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PM Netanyahu chairs Corona Cabinet meeting

The goal of the policy is to significantly slow the pace of morbidity and reduce the mortality risks, with minimal impact on the economy and daily routine.​


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 22 June 2020), chaired a meeting of the Corona Cabinet in order to discuss the necessary steps to continue dealing with the corona pandemic in the immediate term, the use of digital means to block the spread of the pandemic, and to set an outbreak scenario.

The participants discussed the proposals formulated by the National Security Council (NSC) pursuant to the forum of director generals that was convened yesterday. It was made clear that the goal of the policy is to significantly slow the pace of morbidity and reduce the mortality risks, with minimal impact on the economy and daily routine.

The Cabinet decided upon the following immediate steps:

1. A national enforcement authority will be established, under the aegis of the Public Security Ministry, to direct, guide and coordinate all of the enforcement agencies.

2. Fines will be increased. The fine for not wearing a mask will be raised to NIS 500.

3. Enforcement by municipal inspectors shall be increased. A meeting will be held with the Federation of Local Authorities, with the participation of the Public Security Minister, the Finance Minister, the Interior Minister and the head of the NSC.

4. The list of communities to be declared restricted zones upon the identification of an increase in morbidity (according to the set parameters) will be evaluated forthwith.

5. Protecting at-risk populations – the continuation of checks and protective measures at centers for the elderly.

6. An evaluation, in conjunction with the Civil Service Commissioner, of a return to work in "capsules".

7. School activity during the summer vacation, along with private camps, has been approved.
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PM Netanyahu addresses the ceremony marking Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the official ceremony at the beginning of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem.​ His address was pre-taped, in accordance with Ministry of Health instructions. Following are his remarks:

"Citizens of Israel, first and foremost our brothers and sisters, Holocaust survivors,

“We all embrace you at this time, and we do so with profound appreciation and love. We grieve the Holocaust survivors who were recently taken from us by the coronavirus and we send our condolences to their families. We share in your pain.

“Today I spoke with Luba, Michael Katz’s niece. Michael was a child when his family was killed in the Holocaust. His house was bombed. He experienced hardships and was forced to wander the world. He reached Kazakhstan and eventually made his way to Israel. Today, he is 92 years old. He survived the Holocaust and he beat the coronavirus. I am filled with admiration and wonder for his spirit and his strength. Especially in light of what I remember hearing as a child, what I heard Yehiel De-Nur (Ka-Tsetnik) say when he testified at Eichmann’s trial and spoke of 'the other planet.'

“There was great suffering on that planet, in the death camps, and there were different rules of nature. Every fraction of a second lasted forever. The very air they breathed was different. The sun did not shine there. I head Ka-Tsetnik and the other survivors say, 'You can never understand what we experienced.' They were right; we will never be able to understand because there is nothing similar to the Holocaust. This is also true of the coronavirus pandemic. Some people view it as the greatest challenge humanity has faced since World War II.

“We face many difficulties at this time, but—by any measure—they cannot and do not compare with the methodical, diabolical extinction of six million Jews. We are currently facing a dangerous plague—but plagues ravaged the ghettos and camps. The confinement of tens of thousands of Jews in a very small area claimed countless victims who died from typhus and dysentery.

“Of course, the situation today is entirely different. Today, we have a national home, we have our own country—a strong, advanced and highly appreciated country. Three months ago, we hosted the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, and leaders from all over the world marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. I saw them. I spoke with them. They were deeply impressed with our success in transforming helplessness into strength and tremendous achievements. And all the leaders who were there committed to fighting against antisemitism and other expressions of racism. Of course, we all welcomed that, but at the same time—and this was my central message at the Holocaust Forum—Israel must always be responsible for its own destiny. In any event, at any time, we must have the strength and the willingness to defend ourselves by ourselves.

“In the months since then, we received proof of this on a daily basis. The coronavirus outbreak requires a global fight against the virus—nothing less—and it demonstrates the importance of national sovereignty. Unlike the Holocaust, this time we identified the danger in time. We made important decision, such as closing the country’s borders, and we mobilized all the state’s systems in the war against the coronavirus. We especially mobilized your willingness, your commitment and your sense of responsibility, citizens of Israel. Our accomplishments serve as a role model for many countries around the world.

