March 6, 2018 — New York, NY
AJC praised the remarks that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered today before an audience of over 18,000 at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. In his half-hour address, Prime Minister Netanyahu reviewed Israel’s recent accomplishments and outlined the major threats it faces.
Noting his country’s potent military capabilities, he thanked the U.S. for its help, and pointed out that Israeli intelligence services “have foiled dozens of major terrorist attacks across the world in dozens of countries.” On the economic front, the Prime Minister underlined Israel’s impressive record in hi-tech innovation, particularly the development of new methods of irrigation and water supply and its pioneering work on autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity systems. Mr. Netanyahu also summarized Israel’s recent diplomatic gains around the world, citing his visits to India, Australia, and countries in Africa and Latin America, as well as improved relations with many Arab nations.
Turning to the challenges his country must overcome, Prime Minister Netanyahu focused primarily on Iran, which not only threatened Israel, but also sought to destabilize the entire region. He said that Iran’s aggressive policies since the international agreement to freeze its nuclear program proved him to have been right in opposing it, and praised President Trump for promising to walk away from the deal if its flaws are not corrected.
As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Prime Minister expressed his commitment to peace and praised the American administration’s efforts to facilitate that goal. He called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to demonstrate his desire for peace by stopping the policy of “paying terrorists to murder Jews,” which cost nearly ten percent of the PA budget, money that could be put to much more constructive uses.
Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded with praise for the unique U.S.-Israel relationship, whose basis, he said, was the shared values of the two countries that are rooted in the Bible.
AJC CEO David Harris called Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks “an eloquent summary of where Israel stands 70 years after its founding—strong, confident, innovative, vibrant, peace-seeking, but on the alert against the ominous Iranian threat.” And Mr. Harris pointed out that “the Prime Minister, in citing the shared values of Israel and the U.S., put his finger on why Israel, since its founding, has always enjoyed the friendship of the American people and its government, no matter which political party was in power.”