Thursday, May 08, 2008

Israel at 60: Statements

Here are various statements that have been made by candidates, elected officials, etc.

Senator Hillary Clinton
I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the people of Israel on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment as a state and homeland for the Jewish people, and I join all the friends of Israel who celebrate today with joy and pride.

Emerging after the tragedy of the Holocaust, the Jewish State was reborn after two thousand years, fulfilling the biblical prophecy of a return to Zion. Since then, in just three score years, Israel has welcomed Jewish exiles from Europe, the Arab world, Africa, and the former Soviet Union.

From my first trip to Israel in 1982 to my most recent visit in 2005, I have seen for myself Israel’s achievements – and its challenges. The people of Israel, proud and free and always triumphing in the face of adversity, have built a strong and vibrant democracy, a diverse and rich society, and an innovative and thriving economy.

Yet today, even as we celebrate all that Israel has achieved, we know that the Jewish state is still not safe. In every generation, Israel faces serious challenges to its security and threats to its existence. And just as the United States recognized Israel at birth, and has always stood by Israel when its survival and well-being were challenged, so too do the American people stand by Israel today, united by shared values and strong bonds of friendship.

As President of the United States, I will be proud to continue and strengthen these bonds, so that the State of Israel will continue to grow, from generation to generation, in security and peace.

Am Yisrael Chai! (the people of Israel live!)

John McCain
"I join all Americans in offering my heartiest congratulations to the Israeli people on the 60th anniversary of their state's founding. When President Harry Truman recognized the new State of Israel 60 years ago, he formalized a deep and enduring relationship between two great peoples. In so doing, President Truman undoubtedly knew that the Jewish state would face great challenges in its early years, and he signaled American partnership in the face of these threats.

"Yet those tests were not confined to the early years after Israel's independence. Challenges to Israel have perhaps been the norm, rather than the exception, and its people have been tested in the crucible of conflict time and again. Those threats continue, and it is incumbent upon all free people to stand by Israel in her defense of our common values and ideals. Survival in the face of these enduring trials would be impressive; flourishing would seem out of the question. Yet Israel has thrived, and her people have built a nation that is an inspiration to all those who cherish freedom.

"The close and enduring U.S.- Israel relationship has thrived as well, and I am proud to support the vital ties between our two countries. Our bond will be of great importance in order to continually fulfill that aspiration sounded so eloquently in the HaTikva: 'to be a free nation.' As Israelis celebrate 60 years of independence, let no one doubt that, while the challenges will continue, Israel will survive and it will flourish. There will always be an Israel, and there will always be a vital bond between our two peoples."

Barack Obama
This week marks the 60th anniversary of the fulfillment of a dream -- the independence of the State of Israel. Throughout many centuries, Jews held fast to the hope of returning as free people to the land of their ancestors. Blessed with visionary leaders like Theodore Herzl and David Ben-Gurion, in the 20th century they began to take the practical steps necessary to build a modern state. Against all odds, and overcoming obstacles from international indifference, to hostile opposition in the region, to the murderous crimes of the Nazis, the leaders of the Zionist movement declared the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948. In their moment of triumph, they were immediately plunged into a war for their new nation's very survival. Because of the courage and commitment of its people, Israel did survive. While threats to its existence have endured, Israelis have built their nation into a strong, vibrant democracy, with a prosperous economy, a rich cultural life, and a deep friendship with the United States that benefits both our peoples in so many ways. Even in hard times, Israelis have so much to be proud of. As the Jewish State continues to grow and prosper, the United States will always stand with Israel to ensure it can defend itself against threat of terrorism and violence, from as close as Gaza and as far as Tehran. We must never waver in our unshakeable commitment help Israel achieve its goal of true security through lasting peace with its neighbors.

On this happy occasion, I send congratulations and warm wishes to President Peres, Prime Minister Olmert, and the Israeli people, and I join with Jews and friends of Israel everywhere in celebrating Israel's 60th Independence Day.