“Alongside our fight for our health and our lives, citizens of Israel, the fight to safeguard the country’s security continues at all times. The lessons of the Holocaust obligate us to be as alert as ever. Radical Islam, led by Iran, continues to threaten to destroy us. These threats did not dissipate in the coronavirus storm. They still exist, and we are as determined as ever to respond to them. The IDF and the other security bodies are currently helping citizens through the coronavirus crisis, but make no mistake: we are as careful as ever to maintain our operational readiness to stop any danger—on our borders and far beyond them.

“The coronavirus has changed priorities around the world, and it may also change priorities in the Middle East. I am hopeful that we will strengthen even more our ties with Arab and moderate Muslim countries. I was deeply impressed some time ago to see a delegation of Muslim religious leaders visiting Auschwitz for International Holocaust Day. On behalf of the Holocaust survivors, I wish to thank these religious leaders. They unhesitatingly recognized the scope of the crime committed against us and they firmly condemned it.

“Citizens of Israel, the challenges we face require broad unity in the people and the country. This is also a fundamental lesson we learned from the Holocaust. During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, the fight against the Nazis was led by two opposing organizations: one headed by Mordechai Anielewicz, a member of the Jewish Combat Organization, and other headed by Paweł Frenkiel, a member of Beitar. My mentor and friend, the late Moshe Arens, who investigated the history of the uprising, lamented until his dying day the failure of the two organizations to unite. At our last meeting just days before he passed away, Moshe said to me, 'How, in the face of this hateful enemy, could they not set aside their rivalry and unite?' But their ideological rivalry was stronger than their ability to stand united against their enemy. After 77 years, we must act differently. We must have unity.

“You, who are lighting the torches of remembrance and heroism, represent unity in all its glory. This year, my wife and I were unable to visit you because of the coronavirus. However, we listened to your life stories with amazement: The childhoods that were stolen from you, the years of terror and agony, the painful loss of your family members, your rescue from the inferno, your welcome contribution to building our country.

“We salute you and honor you with boundless appreciation: Zohar Arnon, Aviva Blum-Wachs, Haim Arbiv, Lea Miriam Reuveni, Avraham Cami, Yehuda Bellis and Naomi Cassuto. You are all role models for our people’s tremendous strength. As is written in Psalms 113:7, 'He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap,' from helplessness to independence, slavery to redemption, death to life."
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PM Netanyahu's remarks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting

PM Netanyahu: "Israel stands at the forefront with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, with all Jewish communities in the US and with the American people. We stand together, at the forefront, against anti-Semitism and displays of such barbarity.​​"

Ministers stood and observed a minute of silence at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting in memory of those who were murdered in Pittsburgh yesterday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, made the following remarks:
"The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the people who were murdered in the shocking massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. On behalf of myself, the Government of Israel and the people of Israel, from the depth of our hearts, I send our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. We all pray for the swift recovery of the wounded.

It is very difficult to exaggerate the horror of the murder of Jews who had gathered in a synagogue on Shabbat and were murdered just because they were Jews. Israel stands at the forefront with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, with all Jewish communities in the US and with the American people. We stand together, at the forefront, against anti-Semitism and displays of such barbarity.

I call upon the whole world to unite in the fight against anti-Semitism everywhere. Today, regretfully, we refer to the United States, where the largest anti-Semitic crime in its history took place, but we also mean, of course, Western Europe, where there is a tough struggle against the manifestations of a new anti-Semitism. Of course there is also the old and familiar anti-Semitism, and that of radical Islam. On all these fronts we must stand up and fight back against this brutal fanaticism. It starts with the Jews, but never ends with the Jews.

On Friday, my wife and I returned from a historic diplomatic visit to Oman. I met with the leader of Oman; Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a very experienced and impressive man. This is Israel's first official visit to Oman in 22 years. This visit comes against the background of diplomatic efforts that I have been promoting in recent years vis-a-vis the Arab countries. In our long meeting we discussed in detail the challenges facing the Middle East. These were important talks - both for the State of Israel and very important talks for Israel's security. There will be more.

