Netanyahu visits Singapore synagogue

Netanyahu says Singapore and Israel have 'unrivaled spirit,' Singapore Jewish community is a 'human bridge' connecting countries.

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Chana Roberts,

Binyamin Netanyahu with Lee Hsien Loong
Binyamin Netanyahu with Lee Hsien Loong
Haim Tzach/ La'am

Speaking on Monday at a synagogue in Singapore during his first official visit to the country, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu emphasized the close relationship between the two nations and his hopes for a better world in the future.

"I feel that Singapore and Israel are kindred nations, and I find it's a special privilege - and an honor - to be the first Israeli Prime Minister to make an official visit to Singapore," Netanyahu said. "I think there is something special about our two nations.

"These are two small countries, two small nations, that defied the laws of political gravity, defied their small size, and achieved global predominance. This is what is happening. It happened because of leadership, vision, the talent and passion of the people.

"It's not accidental that our two nations formed this bond between us. Because we are both inspired to do things...we're both entrepreneurial sectors, we have innate talent and we have a great drive to succeed.

"What happened in the founding of Singapore is that Israel and Singapore bonded - we bonded for Singapore's defense, but we've expanded that to include many, many areas since... I believe that great powers around the world look at Israel and Singapore today and see tremendous economic opportunities...one reason that is the case is that we have an unrivaled spirit.

"The Jewish people have passed learning from one generation to the other, a desire to learn and an inquisitive mindset, and the ability to produce new things... You've been here for almost two centuries, and you had that entrepreneurial quest for many many decades. I think you serve as a human bridge between Singapore and Israel.

"We are committed to a better world, a world of diversity, a world that follows the values that we as a people have held for so many years, for so many decades, in fact - for millennia.

"It is therefore, for me, a tremendous pleasure to be here. I look forward to greeting you in Jerusalem."

After Netanyahu finished speaking, Singapore Rabbi Mordechai Abergel community recited the Prayer for Israel in both Hebrew and English, followed by the Israeli national anthem "Hatikva."