JERUSALEM (Apr. 22)
Premier Shimon Peres issued the following message marking Israel’s 37th Independence Day on April 25:
Israel’s 37th Independence Day is a day of tears and of pride — tears for the lives of the young people through whose courage we have renewed and maintained our independence and pride in what has been achieved, thereby changing the course of Jewish history.
Zionism has sought to build a state through peaceful means, through friendly relations with our Arab neighbors and mutual assistance. We have not fostered hostility, but we have been forced to stand up against it. We have not sought wars, but when we were attacked, we had no choice but to win them.
We are the smallest of nations, and a small part of our own people — and in the wars we have had to fight, we have been a handful against many. Only the burning vision of the founders, and the supreme heroism of the defenders — only these have made it possible for the Jewish people to live anew on its land.
Vision and sorrow unify our people, and bestow upon them a uniqueness and a strength without equal. Our outlook is guided by victory in war, but even more by the hope of achieving peace. Tranquility is not yet ours, but the improvement of relations with Egypt shows that peace is possible. And our departure from Lebanon will show that we can secure peace for Galilee from our own border.
Our strength derives from within, from the closing of our ranks, from the bravery of our sons and daughters, from the revitalization of our economy. We shall maintain our defensive strength, and we shall not tire in the search for peace.
We shall always feel the harsh yoke of destiny and the deep hope that accompanies it — the destiny of a people facing enmity and danger and the hope of a people that believes in freedom and that calls for justice.