Full Text Israel Political Brief April 23, 2015: Vice President Joe Biden’s Remarks at the 67th Annual Israeli Independence Day Celebration

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Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden the 67th Annual Israeli Independence Day Celebration

Source: WH, 4-23-15 

Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium
Washington, D.C.

7:29 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Ron, Mr. Ambassador, my name is Joe Biden, and everybody knows I love Israel.

I was thinking as Ron was saying that he doesn’t know what it’s like in Catholic families — whether we argue as much as allegedly occurs in Jewish families.  Well, I settled all that.  Two of my three children married Jews.  (Laughter.)  And you want to see what happens then.  (Laughter.)

As a matter of fact, my daughter — I — the dream of every Irish-Catholic father is for his daughter to marry a Jewish surgeon.  (Laughter.)  And she did.

But I want you to know I think the only time on record, at least in the state of Delaware, in the oldest Catholic church in the state, the second oldest — 1842 — we signed the ketubah in the Catholic rectory.  (Laughter.)  Not a joke.  (Laughter.)  Not a joke.  I think that’s a first.  We had a chuppah on the altar, handmade, magnificently, beautiful chuppah.  And we had a Catholic priest, Father Murphy, and a rabbi, and it was hard getting a rabbi, by the way.  (Laughter.)  I had to go up to Montgomery County to find one.  (Laughter.)  And the reason why — Montgomery County, Pennsylvania — and the reason he came is his mother loved me.  (Laughter.)  But — and my daughter asked me, she said, Daddy, what do you want played at the wedding?  I said, just one — maybe the concluding hymn could be “On Eagles’ Wings”.

And so the rabbi was a wonderful guy, literally presided over 75 percent of the wedding.  The vows were administered by the Catholic priest.  And as the wedding party was departing, as the bride and groom were departing down the aisle, they played the hora.  (Laughter.)  So I figured it out.  One way to end arguments is to marry.  (Laughter.)

Look, the fact of the matter is that 77 years [sic] ago, at midnight on May 14, 1948, against all odds, in the wake of searing tragedy, defiant in the face of overwhelming military numbers massed on its borders, the modern State of Israel was born.   (Applause.)

What you did next was no less than miraculous.  You were blessed with one of the greatest generations of founding fathers and mothers of any nation in the history of the world — Ben-Gurion, Meir, Begin, Sharon, Rabin, Peres.  They all fashioned Israel into a vibrant, vibrant democracy.

And in the process, you built one of the most innovative societies on Earth.  In the process, you defended your homeland and became the most powerful military in the entire region.  And all these years later, things have changed, but the danger still exists.  But the people of Israel still live in a dangerous neighborhood.  And just to be an Israeli — it still demands uncommon courage.

Much has changed, but two things have remained absolutely the same: the courage of your people and the commitment of mine.  (Applause.)

So today, we celebrate your independence and our friendship, which was born just 11 minutes after Israel’s founding.  And President Obama and I are proud to carry forward the unbroken line of American leaders –- Democrat and Republican —- who have honored America’s sacred promise to protect the homeland of the Jewish people.

It’s no secret that, like administrations before us, as the Ambassador said, we’ve had our differences.  I have been here for a long time, for eight Presidents.  I’ve witnessed disagreements between administrations.  It’s only natural for two democracies like ours.  As Ron said, we’re like family.  We have a lot to say to one another.  Sometimes we drive each other crazy.  But we love each other.  And we protect each other.   (Applause.)

And it’s hard to see with these lights, but I suspect I know many of you personally.  As many of you heard me say before, were there no Israel, America would have to invent one.  We’d have to invent one because Ron is right, you protect our interests like we protect yours.  (Applause.)

So let’s get something straight.  In this moment of some disagreement occasionally between our governments, I want to set the record straight on one thing:  No President has ever done more to support Israel’s security than President Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

Just look at the facts.  Each time a rocket has rained down from Gaza, President Obama stands up before the world and defends Israel’s right to defend itself like any other nation.

Under President Obama, with the United States Congress, America has provided $20 billion in military assistance to Israel -– and cutting edge weaponry needed to maintain the qualitative advantage against any potential opponent.

You all know the stories of Iron Dome.  What you may not know is that next year, we will deliver to Israel the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter –- our finest -– making Israel the only country in the Middle East with a fifth-generation aircraft.  No other.  (Applause.)

And we continue to discuss, as the Israeli military here and the intelligence communities will tell you in Israel as well as here — we continue to discuss what more must be done in the near term and the long term to continue to strengthen Israel so she can maintain that edge.  (Applause.)

Our commitment to protect Israel’s security in my case and many of your case is not just political or national interest, it’s personal.  It’s personal for me and it’s personal for the President.

You’ve heard me say this many of my friends out there before, but it bears repeating on this day, it began at my father’s dinner table.  My father was a righteous Christian.  We assembled to eat, to have discussions — and occasionally eat.  My father talked about how he could not understand why there was a debate among Americans or why there was a debate among American Jews about whether or not we should have recognized Israel; why there would be any debate about why we hadn’t done more; why we hadn’t — that’s where I first learned about not bombing the railroad tracks.  I learned from my father about the concentration camps.  And the first thing I did with my children when each of them turned 15, I took them to Europe, flew them directly to Dachau, and made them spend a day there with me.  And I’ve done the same with my grandchildren.  My grandchild Finnegan as recently as just a month ago where we met with a 94-year-old survivor of Auschwitz, as well as Dachau.  He showed us the camp because he was proud — proud — to welcome the Vice President and his granddaughter.

