by INN Staff
Written below are words that Prime Minister Netanyahu will take with him on his upcoming visit to Washington.
Dear Friends, Senators and Congressmen, Representatives of the American people who are the best friend the Jewish people have had in all of history,
The Jewish people and the state of Israel are honored that the Prime Minister of Israel is invited to stand here before both houses of the American Congress.
I wish, in the name of the Israel’s citizens, to thank you for this opportunity to talk to you.
In 1492, two events of great historical significance occurred.
An evil decree of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain brought about the expulsion of the 150,000 Jews of Spain from the country where they had once lived tranquilly and had had a semblance of civil rights.
Yet an act of deliverance preceded this debacle, when, in the same year, Christopher Columbus discovered America. This was the start of the American nation, the nation whose very existence is an act of grace for the entire world and for the Jewish people in particular.
America was fated one day to become a place of refuge and support for the Jewish people.
Our people feel great affection for the American nation, which became a safe harbor for us towards the end of our exile. We thank the Almighty for choosing the American people to be the best and most helpful friend in our efforts to establish a national homeland for the Jewish people.
From the very start, there has been a covenant of love and friendship between the American people and the Jewish people and its state. The United States of America has stood by Israel in the past, in the present and will, please G-d, stand by her forever.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Senators and Congressmen,
At the close of a forced, long and cruel exile, we returned to our land. During all the 1900 years of exile, we never forgot our land, the land of Israel, our birthplace, the land promised to us and our descendants by the Creator of the world, the land of the Bible. Generations of Jewish children, young and old, studied and memorized the words of the Bible and our daily prayers, day and night, in hunger and thirst, cold and poverty, in secret and in the open, longing for a return to Jerusalem and the cities of Judea. Jerusalem is mentioned 21 times in a Jews’ daily prayers.
The Passover Haggadah that is recited at the yearly Seder, the very same one we have said through the ages, in Casblanca, Paris, Fez, London, Tsana,Barcelona, Addis Ababa, St. Petersburg, Alexandria, G’erba, Munich, Rome, and New York—whatever place we were exiled to—ends with the song “Next year in Jerusalem”.
The pioneering spirits among our people attempted to found a Third Commonwealth, but the nations of the world prevented them from succeeding. A small number managed to actually reach the land of the Bible. They started an awakening. They were followed by successive waves of tens, then hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands who founded villages, communities, cultural institutions and spread throughout the holy land, but the land remained desolate looking as It had been since its destruction thousands of years earlier.
After 18 centuries of exile, bubbles of longing began coming to the surface of Jewish life, and in the last 300 years, a large number of Jews left their places of residence to return to Israel. Today, at the state of Israel’s 63rd birthday celebration, we can state with confidence that our land was glad to see us back. Israel is a beautiful country, has one of the most stable economies in the world, is blessed with investments, research and development—it is a beacon to the entire world—and this is in addition to the rennaisance of Jewish culture and scholarship in the Jewish state.
In his book, “The Innocents Abroad”, Mark Twain describes journeying to the holy land with a group of pilgrims in the 1860’s. He describes a barren and desolate land, that contains nothing but deserts, wastelands, swamps, full of neglect and contagious diseases. All this was before the Jews returned. Once they began coming, Arab tribes followed in their footsteps, so that Arab claims to being in the land from time immemorial are put to the lie even by Twain.
In the Passover Haggadah I mentioned earlier, we also say each year: “In every generation they rise to destroy us, but the Lord rescues us from their hands.” No one, not even today, has a rational explanation for the continued existence of anti-Semitism. We only know that it is there, kicking and screaming. It began with our becoming a nation, in Egypt, and continued all through the years of exile during which period most of our nation was systematically murdered. That is how we find ourselves, after 1900 years and after the Holocaust, approximately the same population size as we were when the long exile began....
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