JERUSALEM (JTA) – Making peace with the Palestinians "will not be easy," Israel’s prime minister said in a Rosh Hashanah message to Diaspora Jewry.
"I believe that we should make every effort to reach an historic compromise for peace over the coming year," Benjamin Netanyahu said in a holiday message to Jewish communities around the world that was released Monday. "I guarantee one thing: This will not be easy. But as Israel’s prime minister, it is my responsibility to make every effort to forge a lasting peace with our neighbors.
"Lasting peace must be anchored in security, and it must be anchored in the recognition of the Jewish state’s permanence in this region, not merely as a fact, but as something that our neighbors accept by right," he said.
Netanyahu pointed out that last year was the safest in Israel in two decades and reiterated that Israel has weathered the global financial crisis better than nearly any other industrial country.
"In the next year, Israel will face many challenges," the Israeli leader said. "I have no doubt that in meeting those challenges, Jewish communities around the world will stand by Israel’s side — I think we’ve seen that every step of the way up to now. We’ll see that every step of the way going forward."
In a message released Monday to the Israeli public, Netanyahu stressed that any agreement "will be based on two criteria: security and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state."
The message to the Israeli public, in Hebrew, was released on YouTube.