All you have to do to understand is stand on the Golan and look down.  I remember the first time I did that as a young senator.  All you have to do is wander throughout Israel.  All you have to do is take that helicopter ride the entire length of the fence.  All you have to do is just look at the map.  All you had to is set foot at Yad Vashem -— and you understand.

I’ve had the great privilege of knowing every Israeli Prime Minister since Golda Meir and more than just casually.  And I’ve worked with many of you in this room for up to 40 years.  You know me.  You raised me.  You educated me.  And I know you.

So believe me when I tell you:  It’s not only personal to me, it’s personal to President Obama, as well.  The President was raised with memories of his great-uncle, who marched with Patton’s Army to liberate Jewish prisoners from the horrors of Buchenwald.  As a young man, he grew up learning about Israel from the stories of Leon Uris’ in “Exodus”; the Six-Day War; and Moshe Dayan, with his eye patch and his courage.  I remember sitting in front of Golda Meir’s desk as she flipped those maps up and down, chain-smoking, talking about the losses of the Six-Day War, sitting next to her military attaché at the time, a guy named Rabin.

But Barack, as a young senator — being 19 years younger than I am, he heard about it.  He read about it.  As senator, Barack Obama went to a small town in southern Israel to see with his own eyes the lives of the families who live under threat of rockets -– families that he has helped protect as Commander-in-Chief, under Iron Dome.

As President, he stood in Jerusalem, and declared to the whole world, “Those who adhere to the ideology of rejecting Israel’s right to exist, they might as well reject the earth beneath them or the sky above, because Israel is not going anywhere.  So long as the United States of America is there, Israel will never be alone.”  (Applause.)  He means it.  He means it.  You know I mean it.  I’m telling you he means it.

That’s my President.  He understands the need for Israel to have the right and the capacity and the capability to defend itself.  At the same time, he says, “we have Israel’s back” — and you can count on it.

The same commitment to the survival and security of Israel is fundamental to our strategy for the entire Middle East.  And then we get into the controversial piece.  Iran.  Remember this is the President who made it for the first time in American history a declared policy of the United States to use all the instruments of our power to prevent -— not contain, prevent –- Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon.  He stated that all options are on the table -— then he made sure of what did not exist before.  He made sure we spent the time and money and the research to develop the capacity required to act against their capacity to develop a weapon if ever needed.

Over the skepticism of many, we worked with the U.S. Congress, our European allies, and Russia, China, to put in place the toughest sanctions regime in modern history.

We also knew the cost of not negotiating.  Midway through the last administration, the U.S. government refused to directly engage.  It insisted at the same time that Iran dismantle its entire program.

The result?  By the time President Bush left office, Iran had dramatically advanced its movement toward ability to acquire a nuclear weapon.  So we’ve taken a different approach, combining unprecedented pressure with direct diplomacy to find an enduring solution.

Negotiations began.  And we’ve come a long way.  And you’ve all seen the parameters that were put forward.  It’s a framework, only a framework — not a final deal.  A great deal of work lies ahead to see if Iran will actually enshrine the commitments that went into that framework as part of a final deal.

If they do, each of Iran’s paths to a bomb would be meaningfully and verifiably blocked.  Iran would cut its enrichment capacity by two-thirds; shrink its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent.  Breakout time to create a weapon’s worth of bomb-grade material will go from two to three months, which it is today, to over a year.

The deal would ensure at least a one-year breakout cushion for a decade.  And for years after that, the breakout time would continue to be longer than it exists today.

We’ll prevent the Arak reactor from ever being a source of plutonium for nuclear weapons.  We will put in place the toughest transparency and verification requirements in history -— providing the best possible check against a secret path to the bomb.

This isn’t a grand bargain between the United States and Iran.  It’s a nuclear bargain between Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany, the EU, America and Iran.  It’s based on hard-hitting, hard-headed, uncompromising assessments of what is required to protect ourselves, Israel, the region, and the world.

And if the final deal on the table that doesn’t meet the President’s requirements, we simply will not sign it.

A final deal must effectively cut off Iran’s pathways to the bomb.  If it doesn’t, no deal.

A final deal must ensure a breakout timeline at least for one year for a decade.  If it doesn’t, no deal.

A final deal must include phased sanctions relief, calibrated against Iran taking meaningful steps to constrain their program.  If it doesn’t, no deal.

A final deal must provide a verifiable assurance to the international community demands to ensure Iran’s program is exclusively peaceful going forward.  If it doesn’t, no deal.

And if Iran cheats at any time and goes for a nuclear weapon –- every option we have to respond today remains on the table.  And your military will tell you, and more.

