Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hosted on Sunday New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is visiting Israel to inaugurate the new Magen David Adom station he has helped donate to Jerusalem.
Bloomberg said it was an honor to be Netanyahu’s guest and to be visiting Israel.
“New Yorkers' admiration and support for Israel are strong and unshakable,” he said. “We appreciate the powerful stresses that Gilad Shalit’s long captivity placed on the Israeli people. It was my privilege to march with his parents in our city’s Salute to Israel parade two years ago.”
Bloomberg added that Israelis’ outpouring of feelings about Shalit’s release last week shows “the toughness and the resiliency of Israel’s national character.”
“The easiest response in a crisis is to do nothing,” Bloomberg told Netanyahu. “But that’s not what governing is about, and so you certainly have our admiration for shouldering the burdens of leadership and doing what you thought was necessary.”
Bloomberg presented Netanyahu with an American flag that flew above the US capital for the Shalit family, as a symbol of the American people's solidarity with Israel.
Netanyahu thanked Bloomberg for his committment to Israel, expressed by the mayor's remarks and the flag, which he called “the flag of freedom. It flew over 9/11 and the place of that tragedy. It's the same thing. It’s our passion for life. It’s our dedication to freedom. It’s what binds our societies.”
The NY Mayor cited his frequent meetings with his colleague, Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat.
Referring to Sunday’s devastating earthquake in Turkey, Netanyahu said he had instructed all branches of government to offer any help possible to Turkey, as Turkey did for Israel during the Carmel forest fire.
“I think it’s what neighbors should be doing with one another,” Netanyahu said, although Turkey has so far refused outside aid."There are other earthquakes in the world at present", he continued, hinting that Bloomberg's economic expertise could put him in a position to shed light on that issue.