We are after a weekend of air strikes in Gaza. Yesterday we heard about an 'ultimatum' from Hamas to Israel. At no stage will Israel accept any ultimatum from Hamas. Israel will continue to act in accordance with Israeli interests and for Israel's security alone. "
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PM Netanyahu addresses the Christian Media Summit

Iran wants to base itself next to Israel in order to destroy Israel. We will not let them do so. We back up these words with actions. We'll continue to do what we need to do to protect ourselves and defend ourselves against those who would destroy us.

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks at the Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem:

"Look at our neighbors. Look at what President Abbas is doing. I mean, he's rewarding terrorists. Pay for slay. The more they kill – the more they get paid. He has on his law books a rule, a law that says that if you sell land to Jews – you'll be executed. Some peace and some coexistence.

People have to say the truth. You are ambassadors of truth. You're not merely the greatest ambassadors that Israel has around the world – you're champions of truth. And if there's one thing that I can ask you to do is to tell the truth. Tell the truth about our history, tell the truth about our present, tell the truth about who wants peace and who doesn’t want peace.

You can also tell the truth about something else: Israel is a robust democracy. It supports and protects the rights of all: the rights of Jews, Christians, Muslims – of all. And we are the only ones who do so in a very broad radius. I think there's something unusual for Christians because Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian community thrives and grows.

That is also applicable to what happened in the Palestinian Authority areas. You know the town of Bethlehem? Yes. You have a connection to it. We all do. And among other things, we have a connection to King David, the history of Ruth as you know, but also the story of Jesus. Now, Bethlehem had when we handed it over to the Palestinian Authority a Christian population of roughly 80%. Now it's about 20%. And that change happened because in the Palestinian Authority areas, as well as throughout the Middle East, Christians are being constricted, they're being pressured, also they're being persecuted.

Israel is the one country that protects the human rights of all. We protect the religious rights of all. We don’t just protect Christian religious sites – we protect Christian people. Christians should enjoy all the freedom to worship as they please in the Middle East and anywhere else and the only place in the Middle East where they can do so is Israel.

We have no better friends in the world than our Christian friends and I take this opportunity to thank you for your steadfast support. You are standing up for Israel and you are standing up for the truth and we stand up for you."

In response to journalists' questions, Prime Minister Netanyahu added:

"Iran wants to base itself right next to Israel in order to destroy Israel. They say so openly. We will not let them do so. We back up these words with actions, including now in these days, as we speak. Nothing has changed. We'll continue to do what we need to do to protect ourselves and defend ourselves against those who would destroy us."

In response to a question about Lara Alqasem, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

"Every country and every democracy and many democracies have special arrangements where they decide who to let in and who not to let it. If you come in and you are virulently against America and you try to come to the United States, there's a good chance you won’t be let in if people know that in advance. That's also true of many of the European democracies. It's true of the democracy called Israel.

I trust that Minister Erdan has examined that and looked into it. It's under the decision now of the Israeli Supreme Court so I'm not going to get into that. And they'll decide whether they handle it or not. If they handle it – we'll see how it develops. If they don’t handle it – she'll be deported."

In response to a question about B'Tselem, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

"How do I define B'Tselem? A disgrace. That's how I define them."
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PM Netanyahu visits the Ein Keshatot archaeological site on the Golan Heights

We will continue to act with determination against Iran's attempts to open an additional front against us on the Golan Heights, and in Syria we will act against all attempts to transfer lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the dedication of a synagogue at the Ein Keshatot archaeological site on the Golan Heights:

"We grieve today as we part from Kim Yechezkel and Ziv Hajbi, may their memories be blessed. May G-d avenge their blood. We will catch the abhorrent murderer and we will settle accounts with him. The blood of Israeli citizens will not be spilled in vain."

The Prime Minister added:

"Today we see what is happening over the border – Iran's attempts to establish a military presence and the aggression of terrorist fanatics. We will continue to stand strong and determined against all of these. Israel on the Golan Heights is a guarantee for stability in the surrounding area. Israel on the Golan Heights is a solid reality based on ancient rights. Israel on the Golan Heights is a fact that the international community must recognize and as long as it depends on me the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty because otherwise we would have Iran and Hezbollah on the shores of the Kinneret.

