Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took part Thursday evening in a festive event marking the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Jordan Valley, and stressed the strategic importance of the Jordan Valley to the State of Israel.
"The Jordan Valley has supreme importance in the context of the security of the State of Israel," Netanyahu said. "The Middle East is unstable and violent. The Jordan Valley is a strategic defensive belt for the state, and without it, the fundamentalist flood could reach into Israel as far as the Dan region [including Tel Aviv]."
''So our eastern line of defense starts at this location. If we are not here, then Tehran and Hamastan will be here. We will not allow this to happen," he stressed.
Netanyahu referred to recent IDF actions in Syria. "We have a clear policy - anyone who tries to harm us, we will hit him back. We will not accept 'leakage,' and if we are hit, we return fire, and it will not take long to do so. But it is not only the sword that we have built, but also the plow, the building, the mind, and the creativity. Fifty years ago, the Jordan Valley was a barren and yellow land, sun-ridden and nothing more."
The Prime Minister stated that the Jordan Valley will always be part of the State of Israel. "We will continue to settle it and to invest in industry and in tourism. I want to say something more about our relationship with our neighbor. All of this space should be a lever for regional cooperation. It should be a region of peace and prosperity for the benefit of all peoples of the region."
Netanyahu told of his love for the Jordan Valley. "My wife, Sarah, and I are very happy to be with you. We love the Jordan Valley. The Jordan Valley is the gateway to the East. I've always had a warm relationship with the Jordan Valley, and not just because of the weather. Our roots trace back to here."
"Not far from here, Joshua the son of Nun crossed the Jordan River. Not far from here the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land. Here, a hundred years ago, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, a spiritual teacher, participated in a battle over the Jordan River crossings together with the Jewish regiments he founded.