Greetings from President Shimon Peres on the Occasion of Israel's 60th Anniversary

Jerusalem, May 2008

Dear Friends,

As we stand poised to celebrate Israel's 60th Anniversary, we can only but look back on our achievements with a great deal of pride. From its inception, practically rising from the ashes of the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust, Israel has had to fight for its survival through 7 wars and relentless attacks on its very existence. Yet we persisted in turning the vision of a homeland for the Jewish people into reality. We have created a model democracy, an independent judiciary system and set ourselves at the forefront of fields such as science and technology, hi-tech, agriculture and medicine, to name but some of the areas in which Israel excels.

But we should not allow ourselves to rest on our laurels. We must seek to educate our younger generation for leadership roles in our 3 Tomorrows:

The Israel Tomorrow, The Jewish Tomorrow and The Global Tomorrow. We must bridge the growing social gaps in our country. We must cultivate stronger ties with the Jewish Diaspora and engage the young in these communities to connect with Israel. We must initiate breakthroughs in spheres such as nano-technology, desalination to alleviate water shortages, find alternative sources of energy, green the desert and make inroads in ever more sophisticated medical applications. During these years, we have made peace with Egypt and Jordan and hope that the peace negotiations with the Palestinians will bear fruit.

We must be true to the values dictated by our Prophets, a legacy that has united the Jewish people through the ages and that must continue to serve as our beacon for the generations to come.

As Israel celebrates 60 years of independence I wish the citizens of our country, the Jewish people and our friends throughout the world a peaceful and prosperous anniversary year.

Shimon Peres

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Message to Diaspora Communities on the Occasion of the State of Israel's 60th Yom Ha'Atzmaut

Jerusalem, May 2008

Dear Friends,
It gives me great pleasure to send you warm greetings from Jerusalem - the vibrant and beating heart of the Jewish people and the eternal capital of the State of Israel - on the occasion of the State of Israel's 60th Yom Ha'Atzmaut.

As we celebrate this milestone in the history of the State of Israel, this is an excellent time not only to look back as the tremendous accomplishments of the past 60 years, but also to look ahead of what the future holds in store for Israel and for the Jewish people.

Over the past 60 years, Israel has developed into a modern, vibrant country - one with a strong and stable economy; one which is a world leader in agriculture, science, hi-tech and medicine; one which welcomes and absorbs Jews from around the world and which embraces the diverse cultures from which they came.

Even with all these achievements, we still have much to accomplish. We must exhaust all possibilities for peace with our Arab neighbors, while always safeguarding the security of our citizens. We must work to ensure a more just and equal society; one which rejects all forms of discrimination and bias. We must ensure that the State of Israel fully embraces the challenges and wonders of the 21st century, to assure its status as a "light among nations".

Our greatest natural resource and our best chance to guarantee the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people are our children. We must invest in Jewish-Zionist education, develop programs which strengthen the affinity of Diaspora youth for the State of Israel and work to strengthen Jewish identity and continuity.

To this end, we must strengthen the historic partnership between our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora and the State of Israel. For it is only together - striding forward shoulder-to-shoulder - that we can secure our common future, become stronger as a people and as a nation and fully realize the promise of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic country.

Chag Sameach.


Ehud Olmert

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Message to Diaspora Children

Jerusalem, May 2008

Dear Friends,
It gives me great pleasure to send you warm greetings from Jerusalem - the vibrant and beating heart of the Jewish people and the eternal capital of the State of Israel - on the occasion of the State of Israel's 60th birthday.

Sixty years ago, brave Jews from all over the world fought for the independence and freedom of the State of Israel - and won. Since then, the State of Israel has become a modern and vibrant democracy.

Some of you may wonder why the State of Israel should be an important part of your lives. There are many reasons. The modern State of Israel ties us to our proud history in our Land - from the glorious days of the Kings of Israel, through the ancient height height of our civilization and to the heroic stand of the Maccabees. The modern State of Israel serves as a safe haven for Jews across the world and embraces and absorbs their cultures - beginning with the Holocaust survivors of Europe, the Moroccans, Yemenites, Russians, Ethiopians, and Jews of every color and speaking 110 different languages. The Jewish people, wherever they may be, belong to each other - we are truly brothers and sisters - and we must ensure that we always have somewhere to come home to, even if we live in different places.

I invite you to become part of Israel - learn our shared history and language and come visit us. We need each other to ensure our future as a people and as a country, and I call on you to play a role in this important mission.

Chag Sameach.

Ehud Olmert

No comments: