* Mr. Speaker, today, Israel celebrates 63 years of independence as a Jewish-state. I am proud to say that it was on this same day 63 years ago that the United States became the first country in the world to recognize the State of Israel. For decades, our two nations have shared an unyielding bond based on trust, common values and a great respect for one another. I look forward to celebrating this bond for years to come.
* As the Middle East and North Africa continue on their paths to self-governance it is my sincere hope that this progress will continue in the most peaceful way possible. I believe that once the people of these growing nations are able to achieve their ambitions that the bonds between Israel, the United States and the region will prosper. The United States will continue our efforts with Israel and others in the region to achieve widespread peace and work together toward this end.
* I offer my best wishes to President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the people of Israel as they celebrate their 63rd Independence Day. I remain committed to ensuring that the next 63 years of U.S.-Israel relations are marked by cooperation and mutual respect.