Shalom. President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and most of all, to the
people of Israel, thank you for this incredibly warm welcome. This is my third
visit to Israel so let me just say tov lihiyot shuv ba'aretz.
I'm so honored to be here as you prepare to celebrate the 65th anniversary of
a free and independent State of Israel. Yet I know that in stepping foot on this
land, I walk with you on the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
More than 3,000 years ago, the Jewish people lived here, tended the land
here, prayed to God here. And after centuries of exile and persecution,
unparalleled in the history of man, the founding of the Jewish State of Israel
was a rebirth, a redemption unlike any in history.
Today, the sons of Abraham and the daughters of Sarah are fulfilling the
dream of the ages - to be "masters of their own fate" in "their own sovereign
state." And just as we have for these past 65 years, the United States is proud
to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend.
As I begin my second term as President, Israel is the first stop on my first
foreign trip. This is no accident. Across this region the winds of change bring
both promise and peril. So I see this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the
unbreakable bonds between our nations, to restate America's unwavering
commitment to Israel's security, and to speak directly to the people of Israel
and to your neighbors.
I want to begin right now, by answering a question that is sometimes asked
about our relationship - why? Why does the United States stand so strongly, so
firmly with the State of Israel? And the answer is simple. We stand together
because we share a common story - patriots determined "to be a free people in
our land," pioneers who forged a nation, heroes who sacrificed to preserve our
freedom, and immigrants from every corner of the world who renew constantly our
We stand together because we are democracies. For as noisy and messy as it
may be, we know that democracy is the greatest form of government ever devised
We stand together because it makes us more prosperous. Our trade and
investment create jobs for both our peoples. Our partnerships in science and
medicine and health bring us closer to new cures, harness new energy and have
helped transform us into high-tech hubs of our global economy.
We stand together because we share a commitment to helping our fellow human
beings around the world. When the earth shakes and the floods come, our doctors
and rescuers reach out to help. When people are suffering, from Africa to Asia,
we partner to fight disease and overcome hunger.
And we stand together because peace must come to the Holy Land. For even as
we are clear-eyed about the difficulty, we will never lose sight of the vision
of an Israel at peace with its neighbors.
So as I begin this visit, let me say as clearly as I can - the United States
of America stands with the State of Israel because it is in our fundamental
national security interest to stand with Israel. It makes us both stronger. It
makes us both more prosperous. And it makes the world a better place.
That's why the United States was the very first nation to recognize the State
of Israel 65 years ago. That's why the Star of David and the Stars and Stripes
fly together today. And that is why I'm confident in declaring that our alliance
is eternal, it is forever - lanetzach.
Thank you very much.