Netanyahu at Har Herzl:
'The Menorah of Israel will shine forever'

PM speaks at torch-lighting ceremony. 'If we must defend ourselves - we will rise to the challenge and ensure the eternity of Israel.'

Ido Ben Porat ,

Hadas Parush, Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke Wednesday at the torch-lighting ceremony at Har Herzl which opens Israel's Independence Day celebrations.

"Only we, out of all ancient nations exiled from their lands, have refused to disappear. We have refused to assimilate and have remained loyal to Zion - in which we have flourished anew with a strong trunk and blossoming branches. Today, too, there are those who seek to extinguish the light that emanates from Zion. I promise you - it will not happen."

Netanyahu added, "The deep admiration for Israel is finally seeping into Arab countries. Here, I believe that real seeds for peace are buried."

"In 70 CE, the Menorah was extinguished, but today, in the 70th year of Israeli independence, the Menorah is the symbol of our country, and its lights are stronger than ever."

"Our hands are stretched out in peace to all our neighbors who want peace. To our enemies who think we are a passing phenomenon - in 70 years you will find here a country that is seven times stronger. Because what we have done so far is only the beginning. The Menorah of Israel will shine forever."