Dear Friends, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, unites all parts of the Jewish people throughout the world. During the High Holidays we conduct a personal, communal and national soul searching. The State of Israel stands before difficult, even fateful, decisions. The issues involved in these decisions give rise to powerful emotions and deep disagreement. In these days of fasting, prayer and charity, we need to remember what the Creator and Jewish history both demand of us – that we remain united as one. We can maintain unity, even while differing in opinion. Our goal is common, we differ on the way to reach it. Regretfully, we are witness lately to a recurrence of anti-Semitism throughout Europe. Attacks against Jews and Jewish community institutions have increased, despite the efforts of European leaders. The State of Israel views these developments with deep concern. The Jewish people need to work against these together, from a sense of joint destiny. We need to work together with the governments and proper authorities in order that these dark elements not be allowed to rise and harm universal human values. I congratulate the Jewish communities throughout the world on their expressions of solidarity with the people of Israel, and the many visitors who came to Israel this year. I call on all of you to increase the number of visitors to Israel in the coming year.
Your coming here strengthens the State of Israel and the mutual relations between us. With the coming of the New Year, I call upon the Jewish people in Israel and in the Diaspora to show unity, tolerance and ahavat yisrael, love of Israel. On behalf of my wife Gila and myself, and on behalf of the citizens of Israel, I send you and your families our best wishes for a happy New Year, for a year of peace and security in our region and a year of peace and tranquility for all mankind. Sincerely, Moshe Katsav __________ MESSAGE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL MR. ARIEL SHARON Dear Friends, At the start of this New Year, I take the opportunity to offer my best wishes for a happy and peaceful New Year. The past four years have been difficult ones, both politically and economically. However, the State of Israel and its citizens are strong and determined, and our spirit has not been broken. The support and solidarity of Diaspora communities has proven invaluable at this critical time, and our partnership has always been, and must always remain, strong. The implementation of our joint goals of encouraging Aliyah and immigrant absorption, Jewish-Zionist education and strengthening the unity of the Jewish people is an expression of our commitment and mutual responsibility. This year, we mark 100 years since the death of the Zionist visionary, Theodor Herzl. A century since his passing, his vision lives on. The State of Israel, with its remarkable achievements, serves as a living testament to Herzls dream, which will continue to live forever in our hearts and through our actions. Along with Herzls unifying vision, our shared values, beliefs and hopes, as well as our strong desire to make the world a better place will help us overcome any obstacles in our path. The future rests on our shoulders. I look forward to our continued partnership, and the deepening of ties between Israel and the Diaspora. From Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of the State of Israel, I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Sincerely, Ariel Sharon __________ Rosh Hashana Greeting from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom to the Diplomatic Corps in Israel President’s Rosh Hashana Reception for the Diplomatic Corps Jerusalem, 13 September 2004 According to the Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is a time when God determines the fate of each and every individual for the coming year. These are days of reflection, prayer and repentance for our entire people. Rosh Hashana also coincides, usually, with the annual opening of the UN General Assembly, which also serves as time of reflection and renewal of purpose, for the international community as a whole. In this spirit allow me to list what I see as the key issues on our collective agenda: Firstly – the war on terror. This is the key challenge of our age. Just in the past year, terrorists have blown airliners out of the sky, taken hostage and destroyed an entire school, bombed commuter trains, buses, synagogues and banks. Hundreds of lives lost. Thousands more devastated. But it is not only the raw human cost that we all pay for this ongoing campaign. Terrorism strikes also – intentionally – at our ability to reconcile differences, negotiate accords and rebuild war-torn societies. This is a global phenomenon and it requires global solutions. Beyond the many operational successes in preventing attacks around the world in the last year, the international community has also made considerable progress in the diplomatic war on terror. Hamas and Hizbullah have been added to some countries’ terrorist lists The issue of anti-Semitism and incitement is being addressed more seriously than before Syria’s support for terror and its occupation of Lebanon have been challenged by the Security Council International efforts to block Iran’s nuclear program have also intensified But more still needs to be done. Cooperation in the field of law enforcement against terrorist organizations must become universal States like Iran and Syria, who aid and assist the terrorists, must be held to account for their crimes Incitement on the internet and in the media must be curtailed In short, we must work even harder to build a united and effective international coalition against the terrorists and the murderers of children. The second key issue on our agenda is the battle for peace. On this issue, sadly, the record of the past year is not as positive as we would like. On the Palestinian front, the Palestinian Authority has proven unwilling to fulfill its part of the Roadmap deal. Instead of a year of anti-terrorist and renewed dialogue with Israel, we have suffered yet another year of inand evasion of responsibility by the Palestinian Authority, which has forced the Prime Minister to promote his own initiative to break the deadlock. Even this week, Palestinian leaders refused to sit down with Israel and the international donor community to promote ways to assist the Palestinian economy. Such terrible leadership is a betrayal of the Palestinian people and of the good intentions of the entire international community. New leadership is desperately needed. We are seeing on the ground in Gaza and Ramallah the burning desire to see it come. Sadly, while Yasser Arafat remains in power and while he continues – despite his direct involvement in terrorism – to enjoy international legitimacy, such change is unlikely. On the Syrian front we have also seen no positive movement. President Assad has made some comments suggesting his interest in peace, but his actions on the ground in support of terror tell a very different story. Syria under Assad continues to occupy Lebanon and to actively support terror against Israel’s citizens and to undermine the efforts to promote peace in our region. Indeed, determination to combat terror is a central component of the diplomatic battle for peace. No peace initiative can survive if terrorists continue to enjoy a free hand to undermine it. The Roadmap recognizes this, calling in Phase One for Palestinian reform and sustained against terror. At this time of reflection, we look to the international community to work with us and to redouble its efforts to bring the Palestinian campaign of terror to an end, and to promote genuine progress towards peace. Dear Ambassadors, The Zionist vision of Israel’s founders was to bring into the world a state in our ancient homeland to serve as a refuge for our people from persecution. Our founders also made a promise – not just to the people of Israel, but to the people of the Middle East as a whole – to pursue peace and to work for the common advancement of our region. I am proud, on the eve of Rosh Hashana, once again to reaffirm the commitment of my country to these goals. I also wish to pay my respects to you, the diplomatic corps in Israel. You and your families live amongst us, and share with us not only the joys of our wonderful country, but also the pressures of our existence, under the constant shadow of Palestinian terror. Your efforts to convey the reality of life here in Israel are crucial to the international understanding and support for our country. As we usher in the New Year, may we see progress towards greater cooperation and dialogue between us, may we see real improvements in our personal and national security, and may our prayers – and the prayers of all peoples – for peace and for life, be answered. Shana Tova! BPI-info