US president says Abbas’s presence a ‘reminder of the unfinished business of peace’; recalls Peres’s insistence ‘Jewish people were not born to rule another people’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) talks with US President Barack Obama at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl national cemetery during the funeral of former president Shimon Peres on September 30, 2016. (AFP/Pool/Menahem Kahana)
US President Barack Obama paid tribute to former president Shimon Peres at the state funeral in Jerusalem on Friday, calling him one of “the giants of the 20th century” who will be remembered for his efforts to make peace with the Palestinians.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s efforts to achieve peace with the Palestinians was the focus of the president’s homage to the last founding father of the state of Israel who died earlier this week.
During the funeral, the US president sat in the front row, flanked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chemi Peres, the son of the late statesman.
Peres saw the need for Palestinian statehood, Obama said, paraphrasing him saying that “the Jewish people were not born to rule another people.”
“He believed the Zionist idea would be best protected when Palestinians too had a state of their own,” he said.
US President Barack Obama eulogizes former president and Nobel Prize winner Shimon Peres at his funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (screen capture: GPO livestream)
The US president, who arrived an hour before the funeral from Washington with a 33-person-strong delegation, said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s presence at Peres’s funeral was “a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace.” Drawing a parallel to the biblical figure of Moses, Peres “never saw his dream of peace fulfilled.”
“The region is going through a chaotic time. Threats are ever-present. And yet, he did not stop dreaming and he did not stop working,” Obama said.
Rebuffing critics who called Peres’s optimistic drive for peace “naive,” Obama said he didn’t think Peres was naïve, “but he understood from hard-earned experience, that true security comes through making peace with your neighbors.”
Now the work of peace-making is in the hands of Israel’s next generation and its friends, Obama said.
Obama said he was the tenth US president — starting with John F. Kennedy — to “fall prey to [Peres’s] charms.” Peres reminded him of “some other giants of the 20th century that I’ve had the honor to meet” — such as Nelson Mandela — “leaders who have seen so much… People who speak in depth and knowledge, not in soundbites.”
The US president added that Peres was a reminder that Israel, like US, “was not built by cynics,” and “Shimon Peres was never cynical.”
Presidents Barack Obama and Shimon Peres raise their glasses after Obama receives the Presidential Medal of Distinction on March 21, 2013. (photo credit: image capture from Channel 10)
“He knew better than the cynic that if you look out over the arc of history, human beings should be filled not with fear, but with hope,” Obama impressed.
Peres “believed in miracles, because in Israel, he saw miracles come true.” And his contributions to Israel, Obama said, are “so fundamental, so pervasive, that perhaps sometimes it could be overlooked.”
Both the United States and Israel have flaws in their histories which they are reluctant to address, Obama said, but because democracy was embedded from the start, “we have the capacity to do what’s right.”
On a personal note, the US president said he “took great pleasure in my friendship with this older, wiser man.”
“I could somehow see myself in his stories. Maybe he could see himself in mine because for all of our differences, both of us had lived such unlikely lives.”
Obama said he shared “a love of words and books and history” with Peres. “And perhaps like most politicians, we shared too great a joy in hearing ourselves talk.”
“Shimon, toda raba, haver yakar,” he closed in Hebrew, riffing former US president Bill Clinton’s tribute to former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 — “Shimon, thank you, dear friend.”
A Sa’ar 4.5-class Corvette of the Israeli Navy fires its canons during a naval exercise off the coast of Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a series of deals for the purchase of combat systems from local defense industries in the amount of $420 million by the end of this year. This is part of a project to acquire warships whose mission would to protect natural gas platforms within Israel’s “economic waters” in the Mediterranean against military threats.
An Israeli soldier training in Krav Maga.
Several dozen members of the Indian military are currently learning how to protect themselves using the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, India Today reported this weekend.
“I brought Krav Maga to India in year 2002 after intensive training in Israel,” Vikram Kapoor — the head instructor at the International Krav Maga Federation — was quoted as saying. “This is the only self-defense technique that is being evolved every moment and that is why it is the best.”
Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick says Netanyahu recruited progressive Jews to find a compromise for the holy site; now that the PM has reneged, world Jewry won’t be silent
The fight for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall is a battle already won by Jewry’s Conservative movement. For some 20 years, Conservative Jews have inhabited a spiritual home at Jerusalem’s contentious holy site, which they won through a series of Supreme Court cases — in a section allocated to the Davidson Archaeological
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Photo credit: hebron.com)
In a secret ballot held at the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow Poland, on Friday, UNESCO voted twelve to three in favor declaring the Holy City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs “Palestinian world heritage sites”.
The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while blatantly ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site. Six countries abstained from the controversial vote which, at the request of Poland, Croatia, and Jamaica, was a secret ballot; a first for such a vote.
During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”
Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.
gentleman from times gone by. He was soft-spoken, courtly, and wore his pants hoisted high and held up by suspenders; clearly, a European who had personally endured horrors in the last century.
Indeed, he had personally survived the Holocaust in Poland. Therefore, I could not immediately understand why he now attends a very left-wing synagogue—but, totally incomprehensible, was his unexpected and rather passionate defense of Poland and of the Poles. He argued on their behalf as if his very life still depended upon it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords’ signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
Matthew Healy at the Atlantic, one of the few remaining liberal anti-censorship magazines, offers a disingenuous counterpoint to the debate over political correctness.
The attempts to silence dissenting points of view are counter-speech, according to Healy. And counter-speech is an important form of free expression.