PM Benjamin Netanyahu and His Wife Sara Meet with Members of the Azerbaijan Jewish Community at the Or Avner Chabad Day School
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Tuesday, 13 December 2016), at the Or Avner Chabad Day School in Baku, met with members of the Azerbaijan Jewish community. They first met with pupils and sat with them for an open talk. Sara Netanyahu asked about their homes, Jewish customs at home and the study of Hebrew. The pupils also spoke about the weekly Torah portion. The Prime Minister and his wife told them that their son won the Bible Quiz and that the Prime Minister reads the weekly Torah portion with his son every Shabbat when the latter comes home from the IDF. Also discussed was Chanukah, the revolt of the Maccabees and their victory over the Greeks. Prime Minister Netanyahu told them that the Greeks are now friends of Israel.
The children said that they pray every morning, go to the synagogue, eat kosher food, study at a Jewish school and keep Shabbat and the holidays.
Sara Netanyahu congratulated the pupils and said, "We wish that you come to Israel both to visit and to live. We are waiting for you."
At the event with the Jewish community, schoolchildren sang Hebrew songs and waved Israeli and Azerbaijani flags.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the members of the Jewish community:
"Honored members of the community and from Chabad, I am pleased to be here. My wife and I are very happy to be here for two reasons: One, we love Azerbaijan and two, we love Chabad. Relations with Azerbaijan are very close. They will be even better after this visit. I would like to say something about Chabad. Thirty-two years ago I met the Lubavitcher Rebbe for the first time and he told me, I had gone to the UN to be Israel's Ambassador to the UN, and he told me: 'You are going', how he called it, 'to the house of eternal darkness.' As you know, he did not have a high opinion of the UN and in any case he told me: 'You are going to the house of darkness and remember that if you light one candle of truth, it will shine a precious light that will be seen from far away.' Ever since I have tried to do just as the Rebbe said.
But I must say that there are also different situations. Sometimes one lights a candle in a place that has light and not darkness and this is the situation here in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Rebbe taught us love of Israel and of humanity and here there is love of Israel and of humanity.
President Heydar Aliyev and his son, President Ilham Aliyev, established and are maintaining a fund that helps, as you said Mr. Minister, Jewish education here in an Islamic country. And in contrast to what then MK Rivlin said, we are also contributing to it, the State of Israel is also helping it.
And how could one not be moved by the splendid boys and girls that can be seen here? But I am very moved by something else, these two flags, the Star of David and the half-crescent. Look at these two flags, this is what we want to show the world – this is what can be and what needs to be. It is the exact opposite, but the exact opposite of the darkness; this light, this is the light that dispels the darkness. And this is the spirit that guides us in Israel, in Azerbaijan, in Chabad and – with divine help – in many other places around the world. Therefore, I am very, very pleased to be with you. Thank you, thank you from the heart."