Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the opening of the annual Globes Business Conference, held at the Jerusalem International Convention Center Wednesday morning.
During his opening comments, Netanyahu recalled his meeting with the president of Moldova on Tuesday, and the role the legacy of the Holocaust must play in an Israeli leader’s service to the state.
“Yesterday I hosted here the president of Moldova,” said Netanyahu, before segueing into anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe which helped propel the early Zionist movement.
“One of the things which motivated [the founders of] Israel was the Kishinev pogrom,” in 1903 the Moldovan capital, then part of the Russian empire, “which validated what Herzl had said. The scope of the pogrom was not large, relatively speaking, but it reinforced the need of the Jewish people to take its fate into its hands.”
“During our visit to Yad Vashem,” Netanyahu continued, referring to Israel’s national Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, “I told him that as Prime Minister, my first responsibility is to ensure that there are no more Yad Vashems. Most of the ancient nations of the world are gone. There are a handful of ancient nations like us; the Chinese, the Indians, and the Jews are the oldest [surviving] nations and cultures.”
“But we have been exiled from our land, and the other nations which were exiled have disappeared – the assimilated or were wiped out. We’re the only case of a people which returned [to its land], and against all the rules of history, established something tremendous here. My responsibility is to make sure that this [state] which has been restored is preserved.”