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Never Been Stronger

PM Netanyahu and Donald Trump at White House, March 5, 2018 (Photo: Haim Zach/GPO)

Today, Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump met at the White House to discuss both the challenges their nations face, as well as the bond that the Israeli P.M. lauded as having "never been stronger":

Thank you. Mr. President, Donald, Melania, Sara and I want to thank you for your extraordinary friendship and hospitality. It’s always a pleasure to see you both.

This is the first time we meet [in] Washington, America’s capital, after you declared, Mr. President, Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And this was a historic proclamation, followed by your bold decision to move the embassy by our upcoming national Independence Day.

I want to tell you that the Jewish people have a long memory, so we remember the proclamation of the great king, Cyrus the Great, Persian king 2,500 years ago. He proclaimed that the Jewish exiles in Babylon could come back and rebuild our Temple in Jerusalem. We remember a hundred years ago, Lord Balfour, who issued the Balfour Proclamation that recognized the rights of the Jewish people in our ancestral homeland. We remember 70 years ago, President Harry S. Truman was the first leader to recognize the Jewish state. And we remember how a few weeks ago, President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Mr. President, this will be remembered by our people through the ages.

And as you just said, others talked about it; you did it. So, I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel, and I also look forward to our discussions on both challenges and opportunities.

If I had to say what is our greatest challenge in the Middle East to both our countries, to our Arab neighbors, it’s encapsulated in one word: Iran. Iran has not given up its nuclear ambitions. It came out of this nuclear deal emboldened, enriched. It’s practicing aggression everywhere, including on our own borders. And I think we have to stop this country that chants, “Death to Israel, death to America.” Iran must be stopped. That is our common challenge.

The second is seeking, because of that challenge, to exploit the opportunity for peace, because the Arabs have never been closer to Israel; Israel has never been closer to the Arab states. And we seek also to broaden that peace to the Palestinians.

So I look forward to those discussions, but I want to just reiterate what you just said: Mr. President, I’ve been here for nearly four decades with, talking, seeking to build the American-Israel alliance. Under your leadership, it’s never been stronger. And the people of Israel see your position on Jerusalem. They see your position on Iran. They see your magnificent defense of Israel and the truth in the United Nations. And I as prime minister see something that you as president see, but others can’t see. It’s the extent of our intelligence and other cooperation in matters that are vital for the security of both our peoples.

And Mr. President, I just want to say: Thank you for your leadership and thank you for your tremendous friendship.

Tags: Trump , Netanyahu , US-Israel Relations

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