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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Remarks to the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Remarks to the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference

23 November 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Remarks to the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)


Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks this morning (Wednesday, 23 November 2016), at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, to the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference (click here for YouTube):


"Good morning. I'm going to dispel a longstanding myth about me and I think you should brace yourselves. If you read some of the, well the other papers in this country you might come out with the impression that I'm a gloomy guy, that I'm pessimistic, that I'm a fear monger. So I'm glad you're sitting down because what I'm about to tell you will startle you: I am supremely optimistic. In fact, I've never been more hopeful. I'm hopeful about Israel, I'm hopeful about our region, I'm hopeful about peace. I'm even hopeful about the UN, can you imagine that?


Now, some of you may be disconcerted so let me explain: Israel is in the midst of a historic revolution in its place among the nations. That revolution is born about by a fundamental change of global economics. The world economies changing, you just saw an indication of it from a very enterprising company here in Jerusalem. It's changing rapidly. Ten years ago, the ten leading companies in the world were five energy companies, one IT – Microsoft.


A mere ten years later in the fastest change in the history of the world, the picture is reverse: five IT companies in the top ten, only one energy company left on the list. Israel is right in the nexus of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence. That affects everything. Nothing remains un-technologized, nothing, nothing. Everything is being technologized. There's no more hi-tech, middle-tech, low-tech. Technology seeps everywhere into every field possible.


Not only automotive, in cyber, in agriculture, in energy, in the internet of things, in the things in the internet of things which we make. Everything is changing. And we're right in the center of it. And the future belongs to those who innovate. We are the innovation nation.


So we have opportunities. First of all, economic opportunities that are vast; technological opportunities that are vast; security capabilities that are vast. That produces for us security, prosperity, opportunity.


And that changes fundamentally the way that we engage with other nations and the way they engage with us. It changes dramatically our position among the nations but it also creates enormous opportunities within the nation.


I opened the school year – first time in Israel's history that an Israeli Prime Minister went to an Arab village. I went to the village of Tamra in the Galilee. And I met there a little girl. I think she was about ten years old. And she said, this little Arab Israeli girl, she said: "Prime Minister, I want to be a doctor." Beautiful ten-year-old girl, so full of promise. And I said to her: "I want you to be a doctor. I want you to know that this is your country too. I want you to study Hebrew". And simultaneously, I told her that we're beginning a pilot program to make Jewish children from the fifth grade on learn Arabic.


I'm hopeful about this country. This girl is going to enjoy the NIS 13 billion that our government just passed for a multi-year program to improve the lives of its Israeli Arab citizens. I want all of them, I want that little girl to be part of a world-class economy, a world-class society, a country that is leading, is right at the cutting edge of the great revolution that is taking place in our world. And that Israel is taking a prominent place in changing the future.


She represents, this little girl, what our region can be, and I believe eventually will be. Now, ISIS will have you believe otherwise. They enslave little girls, they do horrible things to them if they leave them alive at all. Iran will have you believe otherwise. That regime, what it does to young women you saw on the sidewalk. They killed that young woman, chocking in her blood, because she wanted a recount on a stolen election.


But this girl, this little girl here, is the antidote to hate. And she's going to receive a world-class education, she will join a world-class economy, she is surrounded by people of different religions and ethnicities but they'll all blend into this rising tide.


I believe that this is the true picture of Israel. It's not as we say "הפנים היפות של ישראל". It's the real face of Israel.


Yesterday I went with a senior television correspondent from the United States to Holon to see "Save a Child's Heart". Did you ever see this? Thousands of little kids brought from Tanzania, from Zanzibar, from Iraq, Yazidis from Mosul, from the Middle East, from Romania, they receive heart operations to save their hearts otherwise they will die. And you see these little children, these beautiful little children receiving help from Israeli doctors, Israeli doctors training their doctors. It's a new world. This is Israel. The countries of the world are coming to Israel in ways that never happened before.


And this is a microcosm of what our troubled region could be. So my philosophy is simple: everyone deserves hope; everyone deserves a chance for peace. And just imagine a future where Muslims and Jews, Israelis and Arabs work together, cooperate together through dialogue and discussion and that future is closer than you think.


How do I know?


First of all, because our relations with the Arab world are rapidly changing. More and more countries in our region and more and more people in this region don't see Israel as an enemy but as an ally, I would say an indispensable ally in our common battle against radical Islam.


