The State of Israel must forever contain a solid and guaranteed Jewish majority. We aspire to reach a peace agreement with our Palestinian neighbors, based on division of the land and “two countries for two peoples”.
Today, the State of Israel is already closer to being the place in which the majority of Jews in the world live. I would like this fact to be determined solely by an increasing stream of aliyah, but unfortunately, this is not to be at this time. Demographics point to processes of shrinking Jewish communities in the Diaspora due to low birth rates, assimilation, mixed marriages or unintentional alienation from their Jewish identity.
This fact intensifies the responsibility for the future of the Jewish people on the State of Israel and the world Zionist movement. The first lesson is that the State of Israel must forever contain a solid and guaranteed Jewish majority.
It is our duty to prevent any danger of losing this Jewish majority or creating an inseparable bi-national reality in the Land of Israel. We aspire to reach a peace agreement with our Palestinian neighbors, based on division of the land and “two countries for two peoples”.
Division of the land is not our heart’s desire, it is simply a reality. I was raised and educated in total Zionism, and the entire Land of Israel is precious to me. I wholeheartedly believe in the right of the Jewish people to the entire Land of Israel. However, as one who carries the supreme responsibility in the State of Israel, I see reality as it is, with my eyes wide open.
The demographic balance between Jews and Arabs in the Land of Israel is not static. Time is not neutral in this case – it is acting against us.
If we wish to ensure the existence and future of a Jewish and democratic Israel, we must act now, in the next few years, and shape the permanent borders of the State of Israel. I intend to seriously and thoroughly examine whether there is a possibility of doing so through negotiation and agreement with the Palestinians, since this possibility is preferable under all circumstances.
However, I do not intend to wait forever. If this possibility proves to be impractical within a certain space of time, we will have to make decisions which will serve Zionist goals, and the most vital interests of the State of Israel. This is my duty. This is my responsibility.
Under no circumstances is ongoing deadlock an option. On the basis of serious talks with President George Bush and important leaders in Europe and the Middle East, I believe that if our willingness to negotiate and make far-reaching concessions is met by Palestinian dissension such as that of Hamas – the steps Israel will take will receive international backing.
I have absolutely no doubt that the majority of citizens of Israel will give me their support.
In the meantime, we will of course continue our fight against terror.
Terrorist organizations gain inspiration from fundamentalist, anti-Semitic and murderous ideologies, which call for the blood of all Jews and Israelis. The heads of terror, who cry for our destruction after every unfortunate accidental and unintended injury to innocents due to IDF fire, are the ones who will send murderers to blow up buses full of passengers, families innocently dining, teenagers at entertainment venues, and women and children at busy shopping centers.
They are the ones shooting, in these very days, at civilian population in the south of the country, in cities like Sderot and in villages and Kibbutzim in the southern part of the State of Israel. I want to take this opportunity, here and now, to tell the residents of the south, to the people of Sderot, to kibbutzim such as Yad-Mordechai and Nahal Oz and Kfar Aza and other communities: no one is more familiar with the level of the pain, anxiety and uncertainty which you are experiencing these days. Here, in this city, in the capital of Israel, the very heart of the State of Israel, we have, for many years, undergone the most difficult, painful, heart-wrenching experiences, with countless victims and families shattered.
We are familiar with this reality. I am familiar with your painful reality, in Sderot and in the south of the country. I know how difficult it is. I know it is scary. I know the feeling of every parent whose child goes to school and he does not know where the next rocket will land or where the bomb – dispatched by these murderers to the heart of the State of Israel for the purpose of harming innocent civilians – will fall. And you also know well that despite the hardship and the pain, we cannot find a comprehensive, overall and permanent solution to instantly remove this threat, once and for all. We have been living – and you have been living – with this hardship for quite a long time, and I am filled with admiration and appreciation to you for your stamina, patience and courage. I fully understand the fears, insecurity, pain and uncertainty that many of you feel.
From here I say to those who are trying to hurt you – we will take harsh measures, more harsh and more painful than the ones taken before. We will reach every place, we will reach every one, there will be no immunity to anyone involved in terrorism, regardless of what they do or who they belong to. We will not relent in this war and we will defeat terrorism and bring security to all the parts of the State of Israel, in the south of the country and in other areas.
Despite the fact that the terrorists act in and fire from densely populated areas, the IDF is mostly successful in isolating the murderers, and targeting them and them only.
Under these fighting conditions, unfortunately, sometimes innocent citizens are injured, despite all the efforts to avoid it. However, we must remember that the fight against terror was forced on us.
The Palestinian Authority never upheld their commitment to stop terror attacks and dismantle terrorist organizations. When it happens, there will, of course, be no need to continue fighting. Regrettably, I do not see this happening in the near future.
The terrorist organizations would not be able to continue to act if they did not receive encouragement, funding, training and guidance from regimes and organizations which support terror on the axis of evil which runs through Tehran, Damascus, Al Qaeda, global Jihad and Hizbollah.
The shameful statements made by the President of Iran were heard by the entire world, and it is inconceivable that such a fanatical dictatorial regime will have the weapons to realize his insane visions.
We must not forget the lessons of history. We, the Jews, certainly cannot forget.