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Netanyahu at UN: ‘Light of Israel will never be extinguished’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen during a press conference with the Greek Prime Minister in 2010 [MathKnight/Flickr]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen during a press conference with the Greek Prime Minister in 2010 [MathKnight/Flickr]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the glory of Israel would endure, during a 15 minute speech to the UN General Assembly yesterday, in which he addressed the UN’s criticism of Israel, the threat of Iran and the recognition of Israel as a global power.

As the country marks the 100 anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Netanyahu cited the achievements made by Israeli companies and alleged that the country’s developments in cybersecurity had saved numerous lives abroad.

“In recent years, Israel has provided intelligence that has prevented dozens of major terrorist attacks around the world. We have saved countless lives.”

He also pointed to the strong recognition of Israel by world leaders, particularly highlighting the visits of US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He presented Israel’s strong relations with foreign powers as evidence of near unanimous international support for Israel: “After 70 years, the world is embracing Israel, and Israel is embracing the world.”

Read: US builds permanent military base in Israel

However, Netanyahu criticised the UN for what he termed, its “anti-Israel resolutions”, joking that even penguins were better supporters of Israel because they had “no difficulty recognisng that some things are black and white, are right and wrong”.

He condemned the recent decisions by the UN to consider the Ibrahimi Mosque a Palestinian World Heritage Site and its criticism of illegal settlement activity. Yet, he spoke of changes within the institution, crediting the support of the US in making Israel’s case heard.

“Thanks to [US] President Trump’s unequivocal support for Israel in this body, that positive change is gathering force. So thank you, President Trump. Thank you for supporting Israel at the UN, and thank you for your support, Ambassador Nikki Haley. Thank you for speaking the truth about Israel.”

Netanyahu later turned to the subject of Iran, which Israeli officials were reportedly keen to discuss with world leaders during the trip, warning that Tel Aviv would not tolerate any efforts made by Tehran to establish permanent bases on Israel’s borders, or its continued interference in the Syrian conflict. He stressed how Iran’s anti-Israel sentiments constituted anti-Semitism, claiming that Israel would never be defeated and was not afraid to take action against its opponents.

“Today, I have a simple message to Ayatollah Khamenei, the dictator of Iran: The light of Israel will never be extinguished. Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms.”

Read: Israel seeks to block PA from Interpol membership

The Israeli prime minister also emphasised Israel’s strong relations with other Arab countries, particularly praising Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those in the Arab world who share our hopes for a brighter future. We’ve made peace with Jordan and Egypt, whose courageous president, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi I met here last night.”

He ended his 15 minute speech by celebrating the completion of the Zionist vision, citing Theodore Herzl who initiated the campaign for a Jewish homeland, and claiming the occupied Palestinian territories are part of a democratic nation.

“Theodore Herzl was our modern Moses, and his dream has come true. We’ve returned to the Promised Land, revived our language, ingathered our exiles, and build a modern, thriving democracy.”

He concluded by declaring that Israel was on its way to becoming a superpower and would bring positivity across the world.

“Israel is becoming a rising power among the nations, and at long last, its light is shining across the continents, bringing hope and salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Read: Saudi plan to ‘accept Israel as a brotherly state’

Netanyahu’s speech comes as he is on the verge of being indicted following numerous cases of fraud and bribery. His wife, Sara Netanyahu is also expected to be charged, with fraud allwgation amounting to some $100,000. The prime minister has lost support amongst many Israelis following the revelations, prompting some to call for his resignation.

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