JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin released an Israel Independence Day greeting in English in which he called it “the Independence Day of all the Jewish people.”
“Sixty-nine years ago, in the moments just after David Ben-Gurion declared the birth of the State of Israel, we all went out to dance in the streets. We celebrated a hope which came true: to be a free people in our land, in Jerusalem,” Rivlin said.
“My generation, who dreamed to see an Israeli pilot fly above them, got to see Israeli satellites circle the globe. Our young state, in a difficult neighborhood has become a center of learning and doing. The nation that wandered for hundreds of years looking for shelter, has built universities and Yeshivot.”
Rivlin noted that Israelis will “continue to look deep inside ourselves to solve all the problems and turn challenges into opportunities.” He added: “On this day, on our Independence Day, let us all work to be sure that our national home is a home that looks after the weak, and cares for its sons and daughters. This is the duty of our leaders, but it is also the duty of each and every one of us.”
On behalf of all Israelis, Rivlin thanked Jews around the world who “give so much to help Israel and Israeli society grow.”
“This is your celebration, too,” he said.
Israel Independence Day, or Yom Haatzmaut, starts at 8 p.m. Monday. On Tuesday, Rivlin and his wife will host a ceremony at the president’s residence in Jerusalem awarding the Medal of Excellence to 121 outstanding soldiers and officers of the Israel Defense Forces, as well as a reception for ambassadors to Israel and other members of the diplomatic corps.