I’ve been involved in arms control negotiations since I was a kid in the Senate at 30 years of age — every major SALT agreement, START agreement, and toward the end, I was deeply involved negotiating when Brezhnev was still around, leading a delegation of senators.  But just like arms control talks with the Soviet Union —- another regime we fundamentally disagreed with, another regime whose rhetoric was outrageous and unacceptable, another regime whose proxies were forcefully making trouble, and we forcefully countered around the world –- we negotiated to reduce the nuclear threat to prevent a nuclear war.  And it kept us safer.  That’s what we’re attempting to do today.

We also continue to agree with Israeli leaders going back decades –- from Rabin to Sharon, whose funeral I had the great honor of eulogizing –- that a two-state solution is essential to Israel’s long-term survival as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.   Consistent with our commitment to Israel’s security and survival, the United States stands ready to help Israel decide — if they decide — how to get there and if they want our help in getting there.

I’ll always remember what my friend and mentor, and Holocaust survivor who worked for me as my national security advisor before he became Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Lantos once said.  He said, “the veneer of civilization is paper thin.  We are its guardians and can never rest.”

That’s why we must never retreat from fighting every scourge and source of anti-Semitism as we find it.  You see, in too many places where legitimate criticism crosses over into bigotry and anti-Semitism; where an explicitly anti-Semitic attack takes place at a kosher grocery store; assaults on religious Jews in the streets of major European capitals.  Some of you may remember how harshly I was criticized as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee over 15 years ago when I held hearings on anti-Semitism in Europe.  Emerson said, society is like a wave, the wave moves on, but the particles remain the same.  Wherever, in whatever country, whatever circumstance it rears its head, we have to stop it.

Enough is enough.   We have to fight it everywhere we find it.

I’ll conclude — and my friends kid me and I imagine Ron may, as well — telling you the story about my meeting with Golda Meir.  The reason I do it had a profound impact on me, one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life.  I think I’ve met every major world leader in the last 36 or 37 years in the world, in a literal sense.

But I remember meeting for close to an hour with her.  She went through what happened in the Six-Day War, and the price that was paid.  And I just had come from Egypt.  They let me go to Egypt and go to the Suez Canal.  And I was saying to she and Rabin that I thought that they were getting ready to attack again.  And everyone including my military and Israeli military thought I was crazy.

I remember driving from Cairo all the way to out to the Suez.  And you could see these great plumes of dust and sand.  But none it seemed isolated.  It turns out it was maneuvers taking place in the desert.  And I was really worried.  And we went through, and she painted a bleak, bleak picture — scared the hell out of me, quite frankly, about the odds.

And all of a sudden she looked at and she said, would you like a photograph?  And I said, yes, ma’am.  And those double-blind doors opened up into that hallway — not hallway.  It looks like — it’s a foyer.  And we walked out, and the press was standing there.  We didn’t say anything.  We just stood side by side.  And she must have thought I looked worried.  And it’s an absolutely true story.  She didn’t look at me, she spoke to me.  She said, Senator, you look so worried.  I said, well, my God, Madam Prime Minister, and I turned to look at her.  I said, the picture you paint.  She said, oh, don’t worry.  We have — I thought she only said this to me.  She said, we have a secret weapon in our conflict with the Arabs.  You see, we have no place else to do.

I was criticized in the national press a couple weeks ago when I said that, in fact, every Jew in the world needs there to be an Israel.  And it was characterized by some of the conservative press as saying that I was implying Jews weren’t safe in America.  They don’t get it.  They don’t get it.  Israel, Israel is absolutely essential — absolutely essential — security of Jews around the world.  And that’s why you have never farmed out your security.  You’ve accepted all the help we could give.  The most admirable thing about you is you’ve never asked us to fight for you.  But I promise you, if you were attacked and overwhelmed, we would fight for you, in my view.  (Applause.)

The truth of the matter is we need you.  The world needs you.  Imagine what it would say about humanity and the future of the 21st century if Israel were not sustained, vibrant and free.

We’ll never stop working to ensure that Jews from around the world always have somewhere to go.  We’ll never stop working to make sure Israel has a qualitative edge.  And whomever the next President is — Republican or Democrat — it will be the same because the American people, the American people are committed.  The America people understand.

So I say happy birthday, Israel.  Happy Independence Day.  May God bless you and may God bless and protect the United States of America.  Thank you all so very much.  (Applause.)

END
7:52 P.M. EDT

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Full Text Israel Political Brief April 22, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Greeting for 67th Yom Ha’atzmaut Independence Day 2015 — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Greeting for Independence Day 2015

Source: PMO, 4-22-15

“Israel’s Independence Day is an occasion for genuine celebration.

Jews celebrate the rebirth of our national freedom in our historic homeland, the Land of Israel.

We celebrate that the Jewish people are no longer stateless and powerless, but are once again masters of our own fate.

We celebrate the fact that Jews everywhere enjoy a right they were denied for so many centuries, the right to make aliya and be part of the modern State of Israel.

And we can also celebrate Israel’s many achievements.

We have integrated into our society immigrants from all four corners of the earth.

We have successfully defended our freedom against attacks by hostile neighbors.

We have literally made the desert bloom, building a vibrant and dynamic hi-tech economy.

We have built a robust and healthy democracy, where freedom is sacrosanct and human rights enshrined in our laws for all.
We have built a society in which all Israel’s citizens are equal under the law, Arab and Jew alike.

