred city. Its beauty, splendor, and heritage are like no other place on earth. The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel’s white and blue flag.”
Trump spoke of his visit to the Western Wall, describing how he “marveled at the monument to God’s presence and man’s perseverance – I was humbled to place my hand upon the wall and to pray in that holy space for wisdom from God
He also spoke of his visit this afternoon to Israel’s national Holocaust memorial, stating “I laid a wreath at Yad Vashem, honoring, remembering, and mourning the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. I pledged there what I pledge again to those here today: Never again. Israel is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people. From all parts of this great country, one message resounds: and that is the message of hope. Down through the ages, the Jewish people have suffered persecution, oppression and even those who have sought their destruction. But, through it all, they have endured – and they have thrived.”
On Israel’s accomplishments Trump stated “I stand in awe of the accomplishments of the Jewish People, and I make this promise to you: My Administration will always stand with Israel. Through your hardships, you have created one of the most abundant lands in the world. A land that is rich not only in history, culture, and opportunity, but especially in spirit… from the two Holy Temples, to the glorious heights of Masada, we see an incredible story of faith and perseverance. That faith is what inspired Jews to believe in their destiny, to overcome their despair, and to build here a future that others dared not to dream.”
The president spoke of Israel’s diversity, emphasizing “In Israel, not only are Jews free to till the soil, teach their children, and pray to God in the ancient land of their forefathers. But Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths, and both men and women, are free to live and worship according to their conscience, and to follow their dreams. While evil forces seeks to kill innocents of all faiths, your nation has responded with compassion, charity, and generosity.”
He spoke of his trip to Saudi Arabia where he “urged our friends in the Muslim world to join us in creating stability, safety and security.” He stated that the that the summit was centered on overcoming “sectarian and religious divisions to extinguish the fires of extremism, and find common ground and shared responsibility in making the future of this region. Change must come from within.”
Focusing on Syria, Trump stated “no civilized nation can tolerate the massacre of innocents with chemical weapons. My message to that summit was the same message I have for you: We must build a coalition of partners who share the aim of stamping out extremism and violence and providing our children a peaceful and hopeful future.”
But a hopeful future for children in the Middle East requires the world to fully recognize the vital role of the State of Israel.”
President Trump reiterated the United States support for the State of Israel, Trump stating “we pledge to stand by you and defend our shared values so that together we can defeat terrorism and create safety for all of God’s children.” He went on to state “Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence. Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs. Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities where schoolchildren have to be trained to hear the sirens and run to bomb shelters. ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues, and storefronts. And Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction. Despite these challenges, Israel is thriving as a sovereign nation” adding “and no international body should question the contributions Israel makes to the region,” referring to the United Nations.”
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, May 23, 2017, and reposted with permission.