The Blame Cycle


To avoid being wrong,

Blame the person.
Blame the system.
Blame the unknown.
Blame the universe.

Or take the blame and offer to help fix the problem – even if it wasn’t your fault.

The Pursuit


It’s about learning who you are. It’s about reaching deep within to draw on the character of your soul to display your very best. It’s about preparation paying off.

The pursuit is what keeps you alive. The pursuit means there’s something better, something more, something greater.

Pursuit gives you purpose.

When the pursuit ends, it’s time to nurture. And begin a new pursuit.

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received


When I was growing up, I went to an incredible counseling organization called Daystar Ministries in Nashville. They really helped me verbalize the difficulties I had as a kid who was dealing with a very traumatic illness. In our groups, I joined about 6 or 7 other kids my age who were dealing with divorced parents, trouble at school or any number of things that made life difficult.

One of the great things about being in a group of other kids was that I had the opportunity to learn how to interact with them with the guidance of a professional counselor. At the time, I Jim Knestrick was leading my group and he was a godsend. As we began to learn to ask each other questions, we had to think of ‘yes and no’ questions, as well as ‘deeper’ questions. What this did was force us to listen to what the other person was saying and find ways to probe further into those topics to draw out of them what was going on. The benefits to this line of thinking are enormous. By asking someone else to expound on the words they’ve already said, rather than refocusing the conversation back to yourself, it lets the other person know that you’ve been listening and you’re engaged.

In short, this was the advice: “When someone else is talking to you, think of a question to ask that will keep them talking.”

It’s this advice that makes it easy to be around people, to talk and to listen. It’s also what makes me value another person as a friend. Their ability and willingness to ask a question not only makes me feel valued, it means they find what I’m saying interesting.

Adding to this, I find that one of the most missed pieces of a conversation is the validation of a point or statement. A simple, “Hmm.. that’s interesting,” or “Wow, that’s amazing” goes a long way. Then the transition from there to a follow up question feels natural and caring.

Politics and the Church


A politician must learn to communicate in multiple, often competing, realities. That is why her job is so difficult and near to impossible to navigate cleanly. When her heart, which is set to serve others, enters a system where winning and losing are the same thing, where truth is rarely straight forward and where doing good requires money to change hands, weariness and distress pull her down. Those who expected great things see failure even when she’s making the best choices possible. Her servant’s heart must choose between leading in a manner that inherently creates conflict or remove herself from the leadership position altogether. What a choice!

But that is the essence of leadership – knowing that the best decision is not the easiest decision and being willing to move forward anyway. Her naiveté once knew the difference between right and wrong. Now those notions seem childish and ignorant. In order to survive she must reorient herself to the idea that every good decision has negative consequences. With every decision she creates friends and enemies. She was not raised like this. No one prepared her for life in the lion’s den.

A Church that trains up leaders without a real understanding of the complex nature of leadership positions is a Church without representation in political office. A leader may surface and enter this realm of competing realities, but she is set up for failure from day one. Navigating the complexities of political life, let alone the personalities who thrive on subjective truth and nuanced social norms, must be learned on the job instead of coming from previous training. This is not a fair fight. Her innocence is tainted and emotional walls of ‘savvy’ political speak are raised. It affects her entire life. She becomes disillusioned with her lack of preparedness and seeks refuge in worldly systems that enable her peers to survive.

In order for the existing Church to raise capable leaders equipped for the political realm, something must change.

The Natural Leader


Natural leaders are hard to miss. They take charge in most circumstances because they have a vision for each case. Being in control comes easily and people tend to follow this gifted individual.

In maturity, the natural leader delegates responsibility and learns to lead through loving and serving others. He sees his role as an opportunity to give back and to multiply his talents.

The natural leader who is focused on God will see his role as one where he has the freedom to lead as he knows how, but keeps a bigger picture in mind; it’s not about him at all. It’s about bringing glory to God the Father.

How, as a natural leader, are you creating leaders? As one who is focused on God, are you giving glory to him?

Learning to be Married


couple kissing behind veilWell, it happened. Back in April of 2012, I got married to an incredible woman named EmilyGrace Yorgey. She is my joy, my inspiration, my helper, and so much more. We’ve moved into an apartment and are enjoying our new life as a married couple. The feeling of being with this person with whom I will spend the rest of my life is both amazing and scary and unlike anything else. It’s like I’ve joined a new club and everyone now looks at me with different eyes. Men have a newfound respect for you as a peer in the club. Women speak with a tone that prefaces their statements with, “as a married man…” It’s really interesting to see how different people communicate with you now that I’m part of the marriage club.

