Address to the Knesset with Anwar Sadat
Mr. Chairman, Mr. President of Egypt, ladies and gentlemen, members of the Knesset.
Our blessing is sent to the president and to all members of the Islamic faith, in our land and everywhere, on the occasion of this special holiday of the sacrifice. This holiday reminds us of the sacrifice. This was the first test that the Lord, creator of the world, placed our father, our joint father, in his faith, and Abraham passed this test. From a point of view of the advancement of mankind, this was forbidden, to sacrifice a human being. Our ancient tradition has taught it is a forbidden practice and to the nations around us who were in the habit of sacrificing human beings to their gods. And so, the nation of Israel, the nation of the Arabs, contributed to the advancement of mankind, and so do we continue to contribute to human culture until this day.
I bless the president of Egypt on his coming to our country and to his participation in this meeting of the Knesset. The time of the flight between Cairo and Jerusalem is short, but the distance between them was, until yesterday, quite large. President Sadat passed this great distance with courage, heartfelt courage. We, the Jews, know how to appreciate this courage of heart and to know how to assess it with our guest. For, with courageous heart, we were created and with courageous heart we live. Mr. Chairman, this small nation, the remnants of the destruction of the Jewish nation that has returned to our historical homeland, always wanted peace. And when the dawn of our redemption and independence arose on the 15th of May, 1948, with the proclamation of independence in our scroll of independence, said Mr. Ben-Gurion, "We stretch out a hand of peace to our neighbors and to all the nations that are our neighbors and call upon them to cooperate in joint mutual cooperation with the independent Jewish nation in our land."
A year before, in the days of the underground, when we stood in the battle for the redemption of the country and of the nation, we showed our neighbors and called to them in this language: "In this land we will live together and we will rest together, for lives of freedom and wealth, our Arab neighbors. Don't turn down this hand that is stretched to you in peace."
But it is my obligation, Mr. Chairman, and not just my privilege, to decide today and to declare today, according to the truth, our hand that was stretched out for peace was not accepted. And one day after the renewal of our independence according to our right, that cannot be denied, cannot be discussed, we were attacked on three fronts and we stood almost without weapons, a few against the many, weak against the strong. When we stood in this test, one day after the declaration of independence, to choke and destroy the birth, and to call an end to the last hope of the Jewish nation in the century of the destruction and redemption.
No, we do not belong in might and we never based our relationship to the Arab nation on strength. The opposite. The strength worked against us. In all the days of this generation, we did not stop in order to stand against the strength that was stretched out to destroy us and destroy our independence, in order to destroy our rights. We defended ourselves, correct? We fought and protected on our rights, on our women and children, against a repeated test to bring against us the strength, not only on one front. This, too, is correct. With the help of the Lord, we succeeded in overcoming the attacking forces and we guaranteed the independence, not only for this generation, but also for coming generations.
We do not believe in might, we believe in right. Only in right. And, therefore, our hope from the depths of our heart, from then and always, until this very day, it is for peace.
Mr. President, Mr. President of Egypt, in this democratic house sit the commanders of all of the Jewish underground that fought and they were required to fight against a worldwide power and sit here the electors of ours, despite the fact that forces were arrayed against them, because they defended the identity. They belong to various parties, they have different viewpoints, but I am sure, Mr. President, that I will express the viewpoint of all of them, without any exceptions, that we have one hope, one hope, one longing in our heart, one will in our spirit, in our soul, and all of us are united in this one hope and longing: to have peace, peace for our nation, that has not known peace even one day from the time we started to come back to Zion, and peace for our neighbors, that we wish them have all good, and we believe that if we make peace, a true peace, we shall be able to help one another in order to enrich life and open a new epic period in the history of the Middle East. A period of growth, of development, growth, as it was in days of old.
Therefore, permit me today to indicate what is the schedule for peace, according to our understanding. We seek peace, a full peace, true peace, with true reconciliation between the Jewish nation and the Arab nation, not to remember about what has happened in the past. There was much blood spilled. Many wonderful young members of the generation fell on both sides. We all our days shall remember our heroes that sacrificed their lives in order that the day might arrive, and the day shall arrive. And we honor the courageousness and we give honor to all members of the younger generation in the midst of the Arab nation that they, too, feel.
Not to remember the past, even if they are difficult, but to be concerned with the future. For our nation, to our children, to the joint future, to our joint future, because we shall live in this region, all together, for generations to come. The great Arab nation, in its states, in its lands, and the Jewish nation, in its land, Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, one has to establish what is the schedule for peace.
Let us continue with dialogue and negotiations, Mr. President, on a treaty of peace and, with the help of God, so we believe with true faith, the day will come and we will achieve this, with joint mutual respect. And then we shall know that, instead of the wars, we have stretched out a hand, one to another, and we shall grasp the hand of one another. And the future will be bright for all nations of this region.
The first wisdom in the schedule of peace is the ending of the state of war. I agree, Mr. President, that you didn't come and we didn't invite you in order, as it was accepted in the past few days, in order to establish a treaty with the nations of Arabs. Israel does not wish to rule and does not want to disturb or divide. We are looking for peace with all our neighbors, with Egypt, with Jordan, with Syria, with Lebanon. We wish to have negotiations for a peace treaty…
[Audio and video cut out]