US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro was a guest speaker in an event hosted by Lander Institute in Jerusalem. The ambassador addressed the forum in Hebrew. Following are a number of excerpts from his address, most importantly his remarks in the name of the US administration pertaining to the chareidi community, its relationship with the greater Israeli community, and its place in the Israeli workforce.
First of all, I would like to thank the directors of the Lander Institute.
I myself was a student in Jerusalem twice, after high school and then I spent a year in Hebrew University. Being here brings back nice memories for me from my earlier years. It is a true honor to address this forum.
The United States is most interested in the chareidi community in Israel, especially vis-à-vis its relationship with the other sectors of society in Israel. Institutions such as yours, which provide chareidim with an opportunity to receive and education, serve to ensure future prosperity in the sector. END of REMARKS
In a meeting with school officials, the ambassador acknowledged the significance of the chareidi community, now representing 25% of the nation’s first grade classrooms, signaling the community will play an even more vital role in the coming years. He feels this highlights the importance of an institute such as Lander, since it will play a vital role in the success of the chareidi community in the future towards permitting those who wish to earn a degree and profession.
The ambassador stressed the need to integrate the chareidi community into the workforce to ensure future success, acknowledging at times the cost of accommodating a chareidi worker may be higher initially, but he feels this can be overcome through dialogue which will eventually lead to results that exceed the expectations of all.
He stressed that Israel enjoys the total support of President Barak Obama, especially regarding Israel’s future security in the region. Israel he explained remains America’s staunchest ally in the region.
On the diplomatic/political front, the ambassador assured those present that the president continues to support bilateral negotiations as the only means towards an agreement via the two-state solution, the independent Jewish State of Israel living alongside an independent State of Palestine, in security and tranquility. An agreement is mutually beneficial both regarding security and economic prosperity.
Regarding the upcoming UN General Assembly event, the ambassador confirmed that if the PA (Palestinian Authority) moves ahead as planned, the situation will be complicated since the distrust between the sides will increase. He stressed that as President Obama indicated on May 19th, America will veto any such move in the Security Council.
“American and Obama support direct negotiations between the sides, negotiations without preconditions. Talks have a good chance of succeeding if there is a basis for understanding between the sides. The Quartet and the US are working towards establishing this basis for trust, but to date, we have been unsuccessful. We must continue. Even if there is a vote in the UN we must continue towards finding this understanding”.
He added America is not seeking to support any one side over the other, and funds for the PA will continue to flow towards permitting the PA to pay salaries and maintain normal function and operations. He pointed out that three days ago, Israel expressed support for continued PA funding at the NY based donor conference. “Security cooperation between Israel and the PA is very important. We want to continue progress towards developing PA institutions that will lead to regional stability that is mutually beneficial”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)