Just in the last week we have witnessed some remarkable achievements. We’ve successfully relaunched the Amos 4 communication satellite. You should know that Israel is among a very small and elite group of countries capable of launching such satellites. This is yet another testament to Israel’s technological prowess. Today, Israeli technology and innovation are sought after commodities around the globe, and as a result and despite the world’s economic downturn and malaise, Israel leads the developed countries in sustained growth. Israel stands out economically and in so many other ways. Our young people continue to make us proud. Israeli high school students have brought home numerous prizes from global competitions, including gold, silver and bronze medals from the Science and Computer Olympics. These are important, they are intellectual sports events and I think they are very, very indicative. In international test scores, Israeli youngsters lead the Western world in math and they are in the top tier in science.
During a period in which the rest of our region is experiencing unprecedented turmoil, violence, extremism, we in Israel held elections and we formed a new government. I am proud to serve as Prime Minister. We remain an oasis of democracy, an oasis of stability, of tolerance and liberty where the rights of all are protected, where all are equal under the law. Of course we have many challenges too. We have to make sure that our economy continues to grow, that all Israelis enjoy the benefits of that economic growth and we also have external challenges.
We seek to advance peace with the Palestinians while maintaining our security and ensuring that the peace will be a real and enduring peace. Not a ceremony, not an agreement that we celebrate for two minutes and then collapse. We want a real, genuine and enduring peace and this must be anchored in recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and in our security. This is what ultimately is needed. Now of course as we look around we see the situation in Syria, it’s of great concern, great tragedy, and we follow the developments there very closely, and while we’re not involved in the internal conflict in Syria, we will defend ourselves and if it is necessary, we will act with resolve to protect our people. No one should doubt our resolve. And of paramount importance, we also see Iran continue to pursue its nuclear weapons program, and this poses a great threat to Israel, to the region, to the peace of the world. Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped. We simply cannot allow the world’s most dangerous regime to obtain the world’s most dangerous weapon. We already have enough indication of what this could do.
In meeting these and in meeting other challenges, I have no doubt that Jewish communities around the world will continue to stand by Israel, just as Israel will continue to be there for the Jewish people everywhere, for Jewish unity is a major source of our collective strength, and together, no challenge is too great. When we’ve acted together, we defied the laws of history, we’ve overcome such tremendous odds, and Israel is such a thriving, bustling, prosperous, modern, advanced country, and you can look at a very very far distance, to the west and to the east and to other directions and you see that Israel is a beacon of stability and modernity and progress and it’s because we’re united, because together I believe we can continue to achieve great things for the Jewish people and for the world. So as we gather with family and friends to welcome the New Year, I wish you all a happy new year. We say Shana Tova Umetuka, it means a good year and a sweet new year, so have both. Shana Tova."