5759 – 1999
Independence Day s a day of summing up and retrospection. Fifty-one years may not seem much time in our people’s long history, but after 2000 years of exile much has been achieved in these years since the establishment of the State.
Israel’s population has grown to nearly six million, including more than one million Arab citizens enjoying equal rights. Ours is a very diverse society, but despite its many contrasts, loyalty to the State is shared by all. We have a thriving economy, a level of technology among the most advanced in the world, impressive scientific research, highly developed agriculture and a very rich cultural life.
When I contemplate our accomplishments in the past, I am filled with hope and confidence about what Israel will achieve in the coming years, including reaching peace with all our neighbors.
I would like you, our brothers and sisters in the diaspora, to participate in the significant developments about to take place here. Israel’s gates are open to you, as are our hearts and our arms to welcome you and make you feel at home. In the past year approximately 50,000 new immigrants arrived here. Most of the newcomers came from Eastern Europe, and they are contributing greatly to life in Israel. It is unfortunate that from the other corners of the world Aliyah is so minimal. Only three percent came from North America, which has the highest concentration of Jews in the world. Hopefully we will soon witness the fulfillment of the prophet Ezekiel’s words: "And I will bring them out from the people and gather them from the countries and will bring them to their own land and feed them upon the mountains of Israel…."