We have witnessed a real renaissance in our national culture.
we take pride in Israel’s achievements.

And even though there is still much work to be done,
on this day we can unite in celebration of Israel’s many successes.

From Jerusalem, the capital of the modern State of Israel for the last 67 years, and the historic capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years,
I wish you all a very happy Independence Day”.

Israel Political Brief May 5, 2014: Netanyahu, Peres offer video welcomes for Independence Day

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Netanyahu, Peres offer video welcomes for Independence Day

Source: JTA, 5-5-14

Israel ushered in Independence Day, or Yom Ha’atzmaut, on Monday night, at the close of Memorial Day, with a national ceremony on Mount Herzl….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 5, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Greeting for Independence Day Yom Ha’azmaut 2014 Israel’s 66th Birthday

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PM Netanyahu’s Greeting for Independence Day 2014

Source: PMO, 5-5-14
יום שני ה’ אייר תשע”ד

 Israel’s Independence Day is a time for celebration. And for justified pride in Israel’s many amazing successes.

For some two millennia the Jewish people had been stateless and powerless, and, of course, defenseless in the face of its enemies. After 2000 years of exile we returned to our historic homeland to re-establish our independence and sovereignty.

Yet we didn’t only create a state.

We have ingathered into our homeland a people that had been scattered around the globe.
We have defended ourselves against the attacks of hostile neighbors, overcoming threats faced by no other country.
We have built a vibrant democracy in which freedom is sacrosanct, guaranteeing equality under the law and the rights of every citizen.
We have created a robust economy, a global technological superpower.
We have signed peace treaties with two of our Arab neighbors, while we quietly talk with many more.

And while doing all this we have enjoyed the passionate friendship of so many around the world. Jews and non-Jews alike have united to speak out for Israel’s right to security and a peaceful future.

This support from our friends, together with Israel’s vibrant democracy, free economy, strong army and commitment to our shared values, form the foundation of our national strength.

So on this 66th Independence Day, I want to thank Israel’s many friends around the globe for their steadfast support for the one and only Jewish state.

And I would like to send special greetings to our special friends who have gathered at Phillips Square in Montreal to celebrate with us. Your show of support for Israel today reflects the strong friendship shared by the Israeli and Canadian peoples. The bond between us was strengthened even further this past January when I had the pleasure of hosting my friend Prime Minister Harper here in Jerusalem.

On behalf of the people of Israel, thank you all for your friendship and for your support.

Full Text Israel Brief May 1, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech During his Visit to Independence Hall Tel Aviv

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks During his Visit to Independence Hall

Source: PMO, 5-1-14
יום חמישי א’ אייר תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, made the following remarks during his tour of Independence Hall in Tel Aviv:

“The Declaration of Independence sets, as the cornerstone in the life of the state, the national Jewish identity of the State of Israel. To my great regret, as we have seen recently, there are those who do not recognize this natural right. They seek to undermine the historic, moral and legal justification for the existence of the State of Israel as the nation-state of our people.

One of my main missions as Prime Minister of Israel is to bolster the status of the State of Israel as the nation-state of our people. To this end, it is my intention to submit a basic law to the Knesset that would provide a constitutional anchor for Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people.  I believe that the most basic component in our life as a nation will receive constitutional status similar to the other main components that are the foundation of our state, as determined in the basic laws.

The State of Israel will always preserve the full equality, in personal and civil rights, of all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, in a Jewish and democratic country. And indeed, in Israel, individual and civil rights are assured for everyone, which sets us apart in the large expanse of the Middle East and even beyond.

I find it astonishing that among those who call on Israel to make concessions in Judea and Samaria due to the self-evident desire to avoid a binational state, there are those who oppose defining the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People. One cannot favor the establishment of a Palestinian nation-state in order to maintain the Jewish character of the State of Israel and – at the same time – oppose recognizing that the State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People. Supporting the establishment of a Palestinian nation-state and opposing the recognition of the Jewish nation-state undermines – over the long-term – the State of Israel’s very right to exist.”

Israel Brief April 16, 2013: On Yom Ha’atzmaut Independence Day, Israelis crowd roads despite rain

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On Independence Day, Israelis crowd roads despite rain

Source: JTA, 4-16-13

Heavy rains did not keep Israelis from celebrating Independence Day.

Israel Radio reported Tuesday that roads were packed with celebrants of the 65th anniversary of Israel’s founding, and that some military museums were so packed with visitors that some were turned away….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 16, 2013: Israel Celebrates Yom Ha’Atzmaut As Challenges Mount

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Israel Celebrates Yom Ha’Atzmaut As Challenges Mount

Source: The Jewish Press (press release), 4-16-13

Even as millions of Israelis celebrated the country’s 65th birthday with prayers, lavish barbecues and star-studded entertainment in city squares, many citizens expressed worry about troubling domestic and foreign developments….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 16, 2013: Barack Obama, Pope Francis, World Leaders Offer Congratulations On Israel’s Independence Day

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Obama, Pope, World Leaders Offer Congratulations On Israel’s Independence Day

Source: Algemeiner, 4-16-13

Pope Francis: “I send cordial greetings to you and your fellow citizens on the occasion of Israel’s National Day. At the  beginning of my Pontificate, l gladly invoke upon you and all the people of Israel  the blessings of the Most High and assure you of my prayers for your high responsibilities at the’ service of the nation.”

