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Netanyahu, Peres welcome Obama to Israel. "An historic moment" Transcript

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below, from the Israeli Prime Minister office....


PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for the President of the United States Barack Obama
​(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Office)


"President Obama,

This is an historic moment.

You have chosen to come to Israel as the first foreign visit of your second term. You, the leader of the United States, the world's greatest democracy, have chosen to come to our somewhat smaller but no less vibrant democracy in the heart of the Middle East, the one and only Jewish state of Israel.

On behalf of the government and the people of Israel, I come here today with a simple message for you and the American people: Thank you. Thank you for standing by Israel at this time of historic change in the Middle East.

Thank you for unequivocally affirming Israel's sovereign right to defend itself by itself against any threat. Thank you for enhancing Israel's ability to exercise that right through generous military assistance, revolutionary missile defense programs, and unprecedented security and intelligence cooperation.

Thank you, Mr. President, for upholding the Jewish people's right to a Jewish state in our historic homeland, and for boldly defending that right at the United Nations. And thank you for strengthening the unbreakable alliance between our two nations during your Presidency.

In an unstable and uncertain Middle East, the need for our alliance is greater than ever. It is the key to thwarting dangers and advancing peace; it's the key to achieve a stable and secure peace that the people of Israel yearn for all our neighbors and with all our hearts. We seek a peace with our Palestinian neighbors. I look forward to working with you over the next four years to make the alliance between our two countries even stronger.

Mr. President, on this historic visit, you will have an opportunity to see a different side of Israel. You will see past, present, and future in this tiny land which has left such a huge imprint on the course of civilization. You will see the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, the world's oldest text of the Bible, written in Hebrew here 2,000 years ago, scrolls that bear witness to the timeless bond between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

You will meet the young men and women of Israel who make it one of the most creative and dynamic societies on earth. And you will see Israeli technology and innovation which are fundamentally transforming the way we live.

Mr. President, Barack - on a lighter side, I had an opportunity to see your interview on Israeli television the other day. I took note of your desire to go incognito around Israel, so if you have a few free minutes, and you can arrange to slip away from your security - a daunting task - well, we picked out a few cafes and bars in Tel Aviv, and we even prepared a fake mustache for you.

Mr. President,

The people of Israel are honored to have you visit our country. We warmly welcome you as our cherished guest. We deeply appreciate your friendship. And we share your hope that the Middle East will enjoy a future of freedom, prosperity and peace.

Mr. President, Baruch HaBa L'Yisrael: welcome to Israel."


President Peres' remarks welcoming President Barack Obama upon his arrival
(Communicated by President Peres' Spokesperson)

President Barack Obama, Dear Friend, Welcome to Israel.

We welcome you as a great President of the United States of America. As a remarkable world leader. As a historic friend of Israel. Of the Jewish People. Your visit here is a crown demonstration of the profound relationship between our two nations.

The people of Israel welcome you with open hearts. From the depth of our hearts, From the depths of our history, "תודה רבה"

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, America. Thank you for what you are. Thank you for what you do.

Thank you for the hopes you carry with you. In a few minutes you will be on your way to Jerusalem. Our ancient capital. The cradle of all believers, of all prayers. You will see the hills and mountains where our prophets preached. Where the soul of the Jewish People was born. Where the State of Israel was created.

America and Israel are somewhat different in size. In size, not in destiny. The American dream stems from the bible. The Israeli spirit is inspired by American exceptionalism. We are separated by an ocean and united by the commitment to freedom, to justice. By the ongoing struggle for peace. We face the same dangers. We share the same hopes.

Mr. President, the United States became great by giving. Not by taking. Your generosity enabled freedom to prevail all over the world. A world without America's leadership, without her moral voice, would be a darker world. A world without your friendship, would invite aggression against Israel Mr. President, your story reflects the history of the world as it is. Your vision reflects the future as it should be. You have offered the American people and the peoples of the world a leadership of vision, a leadership of values. A leadership dedicated to a brighter tomorrow. In times of peace, in times of war, your support for Israel is unshakeable.

You enabled our security in an extraordinary way, to project strength. To strive for peace. Strengthening security is the best way to strengthen peace. We long to see an end to the conflict with the Palestinians. To see the Palestinians enjoying freedom and prosperity in their own state. We extend our hand in peace to all the countries of the Middle East.

America stood by our side from the very beginning. You supported us as we rebuilt our ancient homeland. As we defended our land. From Holocaust to redemption. From Truman to Obama.

Mr. President, wherever you go in our land, you will meet the friendship and warmth of the people of Israel. The people of Israel want you to feel at home. Welcome home Mr. President.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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