The following is the full speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Oct. 20:
We’ve witnessed a lot of changes since the last Congress, great challenges and great opportunities for Israel and the Jewish people. We are now, despite our desires and our efforts for peace and for tranquility, we are now in the midst of a campaign, an assault, and not the first one, that seeks to murder Israelis wherever they are. And this campaign is incorporating medieval ideology with modern technology. It’s a unique combination.
I am seeing it primarily on the social networks. I’ll talk about it in a minute. And we know for example that the various attackers are using their Facebook pages to indicate what they are, to absorb messages of incitement. I appreciate the fact that Facebook is trying to find the balance between free speech and the safety of the public. I think that warrants special attention in this case.
Now let me try to put in perspective what it is we’re fighting: We’re fighting not only a campaign of physical assaults on the Jewish state – the Jewish people have experienced that throughout the centuries – but as we’ve experienced in our history, the physical assaults on the Jews is always preceded and accompanied by an assault on the truth, campaign of defamation and slander. And what I would like to examine with you today are the ten big lies that are hurled at us. And the only way that you can fight lies, and especially big lies, is to puncture them with the simple truth.
So here’s the first big lie: Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. No, we’re not. We haven’t changed the status quo on the Temple Mount in years. There’s a simple arrangement: Muslims visit the Temple Mount and they pray there. Others, Jews, Christians and other denominations, secular people, they come – secular people pray too by the way – they visit the Temple Mount but they don’t. Sunday to Thursday, 7:00 to 11:00, the non-Muslims visit. Muslims visit the rest of the time. How many Muslims have visited and prayed on the Temple Mount, on average, last year? Anybody know? No, not 300,000, three and a half million. Eighty thousand Christians and other denominations and 12,000 Jews. That hasn’t changed.
Though the Temple Mount is our holiest site – it was built there by king Solomon 3,000 years ago, 1,500 years before the birth of Islam – though we’ve been attached to it for 3 millennia, we in no way deny the sacred sites or the rights or the free access for other denominations, and Israel has not and will not change the status quo. This is one huge lie.
The second is not only that we seek to change the prayer arrangements on the Temple Mount and the non-prayer arrangements on the Temple Mount, which we don’t, is that we seek to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque. Now this is particularly farcical. It would be farcical if it weren’t tragic. My grandfather came to this land in 1920 and he landed in Jaffa, and very shortly after he landed he went to the immigration office in Jaffa. And a few months later it was burned down by marauders. These attackers, Arab attackers, murdered several Jews, including our celebrated writer Brenner.
And this attack and other attacks on the Jewish community in 1920, 1921, 1929, were instigated by a call of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the final solution. He flew to Berlin. Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, “If you expel them, they’ll all come here.” “So what should I do with them?” he asked. He said, “Burn them.” And he was sought in, during the Nuremberg trials for prosecution. He escaped it and later died of cancer, after the war, died of cancer in Cairo. But this is what Haj Amin al-Husseini said. He said, “:The Jews seek to destroy the Temple Mount.” My grandfather in 1920 seeks to destroy…? Sorry, the al-Aqsa Mosque.