(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat and Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon today (Tuesday), 12 July 2011, met with Special Olympics Israel athletes.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with athletes who returned last week from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, in which the latter competed against their colleagues from approximately 180 countries. Special Olympics Israel Board member Tali Kornhauser told the ministers about the Israeli athletes’ achievements at the Games, including 25 gold medals, 25 silver medals and 15 bronze medals.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the athletes, "You have brought great honor and pride to the State of Israel, thanks to the triumph of your spirit. With your achievements, you have touched the heart of the nation. You compete every day and deserve medals every day."
Culture and Sports Minister Livnat said that, "For us, each one of you is a champion and all of you are winners. You give us all strength. You have proven that whoever believes can win."
Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Kahlon said, "It warms the heart to see all the athletes with their medals. You have brought great honor to the citizens of Israel. We will continue to help you to maintain your momentum and achievements in the years to come."
PM Netanyahu: "Congratulations to you all. The medals are wonderful but you are even more wonderful, each and every one of you, because you receive medals every day. You receive them in the morning, you go to sleep at night – you deserve medals.
You have brought great honor to the State of Israel. I know that you compete every day – you must gather the strength, but you have discovered the strength that is within you. What strength you have! We are very moved. It is not just that that an Israeli delegation has gone out and made such achievements. It is a sign that there is a very special spirit here. I think that this is a triumph of your spirit. I think that perhaps what has touched our hearts the most – mine, Moshe’s, Limor’s, Tali’s and everybody’s – is that you have touched the heart of the nation.
I know that you deserve a prize every day of the year. I would also like to express appreciation for your coaches and counselors. I know what great voluntary efforts you undertake throughout the year and ahead of this event. I would like to say ‘Thank you.’
I am certain that I express here what is in the hearts of another group that I would like to welcome – your families, who give you such warmth and love. I am certain that they are especially proud of you and I would like to thank you for making the State of Israel so proud.