The past, present and future of Israel all merged in Paris on Sunday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a global event to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The past—Netanyahu highlighted the importance of WWI in setting the stage for the recreation of the State of Israel—the present—as Netanyahu met with US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin—and the future, embodied in Netanyahu’s conversations with world leaders who hope to grow ties further with Israel.
“I think that there is no better evidence of the State of Israel’s standing in the world than the way we were accepted in this event, from the place we received, literally, in the first line of countries,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “I see this as a great compliment to the State of Israel and its achievements.”
According to Israeli press releases, Netanyahu met not only with Trump and Putin, but also German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a number of others. “What was very interesting was a number of African leaders who spoke about the importance of cooperation with Israel and the way it could of course help their countries,” said Netanyahu. “I heard this from countries in Eastern Europe, Western European countries, African countries, Latin America, leaders who came and spoke without question that Israel is a rising force in the world. If someone needed proof, I would say—come to Paris.”
Netanyahu noted how world leaders with whom he spoke “want to strengthen the political, economic, and technological and security ties with the State of Israel.”
The global involvement was appropriate given that the reason for the event was marking the first world war. Netanyahu noted tragedy of the war and its impact, which saw the deaths of millions, as well as where it led: World War II and the Holocaust.
“Unfortunately, this war, which was supposed to end all wars, not only failed to achieve this, but was also accompanied 20 years later by a greater catastrophe on the global level, which of course exacted the greatest disaster in the history of any nation,” said the Israeli leader.
Nonetheless, World War I struck a spark that was significantly beneficial to the cause of Israel. Netanyahu pointed out that as a result of the war, Turkish control of the region that became the State of Israel was ended and handed over to the British. And that wasn’t the only impactful role played by the United Kingdom.
“At the same time, of course, the fact that hundreds of thousands of Jews fought in the armies in this war prepared the seeds of a Jewish fighting force. First of all, by Jewish battalions established during the war by the British army and which constituted one of the IDF’s core nuclei, and therefore a monumental event in the history of humanity and of great importance in the history of Zionism.”
Prior to departing for Paris, Netanyahu had issued a statement via his office on the event and the world leaders he had planned to meet there. “There are many important issues that need to be discussed, but the very essence of being there is important. I, as usual, will represent the State of Israel with great pride.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 11, 2018)