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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. I do now rise to commemorate this important event, the 61st anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel. As indicated, it was less than a century ago when most Jewish people were scattered throughout the world, often suffering from unjust persecution. Yet today, Israel is an independent, flourishing country that is vibrant as it goes forward day by day.
Just as the Jewish people celebrated Passover recently, the time when God delivered the Israelites out of captivity, I believe it is fitting and proper for us to celebrate the establishment of the only truly free country in the Middle East.
I have long been a strong advocate for Israel during my tenure here in Congress. During my very first term in office, I had an opportunity to visit Israel and to learn more about its people and the Jewish government. I also had the opportunity to establish a Jewish Advisory Committee in my district, to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Last year I introduced H. Res. 951, which condemned the rocket attacks on Israel, and I was pleased to see that this resolution passed the House overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.
So today, I come to the floor and am honored to speak on H. Con. Res. 111 because Israel has been one of our strongest allies, and our two countries have so very much in common. Israel and America have both faced so many wars. But we have also endeavored throughout it all to preserve the peace. And we continue now to promote freedom despite the ongoing resistance.
Earlier this year I joined with many of my constituents at a solidarity rally to remember Israel's efforts during Operation Cast Lead. I sympathized with the families of the victims who were injured and killed there.
This recent conflict served as a sobering reminder that liberty comes with a great price and a great responsibility. Yet Israel has not allowed challenges to suspend its progress. Israel was little more than a barren desert back in 1948. And, amazingly, this wilderness has been transformed into a center of thriving agricultural production. Not only has Israel been the source of innovative techniques, but it has also shared those techniques and that knowledge with countries across the world.
My own State of New Jersey is called the Garden State. Our State has directly benefited from the irrigation practices first developed by the people in Israel.
So I come to the floor right now grateful to how Israel has so freely shared their lessons that they have learned. By illustrating the virtues of liberty and the benefits of innovation, Israel today serves as a model for other developing nations.
This 61st anniversary is truly indeed a cause for celebration. I urge my constituents and colleagues to join me in recognizing this achievement of our friend and ally, Israel.
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