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Ms. ESTY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate America's great friend and ally, Israel, and the people of Israel, on the 65th anniversary of their independence.
Mr. Speaker, as a student, in the 1980's, I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Israel. I learned a lot from that journey. There are few places I have been to in my life as vibrant and dynamic as that nation. I was impressed, as I think most visitors are, by the great optimism and resilience of the Israeli people--optimism and resilience that they showed even during a time of extreme uncertainty.
And I was also struck by how small, and how vulnerable, Israel is geographically. On a clear day, you can stand on top of the Golan Heights and see from one end of the country to another. Right before your eyes, you can see the fragility of the country's security--whose defense is a great credit to the Israeli people.
Right before your eyes, you see a strong, but geographically small country, a country not protected by oceans, a country with many hostile neighbors, a country that has been bravely defending itself from terrorist and military attacks repeatedly since its independence.
My visit to Israel dramatically increased my appreciation for Israel and helped define my own views about the importance of their security and our nation's special relationship with Israel. Our shared national interests and our shared values of democracy, peace, and liberty have defined that relationship for 65 years now and will continue to define that relationship into the future.
I'm proud to join my colleagues of both parties in expressing a renewed commitment to that special relationship and to Israel's security, in honoring Israel's history, in expressing our best wishes for Israel's continued accomplishments, and in offering our congratulations to the Israeli people on this significant anniversary.
Congratulations to our dear friends in Israel on the 65th anniversary of your nation's independence.