'Israel will be around long after Iranian regime is gone'

Prime Minister addresses Birthright Israel gathering, says Israel ready to defend itself from any threat, but also ready to make peace.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Netanyahu speaks at Birhtright event
Netanyahu speaks at Birhtright event
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the Birthright Israel’s Mega Event in Rishon Letzion Sunday evening, at a gathering marking the 600,000th Birthright participant brought to Israel.

Along with Netanyahu, the event was attended by American Jewish philanthropists Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam, former minister Yossi Beilin, Meir Shamir, Birthright Israel board chairman Michael Steinhardt, sitting Knesset members, and donors from around the world.

“By coming here you join the Israeli soldiers in helping secure Israel’s future. I want you to take everything that you see and share it with others, tell others about the miracle of Israel, this rare and thriving democracy in the Middle East”, said the Prime Minister.

“It’s a strong country ready to defend itself from threats and also reach out in peace for those wishing for it. When they attack us, stand proud and say who you are for: is it the free people of Israel or those severing off heads? If you stand for the free, stand for Israel, for the truth. Tell everyone to come see it for themselves- we will be waiting for you; this is your Birthright.”

During the event, Birthright Israel presented three IDF units with awards for their excellent collaboration with the organization throughout the year. These included: Yahalom, the Navy training base (Bahad), Nahal Infantry Brigade and the Intelligence Corps’ 121 unit.

Birthright Israel International CEO Gidi Mark emphasized the importance of Birthright trips in sustaining Jewish identity outside of Israel.

“On this special evening, we celebrate the remarkable milestone of 600,000 participants who have taken part in Taglit-Birthright Israel. This figure represents more than just a number, but a real change in the way world Jewry perceives Israel and their connection with their Jewish heritage- a change already effecting the future if the Jewish people in an unprecedented way.

"We are also glad to have here with us over 1,000 IDf soldiers and present its units with special awards for their excelling collaboration with us. The encounter between the young Jewish adults from around the world and the Israeli soldiers allows for both sides to have an unmediated interface with one another, learn about each other’s culture and world views.

"Throughout the year we learned that, through the program, the participants’ Jewish identity and their support of Israel is strengthened. Simultaneously, IDF’s soldiers have a stronger sense of identity, commitment and mission for the state of Israel”