U.S. President Barack Obama: “As Israelis celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, the American people join me in applauding the remarkable Israeli achievements over the past six and a half decades. The United States stood together with the State of Israel at its founding, and we will stand together with you always.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin: “I wish you good health, Mr. President, as well as peace and prosperity to the Israel people.”

Israel Political Brief April 16, 2013: Yom Ha’atzmaut: Israel celebrates 65 years of independence

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Israel celebrates 65 years of independence

Source: Jerusalem Post , 4-15-13

“My dear friends, brothers and sisters. Today we celebrate the 65th Independence Day of the State of Israel, these were 65 miraculous years without halt,” Shimon Peres said. “Let’s celebrate together and continue to work, hope and be faithful to our values….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 13, 2013: Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Hazikaron: Remembrance Meets Celebration in Israel

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Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Hazikaron: Remembrance Meets Celebration in Israel

Source: Algemeiner, 4-13-13

Officially known as Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day, Yom Hazikaron takes place the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut, and the piercing siren brings the country to a complete standstill at 8 p.m….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief April 12, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel is the Bright Star of Freedom

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Netanyahu: Israel is the Bright Star of Freedom

Source: Arutz Sheva, 4-12-13

“65 years ago we celebrated our new found freedom, the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in our ancestral homeland,” said Netanyahu. “This was a dream of ages. Jews prayed for this for generations, ‘Next year in Jerusalem’. Now we’re here in Jerusalem….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief April 26, 2012: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Message to Israel on Independence Day — Yom Haazmaut

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Harper Extends Independence Well Wishes to Israel

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper extended Israel his nation’s well-wishes as the Jewish state turns 64
Netanyahu and Harper in Ottaw

Netanyahu and Harper in Ottawa
Reuters
Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper on Thursday published a statement wishing Israel well during its 64th Independence Day celebrations.
“On this special day, I would like to extend warm wishes to those celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut in Canada, in Israel and around the world,” Harper wrote.
“On this anniversary, we remember all that Israel and its citizens overcame to achieve statehood and we celebrate all that it has accomplished in the past six decades.
“As I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to Canada last month, our Government recognizes it is an especially challenging time in the Middle East.
“Israel can rest assured that we will uphold its right to exist as an independent Jewish state as we continue in our efforts to promote peace and security in the region.
“Once again, Happy Independence Day!”

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: Yom Ha’atzmaut: President Shimon Peres’ Independence Day Message

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Video: Peres Tells Diaspora ‘Reality Beyond our Vision’

The reality of Israel after 64 years of independence is “much more than the vision we once dreamed,” Peres tells the Diaspora.

The reality of Israel after 64 years of independence is “much more than the vision we once dreamed,” President Shimon Peres told the Diaspora in a special message Wednesday..

Yom Ha’atzmaut is not only a day of celebration but also one to reflect and realize the reality we have built is much more than the vision we once dreamed,” he said.

The President told Jews outside the Land of Israel that the “unyielding spirit which defines the Jewish people” drove Israel’s achievements since its reestablishment as a state in 1948.

“We returned to our homeland, rich in history, yet scarce in land, meager in natural resources. We had not choice but to invest in our greatest asset – our people. And we did, together with you….

“We have built an  extraordinary country, due to our extraordinary people. Today, we can proudly look upon our thriving economy, innovation serves as Israel’s heartbeat and creativity runs through our veins.

Yom HaAtzmaut begins Wednesday evening with the conclusions of ceremonies in observance of Memorial Day for Fall Soldiers and terror victims.

The President noted that Yom Ha’atzmaut also is “a  time to remember those who defended and served our country, many of whom sacrifice their lives for our young state.”

He praised what he said is the ”young generation’s commitment to our state, [which] is essential as our shared tomorrow will be defined by innovation. As  partners of our nation, your ability to secure a future defined by scientific development and discoveries is vital to our shared mission.

“Our mutual unwavering commitment to each other is crucial

Israel Brief April 24-26, 2012: Yom Ha’atzmaut & Yom Hazikaron — Israel celebrates 64 years of independence — Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Israel Independence Day

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Israel celebrates 64 years of independence  — Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Israel Independence Day

Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Celebrate Independence Day with Israel – live!

Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars and and Israel Independence Day
   
HatikvaThe national anthem: Hatikva Israel Independence Day is celebrated annually on the anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, according to the Hebrew calendar, on 5 Iyar (this celebrated one day early because of the Sabbath). The day preceding this celebration is devoted to the memory of those who gave their lives for the achievement of the country’s independence and its continued existence. This proximity is intended to remind people of the heavy price paid for independence. On this day the entire nation remembers its debt and expresses eternal gratitude to its sons and daughters who gave their lives for the achievement of the country’s independence and its continued existence.

PM Netanyahu: “After Remembrance Day, the State of Israel will celebrate its 64th birthday. The unbreakable bond between Remembrance Day and Independence Day underscores the fact that our dear ones who fell in Israel’s wars did not fall in vain. Thanks to them, the State arose. Thanks to them, the State of Israel will continue to develop and prosper, and thanks to them the members of the younger generation will also be able to live their lives in security and tranquility.”

