As we look to the year ahead, we are all aware of the difficult challenges that lie before us. We can overcome these obstacles together, with mutual respect and understanding. Together, we can work to ensure that Israel fulfills its promise of a Jewish and democratic country, with equality and freedoms for all its citizens.
I am delighted to be writing to you on the occasion of Israel’s Independence Day. It is Israel’s 67th Yom Ha’atzmaut, and while I have been fortunate to witness this wonderful day each year, this is my first as President of the State of Israel.
I start my message to you though, not with the celebrations of the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel, but by reflecting on the price we have paid, and continue to pay, for that freedom. As always, the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut, we mark Yom Hazikaron, the memorial day for our loved ones who lost their lives in defense of the State of Israel. We remember that it is because of their sacrifice that today we can live freely, as Jews in the land of Israel.
Indeed, Israel’s independence is the accomplishment of a 2000 year old dream. It is a collective hope which survived two millennia to see its realization. In our days we have merited to see the fulfillment of the words of the Prophets of Israel, and once again the streets and courtyards of Jerusalem are filled wtih joy.
Israel will forever be indebted to our friends and supporters abroad. Thsoe who have contributed and continue to contribute to charities and foundations, those who have volunteered in the Israel Defense Forces even at times of war, those who stand up for Israel in the media – you are all part of the Israeli family, and should take joy and pride in Israel’s independence celebrations.
As we look to the year ahead, we are all aware of the difficult challenges that lie before us, both internally and externally. We can overcome these obstacles, as we always have done, together, with mutual respect and understanding.
Together, we can work to ensure that Israel fulfills its promise of a Jewish and democratic country, with equality and freedoms for all its citizens. This is my hope, my prayer, and my mission, and I know it is yours too.
I with you all Chag Atzmaut Sameach and may we all enjoy a successful and prosperous Israel.
With blessings from Jerusalem,
Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin