Ezer Weizman

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Ezer Weizman in 1992

Ezer Weizman (Hebrew: עֵזֶר וַיצְמָן) (15 June 192424 April 2005) was the seventh President of Israel, first elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1998. Before the presidency, Weizman was commander of the Israeli Air Force and Minister of Defense.


  • There are greater historians than I who believe that there are large currents in history and that it is just a matter of time until they occur. But originality of leadership is called for on the part of one leader or more to ride these historical waves in order to realize them. Otherwise, this moment of realization may move to a later period. And if it is correct to view history as a flowing river, it will continue to flow.
  • If you don't keep giving the Arabs a bloody nose from time to time, the Arab balloon will blow up. We are going to live like this, hacking at each other, for some time to come.
  • Do I have to preach to my children that I have the right to the land of Israel only where there are no Arabs? Or do I preach to my children that I have a right to this land because it is mine of right?

Speech at the Bundestag and Bundesrat of the Federal Republic of Germany (January 16, 1996)[edit]


Ezer Weizman 1969.jpg
  • It was fate that delivered me and my contemporaries into this great era, when the Jews returned to and re-established their homeland. I am no longer a wandering Jew who migrates from country to country, from exile to exile. But all Jews in every generation must regard themselves as if they had been there, in previous generations, places, and events. Therefore, I am still a wandering Jew, but not along the far-flung paths of the world. Now I migrate through the expanses of time, from generation to generation, down the paths of memory.
  • Memory shortens distances. Two hundred generations have passed since my people first came into being, and to me they seem like a few days. Only two hundred generations have passed since a man named Abraham rose up and left his country and birthplace for the country that is today mine. Only two hundred generations have elapsed from the day Abraham purchased the Cave of Makhpela in the city of Hebron to the murderous conflicts that have taken place there in my generation. Only one hundred fifty generations have passed from the Pillar of Fire of the Exodus from Egypt to the pillars of smoke from the Holocaust. And I, a descendant of Abraham, born in Abraham's country, have witnessed them all.
  • Just as memory force us to participate in each day and every event of our past, so does the virtue of hope force us to prepare for each day of our future. After all, in the past century alone we have been suspended between life and death, between hope and despair, between displacement and rootedness. Ours is the terrible century of death, in which the Nazis and their assistants destroyed a large portion of us in the Holocaust, but it is also the mind-boggling century of revival, of independence, and -- recently -- of a chance for peace.
  • I express my gratitude and blessings for the friendship and cooperation that prevail between Israel and Germany today, as reflected in many diverse spheres of economic, security, and cultural affairs, along with one that is especially close to my heart -- scientific research. German and Israeli researchers are sharing their expertise and skills, and German assistance in Israeli scientific research is one of the factors that Israeli citizens appreciate most highly.
  • The peace process is the most important process that has surfaced since the establishment of the Jewish state. And we are now in its very midst.
  • For more than a century of Zionist endeavor, we have hoped for this peace and struggled to achieve it. We did not return to our borders in warships; we did not march home waving spears. We returned in convoys of dreamers and in boats of oppressed refugees. We returned, and, like our forefather King David who purchased the Temple Mount, and our patriarch Abraham who bought the Cave of Makhpela, we bought land, we sowed fields, we planted vineyards, we built houses, and even before we achieved statehood, we were already bearing weapons to protect our lives.
  • Time and again we stretched out our hands, and time and again we were rejected. Time and again we went to war; time and again we killed and were killed. Time and again we left our homes, offices, universities, and orchards for the battlefields. Time and again we discovered that beyond even the greatest victories, only crises and losses lurked.
  • We deal with this fragile, delicate process of peace suffused with hope and, I am sure, with sang-froid and wisdom. Terrorist organizations and extremist Islamic states wish to sabotage the process, as do extremist elements in our midst. The atmosphere is charged; things are not easy -- not only because murderous extremism is striving to destroy this peace, but also because even those who love peace are apprehensive, and both camps still have unhealed wounds and fresh memories. The blood still cries out to us.
  • Many peace treaties have been signed in the course of history. They speak of economic relations and security arrangements, compensation and borders. When I was Defense Minister in the Government of Israel, I took part in the peace negotiations with Egypt, and I can tell you that in peace treaties in the Middle East, we are strict about these matters but not only about them.
  • We are trying to achieve a peace that will propel us into the twenty-first century. But ancient Crusader maps hang on the wall, and ancient Biblical memories hover in the atmosphere, and primeval prophecies strive to fulfill themselves.
  • We respect our neighboring countries and the culture that surrounds us, and we wish to take up our position among them, but in our own way and with allegiance to our values and culture.
  • We and our language are alive. We who have arisen from the ashes, and the language that waited in the shrouds of Torah scrolls and between the pages of the prayerbooks, are alive. The language that was whispered in prayer only, that was read only in synagogues, that was sung only in liturgy, that was shrieked in the gas chambers -- in the prayer "Shma Yisrael" -- has been revived.
  • Today's Israel, with its large influx of immigrants, its economic momentum, the peace accords, should and can reclaim its position as the predominant cultural center of the Jewish people.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, we are a people of memory and prayer. We are a people of words and hope. We have neither established empires nor built castles and palaces. We have only placed words on top of each other. We have fashioned ideas; we have built memorials. We have dreamed towers of yearnings -- of Jerusalem rebuilt, of Jerusalem united, of a peace that will be swiftly and speedily established in our days. Amen.

Quotes about Weizman[edit]

  • While foes portrayed him as a spy, a madman and a danger to the public, supporters preferred the image of a fireman who could douse any conflict. Arguably, his notorious impetuosity condemned him to end his political life in a neutered office, away from the leadership role his talents deserved.

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