On May 14, 1948, the day the British Mandate expired, the new Jewish state – the State of Israel – was formally established in parts of what was known as the British Mandate for Palestine. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence was restored after 2,000 years.

Independence Day is a celebration of the renewal of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel, the birthplace of the Jewish people. In this land, the Jewish people began to develop its distinctive religion and culture some 4,000 years ago, and here it has preserved an unbroken physical presence, for centuries as a sovereign state, at other times under foreign domination. Throughout their long history, the yearning to return to the land has been the focus of Jewish life. Theodor Herzl, the leader and founder of the Zionist movement, increased international recognition for the need of a Jewish state.

Since its establishment, Israel continues to be a homeland to the thousands who make their way to Israel annually. It is home to some of the holiest religious sites of the three major religions, all which enjoy the democratic rights delineated in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.


Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars

Remembrance Day, Yom Hazikaron, which begins on Tuesday evening, April 24, is a day of collective and personal anguish mingled with awe and honor for the fallen. The official events begin at 8:00 PM with a moment of national silence heralded by a one minute siren.  


Officer places a flag on a fallen soldier’s grave. (Archive photo: IDF Spokesperson)

A total of 22,993 men and women have been killed defending the land of Israel since 1860, the year that the first Jewish settlers left the secure walls of Jerusalem to build new Jewish neighborhoods.
Since the end of the War of Independence, 2,457 people have been killed in Israel in terror attacks – 14 in the past year.

In the past year, since Remembrance Day 2011, 126 members of the security forces – police, IDF, Border Police, Israel Security Agency and other organizations – have been killed in the service of the state.

On Wednesday, ceremonies commence at 11:00 AM at 44 IDF military cemeteries located throughout the country following a two minute blast of the siren. There will also be a ceremony for overseas Mahal volunteers who fought and died during the War of Independence, which will take place near the Sha’ar Hagai Junction. Israel’s flag, adorned with a black ribbon and memorial flame, is placed on each and every grave of those who fell in Israel’s battles and are buried in military cemeteries throughout Israel. It expresses the country’s respect for the fallen as well as the entire country’s participation in the grief of the families.


“The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly…”
– In memory of those who have fallen while on duty in the Israeli Foreign Service
 

 

 David Ben-Gurion
declares the
establishment of
the State of Israel

Independence Day

Israel’s 64th Independence Day celebrations will commence on Wednesday evening, April 25, when the state flag is raised to full mast at a national ceremony on Mount Herzl, at which twelve torches are lit. Independence Day is filled with festivities and celebrations including picnics, barbecues, family gatherings and nature trips. Balconies, car windows, store fronts and more are liberally decorated with Israeli flags.

On Israel Independence Day, Thursday, April 26 between 9:30-11:00 am (Israel time) the central Independence Day festivities will take place at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, with the participation of the country’s entire top political-security leadership. For the first time this year, the President of Israel invites the entire Jewish people, in Israel and around the world, to take an active part in the Independence Day celebrations and to watch the ceremony broadcast live on President Peres’ Facebook page. At the conclusion of the event, the entire broadcast will also be uploaded to You Tube.

The event will start with a festive,  honorary flyover of combat planes and helicopters, immediately followed by a military review by the President and Chief of Staff of the 120 recipients of the President’s Outstanding Soldiers Award. Following the review, the main performance will take place on the lawn of the President’s Residence during which the President, the Chief of Staff, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister will sing their favorite Independence Day songs together with the IDF band  and with the background accompaniment of top singers and military bands. The President and Chief of staff will also give special Independence Day addresses during the Outstanding Soldier Award ceremony.


Israel celebrates 64 – Special greeting for Israel Independence Day from President Peres


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Greeting to Diaspora Communities for Israel’s 64th Independence Day


Population of Israel

On the eve of Israel’s 64th Independence Day, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics announced that the population of Israel numbers 7,881,000 – of them 5,931,000 Jews (75.3% of the total population) and 1,623,000 Arabs (20.6%). On the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 the total population numbered 806,000. Today, over 70% of the total Jewish population are “Sabras” – born in Israel – compared with 35% native-born in 1948.

Since Independence Day last year 161,000 babies were born, and 19,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel. The total population of Israel grew since the 63rd Independence Day by approximately 137,500 – a growth of 1.8%.

In 1948 there was only one city in Israel with more than 100,000 residents – Tel Aviv-Yafo. Today, 14 cities number more than 100,000 residents, of which six number more than 200,000 residents: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Haifa, Rishon LeZiyyon, Petah Tiqwa and Ashdod.

Relevant documents and websites

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: Yom Ha’atzmaut: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Independence Day Message

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Independence Day greetings

Watch the Video

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu

Israel’s Independence Day is a time for us to consider what makes Israel truly unique.

Netanyahu Thanks Israel’s Supporters on Independence Day

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s greeting in honor of Israel’s 64th Independence Day: We are unique in having such passionate friends.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a special greeting on Wednesday, in honor of Israel’s 64th Independence Day.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Greeting to Diaspora Communities for Israel’s 64th Independence Day

Source: Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs, 4-25-12

Israel’s Independence Day is a time for us to consider what makes Israel truly unique.

