PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Tuesday, 27 September 2016), at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, made the following remarks:
"The Minister of Finance and I have returned from an important visit to the United States. Last Wednesday I met with President Obama; it was an excellent meeting. I thanked him for the historic security assistance agreement that we signed; the largest in US history with any country. This agreement will ensure our military capabilities and our defensive capabilities against missiles in the coming decade.
It is no secret that President Obama and I have had our disagreements, first and foremost on the Iranian issue. But, as it is clear, these disagreements have not clouded the strong and solid relations between the countries at all. The link between the United States and Israel is based, not only on deep common interests, but also on shared values that is without parallel in the world. This finds expression, first and foremost, in the massive support of the American public for the State of Israel, which I saw everywhere during my visit to the United States.
I met there with Matthew Sullivan, an American security man, a former New York City policeman, and he waits for me every time at the exit from the United Nations General Assembly. He always gives me his opinion about the speech and he told me that it was an excellent speech, but that I have given a better one. I asked him which one was better. He said the bomb speech was better. He said, "I express the general sense that United States citizens have in their massive support for the State of Israel". They see us as representing their values and this continues and it is the fundamental truth about the special relationship between the two countries.
But it is not only relations with the United States which are stronger than ever. Something is happening now, an unprecedented flourishing of our international relations with the countries of the world. I spoke at the UN about its double standard and the automatic votes against Israel and I said that it is only a question of time until this theater of the absurd disappears. It is only a question of time because the strengthening relations between us and the countries of the world will also find expression in the way in which these countries vote at the UN. I must say that the change is considerable. We see countries in the region, first of all, that more and more understand that Israel is not their enemy, but their ally against the forces of radical Islam. Many other countries are rushing to deepen relations with us.
On the same day of my speech, I went to an extraordinary exhibit of Israeli technology in Africa and African leaders lined up one after the other and told me, "We are in need of the Israeli miracle. You are helping us to solve our water, energy and public health problems. In every field, we want Israel."
Just as I have said that Israel is returning to Africa, it is also important to say that Africa is returning to Israel. The automatic UN majority is based, first and foremost, on the African bloc. It is only a question of time before we break up this majority and move it from one side to the other; this is a very great change in the international status of Israel. I again call on ministers to go to Africa. Just as I told you to go to China, India and other countries, I am telling you to go to Africa. We will paint the map of the world blue and white, and in the end even the UN will reflect this changing reality.
Before we returned, I met with the two candidates for the presidency, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and I held long talks about Israel and the region. They both spoke of their support for Israel and the importance of bilateral relations. It does not which of them is elected – American support for Israel will remain strong. This alliance will stay strong and will even strengthen in the coming years.
Yesterday, we heard about the signing of a gas export agreement between Israeli gas companies, the gas companies that are busy in producing gas from the sea floor, and the Jordanian gas company. This is a very important agreement. It advances the energy economy of Israel, strengthens relations with Jordan, and it was for precisely this that we advanced the gas outline. We are extracting gas from the ground and the state is reaping the great geopolitical, economic and social fruit of gas. I would like to thank you, Yuval, for the effort that you have been investing in this for some time now.
Rosh Hashanah is almost upon us. The State of Israel is stronger than ever. The IDF is stronger than ever. The Israeli economy is growing. Israel's diplomatic relations are flourishing. We still have challenges to face; we have not achieved everything. But as we have achieved these things, we will also achieve the rest of our goals. In the past year, I point out that there have been almost 27,000 new immigrants to Israel. In my view, this is the most important growth which represents the very purpose of our people and our state: The ingathering of the exiles and strengthening Jewish sovereignty and the Jewish state in its historic homeland.
I wish each and every citizen of Israel a good and sweet year, a year of prosperity and success, a year of security and – who knows, with G-d's help – also a year of peace. I take an apple and honey and wish all Israeli citizens, and of course all government ministers, a good and sweet year."