ISRAEL'S 60TH ANNIVERSARY -- (Senate - May 14, 2008)
Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I wish to also speak on Israel's 60th anniversary. It is a very important date for a truly remarkable country and a remarkable people who, in a mere six decades of existence, have built a vibrant, successful, modern democracy out of almost nothing.
When I was still a student, I had the opportunity to visit Israel with my sister. She had a college friend who had moved to Israel after graduation. Even back then--I was very young--I couldn't help be impressed by the determination and perseverance of all the people I met and their effort to build a vibrant, democratic state, to create a safe, secure homeland for all Jews, no matter where they may have originally been from around the world.
I had a second opportunity to visit Israel as a Member of Congress many years later. It was a very different sort of trip, very different itinerary, a very different set of meetings than when I was a student. But I left with the same strong feelings of respect and admiration for all the people of Israel, the same recognition of their determination and unflagging faith in their nation and countrymen. Their belief in the importance of their mission had not faded at all in the years between my visits.
What makes today especially notable is it is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. There is wonderful hope in this celebration of the 60th anniversary, and there is also sober appreciation of the challenges that remain.
On the hopeful side, on the impressive side, is that in a mere 60 years, as I have said, Israel has created a nation characterized by strong democratic principles, a compassionate and determined people, innovative industry, especially in technology, medicine, and science, a competitive global economy.
In a mere six decades, Israel has built all that tremendous innovation, tremendous economic prosperity and progress virtually out of nothing, virtually out of the sands of the desert. It has become a beacon of freedom and democracy in a region that has very few examples to speak to. Israel is the only fully developed democracy in that sense. It represents to all peoples what can be achieved when people come together in a common cause, set aside differences, work together in a very determined way to make life better for them and their children. I recognize this important anniversary.
I yield the floor.