The Marriage Club

The marriage club is a fascinating fraternity. It’s this place where you’ve “succeeded” in finding a life mate, but you’re entering entirely new territory where many before you have both failed and succeeded on many different levels.

“How’s married life?”, people ask. Don’t ask that. It’s a stupid question. There’s not a good and honest answer that takes less than 5 hours to give. “It’s great”, I reply, knowing that this person is just trying to make conversation. But they’ve missed out on the essence of being in the club.

Being in the club is about learning to be married. There isn’t a week that goes by where everything is perfect, but every week is amazing. How do you explain that in a one sentence reply? Learning to be married looks like eliminating expectations and figuring out how to adjust to your spouse. It’s about supporting the other person when they’re not in a good mood, but not allowing them to destroy your good mood. It’s about protecting and serving and doing your part. There is no room for ego, no room for control or manipulation, no room for secrets and definitely no room for ignoring the needs of the other person.

Being in the marriage club gives you a deep appreciation for a healthy example of a marriage. As a single person, you find yourself increasingly jaded by the terrible examples set before you in the world and in the media, and your friends tell you horror stories that make you want to run as far away from marriage as possible. As a married person, you see where the conflict comes from and how it takes two people who love each other more than anything else to commit to being and learning to be married. Seeing an older couple who is deep in love is even more of an amazing thing because you realize what they’ve been through to get where they are.

The Death of Expectations

When we went through marriage counseling, we were taught to look at our marriage we would a maturing child. Just like you have few expectations of perfections for an infant, it doesn’t make any sense to put expectations on yourself to know how to be married. It takes time to figure out how to crawl and walk and ask for things the way you need to. It takes time to learn the intricacies of your mate in order to find the level playing field on which to work together on any given task.

What I’m learning is that it takes all of me and all of her to be married. We can’t hold back, we can’t sit by and just let marriage happen. It’s a joy-filled process of being who I am and who I was meant to be while helping enable this beautiful, incredible woman reach her full potential and continue the process of self-discovery she is on.

Heidi Baker and Iris Ministries Needs Our Help


Iris Ministries Needs a Quest Kodiak Plane Many of you have undoubtedly been affected by the ministry of Heidi and Roland Baker. Heidi is the author of “Always Enough” and leads Iris Ministries in Mozambique, Africa.

They have started thousands of churches and see incredible miracles on a regular basis simply because they step out and believe that God is who he says he is. They made possible the construction of a lot of churches thanks to a loan they got in Their plane crashed last year (no one was injured) but the plane needs to be replace by 4/20/2012 in order for them to continue to reach the most remote places and tribes in Mozambique.

Bethel Church in Redding, CA has asked for the financial support of those who are blessed by its ministry and the associate pastor, Kris Vallotton, has released a public letter.

Please read and share this post to any and all of those who may be willing to support such this cause.

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing on behalf of Roland and Heidi Baker and Iris Ministries. Many of you are aware that their ministry plane crashed last year. Miraculously, no one was hurt in the crash, but the plane was destroyed. This plane was used to carry out many different kinds of ministry, especially large “bush conferences” where many thousands of people converged on old, dirt landing strips that are spread all over Mozambique and other African countries. The power of God showed up at these remote gatherings, resulting in thousands of people giving their lives to Christ. But it’s impossible to effectively continue this kind of ministry without a plane. Iris is eager to return to these isolated locations in Mozambique, and on into central and North Africa, to fuel the revival and spearhead evangelism there.

The plane that best suits the needs of Iris Ministries is called the Quest Kodiak. This is the first plane ever designed specifically for missionaries who work in rugged conditions, such as jungles. The total cost of this aircraft is approximately $1.63 million. The Bakers have already paid $741,000 towards the purchase of the Kodiak, but they are in need of an additional $680,000 to take possession of the plane.

Most of you probably know that it’s not Heidi and Rolland’s style to ask for financial help for anything. But because of the urgency of the deadline, which is April 20, 2012, and the amount of money needed, I asked them if I could have permission to help raise the money for the plane.

I thought that if we could get 680 people to give $1,000 each, it would be an easy way to pay the plane off, so I started the “680 Club”. Bethel Church is going to give $10,000 towards the project. Iris would be very grateful for ANY SIZE gift that you give towards funding this amazing project. Please visit to view a video with more information and to donate to the Iris ministries plane project.

