(Communicated by the President's Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday (31 January 2016) addressed a conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Israeli ambassadors, consuls general and mission heads from across the world
, including those due to depart for their posts in the coming weeks.
During his visit to the MFA, the President toured the situation room, and visited the wall of remembrance to the memory of those who were killed during diplomatic service abroad.
In his address, the President said, "Israel is today a strong country. The Israel Defense Forces, and security services know the field of operations well and understand the growing and increasingly complex challenges, while the international arena in which you represent the State of Israel is more complex than ever. The Israeli foreign service as a whole, and you as its most preeminent representatives, make up an essential and central component in the safeguarding of Israel's national resilience."
The President stressed, "Your mission is not limited to defending Israel against propaganda attacks and international pressure. Diplomacy has been and remains a vital component of the proactive advancement of the State of Israel, and the safeguarding of its vital interests. The power of diplomacy has not depleted, something that today remains evident even - or perhaps especially - amid the complexities of the Middle East."
The President spoke in relation to the comments made by the French Foreign Minister regarding the renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians in an international conference. President Rivlin noted, "In the last few days we have the comments made by the French Foreign Minister relating to an international peace conference. In relation to this I wish to say - it is proper that the dialogue between us and our close allies on all issues relating to the security of Israel and its citizens should be conducted in a direct manner, not above Israel's heads in a conference with many participants."
He added, "It must not be allowed in the current absence of a political process, that we will be condemned to passivity. The improvement in the state of the relations between the two peoples is a distinct Israeli interest which must go alongside the active and assertive defense of the State of Israel and its citizens. Such a policy proves that Israel is cautions, not reactionary, and that the security of its citizens together with efforts for peace stand at the forefront of our national priorities. This mission, of conveying Israel's intentions to the world for their understanding rests upon your broad shoulders as it rests on the shoulders of Israel's leaders. In the complex reality with which we are dealing, the State of Israel needs a strong Ministry of Foreign Affairs whose voice, recommendations, and analyses are heard clearly internally and externally. We must work to ensure that the foreign service, you, in your professional standing, receive the trust and opportunity to build bridges and bonds which enable not only the communication of Israel's spirit and innovation, but also personify these values."
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Sunday, 31 January 2016) issued the following statement at a Foreign Ministry conference for Israeli ambassadors:
"We are working systematically and level-headedly against all threats, including the threat from Hamas, with both defensive and offensive measures. Of course, if we are attacked from tunnels from the Gaza Strip, we will take very strong action against Hamas, much stronger than we took in Operation Protective Edge."