Yisrael Katz
Yisrael Katz Kobi Richter/TPS

Acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz spoke at the AIPAC Policy Conference being held in Washington, DC.

Katz began by thanking President Donald Trump for his recent announcement recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

“This step is a strong response to Iran and its proxy Hezbollah, which attempt to attack Israel from Syria, and a clear message to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad who gives shelter to them,” he added.

Katz hailed the US-Israel relationship, saying, “Israel has no better ally in the world than the United States of America, and the US has no better friend than Israel.”

“We thank the US for its historic support of Israel. Support for Israel has always been bi-partisan, and must remain bi-partisan!” he continued.

“We thank the former administration for the MOU, which has contributed to the security of the state of Israel, and improved the security cooperation between our two countries.”

“We thank the current administration for defending Israel in facing the hypocrisy of the United Nations and international organizations which try to deny Israel's right to self-defense,” said Minister Katz.

“I would like to thank President Trump for his brave decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran, and to reenact sanctions against Iran. It is crucial that we prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons, and that we block its state support for terror.”

“And, of course, every Israeli is grateful to President Trump, for his historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to relocate the Embassy to Jerusalem. Jerusalem will always be the undivided eternal capital of the State of Israel!” stated Katz.

He also thanked the leaders of Honduras and Romania who announced earlier on Sunday at the AIPAC conference their intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and open diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

Regarding Iran, Katz stressed that “Israel will never allow Iran to attain nuclear weapons! Israel will continue to prevent the establishment of Iranian military infrastructure in Syria, and its attempts to build new fronts against Israel.”

“Hezbollah arms itself and digs cross-border tunnels in order to attack Israeli soldiers and kill Israeli civilians. We have destroyed these terror tunnels and we will act against those who plan to attack Israel!” he continued.

“Israel also stands strong against the threats from the Hamas in the South. In cooperation with the US, we have developed unique technology to intercept the missiles and rockets, launched from Gaza against Israeli cities.”

Katz stressed that “Israel will not tolerate such attacks against our citizens! Not in Sderot, not in Tel Aviv, not anywhere!”

“If we stand together – AIPAC, and the state of Israel – we will overcome any and every threat!” he added.

“Israel is the one and only Jewish democratic state. It is the only true democracy in the Middle East. I know that some, even here in the US, have voiced concern. I wish to assure you that the democracy in Israel is as strong as ever. We will ensure equal rights for all citizens.”

Katz mentioned his regional initiative "Tracks for Regional Peace" which would create a freight rail network between Israel and Jordan, linking it through Jordan to other Arab countries.

“I invite AIPAC to be an active partner in this initiative. I hope to see American companies taking part in this project, which is supported by the American administration,” he added.

Finally, said Katz, “When Israel is strong, AIPAC is strong. When AIPAC is strong, Israel is even stronger. Thank You.”