Thank you so much for your time.

Much Love,
Kris Vallotton
Senior Associate Leader
Bethel Church, Redding Ca.

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The Tender Heart of a Woman


In my experience, the heart of a godly woman is tender, sensitive and kind. Men, we must do our part to speak to that heart in the way that heart understands love. It’s one thing to love her like you know how to. It’s another thing to love your woman in the way the she understands love. Recognizing the difference and being willing to adapt is a sign of your maturity and strength.

Bejamin Netanyahu – Transcript of U.N. Speech


This is an incredible speech. It confirms my belief that our support for Israel is not only right, it’s well-deserved. This was sent to me in email, so I can only assume it is accurate. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

See transcript below:

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Delivers Remarks at the United Nations …ISRAEL
Sept. 23, 2011

Thank you, Mr. President.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago. On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today.

I extend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan with renewed friendship, for neighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey, with respect and goodwill. I extend it to the people of Libya and Tunisia, with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future. I extend it to the other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we want to forge a new beginning. I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon, and Iran, with all of the courage of those fighting brutal repression.

But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.


Ladies and gentlemen, in Israel, our hope for peace never wanes. Our scientists, doctors, innovators apply their genius to improve the world of tomorrow. Our artists, our writers enrich the heritage of humanity.

Now, I know that this is not exactly the image of Israel that is often portrayed in this hall. After all, it was here in 1975 that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in our ancient biblical homeland, it was then that this was braided — branded, rather, shamefully as racism.

And it was here in 1980, right here, that the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn’t praised. It was denounced.

And it’s here, year after year, that Israel is unjustly singled out from condemnation. It’s singled out for condemnation more often than all the nations of the world combined; 21 out of the 27 General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East.

This is an unfortunate part of the U.N. institution. It’s the — the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles. Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Saddam’s Iraq headed the U.N. Committee on Disarmament.

You might say that’s the past. Well, here’s what’s happening now, right now, today. Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the U.N. Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world’s security. You couldn’t make this thing up.

So here in the U.N., automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets in the West — or rises in the West. I think the first has already been preordained. But they can also decide — they have decided that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.

And yet, even here in the General Assembly, the truth can sometimes break through.

In 1984, when I was appointed Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi of Lubavitch. He said to me — and, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want any of you to be offended, because, from personal experience of serving here, I know there are many honorable men and women, many capable and decent people serving their nations here, but here’s what the rabbi said to me.

He said to me, “You’ll be serving in a house of many lies.” And then he said, “Remember that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.”

Today, I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country. So, as Israel’s prime minister, I didn’t come here to win applause; I came here to speak the truth.


The truth is — the truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace. The truth is that, in the Middle East, at all times — but especially during these turbulent days — peace must be anchored in security.

The truth is that we cannot achieve peace through U.N. resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that, so far, the Palestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want — want a state without peace. And the truth is: You shouldn’t let that happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, when I first came here 27 years ago, the world was divided between East and West. Since then, the Cold War ended, great civilizations have risen from centuries of slumber, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, countless more are poised to follow, and the remarkable thing is that, so far, this monumental, historic shift has largely occurred peacefully.

Yet a malignancy is now growing between East and West that threatens the peace of all. It seeks not to liberate, but to enslave; not to build, but to destroy. That malignancy is militant Islam. It cloaks itself in the mantle of a great faith, yet it murders Jews, Christians and Muslims alike with unforgiving impartiality.

On September 11th, it killed thousands of Americans, and it left the Twin Towers in smoldering ruins. Last night, I laid a wreath on the 9/11 Memorial. It was deeply moving.

But as I was going there, one thing echoed in my mind: the outrageous words of the president of Iran on this podium yesterday. He implied that 9/11 was an American conspiracy. Some of you left this hall; all of you should have.


Since 9/11, militant — militant Islamists slaughtered countless other innocents, in London and Madrid, in Baghdad and Mumbai, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and every part of Israel.

I believe that the greatest danger facing our world is that this fanaticism will arm itself with nuclear weapons, and this is precisely what Iran is trying to do. Can you imagine that man who ranted here yesterday — can you imagine him armed with nuclear weapons?

The international community must stop Iran before it’s too late. If Iran is not stopped, we will all face the specter of nuclear terrorism. And the Arab Spring could soon become an Iranian Winter. That would be a tragedy.

