Peres’ Rosh Hashanah Message

Premier Shimon Peres issued the following message to Jewish communities on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah 5747:

On the threshold of the New Year we greet you from Israel and Jerusalem, in the spirit of brotherhood and partnership, and extend to you an open invitation to continue to participate in Israel’s spiritual and material advancement and, to Jewish youngsters in particular, to come and settle in Israel.

Two years have elapsed since the establishment of the national unity government, and, while we have not yet solved all the problems confronting us, we certainly have nothing of which to be ashamed.

In the domains of internal affairs, the economy and defense, the fruits of our efforts are clearly perceptible. There has been a substantial reduction in inter-communal tensions. An improvement may be noted in Jewish-Arab relations within Israel. Altogether, there has been a change in the national style.

As for the economy, we have brought about a veritable revolution. We took an inflation-ridden economy and set it on its feet — with all the pain this has involved, but also with all the positive results: Inflation has been drastically reduced. The Israel Shekel has been rehabilitated. The balance of payments has improved. Exports have increased.

In Israel’s international standing, too, we are perceived as a nation striving earnestly and vigorously for peace.

MARKED IMPROVEMENT IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Our relations with the United States of America have been enhanced with several new enterprises — from the Free Trade Zone Agreement to wide-ranging political and strategic cooperation. Our relations are marked by an unprecedented degree of intensity and understanding.

A marked improvement has taken place in our standing in Europe, Africa and Latin America, Diplomatic relations have been restored with a number of important countries — from Spain, in Europe, to Ivory Coast and Cameroon, in Africa.

Let us not underestimate — though one should not exaggerate either — the importance of the signs of change being manifested in the Eastern bloc, including the Soviet Union. On the Asian continent, too, we are getting signals indicating positive movement, whether openly expressed or still latent.

CHANGES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

A profound change has also taken place in Israel’s position in the Middle East. Where previously all the countries of the region either turned their backs on us or pointed an accusing finger — now, this attitude has been replaced, at least among some of these countries, by a certain readiness to listen and more restrained language.

Worthy of particular note, among the events in the region, have been the following: the end of the war in Lebanon; the resumption of dialogue with Egypt; a change in our settlement policy in Judaea and Samaria; a reduction in the tension between Israel and Jordan; Jordan’s readiness to look for a Palestinian partner for peace talks while rejecting a Palestinian partner who will prevent the advent of peace; and the public meeting with the King of Morocco, who is also the head of the Islamic Conference and a prominent Arab leader.

These are important steps on the road to regional peace — and we must seek out ways to continue the march along that road. Practical Zionism never contented itself with the role played, here in the Land of Israel, by the Jews as played, here in the Land of Israel, by the Jews as individuals, but aspired to carry out tasks that can be carried out only by full-fledged nations.

Practical Zionism also believed that basic human needs create the right to provide for these needs. Thus we have always believed that the Jews have an absolute right to freedom from hunger, from ignorance, from insecurity and injustice.

And we have always believed that the Jews have the right to reconstitute their ancient civilization and their nationhood in their ancestral homeland. Inspired and guided by these beliefs, we have acted and we have built. Inspired and guided by these beliefs, we shall continue to act and to build!

THREE PRINCIPAL TASKS

We are faced by three principal tasks: to renew aliya to Israel; to promote peace in our region; to generate growth in our national economy.

The approach of a new Jewish year is the time to remember our brethren-in-distress in the Soviet Union, in Syria and in Iran — and to pledge that we will not rest until we shall have made it possible for them to be rescued and restored to the land of their fathers.

To every corner of the Jewish world, an earnest call goes out from Jerusalem, our eternal capital: Come up to Israel! Come join us in the historic venture of reconstruction and nation-building going on here every day!

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