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Ronald Lauder congratulates Benjamin Netanyahu, urges world leaders to work with the PM

NEW YORK, The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, today congratulated Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu on winning Tuesday’s Knesset election. “Israel is one of the world’s great democracies and once again, its people have shown this through a free and open democratic election. Prime Minister Netanyahu has demonstrated his tremendous leadership abilities over the years along with his incredible dedication to the Jewish state of Israel,” Lauder said in a first reaction.

“At a time that has seen a dangerous increase in anti-Semitic attacks throughout the world, the next few years will be a challenge for Jews everywhere, and I look forward to working with Prime Minister Netanyahu to make the world a safer place for all people.”

“I urge world leaders to respect the result of this democratic ballot and to work closely with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his new government in the months and years ahead. In a volatile Middle East, Israel’s right to exist as a democratic, Jewish state must be safeguarded, the security situation in the Middle East must be improved and the government must ensure that Israel can continue to be the economic and scientific powerhouse it has become in the past decades,” said Lauder.

With 99 percent of the ballots cast tallied, Netanyahu’s Likud won 30 seats and will be the largest party in the new Knesset, Israel’s 120-member legislature. The opposition Zionist Union led by Isaac Herzog became the second force, winning 24 seats.

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Ronald Lauder: "All of us, Jews and non-Jews, stand together as one people."

Judaism is an integral part of Germany's identity, Chancellor Angela Merkel told thousands at a rally against anti-Semitism near Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Sunday. "Jewish life belongs among us. It is a part of our identity," Merkel said, adding that the anti-Semitic abuse earlier this year had been appalling.The rally was organized amid shock in Germany at crude anti-Semitic slogans shouted during summer protests against Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Here is the address by Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress.

For the last 70 years, Jews and Germans have lived together in peace.

Jews have prospered as Germany has prospered. Jews have become part of German society again.WJC President Ronald S. Lauder addressing the rally

We are your neighbors and your friends. We all share the same values, we hold the same beliefs.

Part of my family originally came from Mainz, over 600 years ago.

I remember as a young boy in the early 1960s, going to the synagogue to lay flowers on the front door in memory of the Jewish people who died in the Holocaust.

I remember also seeing non-Jewish Germans coming there to do the same thing… to lay flowers as a way to say they also remember, as a way to say this should never happen again.

Since 1945, Germany has been one of the most responsible countries on earth. The world looks to Germany for political, for economic and for moral leadership.

But something has changed. This summer, all of the progress of the last 70 years has been darkened by a rising tide of anti-Semitism. There are some places I might expect to see this - but not here in Germany.

There are places where Jews cannot live openly as Jews - but not here in Germany.

There are places where governments actually promote the hatred of Jews – but that is definitely not here in Germany.

Since the end of the war, Germany has strongly supported a Jewish rebirth, and since Konrad Adenauer, Germany has been Israel’s ally and friend. So why has all this good work been darkened by the medieval stain of anti-Semitism?

I believe there are three reasons:

First, when the economy declines, people become fearful and often they look for a scapegoat. Throughout history, that scapegoat has been the Jews.

Second, we have seen some of the vilest anti-Jewish propaganda coming out of the Middle East and it has spread across the Internet and it is now coming into mainstream thought.

And third, there are political agitators determined to spread misinformation and lies for the sole purpose of instilling anti-Semitism.

Let us not allow this group of agitators to tear down 70 years of good work. We all know too well that a group that instills fear and hatred may start small but can grow into a large and dangerous tidal wave.

In the end, these people don’t want to just hurt Jews – they intend to hurt every free, democratic country in the world.

Let us all stand together. Let us stand strong and united. Let us make it very clear that this intolerance has no place in Germany, or anywhere else.

The very fact that you, President Gauck, Chancellor Merkel, Mayor Wowereit and the heads of the churches are here today, tells the world that we stand together as one.

And this is our message: We will never accept anti-Semitism, here in Germany, or anywhere else.

We will never allow our children to live in fear because of their religion.

Let this be the story that comes from this day: That all of us, Jews and non-Jews, stand together as one people.

We stand together and say no to intolerance, no to bigotry and no to anti-Semitism.

Thank you all for coming here today!
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