Millions of Arabs have taken to the streets to replace tyranny with liberty, and no one would benefit more than Israel if those committed to freedom and peace would prevail. This is my fervent hope.

But as the prime minister of Israel, I cannot risk the future of the Jewish state on wishful thinking. Leaders must see reality as it is, not as it ought to be. We must do our best to shape the future, but we cannot wish away the dangers of the present.

And the world around Israel is definitely becoming more dangerous. Militant Islam has already taken over Lebanon and Gaza. It’s determined to tear apart the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan. It’s poisoned many Arab minds against Jews in Israel, against America and the West. It opposes not the policies of Israel, but the existence of Israel.

Now, some argue that the spread of militant Islam, especially in these turbulent times, if you want to slow it down, they argue, Israel must hurry to make concessions, to make territorial compromises. And this theory sounds simple.

Basically, it goes like this: Leave the territory and peace will be advanced. The moderates will be strengthened. The radicals will be kept at bay. And don’t worry about the pesky details of how Israel will actually defend itself. International troops will do the job.

These people say to me constantly, just make a sweeping offer and everything will work out. You know, there’s only one problem with that theory. We’ve tried it, and it hasn’t worked.

In 2000, Israel made a sweeping peace offer that met virtually all of the Palestinian demands. Arafat rejected it. The Palestinians then launched a terror attack that claimed 1,000 Israeli lives.

Prime Minister Olmert afterwards made an even more sweeping offer, in 2008. President Abbas didn’t even respond to it.

But Israel did more than just make sweeping offers. We actually left territory. We withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn’t calm the Islamic storm, the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the storm closer and made it stronger. Hezbollah and Hamas fired hundreds of rockets against our cities from the very territories we vacated.

See, when Israel left Lebanon and Gaza, the moderates didn’t defeat the radicals; the moderates were devoured by the radicals. And I regret to say that international troops, like UNIFIL in Lebanon and UBAN (ph) in Gaza, didn’t stop the radicals from attacking Israel.

We left Gaza hoping for peace. We didn’t freeze the settlements in Gaza; we uprooted them. We did exactly what the theory says: Get out, go back to the 1967 borders, dismantle the settlements.

And I don’t think people remember how far we went to achieve this. We uprooted thousands of people from their homes. We pulled children out of — out of their schools and their kindergartens. We bulldozed synagogues. We even — we even moved loved ones from their graves.

And then, having done all that, we gave the keys of Gaza to President Abbas.

Now, the theory says it should all work out and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could build a peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded. They applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship, as a bold act of peace.

But, ladies and gentlemen, we didn’t get peace. We got war. We got Iran, which through its proxy, Hamas, promptly kicked out the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority collapsed in a day, in one day.

President Abbas just said on this podium that the Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams. Yep, hopes, dreams, and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran, not to mention the river of lethal weapons now flowing into Gaza from the Sinai, from Libya, and from elsewhere. Thousands of missiles have already rained down on our cities.

So you might understand that, given all this, Israelis rightly ask, what’s to prevent this from happening again in the West Bank?

See, most of our major cities in the south of the country are within a few dozen kilometers from Gaza. But in the center of the country, opposite the West Bank, our cities are a few hundred meters or, at most, a few kilometers away from the — the edge of the West Bank.

So I want to ask you: Would any of you — would any of you bring danger so close to your cities, to your families? Would you act so recklessly with the lives of your citizens?

Israel is prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re not prepared to have another Gaza there. And that’s why we need to have real security arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate with us.

Israelis remember the bitter lessons of Gaza. Many of Israel’s critics ignore them. They irresponsibly advise Israel to go down this same perilous path again.

You read what these people say, and it’s as if nothing happened, just keep repeating the same advice, the same formula as though none of this happened. And these critics continue to press Israel to make far-reaching concessions without first assuring Israel’s security. They praise those who unwittingly feed the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam as bold statesmen. They cast as enemies of peace those of us who insist that we must first erect a sturdy barrier to keep the crocodile out or, at the very least, jam an iron bar between its gaping jaws.

So, in the face of the labels and the libels, Israel must heed better advice. Better a bad press than a good eulogy. And better still would be a fair press whose sense of history extends beyond breakfast and which recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

I believe that, in serious peace negotiations, these needs and concerns can be properly addressed. But they will not be addressed without negotiations.

