Skip To Content
We’ve Taken Down the Forward Paywall: An Open Letter to Our ReadersRead Now
Breaking News

Benjamin Netanyahu Praises Gaza War ‘Spirit’ on Israel Independence Day

In his Independence Day address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised troops’ fighting spirit in Gaza.

Netanyahu’s praises came in the Hebrew-language version of a video released by his office at the start of Israel’s 67th Independence Day, which this year falls on April 23. The English-language version contains no such reference but celebrates the right of Jews living outside Israel to immigrate to it, or make aliyah.

“Last summer, during Operation Protective Edge, we saw your fighting spirit, your camaraderie, your bravery,” Netanyahu said in the introduction part of the Hebrew-language video, which Netanyahu began with a message addressed to members of the security forces. “You are the first element of Israel’s security and its independence.”

Israel has faced international criticism for its summer war in Gaza against Hamas, which left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead and which the Palestinians and others allege was tainted by widespread war crimes, though Israel has disputed these claims.

“When we look at the countries around us, we see how exceptional Israel is,” Netanyahu continued. “A vibrant democracy with equal rights to all its citizens. Israel is at the forefront of the world’s technology,” Netanyahu said.

Unlike the Hebrew address, Netanyahu’s English-language video also celebrates how Israel gives Jews “the right to make aliyah and be part of the modern State of Israel.”

It further differs from the Hebrew-language version in that it specifically names Israeli Arabs as “equal under the law.”

Last month, U.S. officials and may Israeli politicians and opinion-shapers accused Netanyahu of eroding democratic values when he urged voters to elect his party, Likud, because Arabs, he said, were showing up in great numbers to vote with help from left-wing groups.

Netanyahu later apologized for the offense his statement caused.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.