Iran and Hezbollah are trying constantly to establish a force opposite us that would operate against the Golan Heights and the Galilee. We are thwarting this and as long as it depends on me we will continue to do so.

We will continue to act with determination against Iran's attempts to open an additional front against us on the Golan Heights, and in Syria we will act against all attempts to transfer lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

I will discuss these matters with President Putin when I meet with him soon. I decided with President Putin on the important security coordination between the IDF and the Russian military, and of course together we have developed good relations between Russia and Israel.

I know that President Putin understands my commitment to the security of Israel and I know that he also understands the importance that I ascribe to the Golan Heights, that we all ascribe to the Golan Heights and to the heritage of Israel."
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PM Netanyahu and Chancellor Merkel hold working meeting

​We are seizing the future, but we also have to defeat the forces that want to drag us into the past. Our hopes for the future are being challenged by the forces of radical Islam on the one side and Iran and its proxies on the other side.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, held an expanded working meeting. At the same time, Israeli and German ministers met as part of the inter-governmental (G2G) meeting.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu and German Chancellor Merkel held a joint press conference during which the Prime Minister made the following remarks:

"Angela it's a pleasure to welcome you and your distinguished delegation to Israel once again to Jerusalem. You had been the pioneer of these governmental meetings. They make a big difference. It allows us to expand our cooperation, our friendship, to the advantage of both our countries. I'm not just saying that in a general sense but as you'll see in a very practical way.

Ten years ago you famously addressed the Knesset. You declared that Germany and Israel are linked by a special, unique friendship. You described this friendship as being marked by an enduring responsibility for the past, by shared values, by shared challenges and shared interests. You said that Germany would never forsake Israel, and would remain a true friend and partner to Israel and that Israel's security would never be open to negotiation.

I have to say Chancellor Merkel that you have kept true to your word and you have shown it time and time again. I thank you and all the people of Israel thank you for your unrelenting support for Israel's security. I also thank you for taking a very strong and unreserved stance against antisemitism. You have been unyielding in your efforts to recognize history, to defend the truth, to stamp out antisemitism in Germany and throughout Europe. Under your leadership, relations between our two countries and peoples have flourished. Today we cooperate in almost every field. These governmental meetings produce tangible results in security, science, trade, commerce, cyber. Today we discussed about deepening our cyber cooperation, cyber security and join development assistance to other countries, an idea that we discussed in one of our meetings, and we decided we would work together in Africa, we are doing that. It's a great success. We're expanding that as well.

But I think what will mark this visit, what will turn it into a milestone, is our cooperation in one specific area, which is technology and innovation. This is key to the future. The future belongs to those that innovate. We have two extraordinary economies. Germany is one of the great economies of the world. It has singular capacities in science, in industry, in technology. Israel is among of the leading innovation nations in the world. Some say right there at the top. This morning we visited an innovation exhibition of Israeli and German companies and I came back, as you did you told me, with a tremendous impression of the talents and the initiatives. We saw how German and Israeli companies are innovating and working together including in transportation, digital health, telecommunications, agrotechnology and many others. Many, many other fields. In fact it's unlimited the potential here.

Germany for an example is a leader, the world leader in the automotive industry. Israel is a global leader, and has become a global leader just in a few years, of autonomous driving technology. And the two things are being married. Together Israeli hi-tech expertise and the German car industry are putting self-driving cars on the road safely, securely. And this is just one example. There are many, many more.

Together, Israeli and German companies are increasing access to drinking water, identifying new cures for disease, new techniques for surgery and medical treatment, protecting our environment. I think that strengthening the cooperation between our two countries doesn't just benefit our two countries, this benefits millions and millions of people around the world. So it's good intrinsically, it's good nationally for each of us, but it's also good I believe for the world at large.

