Mr. PENCE. Mr. Speaker, sixty-four years ago the state of Israel declared its independence. As Israelis celebrate their Independence Day on Thursday of this week, I offer my wholehearted congratulations to our most cherished ally.
For millennia, the state of Israel was merely a dream to the Jewish people. In 1948, under the leadership of Holocaust survivors who had resolved to overcome mid-Twentieth Century Europe's atrocities, the state of Israel declared independence in its ancient Holy Land and that dream became a reality.
The United States promptly recognized Israel, but she was met with open hostility from her Arab neighbors.
Sixty-four years later, in many respects it seems as though very little has changed. However, we know that Israel prevailed against overwhelming odds in 1948, in 1967 and in 1973 and countless other times. Undoubtedly, Israel is an overwhelming success in a region plagued by conflict.
In a neighborhood of sworn enemies, Israel is a beacon of hope. It boasts a vibrant economy and a well-educated populace whose values and interests are much the same as ours. Israel is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, and I join my colleagues who, on a bipartisan basis, have time and again stood by her in times of trial.
Freedom-loving nations have a duty to stand with Israel much like Congress has over the years. With a growing threat from an increasingly hostile Iranian regime, a regime that has threatened on more than one occasion to 'wipe Israel off the map,' let us recommit ourselves to the defense of the state of Israel. As we celebrate the 64th anniversary of her founding, the United States must renew its commitment to preserve and protect Israel and stand firm as Israel's closest friend.