You even see this reflected in the blogosphere. Not necessarily in formal government statements but we're starting to see in blogs, in the Arab internet, in addition to the traditional [unclear: massing??] of slander against Israel which is now in its seventh decade, you see something else. You see sparks of change. You see people saying: "Well, maybe we should reevaluate our attitude to the Jewish people. Maybe we should reevaluate our attitude to the Jewish state."


I was in New York when I gave a speech and I went down after that to the restaurant in the hotel where I was staying. And people were very excited from around the world and from the United States. They were very supportive of Israel. But two people grabbed me and they said: "Prime Minister, we love Israel. We love Israel". I said: "Where are you from"? They said: "Saudi Arabia. We love Israel".


This is a change. It's a tremendous change. And I believe that people, especially young people understand that if the Middle East is to change, if it's to undergo fundamental reforms, if they want energy, if they want health, if they want professions and skills, then Israel is a fountainhead of innovation that can help their lives.


And we want to help their lives. Israel can help improve and lengthen the lives of people around the world. So our hope is that cooperation and dialogue with everyone will produce mutual prosperity. And this is why the world is coming to Israel.


Thirsty people are coming to Israel because if you want to improve your water usage, you come to Israel. Israel is a world leader in recycling of water. People that are hungry are coming to Israel because if you want to improve you agricultural yield or the yield of your cows you come to Israel. Israel is the number one…you know the story about the cow? You don't know the story about the cow? I'll repeat it for the 100th time but this is it. No more cows. Okay?


So which cow in the world produces more milk per cow? No, it's not a Dutch cow, it's not a French cow, it's not even an American cow. It's an Israeli cow. Every "moo" is computerized. So, if you're in China or you're in India or you're in Vietnam or you're in Russia or you're in Africa and you say: "How do we get more milk to give to our people"? Israel.


If you're in Africa, and you have to go eight hours a day to get a gallon of water because there's no available water and an Israeli young team comes in, young technologists, women and men, and they say: well, here's water. They don't tap the rock like Moses. You know what they do? They tap the air. They get water from the air. That's truly amazing. And that African woman doesn't have to travel eight hours.


And if you want treatment of public health you come to Israel. In all these areas, these fundamental areas, there is a tremendous change, tremendous change that is taking place. And Israel is changing the lives of people, bettering the lives of people, lengthening the lives of people and also protecting the lives of people. Why? Because the [unclear: firmament??] of militant Islam and militant Islamic terrorists sending sparks to every continent, to every country. Everybody needs protection.


And Israel has amassed the capability to fight terrorism as never before and as few others can. In some areas, no one can match our capabilities, certainly no one exceeds them. And because of that, countries are coming to Israel, because they want to be safe. And they want to partake of our intelligence capabilities, of our other experiences and so they come for safety.


So the change that we are experiencing today is based on three things, three things. I call them TTP. The first T is terror. That is, anti-terror. And all countries need it and Israel is helping foil terrorist attacks around the world with its capabilities. The second T is technology for everything, everything, every single area. Some of it involves security like cyber. Israel is a country of eight million people so it's one-tenth of one percent of the world's population. This year we'll end with roughly 20% of the world's global private cyber security investment. That means, in addition to what, if you take out what governments do in cyber security and everything else that is done, private global cyber security investments in Israel are 20% of the world's total investment. That means we're punching 200 times above our weight.


I said five years ago that Israel will be among the five global cyber powers. We're definitely there. I don’t think we're number five, I don’t think we’re number four either. We can start now arguing where we fit but this something that all countries need. They need technology. They need to protect the internet of things which is growing into the trillions of devices. And everything has to be protected: your cars, your planes, your refrigerators, everything has to be protected. It's an endless market.


I was in Kiryat Gat the other day in the extraordinary plant, six-foot wall fields of Intel, the largest of its kind that Intel has in the world. And Israeli technology is producing the things for the internet of things, little [unclear]. And then also the big data – to process the things from the internet of things. That's in Israel too.


A rapid revolution. If you want technology for water, for cyber, for solar energy, for public health, Israel has the biggest…You know the three things that are happening in Israel that are huge? Cyber is huge, huge. There are about 600 startups right now. There were almost none a few years ago. Automotive industry is huge, you saw Mobileye. I hope they have the smarts not to sell up like Waze, you know. They haven't. I mean Waze is a great product but to sell it for a billion dollars to Google? Can you imagine? Brilliant people, but Mobileye I think has great potential.


