Obama extended his “warmest wishes to Jews across America, Israel and the world” on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, while also affirming the American-Israeli alliance in a message to the Jewish people on YouTube on Sunday.
He said that during the 10 days of repentance, when Jews asked to be inscribed their names in the Book of Life, “we recognize how much lies beyond our control,” yet at the same time during this period, known as the Days of Awe, “we also recognize the tremendous power to make a difference in our lives and in our world.”
Perhaps making a referral to the recent nuclear deal with Iran, which Netanyahu has virulently opposed, President Obama stated: “Faith is hard. Hope is hard. Peace is hard.”
He then stressed the common bonds of the United States and Israel.
“As a community bound together by shared values, side by side with friends and allies like the State of Israel, let’s write the next chapter in a way that speaks to the best of our traditions and the highest of our ideals,” he said, before concluding with general well wishes for the Jewish New Year.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also issued a video to mark the holiday, but took a less conciliatory tone: “Since last Rosh Hashanah, it’s become evident to all but the most bigoted and prejudiced that Israel stands out like a beacon of progress, of modernity, of democracy and of human rights in a region plagued by fanaticism, by terror, by unbelievable savagery,” Netanyahu said.
Elaborating on the claim, Netanyahu said Israel must stand strong in face of "the most bigoted" leveling "slanderous charges" against the "only democracy in the Middle East."
The prime minister concluded with an optimistic note, saying “I ask you this Rosh Hashanah to join with all Israelis, with all the friends of Israel, with the Jewish people everywhere, in wishing for a better future for the world, for the Middle East, and most importantly, for the one and only Jewish state."