Netanyahu respects historians' criticism

PM addresses cabinet before upcoming meeting with Russian President, storm surrounding Poland joint declaration.

Mordechai Sones,

Netanyahu at today's cabinet meeting
Netanyahu at today's cabinet meeting

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today reiterated Israeli policy regarding Syria, which he intends to revisit in his meeting this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"This week I will fly to Moscow for an important meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. We meet from time-to-time in order to ensure security coordination and, of course, to discuss regional developments.

"At the meeting I will reiterate the two basic principles of Israel's policy: First, we will not tolerate the establishment of a military presence by Iran and its proxies anywhere in Syria – not close to the border and not far away from it. Second, we will demand that Syria, and the Syrian military, strictly uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement.

"It is self-evident that I am in regular contact with the American administration. These links with the two great powers are very important to the security of Israel at all times and especially at present," Netanyahu stressed.

In his speech, Netanyahu referred to the storm that broke out surrounding the joint statement he and the Polish Prime Minister signed to accompany the resolution of the Polish law crisis.

Netanyahu explained, "Regarding the Polish law, the goal of the contacts with the Polish government was to abrogate the criminal clauses in the Polish law that cast a pall of fear over research and free discourse regarding the Holocaust. This goal was achieved. I thank the team of Joseph Ciechanover and Jacob Nagel for succeeding in removing the criminal clauses from the Polish law.

"The declaration that was published following the change in the law was overseen by a senior historian.

"However, various comments were made after its publication. I have listened intently to the comments of the historians, including about several things that were not included in the declaration. I respect this and I will give expression to it.

"We are marking 78 years since the passing of Zeev Jabotinsky. I think that with the perspective of history it is possible to understand the magnitude of his contribution to the Zionist enterprise. First of all, before anything else, there was the establishment of a Jewish fighting force after generations in which we did not have the strength to wield the sword and defend ourselves. His great work in establishing combat brigades in the British army during the First World War, in effect, laid the important foundations for the establishment of the IDF.

"All of this started with the effort of Jabotinsky and Trumpledor with the British authorities during the First World War and, of course, in cooperation with the legendary commander of these forces, Col. John Henry Patterson, whom my family knew well. Today we will receive a new addition of Jabotinsky's writings; I would be pleased if you could display it."

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