Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jewish Federations of North American General Assembly in Washington D.C. on Tuesday that as prime minister, he will ensure that all Jews - Reform, Conservative and Orthodox – feel at home in Israel.
He also said he will ensure the "Kotel is a source of unity for our people and not a source for division."
Netanyahu began his speech in the U.S. capital by saying "we must always remember a simple truth - no matter the disagreements: Israel has no better friend than America."
Netanyahu told an enthusiastic audience that "Israel is judged by a different standard than any other country in the world: A word that begins with an 'a' and ends with an 'm,'" he said, alluding to the word antisemitism. "We must fight the lies against Israel and we will do that by telling the truth."
The crowd responded with a loud round of applause.
Regarding the current status quo in Israel, Netanyahu explained "the reason we don't have peace with the Palestinians is not because of the settlements or the territories captured by Israel." Instead, "the reason we don't have peace is that the Palestinians refuse to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary," he said.
Though there is not yet peace, Netanyahu maintained his commitment to "a vision of two states for two peoples in the hope that what isn't achievable today will be achievable in the future."
He also said that Israel is "forging new ties with Arab states in the region that do not see Israel as an enemy."
Netanyahu dedicated a portion of his speech to the Israeli economy and the startup nation.
Speaking about Israel's economy and pluralism, Netanyahu said that Israel is "a robust democracy - you can see it in the Knesset and in the Israeli press."
"An Arab kid in Israel grows up knowing he can be a supreme court judge. We have an Arab Supreme Court judge," he said.
"We have to pay for defense," Netanyahu added. "It is very expensive. This is why we need to grow our economy," he said.
On Monday, Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama, where he reiterated his commitment to the two-state solution.
In Washington D.C.'s Hilton, delegates from Jewish communities all around the United States converged at the GA to discuss and strategize over issues facing Jews worldwide.
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