Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah visited the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam on Wednesday.
The synagogue was built in 1675 by Jews who were expelled from Spain and Portugal and has been kept for 337 years, illuminated only by hundreds of candles and no electricity. During their visit to the synagogue, the Netanyahus took part in a prayer for the citizens of Israel and the Netherlands.
The Prime Minister told attendees, “I am excited to be here today after having started this morning in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.”
Addressing the threat of a nuclear Iran, Netanyahu said, “A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel, the region and to the world. We must not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Sanctions against the Iranian central bank and its oil exports should be implemented now.”
The Prime Minister also addressed the stalled peace talks and said, “Israel is committed to peace with the Palestinians. There are no prerequisites for negotiations. You cannot finish the talks before starting them. I am ready to meet [Palestinian Authority Chairman] Abbas anywhere, anytime, and call him not to run away from peace and to continue negotiations. We do not want to repeat the mistakes we made in Lebanon and Gaza. Any places we left, Iran came in. Israel must insist on real security agreements, not just promises. I will not compromise on the security of Israel, the security of the only Jewish state.”
After the service, the Netanyahus visited the Eitz Chaim library which is adjacent to the synagogue and is the world’s oldest Jewish library, containing 500 manuscripts. The library includes works by Maimonides (Rambam) and approximately 30,000 books in many languages.
The visit is part of Netanyahu’s official visit to Holland, where he met with Queen Beatrix, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen, the defense and foreign ministers and senior parliamentary members.
Holland is a close ally of Israel and has opposed moves by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to admit the PA into the United Nations as a member nation, thereby receiving recognition of its territorial and political demands. Holland also was among the minority of nations that opposed the PA’s entry into UNESCO three months ago.
Meanwhile, pro-PA activists have called for a PA-flag waving rally and a “shoe protest,” a tradition of throwing shoes at targets of contempt and made popular in 2008 when a protester threw a show at then U.S. President George Bush at a press conference in Iraq.