President Peres: "We must develop friendships with other nations, especially with the United States, to ensure political backing in our hour of need and military support against the dangers that face us."

 President Peres speaks at memorial service for late Prime Ministers and Presidents of Israel

 

President Peres (Archive photo: Reuters)

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Peres hosted today a memorial service at his residence for the late Prime Ministers and Presidents of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the service which gave special honor to the late Prime Minister Golda Meir and late President Yithak Ben-Zvi.

During his address at the service, President Peres remarked on the reality of Israel’s geopolitical situation: "Today, with perspective, we realize that [Golda Meir and Yithak Ben-Zvi] were leaders of great stature who knew how to make historical decisions that saved our nation. The heritage they left still guides us today – that is, the need to make decisions, even if they are difficult; even if they jeopardize our own lives and even if they require territorial compromise. We must carry a great vision and avoid hallucinations. Our faith in such a vision can prevent us from avoiding the inevitable reality. At the same time, we must always protect our ability to defend ourselves. 

We must develop friendships with other nations, especially with the United States, to ensure political backing in our hour of need and military support against the dangers that face us. We must make our supreme efforts not to stand alone; to recruit the good in people, and to extract the best in them.

In every situation, we should give the utmost preference to the chance of peace. When we are attacked – we must emerge victorious. And the victory we seek is that of peace. The spirit of our nation and the skill of our armed forces both aspire to peace. We cannot afford to unravel the delicate fabric of friendship with the United States. Today we are also at a decisive moment and we must decide without the determination of external parties. That is, decide that even in a time of threats we will not give up on peace. The heritage of our leaders guides us and our children as such."

The President added that we should "venture to make bold decisions; decisions that follow our vision, even as shadows darken our surroundings. These must include leaving an open hand to our neighbors. Peace is not the tactic of a past era. Rather, it is the strategy of generations after generations in the history of our people. Our leaders today, like those before them, are demanded anew to stand up and decide to lead our people to the place we all desire – a peace agreement – regardless of the obstacles on their path. This is the vision laid by the Jewish prophets. This was the deepest desire of our previous leaders. And this remains the choice of our generation.