In the meeting today we identified several areas to increase our cooperation. We signed agreements on trade, the environment, energy, transportation and housing. And I believe that this cooperation is unique. There are very, very few economies in the world today that have our capacity. I don't want to, since I'm also the Foreign Minister I have to be careful and not actually name names or place numbers on it, but I truly believe that the talents that are stored in Israel and Germany are among the greatest in the world and can change the world.

We are seizing the future together but we also have to defeat the forces that want to drag us into the past. And I believe that our hopes for the future today are being challenged by the forces of radical Islam, and primarily the forces of Daesh on the one side and Iran and its proxies on the other side. There is no question you know it's not a secret, certainly not a state secret, that I opposed the deal with Iran because I thought that it paved its way to a nuclear arsenal. But the deal also did something else. It put billions of dollars in the hands of the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world and the leading aggressor in the Middle East – Iran.

And this money unfortunately did not go to improve the lives of Iranian citizens. Instead, it went to funding a war machine, Iran's war machine, that is bent on conquering the entire Middle East. And I have to say that Iran's aggressive activity also extends to Europe. I spoke about the fact that Israeli intelligence gave European services the information that Iran's services were planting, planning in Europe by Iranian diplomats, Iranian officials, terrorist attacks on the soil of Europe. And I was very glad to see that an Iranian diplomat was recently arrested in Germany for this failed bombing plot in Paris. I was also glad to see the recent decisions, I think two days ago, by the French government against these diplomats and against Iran. I believe that all nations must join together to press the Iranian regime to fully dismantle its nuclear weapons program. They're still trying to hide, I exposed some of that in the UN. They're trying to get there through the back door. But also to cease its terror activities in Europe and around the world, and also to stop using Syria as a base for attacks against Israel. Syria and Lebanon. And ultimately they have to get out of Syria altogether.

Israel will continue to do what we must do to defend ourselves, to defend our state and our people. We will continue to block Iran's efforts to use Syria and Lebanon as forward bases for attacking Israel. And we will also continue to engage with new partners in our region. The danger that Iran poses has brought one benefit, I keep saying this and I'll say it again today because it's true every day, it's brought Israel and the Arab states close as never before. And I believe that this new relationship is a great hope for the future because I think that it paves the way for peace. It paves the way for peace between Israel and the Arab states although it will take time and it normalizes gradually. But I think ultimately it will help us reach peace with our Palestinian neighbors if they decide to embrace peace instead of trying to squeeze Israel into impossible conditions that won't allow it to effectively survive here.

I am sorry to say that we don't see this attitude on the part of the Palestinian Authority and I think countries have to stand up and tell them, cease what you are doing. Especially the chocking of Gaza right now which could lead to very difficult consequences. I know Angela that you are committed to a secure and stable Middle East. I think the strong ties between Israel and Germany can provide an example to this region and to the rest of the world. We overcame the horrors of the past. We never forget them, we never forget, and you will never forget, but we have transformed our relationship into a warm and constructive friendship.

It doesn't mean that we don't have disagreements, we occasionally do, but there is an underlined commitment that I respect and appreciate and I think that you exemplify. And there is something else, there's this newfound cooperation that opens tremendous vistas into the future. I think the example of Israel and Germany offers hope for all the people of the world. It shows how we can transform history and come together to build a better and safer world.

I want to thank you again Angela for your friendship and for your leadership. And I want to see the next visit with an even larger delegation of Israeli entrepreneurs, men and women, in Berlin. Thank you."

In response to a question about Gaza, Prime Minister Netanyahu said [translated from Hebrew]:

"The situation in Gaza may be divided in two. First of all, here is, of course, the permanent effort by Hamas to arm itself and organize against Israel but what really adds to this is the second component. The second part is, of course, that in the last year Abu Mazen has made the situation in Gaza more difficult by choking off the flow of funds from the Palestinian Authority to Gaza. As a result of this chokehold, pressures have been created there and as a result of the pressures, from time to time Hamas attacks Israel at a relatively low intensity but the chokehold is tightening.

Abu Mazen has interfered in all UN attempts to ease the plight in Gaza, including now and, of course, many countries, today I can say that even he donor countries, are condemning him for this, and rightly so.

