Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the opportunity during his speech to the 37th World Zionist Congress, to speak from his Zionist heart to the hearts of Zionists everywhere.
Netanyahu used the occasion to rally supporters of Israel and to call upon them to spread the truth about Zionism and Israel. He spoke during the midst of a wave of terror in Israel unlike any in recent time. The stabbing, shooting, car-ramming attacks on Israeli citizens just during the month of October alone has unnerved many. Once again the media and the outside world uses moral equivalency or worse to condemn Israel for the terror unleashed against its citizens.
Netanyahu’s rock steady speech enlisted all supporters of Israel in the battalion of truth tellers about Israel. The physical attacks are being endured solely by Israelis, but the fight against the vilification of the Jewish State is something in which everyone can and must participate.
The ammunition Netanyahu provided the troops he enlisted consists solely of truth. The truths that can and will deflate the myths perpetuated by so many against the Jewish State.
In all, Netanyahu summarized into Ten Big Lies being told about Israel, and he provided answers to all of them. The entire speech can be found here.
The First Big Lie: Israel is trying to change the Status Quo on Har Habayit (Temple Mount). No, Israel is not. But here are additional facts you need to back up this categorical statement. First, King Solomon built the Temple Mount 3,000 years ago. That’s 1,500 years before the birth of Islam. The current arrangement, despite Israel’s victory in a defensive war against Jordan in 1967 which previously controlled the site, is that Muslims may visit the Temple Mount and pray there, while non-Muslims are permitted to visit only between Sunday and Thursday and Jews are not permitted ever to pray there. Over the past year, three and a half million Muslims visited the Temple Mount, 80,000 Christians and a mere 12,000 Jews.
The Second Big Lie: Israel is trying to destroy Al-Aksa Mosque. Netanyahu told an anecdote about how, just after his grandfather arrived in Israel, there was a terrorist attack because Arabs claimed Jews were trying to destroy the Al-Aksa Mosque. That was in 1920. Jews were attacked based on this false claim again in 1921, and in 1929. And it’s still happening today. So, Netanyahu explained, “this lie is about a hundred years old. It fomented many, many attacks. The Temple Mount stands. The al-Aqsa Mosque stands. But the lie stands too, it persists.”
The Third Big Lie is that there has been a surge in settlement construction, Netanyahu explained. The truth, however, is that the number of units built in the “settlements” has gone down from 5,000 annually under Ehud Barak, to 1,900 under Sharon, down to 1,700 under Olmert. Under Netanyahu’s reign, the number is down to 1500. As Netanyahu said, “some surge.”
The Fourth Big Lie is that Israelis are executing Palestinians. Netanyahu used Abbas’s public charge that Israel executed a young teenager, Ahmen Mansara, to show the absurdity of this charge. In fact, Mansara had just viciously stabbed a 13 year old Israeli boy riding on his bicycle. Israelis stopped Mansara, but they certainly didn’t kill him. In fact, Mansara was treated in Hadassah Hospital and released. The Israeli victim, however, is still in that hospital, desperately trying to live.
The Fifth Big Lie is that Israel uses excessive force. To this claim, Netanyahu asks people to consider what the police forces in New York or Paris or Moscow would do if people ran through the streets of their cities trying to stab their citizens with knives or screwdrivers. Israel’s instructions are clear: if there’s a threat to life, take action to neutralize it. Period.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus