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In Recognition of Israel's 65th Independence Day

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate Israel's 65th Independence Day. Sixty-five years ago, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of Israel as the national home for the Jewish people. The celebrations taking place today in New York and across the country commemorate that inaugural event and underscore the special bond between the United States and Israel.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations issued resolution 181, which approved the Special Committee on Palestine's partition plan establishing a Jewish state. On May 14, 1948 (the 5th of Iyar, 5708 according to the Jewish calendar), the day before the British mandate expired, David Ben-Gurion read the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel in the main hall of what was then the Tel Aviv Museum. President Harry S. Truman waited only minutes to issue the United States' formal recognition of the Jewish State.

Today, Israel remains a beacon of hope and democracy in the Middle East. Throughout its history, Israel has been a safe haven for Jews across the world who have faced persecution and repression. Nonetheless, Israelis have yet to know one day without war. Constantly under attack, Israel has rightfully defended its citizens while also searching for a true partner in peace. Americans strongly identify with Israel's historic struggle for independence and continued hope for a peaceful future. With shared values and shared ideals, Israel is the United States' closest ally in the Middle East. I remain hopeful for a long-term peace agreement so that Israel and its neighbors can finally know peace.

Israel draws its strength from the diversity and tenacity of its people. Israel has demonstrated that a small country with few natural resources, surrounded by hostile nations that deny its right to exist, can still thrive, thanks to its smart investments, an entrepreneurial culture, and a people determined to succeed.

Today, Israel is a center of scientific, medical and technological innovation, and a leader in agriculture, water purification, alternative energy and public health. Israel has more high tech start ups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country in the world. In 2010, Israel became a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), marking it as one of the world's most highly developed economies.

Adversity has challenged Israel to innovate in ways that have improved lives across the globe. Lacking potable water, Israel has invested in desalination plants that have significantly reduced its need to pump water from the Sea of Galilee. Lacking arable land, it developed drip irrigation systems that are now being implemented in other desert countries. Lacking energy, it has pioneered advances in solar and wind energy. Lacking security, it has built some of the most effective security products and strategies.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in celebrating the 65th Israeli Independence Day. Today we rejoice in Israel's virtues, embrace its people, and renew our nation's commitment to standing alongside Israel in defense of its right to safety and prosperity. Am Yisrael Chai--the people of Israel live!

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