On the other hand, if Hamas thinks that as a result of this plight it can attack Israel – it will be making a very major mistake. Our response will be harsh, very harsh. I hope that it is possible to halt this strangulation but I also reiterate that Israel will act with all necessary strength to defend itself and its citizens."
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PM Netanyahu and his wife Sara attend Ponary memorial ceremony

Standing here today we remember all those who perished and all that was destroyed, and salute the heroism of those Lithuanians, who unlike collaborators, risked their own lives, risked the lives of their families.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara participated in a memorial ceremony at the Ponary memorial in remembrance of the 70,000 Vilnius Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Also in attendance was Fania Brancovskaja, a Holocaust survivor from the Vilna ghetto who joined the partisans. The Prime Minister awarded a medal and certificate to Birute Slapikiene, the granddaughter of a family of Righteous among the Nations.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and his wife Silvija Skvernele, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, and the chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish community, Fania Kukliansky also attended the ceremony.

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

"This is a place of unforgettable tragedy. An unpardonable crime was committed here.

70,000 Jews were murdered in cold blood by the Nazis and their collaborators and 30,000 others, non-Jews, were murdered as well.

All together 200,000 Jews were murdered here and in other places in Lithuania. This is 95% of the Jews who lived in this country.

Before the Holocaust Vilna, Vilnius, was a great center of Jewish scholarship and study. It was known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania.

Standing here today we remember all those who perished and all that was destroyed.

We remember the remarkable strength of those who survived. We are joined by one such remarkable woman today. She hid in a Jewish fort, a partisan fort deep in the forest. She bravely fought the Nazis alongside 100 other Jews who escaped with her.

What heroism Fania, we forever salute you.

And we also salute the heroism of those Lithuanians, who unlike collaborators, risked their own lives, risked the lives of their families. Not only showing personal heroism but the greatest heroism of all, risking your families. And they saved many Jews. There were 900 such Righteous Among the Nations. We will always honor their memory.

Today we honor Domas and Marijona Višcius who hid their Jewish neighbor Aharon in their farm. They built bunkers and tunnels in their farm to enable escape. Their granddaughter is here today with us to receive a medal on their behalf.

The Holocaust was the greatest crime in the history of mankind. It must be remembered and its lesson must never be forgotten.

I thank the government of Lithuania for taking important steps to commemorate the Holocaust and for helping to preserve the truth about the Holocaust.

The lessons of the Holocaust are twofold. The first is that we must fight barbarism early on or it will burn all of us. The second for us Jews is that we must never be defenseless again.

I am here because over 100 years ago my grandfather, a young student in a yeshiva, was beaten nearly to death by anti-semitic hooligans not very far from here.

Before he lost consciousness he said, 'If I live I will take my family and I will go to the Land of Israel to rebuild our independent life so that we may continue the tradition of the brave Maccabees. We will defend ourselves.'

I want to say to my grandfather today, Saba I am back here, back here in this forest of death as the Prime Minister of Israel.

We will never be defenseless again. We have a state, we have an army and we are capable of defending ourselves by ourselves.

Never again will we be led to the slaughter.

Israel is strong, Israel is proud, Israel is forever.

Am Yisrael Chai! The people of Israel live!"
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PM Netanyahu meets with US National Security Adviser John Bolton

I believe that President Trump's decision to leave the disastrous Iran deal was nothing less than a hinge of history. Israel applauds the determination to re-impose tough sanctions on Iran and those doing business with Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently meeting with US National Security Adviser John Bolton, at the Prime minister's Office in Jerusalem. National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer are also participating.

Prime Minister Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the meeting:

"Ambassador Bolton, John, once again it's a pleasure to welcome you to Jerusalem. Particularly since your visit comes after the historic decision by President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, to move the Embassy here.

As I mentioned last night we've known each other for many decades and you've been a consistent champion of our alliance in and out of government.

It’s a wonderful alliance and Israel believes that it has no greater friend and ally than the United States and I believe that the United States has no greater friend and ally than Israel. It's a peculiar kind of ally. We've consistently increased our defense spending. We insist on defending ourselves by ourselves and appreciate all manner of American support, but we believe that the alliance is the alliance of the strong and like-minded and we share America's values of freedom and liberty.

