Interim PM Olmert Meets With Participants in International Bible Contest for
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met this evening (Wednesday), 26.4.06,
with the participants in, and officials of, the International Bible Contest
for Jewish Youth that will be held on Israel's 58th Independence Day
( http://tinyurl.com/5dx62 ) next week.
Participant representative Jacky Shulamit Zeltzer said that, "We hope that
this year will be a turning point in the life of the Jewish people, a year
of peace, security and prosperity."
Interim Prime Minister Olmert welcomed the participants and said: "I admit
that I am no less excited than you. I am excited because of the reasons
that led you to visit Israel are related to very important matters for the
State of Israel. Israel's Independence Day is different from those of other
countries because we fight for our independence all over again every year
and we succeed in maintaining it from those who would take it from us.
The State of Israel is strong but there are still those who want to destroy
it. The proof of our strength is in maintaining our independence in the
present and the assurance of our future. We will be unable to assure our
future if we do not recall our past, the base of which is in the Bible. The
Bible is not just a book that reflects, and gives expression to, our faith
but also describes what are our foundations, where we came from and where we
need to go, while giving deep expression to the Jewish People together with
its Land. Our future is the connection between the Land and our historical
base, and this people which you are a part of.
I heard your greeting and I would be pleased if you would be ambassadors in
your countries and I would be very pleased if you would immigrate to Israel.
We have no other Land and no other home; this is our home and it is also
Even though there are only three winners, for me you are all winners because
you merited to participate in the International Bible Contest for Jewish
Youth in Jerusalem ( http://tinyurl.com/5dhg8 ), the capital of Israel, on
the State of Israel's Independence Day."
Interim Prime Minister Olmert responded to participants' questions. On the
diplomatic issue, Interim Prime Minister Olmert said: "It is impossible to
achieve peace merely by returning territory but without returning territory
it is also impossible to achieve peace. The question is not whether the
territories are part of the Land of Israel, because they are. All territory
between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is, in my view, an
inseparable part of our Land and it cannot take them from us in the
historical sense. The Land has always been ours. All of the places
mentioned in the Bible are deeply tied to our people, our yearnings and our
prayers. Sometimes reality is complicated and another people lives in parts
of our Land. Therefore, we must decide whether to lose Israel's identity as
a Jewish state or to give up part of the territory so that Israel will
remain a Jewish state. The decisive majority of the people prefer to
maintain the Jewish identity of the State of Israel and in order to preserve
its Jewish character we must compromise over territories. Along with my
fellow ministers, I will do everything to ensure peace and hope for the
people of Israel and to concede what must be conceded and to keep the places
that are important for Israel's future, with greater Jerusalem our capital
first and foremost."
When asked why he wanted to be elected Prime Minister, Interim Prime
Minister Olmert replied: "I have been in politics for 33 years. As Prime
Minister I can influence the issues that I believe in as broadly as possible
and in this position are concentrated the most important and substantive
things so that Israel's citizens will be able to live in security with
greater chances for peace. I hope that the Almighty will bless me the
wisdom to do all of these things."