I extend my heartfelt greetings from united Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel and the spiritual center of the entire Jewish people, on behalf of the Government of Israel, to the Jewish communities in the Diaspora on the occasion of Israel’s Day of Independence.
Every year, Independence Day and in particular Memorial Day which precedes it, bring back the memories of our first day of Independence, in 1948, when my fellow soldiers and I were in the midst of the battle for Jerusalem. Nineteen years later, I was fated to be the Chief of Staff when Jerusalem was reunited during the Six Day War. All of us will never forget those who did not return. It is their legacy that commands us to do our utmost for peace and security for our nation.
And indeed, as the founders of our country gathered together to declare the establishment of the Jewish State 46 years ago, they did so with the full knowledge of the great sacrifices necessary to transform the Zionist vision into reality. They extended a hand of peace and good neighborly relations. At the time, it was in vain. We successfully built a new country, a new society, but peace eluded us.
Today, a unique opportunity exists to succeed in our quest, to continue the effort begun with Egypt, to succeed. Like the generations before us, we will not allow the acts of the enemies of peace, whoever they may be, to dispel our determination to achieve our objective. Though it may tarry, peace will come.
Nonetheless, I want to reassure you that in one area there will be no change whatsoever the security of the State of Israel, the security of all the inhabitants, as well as the security of Jews abroad.
As Israel makes the transition from conflict to conciliation, we invite you to be partners in the great success story that is Israel. Israel is the center of our common Jewish being, of our identity and our heritage, and your contribution and involvement are as essential as ever. At the same time, Israel must find ways of working together with you to ensure the thriving continuity of the Jewish people. Israel and world Jewry as one people will master the formidable challenges of a new era. Visiting Israel, sending your children for education here, investing in Israel, and above all making aliya, are the ways and means to ensure Jewish links and Jewish identity.
The road before us is paved with unprecedented opportunities and complex decisions. Yet, with hard work, perseverance and cooperation, I believe we will move closer to our goals and to the goals of the founders of the state: to be a free nation in a secure and peaceful Jewish homeland.