Under President Trump, that alliance has grown stronger than it's ever been and your visit here gives us an opportunity to make it even stronger, and to align our policies even more closely on Iran, on Syria, on Gaza and on the many challenges that face both our countries in this region.

We had a wonderful discussion last night. And today we'll have the opportunity to continue and expand on many fields with you and your delegation.

I know, John, you have a lot on your plate, so let me say how much I appreciate the fact that you're dedicating three days of meetings and discussions to your visit to Israel. That's no small matter. Second, I want to use this opportunity once again, to thank President Trump for walking away from the terrible deal with Iran. The nuclear deal did not block Iran's path to the bomb - it paved Iran's path to an entire nuclear arsenal. And by removing the sanctions, it enabled Iran to bring in billions and billions of dollars to its coffers, which only fueled Iran's war machine - in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, and elsewhere.

I believe that the President's decision to leave the disastrous Iran deal was nothing less than a hinge of history. And Israel applauds the Trump administration's determination to re-impose tough sanctions on Iran and those doing business with Iran. I know that that view is shared by all our Arab neighbors, or practically everyone in this region. And I frankly believe that all countries who care about peace and security in the Middle East should follow America's lead and ratchet up the pressure on Iran. Because the greater the pressure on Iran, the greater the chance that the regime will roll back its aggression. And everybody should join this effort.

In standing up to the regime, we stand with the people of Iran. The President has made it clear, Secretary Pompeo has made it clear, you've made it clear, and I've made it clear too – in numerous appeals, direct appeals to the people of Iran. And it's important that the people of Iran understand that our fight is not with them. Our fight is with the regime that brutally represses them. That arrests women for uncovering their hair, hangs gays in the public squares, that defies the aspirations for freedom of millions and millions of Iranians.

Ambassador Bolton, Israel is also grateful for the Trump administration's unequivocal support for Israel in international forums, and on international issues. We hear it every day, on the podiums in the White House, in the State Department, at the United Nations. This is deeply, deeply appreciated, and deeply valued.

We appreciate as well the continued American commitment to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge, which enables us to defend ourselves by ourselves against any threat.

I look forward to our discussion, and I know that this visit will materially enhance the great alliance between our two nations, which serves the greatest interest and the best interest of both our peoples. Welcome to Jerusalem."
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PM Netanyahu on the ‘White Helmets’

​I approved the evacuation of hundreds of ‘White Helmets’ from Syria through Israel. These are people who have saved lives and whose lives were in danger, and I approved their passage through Israel as an important humanitarian gesture.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement:

"Several days ago President Trump contacted me, as did Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and others, and requested that we assist in evacuating hundreds of 'white helmets' from Syria. These are people who have saved lives and whose lives were in danger. Therefore, I approved their passage through Israel to additional countries, as an important humanitarian gesture.

Concurrently, we will not stop taking action in Syria against Iran's attempts to establish a military presence there.

At the same time we are also taking action in the south. We hit Hamas very hard over the weekend and – if it proves necessary – we will hit them seven-fold."
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PM Netanyahu meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin
and made the following remarks at the start of the meeting:

"I would like to compliment you on the very successful World Cup that Russia is organizing. The entire world is watching with great interest, including us in Israel, and I must say I am as well. So thank you for the invitation to watch the game later this evening.

Of course you mentioned the moving parade in honor of the victory over the Nazis, which was a great event that made an impression in Israel and I think around the Jewish world.

Every visit such as this is an opportunity for us to work together to try to stabilize the situation in our region, increase security and increase stability.

It is clear that our focus is on Syria and Iran. Our view that Iran needs to leave Syria is well-known; it is not new to you.

Several hours ago a Syrian UAV penetrated Israel's airspace. We shot it down and we will continue to take strong action against any trickle [of fire] and any infiltration into Israel's airspace or territory. We expect that everyone will respect this sovereignty and that Syria will strictly abide by the [1974] Separation of Forces Agreement.

The cooperation between us is a central component in preventing a conflagration and deterioration of these and other situations; therefore, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to discuss these matters and, of course, all other issues. Truly, thank you."
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