International acceptance of Israel's right to exist is not enough, the world must accept Israel as a Jewish state, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Wednesday to the thousands of Jewish American leaders who had come to Jerusalem for the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities.
"The world is willing to defend the right of the state of Israel to exist, this is the part of the requirement that the [Mideast] Quartet demands [of] Hamas. But I would like to add two more words to this demand of the quartet: They need to accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state," she said.
Livni went on to clarify that there were international leaders who support such a right, expressly mentioning US President George W. Bush.
Moving on to the Jewish nature of the state, Livni said, "It's not about learning Hebrew or about joining the army, it's about Jewish tradition, Jewish history… We need to keep the nature, the character of the state of Israel as a Jewish state because this is - excuse me for using the French - the raison d'etre of the state of Israel."
"A Jewish state is not a monopoly of rabbis, it's what each and everyone feels inside," she added.
Livni also announced that Israel would become the second country to boycott the so called "Durban II" conference to be held in Geneva the spring of 2009.
It followed Canada, which announced its decision in January of this year. "I decided that Israel will not participate and will not legitimize the Durban II conference," Livni said.
The foreign minister in February stated Israel's intention not to attend the follow up conference to the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance which met in Durban, South Africa.[...]