Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the contribution of the State of Israel as it celebrates its 64th anniversary as a vibrant and open democratic society.
I had the great privilege to live and work in Israel in the mid-1960's and celebrated Israel's 22nd anniversary by taking part in a three-day walk from the shores of Tel Aviv to the hills of Jerusalem.
Now, I marvel with every visit at the extraordinary changes that have taken place.
In its 64 years, Israel has managed some incredible achievements.
Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce per capita. These Israeli scientists have made great contributions to human understanding and invented revolutionary products.
The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis.
Israeli doctors and researchers have produced countless medical advances helping those with diseases such as cancer and Parkinsons.
Israel is also a leader in conservation and renewable energy. In fact, Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.
These achievements are truly inspiring. But the daily news reports from the Middle East continue to remind us of the daunting challenges that Israel faces.
Foremost among those challenges is the existential threat posed by a nuclear Iran. There is no debate here--Iran's leadership many times has stated that, ``Israel must be wiped off the map.'' Containment of a nuclear Iran is simply not an option for the United States or Israel.
In light of the ongoing threat from Iran and other neighboring countries, the United States must remain firm in its steadfast commitment to the security of Israel as an independent, democratic Jewish state. We must continue to provide Israel with the military capabilities and intelligence necessary to defend itself.
In addition, Israel still lacks a real partner for peace with the Palestinians.
However, this does not mean efforts for peace should not continue.
As we know well, achieving peace will not be easy, but I remain hopeful that Israel, her neighbors and the U.S. can get the peace process back on track and that Israel will continue to thrive as a vibrant and open democratic society.
I join my colleagues in recognizing Israel's 64th Anniversary.