Israel is unique in restoring sovereignty, and the capacity for self-defense, to a people who had been stateless and powerless for 2,000 years.

Israel is unique in ingathering to an ancestral homeland an exiled people who had been scattered around the globe.

Israel is unique in having become a global technological power despite the fact that we face threats faced by no other nation on earth.

Israel is unique in the Middle East for having a vibrant, liberal democracy where women are equal, minorities are free and where all are subject to the rule of law.

But Israel is unique in one other important way: we are unique in having such passionate friends, Jews and non-Jews alike, for whom the well-being, security and future of our country are so important. This passionate support, along with Israel’s strong army, free economy and dynamic society, is the pillar of our national strength.

And this Independence Day, I want to thank the tens of millions of friends of Israel throughout the world for their unwavering support for the one and only Jewish state.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel Brief April 25, 2012: Yom Ha’atzmaut Israel Celebrates 64th Birthday — יום העצמאות

ISRAEL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel Celebrates 64th Birthday

Remembrance Day for the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror has ended, and Independence Day has begun.

Remembrance Day for the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror has ended, and Independence Day has begun, with fireworks displays going off countrywide.

The celebration of Israel’s 64th birthday began with the traditional ceremony at Har Herzl in Jerusalem. The main speaker at the ceremony was Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin.

Rivlin’s speech began with a mention of the external threats Israel faces but centered on what he said was an internal enemy which threatens Israel’s future – an enemy which he identified as “the extremists” and zealotry on all sides of the political and social spectrum.

“The struggle against those who set mosques on fire is not between leftists and settlers,” he said, “it is a struggle against zealots.”

“The struggle against those who spit in the face of an eight-year-old girlis not a struggle between secular people and haredim, but a struggle against marginal extremists. The struggle against those who team up with our worst enemies, who fight against Israel’s right to exist, is not a struggle between left and right or between Jews and Arabs, but a struggle against zealotry and zealots. The struggle against those who see women’s singing in the IDF as ‘an hour of destruction,’ a decree over whose trespass death is preferable, is not a struggle between secular Zionism and religious Zionism. This is a struggle against zealotry.”

Rivlin said that he does not fear the residents of Itamar or Migron, “who are faithful to the Land of Israel and love it,” nor does he fear those who oppose the settlement enterprise. “I fear the zealots,” he repeated. “I fear the extremism. I fear those who do not hesitate to break the rules in the name of the righteousness of their path; those who do not fear the destruction of the Third Temple.”

Midnight Fireworks in Jerusalem for Yom HaAtzmaut

A large fireworks display beginning at 11:30 p.m. will end Wednesday evening’s Yom Ha’atzmaut festivities in Jerusalem.
Fireworks in Jerusalem

Fireworks in Jerusalem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A large fireworks display beginning at 11:30 p.m. will end Wednesday evening’s Yom Ha’atzmaut festivities in Jerusalem’s Independence Park.

Music, singing and dancing will be the main activities in the capital after Israel marks the end of memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Terror victims at 7:45 p.m.and begins to celebrate 64 years of an independent State of Israel for the first time in almost 2,000 years.

Music popular in the religious-Zionist community will be featured at the HaMashbir stage, at King George Street in downtown Jerusalem. Bnei Akiva and the Ezra movement will dance, and the Pirchei Yerushalayim Band will appear.

Bands will perform at Kikar HaHatulot, and music oriented for the younger generation will take place at the pedestrian mall at Hillel Street, next to Ben Yehuda Street. Student associations helped program the activities.

Opposite the Old City Walls at Mamilla, students have organized DJ entertainment, with entrance by paid tickets.

Israeli folk dancing and a songfest will be featured at the stage at Safra Square-City Hall from 10:30 p.m. until 3:30 a.m.

Yom HaAtzmaut 2012: Events

The Day of Remembrance for slain IDF soldiers will be followed by Independence Day. A list of events for those who wish to celebrate.
Jerusalem Day fireworks

Jerusalem Day fireworks
Flash 90

The Day of Remembrance for slain IDF soldiers will begin Tuesday evening and be followed by Israel’s 64th Independence Day.  This list of events was compiled by Anglo-List.Com. These are not Torah-oriented events.

Tel Aviv

Main Event, Rabin Square, 9:00 p.m. – “Only in Israel” with the participation of military bands. Clips from different periods in Israel’s history will be screened on giant screens and fireworks will paint the sky. With: Momi Levy, Miri Aloni, Shula Chen, and dozens of dancers, Tel Aviv youth and more. The evening will close with a performance by “Quartet” – with Shem Tov Levy, Alon Olearchik, Shlomo Yidov and Efraim Shamir.

Atzmadoodes – Children’s Independence Day events at the  Performing Arts Center at 8:30 p.m.  –  Roni Superstar, Tel Aviv Youth Band, the entertainment show” Katzefet VeToot ,”  fire dances, juggling clowns, aerial acrobatics performances and fireworks.

Folk Dancing – Plaza Performing Arts Center, 11:00 p.m – dancing into the night with the best; Sarah Aviv and Gadi Biton combining instrumental and vocal performance and Tel Aviv University Dance troupe.

