I send my warmest wishes to the Israeli people as they celebrate their independence. Generations of Jews dreamed of the day when the Jewish people would have their own state in their historic homeland, and 66 years ago today that dream came true. Today, Israel thrives as a diverse and vibrant democracy and as a "start-up nation" that celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation.
The United States was the first nation to recognize the government of Israel in 1948, and today we are still the first to come to Israel's defense. The enduring relationship between our two nations, based on shared democratic values and our unwavering commitment to Israel's security, has never been stronger. We will continue to work with Israel to support a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict, one that ensures that the Israelis will live alongside their neighbors in peace and with security.
On behalf of the American people, I wish President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the Israeli people a joyous Yom Ha'atzmaut.