“Whenever I meet someone who has criticism of Israel, I always have the same answer: Come and visit us. Come and meet the real Israel. You will fall in love,” Lapid told his audience at the United Nations.
By United with Israel Staff
Addressing the 77th United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Prime Minister Yair Lapid stressed Israel’s longing for peace but not at the expense of security.
“We have only one condition” when it comes to any discussion regarding a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, he said. “That a future Palestinian state will be a peaceful one. That it will not become another terror base from which to threaten the well-being and the very existence of Israel. That we will have the ability to protect the security of all the citizens of Israel, at all times.”
Lapid, the son of a Holocaust survivor, said, “My father was a child in the Ghetto, my grandfather was murdered in a concentration camp. We want to live in peace but only if it gives us security, not if it threatens us even more.”
He reached out not only to the Palestinian Authority, but also to Gaza-based Arabs as well as Muslim nations.
“I say from here to the people of Gaza, we’re ready to help you build a better life, to build an economy. We presented a comprehensive plan to help rebuild Gaza. We only have one condition: Stop firing rockets and missiles at our children…
“And we call upon every Muslim country — from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia — to recognize that, and to come talk to us. Our hand is outstretched for peace.”
The prime minister also spoke from a position of strength. “The Middle East is our home. We are here to stay. Forever,” he stated.
Israel is ‘Proud and Prosperous’
The Israeli premier touted the success of the Start-Up Nation as a “strong liberal democracy” with equal rights for its diverse citizens.
“Israel is a strong liberal democracy. Proud and prosperous. The Start-Up Nation that invented Waze and Iron Dome, medicines for Alzheimers and Parkinsons and a robot which can perform spinal surgery. A world leader in water and food-tech, cyber defense and renewable energy. With 13 Nobel prize winners in literature and chemistry, economics and peace,” Lapid said.
“How did this happen?
“It happened because we decided not to be a victim. We chose not to dwell on the pain of the past, but rather to focus on the hope of the future. We chose to invest our energies into building a nation, into building a happy society, optimistic and creative.
“We did not only reach the Promised Land, we are building the Promised Land.
“History is determined by people. We need to understand history, respect it and learn from it, but also to be willing and able to change it. To choose the future over the past. Peace over war. Partnership over seclusion and isolation.”
“Whenever I meet someone who has criticism of Israel, I always have the same answer: Come and visit us. Come and meet the real Israel. You will fall in love,” he said.
“A country which combines breathtaking innovation with a deep sense of history. Great people, great food, Great spirit. A vibrant democracy. A country in which Jews, Muslims and Christians live together with full civic equality…
“Israeli Arabs are not our enemies, they are our partners in life.
“Come and visit us. You will discover that Israel is an incredible, cultural mosaic.”
‘Lies and Fake News’
However, “there are, however, two major threats hanging over the head of our wonderful country,” he said – the nuclear threat and the “demise of truth.”
Re the latter, “our democracies are slowly being poisoned by lies and fake news. Reckless politicians, totalitarian states and radical organizations are undermining our perception of reality,” he explained.
“We should know, there is no country in the world that faces this phenomenon more than Israel. There is no country that has come under a greater attack of lies, with such a vast amount of money and effort being invested in spreading disinformation about it.”
He gave a poignant example.
“Last May, the picture of Malak al-Tanani, a three-year-old Palestinian girl, was published all over the world, with the terrible news that she was killed with her parents in an attack by the Israeli Air Force. It was a heartbreaking image, but Malak Al Tanani does not exist. The photo was taken from Instagram. It is of a girl from Russia.
“I can give you thousands more examples of similar fake news about Israel. The anti-Israel movement has been spreading these lies for years. In the media, on college campuses and on social media.
“The question is not why they do it, but why are you willing to listen. Why are you listening to people who have invested billions of dollars in distorting the truth? Why do you side with Islamic extremists who hang gay people from cranes, oppress women, and fire rockets at civilians from kindergartens and hospitals?”
Lapid then went on to berate the UN over its record of anti-Israel bias and antisemitism as well as the world’s “silence” regarding Iran’s abuse of its own people.
A day earlier, as expected, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivered a hate-filled speech at the UN General Assembly that included the most vicious lies about the Jewish state. Lapid slammed the Islamic Republic during his address.
‘What Are You Afraid Of?’
“Israel is a proud sovereign nation, and an equal member of the United Nations. We will not be silent when those who wish to harm us, use this very stage to spread lies about us,” Lapid asserted.
“Antisemitism is the willingness to believe the worst about the Jews, without questioning.
“Antisemitism is judging Israel by a different standard than any other country.
“Conducting this orchestra of hate is Iran,” he continued. “This is a regime that systematically deals with hatred. They even hate their own people. Young Iranians are suffering and struggling from the shackles of Iran’s regime, and the world is silent. They cry for help on social media. They pay for their desire to live a life of freedom — with their lives.
“Iran’s regime hates Jews, hates women, hates gay people, hates the West. They hate and kill Muslims who think differently, like Salman Rushdie and Mahsa Amini. Their hate is a way of life. It is a way to preserve their oppressive rule…
“There is only one member-state in the UN that openly states its wish to destroy another member-state. Iran has declared time and time again that it is interested in the ‘total destruction’ of the State of Israel. And this building is silent.
“What are you afraid of? Has there ever been a time in human history where silence stopped violence?
“The country that wants to destroy us is also the country that founded the largest terrorist organization in the world, Hezbollah. Iran funds Hamas and Islamic Jihad and is behind mass terrorist attacks from Bulgaria to Buenos Aires. It is a murderous dictatorship that is making every effort to get a nuclear weapon.”
‘World is Choosing the Easy Option’
“If the Iranian regime gets a nuclear weapon, they will use it,” he warned.
“The only way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, is to put a credible military threat on the table. And then – and only then – to negotiate a longer and stronger deal with them.
“It needs to be made clear to Iran, that if it advances its nuclear program, the world will not respond with words, but with military force. Every time a threat like that was put on the table in the past, Iran stopped, and retreated.
“Today, the world is choosing the easy option. It chooses not to believe the worst, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
“Israel does not have this privilege. This time we are not standing empty-handed against those who want to destroy us. The Jews today have a state. We have an army. We have great friendships, first and foremost with the United States. We have capabilities and we are not afraid to use them.
“We will do whatever it takes: Iran will not get a nuclear weapon,” the prime minister vowed. “We will not stand by while there are those who try to kill us. Not again. Never again.”
Stressing Israel’s longing for peace but not at the expense of security, Lapid concluded his address with a quote from the bible.
“In the book of Numbers, there is a verse that every Jew is familiar with: ‘May the Lord raise His countenance toward you, and grant you peace.'”
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