SPEECH HONORING
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU

Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani
New York Sheraton
July 11, 1996


Click on the picture to see an enlargement of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mayor Giuliani.

Click here for a transcript of the press conference held later in the day.


I am very, very pleased to extend our city's warmest welcome to someone whom I consider a New Yorker, because he won the hearts and affections of the city of New York a long time ago when he was the ambassador to the United Nations from his great nation. I feel like we are welcoming the Prime Minister home. We love to have you here Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for coming.

To Sarah and to Avner and to Yair, your two lovely boys and your wonderful wife please treat New York as your second home. Come often and enjoy yourself here. This is a wonderful city and we love you very much. You're working on your first apartment; well we can make a deal with you.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is no stranger to New York City. He served for many years with honor and distinction as his nation's ambassador to the United Nations. He is a familiar face in New York and is well known on our evening news, on our streets, in our restaurants, in our parks, in our museums. So this is a true homecoming. This is the most diverse city in the world, it has some people who stand out when they come here and leave a real impression and they are very few. And before he became Prime Minister, he made a big impression on the city of New York. A few months ago, as you heard, at the invitation of Mayor Olmert, I went to Israel.

Instead of traveling back on forth, maybe we should like exchange jobs for a few weeks. People think I need a vacation and it would be very nice if I could take one there. While in Israel I also had breakfast with Mr. Netanyahu at the King David Hotel. He discussed with me security and peace for the state of Israel. I had never heard a more precise, more cogent and better argument, example and reason why peace and security, security and peace are inextricably linked. One without the other is an illusion. And the precision and force of his argument convinced me then as I am now convinced that when he was elected Prime Minister, Israel would be guided by a clarity of vision that is really exceptional and necessary for leadership in a very difficult time.

Israel understands sacrifice and understands commitment and the career of Prime Minister Netanyahu has demonstrated all of that. In life you have very few good friends and you make some, not too many. Nations make very few good friends. Israel is a good friend of the United States.

As Speaker Vallone mentioned before, along with the Speaker I remember very very well during the Persian Gulf War. And I remember watching on television and seeing where Israel stood. The restraint, the risk, and the support for Americans who had their lives at risk and I remember where others stood. And all Americans I am sure join me in remembering that and many many other demonstrations of the loyalty and friendship of Israel for the United States. We stand together for democracy, we stand together against terrorism, and we stand together for decent, orderly societies.

In the stirring speech that the Prime Minister gave before the Congress of the United States yesterday, he reaffirmed Israel's commitment to a peace but not to the romance of peace. To a realistic peace based on a firm understanding of security of the most basic kind. And he reaffirmed that Jerusalem, the Holy City, will never never again be divided.

You have people of different political parties here and you have people of different backgrounds and different political philosophies, you've heard it before and hopefully you'll hear it several more times before the evening is over. We are all united and Jerusalem will be and should remain the capital of the state of Israel undivided forever.

And I never interfere in foreign policy, like Mayor Koch never interfered in foreign policy. It's something mayors of New York City never do, but in my humble opinion as a private citizen, the very best way to insure Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of the state of Israel would be for the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

With the election of Prime Minister Netanyahu, it is clear that a new generation is emerging in Israel whose future and the state of Israel's future will be based on self-reliance, on justice, and on strength. And to lead that new Israel, a new Prime Minister who is self-reliant, just and strong. And one with a natural affinity for Americans and for New York. The new Prime Minister in his background and his experience demonstrates the close links between the United States and Israel and between New York and Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Another Benjamin, Benjamin Disraeli, once said that, "The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world, it is the history of earth and of heaven. It is a history that is still being written." And a new and glorious chapter is about to begin.

And if I may, I have some very small tokens of our appreciation for you, Mr. Netanyahu and Mrs. Netanyahu from the people of the city of New York. We have two bears for your children, we have a scarf for you, Mrs. Netanyahu. We have a Tiffany's box and a Monopoly set for you Mr. Netanyahu based on the streets of New York City. We have cufflinks for Mayor Olmert, but the Police Commissioner has allowed me to give you these, which are my favorite. One for Avner, and one for Yair when they walk in Central Park. Welcome.




Go to Photo Gallery | Blue Room | Giuliani Archives | Dept. of Records | NYC.gov Home Page
Contact Us | FAQs | Privacy Statement | Site Map