But between Mobileye and Waze are many, many others. And the head of the General Motors Division that is dealing with automotive technology came here and he said: "This is where we're going to have a car industry." We had a car industry by the way. When I was a young soldier in the IDF, a young officer, Matan Vilnai and I used to drive back from our unit to weekends in Jerusalem with a car. It was called a Susita. It was made of fiberglass. And one day I leaned on it and my elbow went right through the fiberglass and these fibers hit my elbow, you know? That didn't go very far. The plant shut down. But we now have a car industry for driverless cars, for artificial intelligence, for integration with the cloud. That's a car industry.


And the car industry will change because 95% of the time the car is sitting in your garage doing nothing and you're paying for nothing. That will change. There will be interchangeable cars and there will be safe driverless cars and that is being produced in Israel. So now we have a car industry with 400 startups.


And here's the biggest change that is coming, the biggest change that is coming: We have the largest database, the most comprehensive database covering over 95% of our population of their health records. And this allows, the integration of these databases together allows us to create preventive medicine on a scale never encountered in history, and using also telemedicine to obviate a lot of routine treatments. This can lengthen our lives. It can be preventive – you can know in advance when somebody is going to have a problem and you tell them. This is growing at a fundamental pace and we have now several hundreds of these companies as well.


I give you these three examples because they are exploding everywhere and the whole world says: "Well, where are these innovations coming from"? And they say: "Israel". So that covers that little second T. First T – fighting terror; second T – technology which means everything. Here's the third P. The P that I'm talking about is Peace. Peace. Because as a result of the first T and the second T, countries are coming to us at an unbelievable pace, unbelievable pace.


I mean, just in the last ten days, you know, I met the senior economic body of China that came here, the NDRC; Prime Minister Medvedev of Russia who came here. Our President Ruvi Rivlin is in India and Mr. Modi just twitted that he's coming here next year. Our trade with India is growing at about 30% a year at least, bursting through the seams. Prime Minister Abe sent me an emissary the other week; Vietnam came here; Poland came here; I'm going to Kazakhstan and to Azerbaijan, two Muslim countries, one Shiite, one Sunni. Then I'm going to Singapore, their Prime Minister came here for the first time since our independence and I'm going there, following to Australia. I'm going to Fiji. You know I'm going to Fiji? Wouldn't you want to go to Fiji? I'm going to Fiji because the Prime Minister of Fiji said: "I have 15 countries, 15 countries that vote in the UN". He said: "We have a vote like China, Russia, and India. We'll all come to greet you". So I'm going to Fiji.


I went to Africa.  Met there seven leaders of African states. In a few months I'll be going to West Africa to meet another 15. And all these countries are also coming to Israel. Argentina shifted its policy; Brazil told me they want to shift their policies; Mexico; Paraguay; Colombia with whom we have [unclear]. Everybody is coming to Israel. Why are they coming to Israel? TT and P.


You see every one of these countries, after we finish talking business, after we finish talking about security, and after we talk about economics and technology, they say: "Can we help with the Palestinians"? And I say: "Yeah. You can help. There's one thing you have to do – it's the Acid test. Invite me and Abu Mazen to a meeting right now in your capital. Right now. I'm willing to come. I'll change my schedule. I'm willing to come to see him". They get very excited. You know, they start passing notes to each other. They say: "We're at the point of a breakthrough. The Prime Minister of Israel is willing to meet President Abbas". So immediately they pass the message to Ramallah and what do you think is the response? "Not now. Can't". Conditions, preconditions.  


By the time we finish this round with so many, with hundreds of world leaders, Prime Ministers, Presidents, Foreign Ministers, everybody gets the message. Israel is ready for peace. Israel is not the obstacle to peace. Israel wants to move ahead with peace and who gets that message best? The Arab states. Even the European…no I can't say that.


This is simple: TTP: Technology, anti-Terror, Peace. They get it. So the countries of the world are coming to Israel. Israel is building a great future here for our children, for all of Israel's citizens: Jews, Arabs alike. I believe that we have tremendous opportunities to advance new relationships in the region and beyond and I think we'll reverse the equation that we'll get a breakthrough with the Palestinians and from there to the Arab world. More and more, I think that it'll probably work the other way around or with bootstrapping from these two paths. But I am hopeful, I'm hopeful as never before.


So if I had to summarize this morning I will tell you that we stand in the future of hope and I'll say also that for all of you who are represented here or representing here other countries: we not only are open for business, we invite you to come and do more business with us, not only for our sake but also for yours and for the sake of our common future.


Thank you very much. "