Netanyahu Salutes Israel’s ‘Freedom and Independence’ in Passover Message

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech after winning another term as leader of the ruling Likud party, on January 1, 2015, in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv. General elections had been due in late 2017, but the polls were brought forward by Netanyahu in early December …

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used his social media platforms in the hours before the start of the Jewish festival of Passover to salute Israel’s burgeoning place in the world.

He said there were flourishing ties between the Jewish State and the global community in general and the Arab and Muslim world in particular during his video address.

“Citizens of Israel, Jewish brothers and sisters around the world. Each year on Seder night, I am deeply moved. Passover touches upon the roots of our national identity. Thousands of years ago we raised the banner of freedom and liberty,” he said of the religious festival that celebrates the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery and Exodus from Egypt.

“We went from slavery to freedom, from subjugation to independence. We began our long journey from Egypt to our home — Zion and Jerusalem,” he said in the Hebrew clip:

The Times of Israel reports Netanyahu has worked to increase Israel’s contacts with Africa, Latin America and the Far East while pushing for more open ties with moderate Arab states.

Israel has formal relations only with Egypt and Jordan, but its relations with some Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, have warmed despite the attentions of Iran.

Netanyahu’s message came just 48-hours after President Reuven Rivlin formally offered him the opportunity to form a government, initiating up to six weeks of coalition talks.

He leads a country that has been a sanctuary of democracy and pluralism in a region dominated by authoritarian regimes. Israel is the only country in the Middle East with free elections, a free press, freedom of religion, protection for minority rights and other safeguards typical of a free society.

In honoring those traditions, Netanyahu formed governments in 1996, 2009, 2013 and 2015. In his speech accepting the president’s appointment, Netanyahu vowed to serve both those who voted for him in the April 9 election and those who did not.

“There is no bigger honor in a democracy,” Netanyahu said. “I am just as excited as the first time, if not more.”

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