Thank you Bob, and thank you AIPAC. I wanted to be with you today, but I heard that you have 18,000 participants and I began to worry that the registration line waiting would be too long, so I’m happy to be with you from Jerusalem. Thank you, AIPAC. Thank you Howard Kohr and Lillian Pincus for your leadership. Thank you to the 4,000 students, the leaders of tomorrow, who have come to the conference today. Thank you to the bipartisan leadership of Congress and to the many members of the House and Senate who have come to show support for the great US-Israel alliance.
I take this opportunity to congratulate my friend, David Friedman, and his wife Tammy. David, I look forward to welcoming you warmly to Israel and especially to Jerusalem.
Now my friends, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – Israel has no greater friend than America and America has no greater friend than Israel.
For the security of both Israel and the United States, we must ensure that the forces of militant Islam are defeated. We won’t let them drag humanity away from the promise of a bright future to the misery of a dark past.
I am confident that the United States and Israel will stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to ensure that light triumphs over darkness and hope triumphs over despair.
That means preventing Iran from ever – from ever – developing nuclear weapons. That is our policy; it will always be our policy. And our partnership means also confronting Iran’s aggression in the region and its terrorism around the world. It means utterly vanquishing ISIS – not partly – utterly vanquishing ISIS. It means building alliances with moderates in the region, those moderates who seek to build a better future and embrace modernity and peace. In this battle between modernity and medievalism, more and more countries in the region and outside the region, around the world, realize that Israel is on their side.
Where terrorism threatens innocent people, Israel is there, with unmatched intelligence and counterterrorism capabilities. Where people are suffering from hunger and thirst, as in Africa, Israel is there with technologies that help feed the world’s hungry and literally create water out of thin air. Where hackers threaten the critical networks of our lives – our banks, our transportation and power plants – Israel is there, with incredible cyber capabilities to help protect all of us. Where natural disasters strike around the world, Israel is there too, with rescue and medical services second to none.
I am proud of the unique contribution Israel is making to the world – a contribution to humanity that vastly exceeds our size. I want to give you an example of that. Last week, Intel Corporation bought an Israeli company, Mobile Eye. This is a company that produces driverless car technology, the technology of the future. Now, Intel not only paid this Israeli company 15 billion dollars, it also did something else. It gave them the keys. It said, “You, Mobile Eye, in Israel, in Jerusalem,” not far from my office, “You manage and direct all our driverless car companies around the world.” Because, you see, as this example shows, and as you can see from many, many, many other cases, Israel is fast becoming a global, technological power and we’re very, very proud of this.
Now, all of this is possible because of Israeli ingenuity and Israeli determination. It’s the same ingenuity and determination that has built our strong army, our robust economy, our resilient society. But we haven’t done it alone. Israel wouldn’t be the country it is today without the steadfast support of the United States of America. All of you should be proud of the work you’ve done to strengthen that friendship year after year, decade after decade.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am confident our alliance will grow even stronger in the years ahead. As you know, I had an exceptionally warm meeting with President Trump last month. I want to thank the President for his strong support for Israel. I want to thank Vice President Pence for his warm words for Israel last night. The administration is showing its commitment to Israel by turning those words into policies. You see that reflected, you see that expressed in Ambassador Haley’s standing up for what’s right for Israel and the truth at the United Nations. You see it in the budget request submitted by President Trump. It leaves military aid to Israel fully funded, even as the fiscal belt is pulled tighter. And we appreciate that.
In Israel we are deeply grateful for the generous support of the President, the Congress and the American people. We know, as you do, that this support is an investment in our common security and in our common future. Because we confront the same enemies and we defend the same values. Our open societies, our respect for the rule of law and the many freedoms we rightly cherish – these are the things that bring Americans and Israelis together.
And so does the pursuit of peace. Israel’s hand and my hand is extended to all of our neighbors in peace. We teach peace to our children. And it’s time the Palestinian Authority do the same. It must stop teaching hatred to its children. It must stop paying terrorists. It must stop denying our legitimacy and our history. It must above all, once and for all, recognize the Jewish state. Israel is committed to working with President Trump to advance peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors.
I believe that the common dangers faced by Israel and many of our Arab neighbors now offer a rare opportunity to build bridges towards a better future – a future more prosperous, more secure, more peaceful. And to achieve that future, Israel will stand ever-vigilant, never compromising our security, always ready to defend ourselves.
We will defend ourselves not only on the physical battlefield, but also on the moral battlefield. We will defend ourselves against slander and boycotts. We will speak clearly against anti-Semitism from any quarter. And we will call on our friends in America and around the world to demand that Hamas free Israeli hostages and enable the Goldin and Shaul families to bury their fallen sons.
AIPAC has always been a critical partner in strengthening the alliance between our countries. In building broad bipartisan support for Israel, AIPAC helps ensure that our alliance will stand the test of time. Your commitment to Israel makes you a part of the rebirth of the Jewish people, the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in our ancestral homeland.
Thank you for standing with Israel. Thank you for standing up for Israel. Thank you for working to make the US-Israel alliance stronger than ever. Thank you for helping secure the future of the one and only Jewish state. Thank you AIPAC.