In celebration of Israel’s 64th Independence Day, President Barack Obama released a statement honoring the “special bond of friendship” between Israel and the United States. He also commemorated Israeli values and achievements throughout the years.
Sixty-four years ago, the United States became the first country in the world to recognize the State of Israel—the realization of a modern day state in the historic homeland of the Jewish People. Since that momentous day, the special bond of friendship between the United States and Israel has grown stronger. Ours is a unique relationship founded on an unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, and anchored by our common interests and deeply held values. These values continue to enlighten and guide our efforts as we work with Israel, as well as with others in the region, to confront shared challenges and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution that will usher in a future of peace, security, and dignity for the people of Israel and its neighbors.
Today, as Israelis celebrate their 64th Independence Day and their remarkable achievements over the past six decades, it gives me great pleasure to extend my best wishes, and the best wishes of the American people, to President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the people of Israel.
In addition, President Obama sent a letter to Israeli President Shimon Peres, which you can read in its entirety here.
Joining President Obama in recognizing Yom Ha’Atzmut was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Israel as you celebrate your 64th Independence Day this April 26th. For many around the world, Israel remains a beacon of hope and an inspiring example.
Israel and the United States are united by a deep and unbreakable bond based on mutual interests and respect. Our relationship grows stronger every day as we work to promote regional security, create new economic partnerships, increase two-way trade and broaden our energy cooperation. We are steadfast in our commitment to Israel’s security, which is a cornerstone of our foreign policy in the Middle East.
Over the past year, people throughout the Middle East and North Africa have demanded their universal rights and human dignity. As you celebrate your Independence Day and changes continue to sweep across the region, know that the United States stands with you to embrace new opportunities and address difficult challenges. And we will continue to work with you and your neighbors to achieve the shared goal of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East. Congratulations and best wishes for peace and prosperity in the years to come.
Other Democratic leaders also released statement celebrating the holiday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said:
For 64 years, Israel has stood as a beacon of hope and progress, a nation defined by its rich culture and shaped by its long heritage, a tribute to the highest ideals of democracy around the world. From the moment of its independence, Israel has faced threats to its very existence, attacks from its neighbors, and terror in the heart of its communities; but the people of Israel have always responded with courage and bravery, with resilience and resolve, with persistence and perseverance.
Over more than six decades, Israel has remained a small nation of extraordinary achievements - from making a desert bloom to its remarkable contributions in science and medicine, in technology and innovation, in business and the arts. It has advanced and embodied the core values of Jewish history: to pursue peace, to establish justice, and to promote the common good.
These values form the foundation of the strong and enduring friendship between the United States and Israel. And as we work together to prevent a nuclear Iran and invest in Israel’s defense, we must reaffirm our commitment: the U.S.-Israel relationship is unbreakable, and our dedication to Israel’s security is unshakable.
Tonight, as Israelis celebrate their independence, we pay tribute to what many consider one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century: the establishment of the state of Israel. We pray for the day when Israel’s people can live free from fear and when the dream of peace becomes a reality. We look forward to marking many more Israeli Independence Days in the years to come.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in celebration of the occasion. He said:
Sixty four years ago, the State of Israel was born out from the hope of the generations and on the heels of history’s darkest human tragedy. Notwithstanding the many grave challenges it has faced since that day and still in our time, Israel has achieved a thriving economy, a strong national defense, and an important role as a member of the family of nations. Israel’s existence itself is a powerful symbol of the Jewish people’s resolve never again to permit its sons and daughters to face the threat of persecution or genocide.
On my many visits to Israel, I have witnessed the triumph of a dream - a beautiful dream that sustained the Jewish people for two thousand years and that has been fulfilled through the blossoming of a desert, the emergence of Israel’s high-tech economy, and the freedoms of speech, press, and religion for its citizens of every faith.
Israelis continue to impress the world with their achievements in business, technology, sports, the arts, and the defense of human rights. They are even more remarkable when considering the very real dangers Israel faces in the form of terrorism, regional instability, and the threat from Iran.
For Americans, Israel’s peace and security has always been in our national interest. And, as President Obama has made very clear, our countries will continue working closely together to prevent a nuclear Iran.
Not only do the United States and Israel share common interests; we also share the same values. Democracy, equal opportunity, human rights, and a yearning for peace are the ideals we hold in our hearts - and together we have worked for sixty-four years to defend them and promote them.
On this anniversary of Israel’s independence, Americans continue to stand side-by-side with Israel as it pursues peace and security for its people. I pray for the peace of Israel and its people, and I know the strong bonds between our nations will endure for generations to come.
You can view the video of Rep. Hoyer’s remarks here, or you can watch below.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who is a cosponsor of the Iron Dome Support Act—and other pro-Israel bills—met with representatives from the Cleveland Jewish Federation today to discuss the ongoing strengthening of the U.S.-Israel relationship. In support of increased funding for the Iron Dome system, Brown said:
Working alongside the Cleveland Jewish federation to promote Israel’s security is vital to protecting democracy - both in the U.S. and abroad. Among our many shared priorities, we must work together to ensure that Israel can defend itself against growing threats to its security. On Israeli Independence Day and every day, we must continue to remember that there should be no daylight between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to our common defense. That’s why I’m sponsoring the Iron Dome Support Act.
Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL) said:
I have always admired the confluence of Israel Independence Day with Remembrance Day, when the day before the celebration of independence Israelis stop to remember their fallen soldiers, and those who gave their lives in service to the nation. It is a reminder of the heavy price of freedom, and of the burden on future generations to uphold the ideals for which Israel’s sons and daughters gave their lives.
Beyond the conflicts that seem to dominate the news, Israel has made extraordinary achievements in every field imaginable. From agriculture and medicine to environmental sustainability and literature, Israelis offer a steady stream of improvements to global challenges….
Israel Independence Day is a celebration of renewal, and this year Israelis have much to be proud of in the remarkable nation they built from the desert. For 64 years Israel has stood as a symbol of hope for millions of people around the world. For 64 years Israel has modeled a society where determination and passion, and an emphasis on social progress and education, can build a productive nation.
I have been to Israel 14 times as a Member of Congress, and every time I go I encounter ordinary citizens and government officials alike who are genuinely dedicated to living up to the ideals of Israel’s independence. I am always impressed by the Israelis’ intense desire to persevere. Israel deserves to be secure and prosperous, to live in peace with its neighbors, and to live free from fear and violence.
Representative Gary Peters (D-MI) said:
Israel’s Independence Day is immediately preceded by Memorial Day because, as Israelis know far too well, the two are inseparable. The jubilation of Yom Ha’Atzmaut would not be possible without the brave sacrifices remembered just the day before on Yom HaZikaron. While Israel declared its independence 64 years ago today, the freedom of the Jewish State has been won and safeguarded by each generation, from the founding generation who fought in Israel’s War of Independence, to those young men and women who stand guard today, defending Israel as a lonely democracy in a sea of terror.
On Yom Ha’Atzmaut we rejoice in the miracle that is the modern State of Israel and today I join the Detroit Jewish community in celebrating Israel at 64.
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