And the needs are many, because Israel is such a tiny country. Without Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, Israel is all of nine miles wide. I want to put it for you in perspective, because you’re all in this city. That’s about two-thirds the length of Manhattan. It’s the distance between Battery Park and Columbia University. And don’t forget that the people who live in Brooklyn and New Jersey are considerably nicer than some of Israel’s neighbors.

So how do you — how do you protect such a tiny country, surrounded by people sworn to its destruction and armed to the teeth by Iran? Obviously, you can’t defend it from within that narrow space alone. Israel needs greater strategic depth, and that’s exactly why Security Council Resolution 242 didn’t require Israel to leave all the territories it captured in the Six-Day War. It talked about withdrawal from territories to secure and defensible boundaries.

And to defend itself, Israel must therefore maintain a long-term Israeli military presence in critical strategic areas of the West Bank. I explained this to President Abbas. He answered that, if a Palestinian state was to be a sovereign country, it could never accept such arrangements.

Why not? America has had troops in Japan, Germany, and South Korea for more than half-a-century. Britain has had an air space in Cyprus — or, rather, an air base in Cyprus. France has forces in the three independent African nations. None of these states claim that they’re not sovereign countries.

And there are many other vital security issues that also must be addressed. Take the issue of air space. Again, Israel’s small dimensions create huge security problems. America can be crossed by a jet airplane in six hours. To fly across Israel, it takes three minutes. So is Israel’s tiny air space to — to be chopped in half and given to a Palestinian state not at peace with Israel?

Our major international airport is a few kilometers away from the West Bank. Without peace, will our planes become targets for anti- aircraft missiles placed in the adjacent Palestinian state? And how will we stop the smuggling into the West Bank? It’s not merely the West Bank; it’s the West Bank mountains. It just dominates the coastal plain, where most of Israel’s population sits below. How could we prevent the smuggling into these mountains of those missiles that could be fired on our cities?

I bring up these problems because they’re not theoretical problems; they’re very real. And for Israelis, they’re life-and-death matters. All these potential cracks in Israel’s security have to be sealed in a peace agreement before a Palestinian state is declared, not afterwards, because if you leave it afterwards, they won’t be sealed. And these problems will explode in our face and explode the peace. The Palestinians should first make peace with Israel and then get their state.

I’d also want to tell you this: After such a peace agreement is signed, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. We will be the first.


And there’s one more thing. Hamas has been violating international law by holding our soldier, Gilad Shalit, captive for five years. They haven’t given him even one Red Cross visit. He’s held in a dungeon in darkness, against all international norms.

Gilad Shalit is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit. He is the grandson of Zvi Shalit, who escaped the Holocaust by coming to the — in 1930s as a boy to the land of Israel. Gilad Shalit is the son of every Israeli family. Every nation represented here should demand his immediate release. If you want to…


If you want to pass a resolution about the Middle East today, that’s the resolution you should pass.


Ladies and gentlemen, last year in — in Israel, in Bar-Ilan University, this year in the Knesset and in the U.S. Congress, I laid out my vision for peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state, yes, the Jewish state. After all, this is the body that recognized the Jewish state 64 years ago. Now, don’t you think it’s about time the Palestinians did the same?

The Jewish state of Israel will always protect the rights of all its minorities, including the more than 1 million Arab citizens of Israel. I wish I could say the same thing about a future Palestinian state, for as Palestinian officials made clear the other day — in fact, I think they made it right here in New York — they said the Palestinian state won’t allow any Jews in it. They’ll be Jew-free, Judenrein. That’s ethnic cleansing.

There are laws today in Ramallah that make the selling of land to Jews punishable by death. That’s racism. And you know which laws this evokes.

Israel has no intention whatsoever to change the democratic character of our state. We just don’t want the Palestinians to try to change the Jewish character of our state. We want to give up…


We want them to give up the fantasy of flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians. President Abbas just stood here, and he said that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the settlements. Well, that’s odd. Our conflict has been raging for — was raging for nearly half-a-century before there was a single Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

So if what President Abbas is saying was true, then I guess that the settlements he’s talking about are Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva. Maybe that’s what he meant the other day when he said that Israel has been occupying Palestinian land for 63 years. He didn’t say from 1967; he said from 1948.

I hope somebody will bother to ask him this question, because it illustrates a simple truth. The core of the conflict is not the settlements; the settlements are a result of the conflict.


The settlements have to be — it’s an issue that has to be addressed and resolved in the course of negotiations. But the core of the conflict has always been — and unfortunately remains — the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in any border.

