Sunday,  October 12, 2003

 

ADDRESS OF ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER ARIEL SHARON
To the 24th Annual Christian Celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles Sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
 

 

Michael Utterback og
Malcolm Hedding from the International Christian Embassy, welcome Mr. Sharon.

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for the last 3,000 years; the united and undivided capital of the State of Israel forever.

You're here because your hearts and souls brought you here to the land of the Bible. Thank you so much for coming here and showing solidarity. Your presence sends a strong message to the world and your friendship is important to us.

Israel is a unique place in the world. When you're here, you don't need a guidebook because you have the Bible in your hand.

For the last 3 years we have been facing a war that was imposed upon us by the Palestinians. But the war didn't start three years ago; it started over 120 years ago. It's root causes are the refusal of the Arab world to accept and reconcile with the birthright of the Jewish people to a democratic, Jewish state in our ancestral homeland, in the cradle of the Jewish people.

The war of terrorism failed to break our spirit, but our determination is bringing them to recognize slowly that through violence, terror and incitement, they will achieve nothing. They understand that Israel will not
surrender, will never surrender, to violence and terror.

Israel is a peace seeking country. We are seeking peace. For a real durable peace that will last for generations, we are willing to make painful sacrifices, but not on the security of the people of Israel. When it comes
to our security here - and I made it clear to the leaders of the world many times - Israel is not ready to make any compromises, not make any concessions when it comes to the security of Israel and it's citizens. Because we know well that Israel - though being a tiny, small country it is the only place in the world where the Jews are having the right and the capability to defend themselves, by themselves. And I feel that it is my historical responsibility to protect the Jewish people. And when it comes to the Jewish people - not now and not in the future - we will not make any concessions whatsoever.

Jerusalem is a city of peace. Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible 677 times. Zion as Jerusalem is mentioned another154 times, and the name King David is mentioned 1083 times. It was only after Jerusalem was reunited in 1967 with the Temple Mount at the center, that the freedom of worship was granted at all the holy sites. Christians, Muslims, Jews and others could pray freely without oppression. And I can tell you that only if the Holy Places will be under our control this freedom will continue. only then.

You know, when you see the headlines and you see the pictures, you get the impression that Israel is a country that achievements are only in security; everything is covered in dust and blood. But there is a different, often not reported side of Israel, one that is beyond the country, society, culture and our most important resource - people.

  The worship group singing for Mr. Sharon

We have been a wonderful society based on democracy and freedom; a Jewish as well as democratic state; the only democracy in the Middle East. Our tremendous achievements in science, medicine, high tech, and agriculture, music, academics and culture are known throughout the world. And I hope the day will come that we will be known for all those achievements that we have had here. I hope and I pray that this day will come.

We are fulfilling the Biblical prophecy of the ingathering of Jews to their ancestral homeland. We have absorbed millions of Jews, immigrants, from 102 countries speaking 82 different languages. Today they speak Hebrew, the language of the Bible. We will absorb many, many more.

Your help and support is important to us. We have many challenges ahead, but your help is important to us to help us realize our dreams. I am sorry I cannot see you [in the bright lights]. But I hear you [loud applause]. You know everyone, and myself also, from time to time, I have worries. You know we are facing so many worries here, but now I believe I need your visits here more often. I have to see you more often and to hear you more often.

Despite the challenges or obstacles, I'm sure we can look forward with optimism. United and with your support, we can realize the hopes and dreams for peace, security and prosperity in the whole land.

I would like to spend the whole evening with you. I want to apologize. I have not finished my day now, though I need those voices I hear now.

I'd like to thank you so much for coming. I'd like to thank you so much for your solidarity and for your belief in the country, in the Jewish State, where we are going to accomplish all our hopes and dreams in the future. I'm optimistic that we are going to achieve all our hopes and dreams.