On this Passover eve, as Jews around the world recall the biblical Exodus from Egypt and welcome a new season of hope in our time, I extend my heartfelt holiday greetings to the people of Israel. This holiday is about balance: the joy of families gathering around the Seder table and the potent reminders of people of all faiths who are still denied the liberty to observe openly.
I look forward to speaking soon with Prime Minister Netanyahu to convey my personal best wishes to him and his family and the people of Israel. I greatly appreciate the personal friendship we have built over many years and admire the leadership, courage, and commitment to peacemaking that he has shown in the face of difficult and complicated challenges in the past months. The story of Passover that will be read in Israel and around the world tonight reminds us that it has never been an easy feat leading the people of Israel to a better, safer place.
I am very pleased to be attending Ambassador Dermer's Seder tomorrow night and joining in the spirit of this festival of spring and renewal. I hope we can all draw inspiration from the spirit of the ancient Hebrews who in the Exodus stood at the precipice of the Red Sea, trembling with terror but nevertheless filled with the hope that they too may enjoy freedom and fulfill their promise as a people. And as families and friends listen tonight as the youngest child asks the table, "Mah nishtanah? -- Why is this night different from all other nights?" I pray the answer will be: because this night will lead us into a year of renewed commitment to peace, freedom, and dignity for all of God's children.