Park Davidoff, Jaffa, 8:30 p.m. – Michelle Cohen Music School program, Alon de Loco with the  LoCo Land show accompanied by musicians and  dancers, Woody G, Yaron Ramati, local bands and more.

Haifa

Moriah Blvd: Din Din Aviv, Carolina, Erez Lev Ari, Rami Kleinstein, Rita & Ethnix

Kiryat Sprinzak: Michal Tzafir, Shlomi Shabat, Idan Yaniv

Kiryat Shmuel: Kobi Machat, Meir Banai, Yishai Lapidot and the “Of Simchas” band

Central Carmel: Rami Kleinstein, Shiri Maimon and Shimon Buskila

Neve Shaanan: Michal Tzafir, Rami Kleinstein, Shlomi Shabat, Mooki

Kiryat Haim: Shiri Maimon, Shimon Buskila, Ethnix, Josh, Mooki and Eyal Golan

Kiryat Eliezer:  Russian artists and folk music

Jerusalem

Main Stage (Kikar Hahatulot).

The Even Yerushalmit band, Adir Getz, Yaniv Barmeli and Itay Moyal, Subliminal and Momi Levi, Yossi Azulai, Keren Peles. Hosted by Elad Amedi.

Stage at the Hillel Pedestrian Street – Street Party for the Young.

In collaboration with the Students Associations, young in the center:

DJ Ron Izraeli – Hebrew party

DJ Idan Ben Hamo – Funk party

DJ Stato – House anthems 2012

Main performance: Adir Getz

Independence Day opposite the walls at the Alrov Mamilla Avenue:

For students and youngsters – entrance with payment | At 22:00

DJ Itzik Dadia

DJ Shachar Ud

Tickets can be purchased at the Students Association and at Telephone: 073-7073617

Hamashbir Stage for the Religious Zionist Public:

Ezra Movement, Bnei Akiva and more

The Ruach Zfonit band in an exhilarating dancing event

Aaron Razel

The Pirchei Yerushalayim Band

DJ Hanania Ohana

Singing independence at the Safra Square stage:

Arbaa Bemol Band with Aaron Ferrera and Yael Badash

Israeli Rock at the Square: a tribute to the founders if Israeli Rock since the days of the state’s establishment: Arik Einstein, Shalom Hanoch, Matti Caspi, Shlomo Artzi, Gidi Gov, Danny Sanderson and more.

Dancing Independence at the Safra Square stage:  from 11:30 p.m – 3:30 a.m.

A mass dancing event, Israeli and other folk dances, with leading dance guides: Avner Naim, Haim Tzemach, Boaz Cohen, Mimi Cogan, Gidi Eiko.

00:30: Fireworks display above the Experimental High School, Independence Park

Rehovot

Main Stage: Liran Danino, David Deor, Dana International, Youth choir and dancers led by Itai Segev

Park Hameginim: Matti Caspi, Gabi Shushan, Shiri and Uzi Fuchs

Hershonson Stage.: Margalit Tzanani, Benny Elbaz , Gabi and Micky Nes, Shlomit Bouhnik, Moran Kriti, Tamir Lidanil, Nati Chen and “The Independence Ride” – a 15 km. bicycle ride on Thursday morning  at 9:00 from Sportec city. For information and registration: 08-9392239.

Netanya

Winter Lake Park: Roni Superstar, Berry Sakharof, Hadag Nahash, Beit Habubot, DJ Erez Shitrit

Kikar Ha’atzmaut: Danny Sanderson, Moshik Afia.

 

WZO Lets Users Fly an Internet Israeli Flag for Independence Day

“It’s 64 years of Israeli independence. As Zionism renews itself, so does technology,” says the World Zionist Organization.
Zionist Postcard - Zev Jabotinsky

Zionist Postcard – Zev Jabotinsky

The World Zionist Organization’s Department for Activities in Israel & Countering Antisemitism is offering a new service which allows users to send postcards with Israeli flags and other pro-Israel images via the internet. The website allows a user to select and email postcards with images of Israeli flags, nature scenes and Zionist leaders such as Zev Jabotinsky, Theodor Herzl, Menachem Begin, and David Ben Gurion.

Yaakov Hagoel, head of the WZO’s Department for Activities in Israel stated, “it’s 64 years of Israeli independence. As Zionism renews itself, so does technology.”
Eitan Ori Behar, director of the WZO Communications Center said this year’s campaign is based on last year’s Fly Our Flag project.

In 2011, the WZO mailed out thousands of Israeli flags with car windows holders and sun shade screens with Israeli symbols. Anyone in the world had the ability to order a free flag on the WZO’s iZionist website.
“We’re changing to fit the needs of the day,” Behar commented on the 2012 campaign. “With the advent of handheld devices, you can send flags through our website.” Behar said he is encouraged by the positive feedback the campaign has generated in countries around the world. His staff has been translating WZO material into different languages. The iZionist website is currently available in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Turkish, German, Spanish, and Dutch. Behar added, “I hopes users will use the site to spread positive awareness about Israel.”

To send a flag, visit http://flags.org.il/view/?lang=en.
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