Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke on Friday at the IAC National Summit 2021 being held in Miami.
“The Jewish Diaspora has always supported Israel in times of need,” said Gantz, noting that then-Prime Minister Golda Meir asked for US assistance during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and that assistance was granted.
“In times of crisis, our people unite. We are diverse in our background, ethnicities but we are all part of the one Jewish nation, bonded together by our identities, beliefs and the stories of survival against all odds,” he added.
Gantz said he is worried by two main issues. “First, support for Israel can no longer be taken for granted. I can assure you that Israel’s government is committed to strengthening relations with our Jewish brothers and sisters, in the United States and around the world. Israel is the home of all Jews and the Kotel is long enough for us all.”
He added, “We must work together to empower the Jewish identities of our youth and to ensure their ties to Israel. They are the future of Israel and they are the future of the Diaspora communities.”
The second challenge, said Gantz, is the rise of antisemitism around the world, including the antisemitism which is presented as anti-Zionism.
“The oldest form of hatred has been given a makeover and it is now being fueled with the help of social media and the spread of misinformation. The State of Israel has the obligation to take action. We work in cooperation with our international partners in responding to hate crimes against Jews, from helping to catch attackers to collaborating with social media platforms to remove antisemitic content.”
However, he pointed out, the work of the Israeli government alone is not enough and “we must stand united in facing these new waves of antisemitism. Our Stars of David should never be hidden beneath our shirts, our kippot should never be removed for fear of physical or verbal attacks, and our flags of Israel should always wave proudly!”
Gantz said that the US has always been Israel’s greatest ally, including today as Israel faces terrorist threats along its borders and beyond.
“Every President, every US administration has supported and continues to support Israel to this day, and for this we are very grateful,” he stated.
Noting his meetings on Thursday with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he said that “both leaders expressed their ironclad commitment to the security of the Jewish state. Israel’s leadership, and myself within it, will never take that for granted or stop working to protect ongoing bipartisan support for the State of Israel.”
The focus of his visit to the US was Iran which, Gantz said, “is first and foremost the biggest threat to global and regional peace and stability and only then it is a threat to Israel.”
“Iran seeks to destroy all traces of freedom, human dignity and peace in the Middle East and beyond. Israel is the only country in the world that has another country, Iran, seeking its destruction and building the means to do it. As Israel’s Minister of Defense, I will never let it happen.”
“The international community, with US leadership, must stand together and act forcefully against Iran’s hegemonic aspirations and nuclear program and restore stability for the sake of global and regional peace,” said Gantz, who added that Israel must maintain its military superiority “both in its operational capabilities and in its moral compass.”
“Only a strong, secure and moral Israel can extend its hand in peace. Only, strong, secure and moral Israel can expand normalization with new partners and deepen relations with existing partners – from Jordan and Egypt, to Morocco, the UAE, Bahrain and even our Palestinian neighbors,” he added.
“This image of the Iron Dome captures this sentiment. During operation ‘Guardian of the Walls’, Hamas fired thousands of rockets from civilian areas in Gaza, at kindergartens, hospitals and schools in Israel. Their target was clear: kill children, women and men. Israel’s Iron Dome intercepted 90% of the rockets that were launched and prevented Hamas from achieving its ultimate goal: instilling fear and demolishing Israeli resilience.”
“As demonstrated by the Iron Dome, Israel’s security not only requires advanced technology, but also the defense of our social strength,” said the Minister of Defense.
“This resilience starts in the government, which is very complex, yet it represents almost every sector of Israel’s society. It is committed to change, to bringing Israel onto a centrist path, reviving Israel’s economy post-COVID, erasing the social periphery, bringing peace and prosperity to the nation.”
“As I enter my office each morning, ready for another day of defending our tribes, I roll up my sleeves and look up at the two pictures on my wall. One of three soldiers, the other of two doves, and I am reminded of our two sacred obligations – maintaining a strong and secure Israel, and always pursuing peace,” said Gantz.
“Every time I go the Kotel, I put the same note – bring peace among us and peace be upon us,” he concluded.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)