President Trump concluded his momentous visit to Israel with a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He spoke optimistically about the prospects for peace, saying that both sides are ready for it. He said, “We know that both Israelis and Palestinians seek lives of hope for their children. We know peace is possible if we put the pains of loss and the past behind us. Making peace, however, will not be easy. We all know that. Both sides will face tough decisions.” He added, “Change must come from within. It can only come from within.”
Trump also called on all people, “Jews, Christians, Muslim and every faith, to draw inspiration from this ancient city, to set aside our sectarian difference to overcome oppression and hatred.”
He also said, “Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence. They have been murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs. Hamas and Hezbollah shoot missiles into Israel where children are taught to run into bomb shelters. Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction,” but then added, “Not with Donald J. Trump. Believe me. The US is firmly committed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists.”
Trump urged, “Let us dream of a future where Jewish, Muslim and Christian children can grow together is trust, harmony, and respect.”
In his speech, PM Netanyahu referred to the issue of Palestinian payments to the families of terrorists saying, “President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the horrific attack in Manchester. Well, I hope this heralds a real change, because if the attacker had been Palestinian and the victims had been Israeli children, the suicide bomber’s family would have received a stipend from the Palestinian Authority. That’s Palestinian law. That law must be changed. I hope that President Abbas heeds the principles, the clear, strong, moral and practical principles that you enunciated today, President Trump: Stop rewarding terrorists, stop glorifying murderers.”
During his visit President Trump avoiding weighing in on any major issues relating to the conflict including Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem or even whether the US would continue to insist on a two-state solution giving the Palestinians sovereign territory. He stayed on script.
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Today is Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the unification of the city after it was liberated from Jordanian control by Israeli forces during the Six Day war in 1967. During the 19 year period of Jordanian rule, no Jews were allowed to visit the Western Wall or any area under Jordanian control.
In the direct aftermath of the military victory, Israeli leaders debated whether to expel the Arab population from the conquered territories. They decided against it and instead urged them to stay. And here we are today.
The day is marked by celebrations throughout Jerusalem, Israel and Jewish communities throughout the world.
To read some reflections on Jerusalem by some very prominent Israelis, click here.
To view the entire ceremony commemorating the Six Day War held at the Western Wall Plaza, click here.
Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, will be retiring today as he reaches the age of 80. Rabbi Lau, a holocaust survivor, is a recipient of the prestigious Israel Prize and serves as the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Association. His son, Rabbi David Lau, is the current Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel.
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The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. With the rise of anti-Israel propaganda in college campuses, CAMERA has created a Fellows Program and Campus Activist program to assist students in finding speakers, planning and creating events and addressing Middle East distortions in campus publications, flyers, rallies and classroom teaching.
In a recent article, CAMERA Fellow Rebecca Zogirsky described how one ostensibly Jewish group, The Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), is in fact an avid supporter of the BDS movement and displayed their anti-Israel bent by inviting Rasmea Odeh, a terrorist convicted of participating in the murder of two Israeli college students in 1969, to be guest of honor at their national membership conference.
To read the full article click here.