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Another Weizmann story I like to tell is his response to a member of the House of Lords who asked, “Mr Weizmann, why do you insist on having Israel in the Middle East, this is a very dangerous area.” He said, “Excuse me, Mr Minister, why do you insist on going all the way to Brighton to visit your mother, there are so many old ladies in London?” Those are just stories that give you the sense, the feeling, that the connection, the bond, is much deeper. I mean, some people say that Israel was established after the Holocaust because the world felt bad about the whole thing — I don’t like that narrative.

DJ: No, that’s a bad narrative.

TH: That’s a bad narrative! I think we should tell the big story and the big story is 3,000 years of Jewish history. You know something, even through the exile, the Jewish people have the record of the highest percentage of Nobel prizes. We have 188 Nobel prizes — including Bob Dylan’s — and we have 12 from the young Israeli country that was re-established in 1948. This is amazing. It means something. I always say the three biggest revolutions of the 20th century were Einstein’s, Freud’s and Marx’s, no matter whether you like their revolutions or not. And they were all Jews. I think there is something revolutionary about Jewish thought, Jewish DNA. And I think this is what Israel, the modern Israel, also has in its DNA. We want revolution, we want a better world, and we always struggle to innovate things that will improve the world.

I think that by taking the Israeli policy in conflict to the centre we lost the real narrative of our country. The real narrative, besides of course the history, is why we are there. We are there to give the world universal solutions and ideas. I would say we are a thinking hub of Western civilisation. And I think this is part of what I would like to put at the front of the foreign ministry. After making a very clear statement of the fact that this is our country, we don’t apologise for it, we don’t apologise for being occupiers because we’re not, we would like to have co-existence with our neighbours. We have proved throughout all the years of our existence, from the declaration of independence of David Ben-Gurion to our current Prime Minister, that we want peace. I think we will prove that to the world. We don’t need to re-approve that message all the time. It’s very clear that most Israelis want to live peacefully and we are also willing to defend ourselves if it’s needed. 

DJ: Now — the obvious objection that you’re going to get from so-called members of the international community is, OK, so where does that leave the Palestinians, because, you’re right, they never had a state, but they do now feel that they have an identity, a nationhood, just as Israelis do, so what are you going to do about that? Will you incorporate all the Arab citizens in the West Bank?

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