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In Honor of Israel's 65th Independence Day

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ENGEL. I thank the gentlewoman from Florida.

Let me say, as the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I really want everyone to know what a valued member of our committee the gentlewoman from Florida is. She is a new Member of Congress, but we value her opinions and thoughts and hard work on our committee. I know she has got a very bright future on our committee and in Congress, and I thank her for inviting me to participate in this very important Special Order.

As we've heard, Mr. Speaker, from so many of our colleagues who have spoken, the United States and Israel have much in common. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. The United States, of course, is the oldest democracy in the world. We have similar values. The standard of living of citizens in both our countries is higher than in most of the world, and Israel and the

United States share common concerns.

Israel is celebrating its 65th birthday, a celebration of the holiday of Yom Ha'Atzmaut, and I think all Americans want to congratulate the people of Israel for persevering in a very, very dangerous neighborhood and in a very, very dangerous environment.

Earlier today, we had a terrible tragedy in the United States, in Boston, in which lives were lost, in what seems to be a bombing, or a potential terrorist attack. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but that's the way it appears. As a New Yorker who lived through September 11, 2001, terrorism is something that, whenever it raises, or rears, its ugly head, all people of goodwill must condemn it. The people of Israel have lived through that--have lived through bombings of busses and bombings of pizza shops and bombings of weddings and just random bombings of people who care not about life but who care about death. So we pause, of course, for the loss of life in Boston today, and we understand that, when Israel has gone through terrorist attacks, there has been a similar crying out of wanton acts of terror.

I just came back a few weeks ago from Israel. I had the honor of traveling there with President Obama, and the President, of course, is working feverishly to try to move towards a two-state solution, which all of us believe is the best thing that could happen--a Palestinian state and an Israel Jewish state. Certainly, the United States will always stand by its ally Israel. I'll be going back to the region in a couple of weeks, visiting Israel again with senior members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and of the other relevant committees because we realize how important it is to continue to keep the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

It has been a very strong partnership, and it has been a good partnership. Israel is one of the greatest supporters of the United States in the United Nations and elsewhere, and of course the United States is one of the greatest supporters of Israel. Iron Dome, which is saving countless Israeli civilian lives, has been funded for and provided for by the United States, and the United States has stood by the people of Israel in its constant fight against terrorism.

I am just so happy that we are celebrating Israel's 65th birthday. I guess that makes Israel a senior citizen these days. Israel is obviously a very new country but of people in a very, very old land. Israel is the ancient Jewish homeland, and the rebirth of the Jewish state in 1948 is a miracle for all to behold.

So I am very, very proud of the relationship that we in the United States have with the State of Israel and the people of Israel. I am very proud that we have strong supporters of Israel on both sides of the aisle. Israel, as Ms. Schakowsky said before, is a bipartisan or a nonpartisan issue in that people, Democrats and Republicans, understand that Israel's fight for democracy, against terrorism and for its people is really the same fight that we have here in the United States.

Again, I want to thank the gentlewoman from Florida for including me in this, and I look forward to continuing to work with her on the Foreign Affairs Committee and in Congress on this issue and on so many other issues of importance to the people of the United States.


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