Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday to kick off the U.S. president's highly anticipated visit. He was greeted by Israeli leaders on the tarmac. Here is the full text of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech:
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President Rivlin and his wife Nehama,
President Trump, Madam First Lady, Donald, Melania,
A very warm welcome to Israel.
Your visit here, Mr. President, is truly historic. Never before has the first foreign trip of a president of the United States included a visit to Israel. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for this powerful expression of your friendship to Israel.
Mr. President, yesterday in Saudi Arabia you delivered a forceful speech of clarity and conviction. You called on all nations to drive out terrorists and extremists. You called for the forces of civilization to confront the forces of barbarism. Mr. President, for 69 years, Israel has been doing precisely that. We’ve manned the front lines of civilization; we fought terrorism; and we’ve build a modern, vibrant, democratic, Jewish state. In doing so, Mr. President, we’ve protected all faiths – Muslims, Christians, everyone.
Throughout the Middle East, Christian communities are decimated, minorities persecuted. But here in Israel, we’re proud to have a growing and thriving Christian community, and we guarantee the rights of all.
Mr. President, Israel also shares the commitment to peace that you expressed yesterday. We’ve already made peace with Egypt and with Jordan, and Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. The peace we seek is a genuine and durable one, in which the Jewish state is recognized, security remains in Israel’s hands and the conflict ends once and for all.
Mr. President, you just flew from Riyadh to Tel Aviv. I hope that one day an Israeli prime minister will be able to fly from Tel Aviv to Riyadh.
May your first trip to our region prove to be a historic milestone on the path towards reconciliation and peace. I look forward to working with you in the years ahead, Mr. President, to advance security, prosperity and peace. I’m confident that under your leadership the remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States will become ever greater, ever stronger.
Donald and Melania, the entire US delegation, on behalf of the Government and the people of Israel, we welcome you to the State of Israel. May God bless you, Mr. President, may God bless Israel and may God bless the United States of America.