It gives me great pleasure to send you warm greetings from Jerusalem - the vibrant and beating heart of the Jewish people and the eternal capital of the State of Israel- on the occasion of the State of Israel’s 60th Yom Ha’azmaut.
As we celebrate this milestone in the history of the State of Israel, this is an excellent time not only to look back at the tremendous accomplishments of the past 60 years, but also to look ahead to what the future holds in store for Israel and for the Jewish people.
Over the past 60 years, Israel has developed into a modern, vibrant country- one with a strong and stable economy; one which is a world leader in agriculture, science, hi-tech and medicine; one which welcomes and absorbs Jews from around the world and which embraces the diverse cultures from which they came.
Even with all these achievements, we still have much to accomplish. We must exhaust all possibilities for peace with our Arab neighbours, while always safeguarding the security of our citizens. We must work to ensure a more just and equal society; one which rejects all forms of discriminiation and bias. We must ensure that the State of Israel fully embraces the challenges and wonders of the 21st century, to assure its status as a “light among nations”.
Our greatest natural resource and our best chance to guarantee the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people are our children. We must invest in Jewish-Zionist educaton, develop programs which strengthen the affi nity of Diaspora youth for the State of Israel and work to strengthen Jewish identity and continuity.
To this end , we must strengthen the historic partnership between our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora and State of Israel. For it is only together-striding forward shoulder-to-shoulder - that we can secure our common future, become stronger as a people and as a nation and fully realize the promise of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic country.