PM Netanyahu Holds Additional Meeting of the Bible Circle in Memory of his
Father-in-Law, the Late Shmuel Ben-Artzi
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
The Prime Minister's Bible Circle renews the tradition that was established
by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, and was continued by
Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
"In this week's Torah portion
1:1-6:1], it says 'Now there arose a new king over Egypt…'; like then, like
today. In Egypt, the regime has been replaced, in Syria the regime is being
shaken and this could also happen in the Palestinian Authority areas in
Judea and Samaria. Everyone knows that Hamas could take over the Palestinian
Authority. It could happen after an agreement, it could happen before an
agreement, like it happened in Gaza. Therefore, as opposed to the voices
that I have heard recently urging me to run forward, make concessions, [and]
withdraw, I think that the diplomatic process must be managed responsibly
and sagaciously and not in undue haste. Otherwise a third base for Iranian
terrorism will arise here, in the heart of the country. Peace can be
achieved only when security is assured.
We absorbed the Bible not just in school but from our families. This circle
is named after my late father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, who, as you know,
was a Bible scholar, among the most exemplary in the Land of Israel, who
loved and taught the Bible and saw to it that this tradition, which he gave
here to his children, would be given to all children in Israel.
I think that this is the basis of our heritage as well as the basis of our
inspiration for the future. This understanding is shared by all those who
are here tonight. We are honored today by two new participants. One is our
friend, friend of the family, who is esteemed by the entire Jewish People,
former Chief Rabbi of Israel and current Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa,
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, but from my point-of-view, he will always be my
rabbi, and I welcome him and wait to hear his comments on this week's
important Torah portion. We also have former IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Rafi
Peretz, who is also a pilot, and taught many generations of students. We
recently attended an event in which we met the first religious woman
I was very moved. That ceremony reflected the link between heritage and
future, and the eternal values of the Jewish people.
Today, we will continue our tradition of reading the text and discussing it.
From our discussion, as per the custom of our people, other issues will come
up. So it will be with this important weekly portion and we will discuss it.
There is contemporary meaning in what we read and there is also continuity."