On the eve of Israel’s 61st Independence Day, alongside the celebrations, it is time for reflection and prayers for the well-being of the Jewish people, here in Israel and around the world.It is also a time to consolidate and strengthen the bonds that link the State of Israel and the Jewish Communities abroad, for we are one people with a common heritage, united in times of joy and united in darker hours.
The past year has witnessed Operation Cast Lead, launched by Israel in self-defense with the sole purpose of putting an end to the vicious and unjustifiable missile and rocket attacks on its citizens – innocent men, women and children – wreaking havoc and pain for the last eight years. Iran has continued to call for Israel’s annihilation, as it is set on developing nuclear weapons that threaten Israel’s very existence. The heavy clouds of the economic crisis that engulfed the world has also cast a long shadow over Israel’s skies, and affected thousands of households across the country. Anti-Semitism in the form of anti-Israel manifestations is on the rise and Gilad Schalit is still being held captive.
Since its inception Israel has had to grapple with complex issues and has always prevailed. Also today Israel will prevail. Its human resources abound and its creativity flourishes. Our vision of a bright and hopeful tomorrow for the Jewish people has not faltered. To that end, we must intensively invest in the future generations today through education – from the cradle to adulthood. We must continue to excel, and play a leadership role in the field of advanced science and technology, medicine and renewable sources of energy. It is essential that the mounting water shortage is surmounted by appropriate desalination projects, the desert greened and food secured. Job opportunities must be created and social gaps closed. Any divide in our society has to be bridged and our quest for peace must go on.
This is our mission. From the ashes we have risen, and as we move into the seventh decade of the establishment of the State of Israel, there is much for which to be grateful and much for which to be proud.
Let us celebrate together Israel’s 61st anniversary, a Jewish people united and with unflagging hope in our hearts.
Yom Atzmaut Sameach!