Netanyahu: They have a love of Israel and a love of fellow men

Israeli PM meets with Jewish community in Azerbaijan, speaks of better relations between the two countries.

Uzi Baruch ,

The Netanyahus meet with Jewish Azerbaijan students.
The Netanyahus meet with Jewish Azerbaijan students.
Haim Tzach

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday with representatives of Azerbaijan's Jewish community, and spoke about the good relationship between the two countries. Netanyahu met the representatives at the local Chabad school "Or Avner."

The Netanyahu couple met first with the school's students, and had a friendly, open conversation with them. Sara Netanyahu asked about their homes and the Jewish customs they practice, as well as about their study of the Hebrew language. The students also spoke to the Netanyahus about the weekly Torah portion. The Netanyahus mentioned that their son once won the International Bible Contest, and Binyamin Netanyahu reads the weekly Torah portion with his son every week when he returns home from the army.

The group also discussed the upcoming holiday of Hanukkah, the Greeks, and the Maccabees' revolt.

The students also mentioned their daily routines, and said they pray every morning, go to synagogue, eat kosher food, and observe the Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) and holidays. They also sang Hebrew songs and waved Israeli and Azerbaijani flags.

Sara Netanyahu blessed the students, saying, "We hope you'll come to Israel, to visit and to live. We're waiting for you."

"I am happy to be here with you, with the honorees of the Jewish community and of Chabad," Binyamin Netanyahu said. "My wife and I are happy to be here for two reasons: One, we love Azerbaijan, and two, we love Chabad. The relationship between us and Azerbaijan is very close, and it will be even better after this visit."

"I want to say something about Chabad," he continued. "32 years ago, I met the Lubavitcher Rebbe for the first time. I went to the UN, to be Israel's ambassador there, and the Rebbe told me, 'You're going to the house of eternal darkness.' As you know, he did not think highly of the UN. At any rate, he told me, 'You're going to the house of eternal darkness. Remember that if you light one candle of truth, it will spread its holy light until it is visible by those who are far away.' And I try to do exactly as the Rebbe told me.

"But I have to say there are other situations as well. Sometimes you light a candle in a place which already has light, and this is the situation here in Baku, in Azerbaijan. The Rebbe taught us to love Israel and to love mankind, and this is what you've created here. Former President Heydar Aliyev, and his son President Ilham Aliyev have founded and managed a fund to support, as the honored minister has said, Jewish education in a Muslim country. And contrary to what former MK Rivlin said, we also help out. The State of Israel does in fact aid this goal," Netanyahu said.

"It's impossible not to be moved by these wonderful children here, but I'm also moved by something else, by these two flags here, one with a Star of David and one with a crescent moon, flying side by side. Look at these two flags, this is what we're showing the entire world, this is what can and should be. It's exactly the opposite of darkness, it's light, a light which brightens and banishes the darkness. This is the goal, this is what we work towards in Israel, in Azerbaijan, in Chabad, and hopefully, with G-d's help, we will accomplish the same in other places around the world. For that I am very happy to be here with you, and I thank you. I thank you with all my heart," Netanyahu concluded.

The Netanyahus left on Tuesday morning for a two-day trip to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, with the purpose of strengthening Israel's ties with the two countries.