I think it’s time that the Palestinian leadership recognizes what every serious international leader has recognized, from Lord Balfour and Lloyd George in 1917 to President Truman in 1948 to President Obama just two days ago, right here. Israel is the Jewish state.


President Abbas, stop walking around this issue. Recognize the Jewish state and make peace with us.

In such a genuine peace, Israel is prepared to make painful compromises. We believe that the Palestinians should be neither the citizens of Israel, nor its subjects. They should live in a free state of their own. But they should be ready, like us, for compromise.

And we will know that they’re ready for compromise and for peace when they start taking Israel’s security requirements seriously and when they stop denying our historical connection to our ancient homeland.

I often hear them accuse Israel of Judaizing Jerusalem. That’s like accusing America of Americanizing Washington or the British of Anglicizing London. Do you know why we’re called Jews? Because we come from Judea.

In my office in Jerusalem, there’s an ancient seal. It’s a signet ring of a Jewish official from the time of the Bible. The seal was found right next to the Western Wall, and it dates back 2,700 years to the time of King Hezekiah. Now, there’s a name of the Jewish official inscribed on the ring in Hebrew. His name was Netanyahu. That’s my last name.

My first name, Benjamin, dates back 1,000 years earlier to Benjamin, Binyamin, the son of Jacob, who is also known as Israel. Jacob and his 12 sons roamed these same hills of Judean Samaria 4,000 years ago, and there’s been a continuous Jewish presence in the land ever since.

And for those Jews who were exiled from our land, they never stopped dreaming of coming back, Jews in Spain, on the eve of their expulsion, Jews in the Ukraine fleeing the pogroms, Jews fighting the Warsaw ghetto, as the Nazis were circling around them. They never stopped praying. They never stopped yearning. They whispered, “Next year in Jerusalem. Next year in the promised land.”


As the prime minister of Israel, I speak for a hundred generations of Jews who are dispersed throughout the lands, who suffered every evil under the sun, but who never gave up hope of restoring their national life in the one and only Jewish state.

Ladies and gentlemen, I continue to hope that President Abbas will be my partner in peace. I’ve worked hard to advance that peace. The day I came into office, I called for direct negotiations without preconditions. President Abbas didn’t respond. I outlined a vision of peace of two states for two peoples. He still didn’t respond. I removed hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints to ease freedom of movement in the Palestinian areas. This facilitated a fantastic growth in the Palestinian economy. But, again, no response.

I took the unprecedented step of freezing new buildings in the settlements for 10 months. No prime minister did that before, ever.


Once again — you applaud, but there was no response. No response.

In the last few weeks, American officials have put forward ideas to restart peace talks. There were things in those ideas about borders that I didn’t like. There were things there about the Jewish state that I’m sure the Palestinians didn’t like. But with all my reservations, I was willing to move forward on these American ideas.

President Abbas, why don’t you join me? We have to stop negotiating about the negotiations. Let’s just get on with it. Let’s negotiate peace.


I’ve spent years defending Israel on the battlefield. I’ve spent decades defending Israel in the court of public opinion. President Abbas, you’ve dedicated your life to advancing the Palestinian cause. Must this conflict continue for generations? Or will we enable our children and our grandchildren to speak in years ahead of how we found a way to end it? That’s what we should aim for. And that’s what I believe we can achieve.

In two-and-a-half years, we met in Jerusalem only once, even though my door has always been open to you. If you wish, I’ll come to Ramallah.

Actually, I have a better suggestion. We’ve both just flown thousands of miles to New York. Now we’re in the same city. We’re in the same building. So let’s meet here today, in the United Nations.


Who is there to stop us? What is there to stop us? If we generally want peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peace negotiations?

And I suggest we talk openly and honestly. Let’s listen to one another. Let’s do as we say in the Middle East. Let’s talk dugli (ph). That means straightforward. I’ll tell you my needs and concerns; you’ll tell me yours. And with God’s help, we’ll find the common ground of peace.


There’s an old Arab saying that you cannot applaud with one hand. Well, the same is true of peace. I cannot make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you.

President Abbas, I extend my hand, the hand of Israel, in peace. I hope that you will grasp that hand.

We are both the sons of Abraham. My people call him Avraham. Your people call him Ibrahim. We share the same patriarch. We dwell in the same land. Our destinies are intertwined. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah.


The people who walked in darkness will see a great light. Let that light be the light of peace.