Speaking at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Sunday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reminded listeners at the opening of the meeting that he had warned last year not to be overly optimistic about the effects of the “Arab Spring". At the time, Netanyahu said, he was accused of “not being optimistic enough,” but that his prediction then, that the revolutions in the Arab world could be hijacked by Islamic groups. “It turned out that we were right,” he said.
One result of the revolutions in the Arab world, he said, was an increase in Israel's security levels, and as a result, it was now more difficult to consider coming to a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority. “As we see a major change in the region, we realize that we are going to have to takes steps to defend ourselves,” Netanyahu said.
The Prime Minister thanked the heads of the 38 largest American Jewish organizations that had gathered for their annual meeting in Jerusalem for their groups' activities on behalf of Israel. However, he said, assistance by Jews and others around the world were no guarantee of success for Israel. “Only one source exists that will be able to help us grow – and that is through the growth of the Israeli economy,” Netanyahu said. “As Israel's economy has grown, we have been able to fund our defense and other needs.
“That growth must continue,” the Prime Minister added. And how could he guarantee that the economy would continue to grow? “By continuing what we have been doing,” Netanyahu said, referring to the present policies of the government and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.