Dear Guests,
And most important, the MASA Participants from across the world,

I am very, very, very proud to see you all here.  I remember last year I was privileged to meet with MASA participants in the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem.  And I was very excited because I think of all the programs that we the Israeli Government, the Jewish Agency and very good Jewish philanthropists across the world are responsible for, your’s is the best and the most important one because you all come not just for a week-long visit, but for a much longer time, to get to know, to understand, to feel the State of Israel.

I know of no nicer and more beautiful part that I have been visiting lately than the Golan Heights.  So we have no argument.  Let’s leave politics aside for a second.  I want to just suggest to all of you one thing.  I am sure that this has been for all of you who take part in MASA an exciting and a very moving year.  Even if you visited Israel earlier, this time you got to know Israel much better, much deeper, in a way that you have never been given the opportunity before. 

Now, at some point, you will go back to your countries.  But what I want to suggest to you is this.  I know many of you still have to graduate universities.  By the way, we have some of the best universities in the world, so you are all invited to study here and be with us here.  But in the event that you prefer to stay for another time in your respective countries until after graduation, then on behalf of the people of Israel and the State of Israel, I invite all of you to come back and be with us.  Many of the 25,000 that already came on MASA before have returned back to Israel.  And the reason why they came and the reason why we ask you to come is a very simple one – but I think very significant – and this is that this is our home.  We have no other home. 

There are many countries around the world which are beautiful, which are hospitable, which provide us with all the privileges and the opportunities and a quality of life which is very, very high and that we would all like to have.  But there is one thing that you can have in no other place but in the State of Israel and this is to be at home, in our home, in the only home we have, in the home that was the ancient homeland of the Jewish people and never ceased to be the land of the Jewish people, and will never cease to be the land of the Jewish people.

I want to thank all of those who are involved in organizing MASA, particularly Ayelet Shiloh-Tamir, who is the director of MASA, and is doing a great job, the Jewish Agency, of course the Israeli Government – not me, but all my staff, particularly Oved Yehezkel, who are doing a wonderful job.  I want to also thank from this podium the former Chairman of MASA, Mr. Israel Maimon, the former Secretary of the Israeli Cabinet, all the members of the Board of the Jewish Agency, all of the participants, all of the organizers, and most of all, you.  Thank you for being here.  But most important, don’t forget to come back.  We are waiting for you; we want you; and we love you. 

Good night, thank you.