Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the US Ambassador’s Fourth of July Reception


bibiFollowing are Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks at US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro’s residence on the occasion of US Independence Day.

Chag Sameach

Happy Fourth of July.

Mr. President, Shimon Peres,

Ambassador Shapiro, your Hebrew is fantastic, simply great.

And your understanding of Israel matches your understanding of Hebrew.

So Dan and Julie,

[Translated from Hebrew:

Continue with your excellent work, with your sweet children, and the bond you are cultivating in our country.]

Dan, you have been an excellent Ambassador. I can say that from personal experience. And you’ve served as a bridge – a bridge between our two countries, and this was brilliantly demonstrated during President Obama’s historic visit to Israel.

I want to add a request. Sara and I would like to send not only warm greetings to the President and First Lady Michelle Obama. We’d like to see Michelle in Israel as well.

There are ministers here and Knesset members and mayors and diplomats and representatives of, as the President said, of all of Israel. Well, all friends – Americans and Israelis alike.

It’s always a pleasure, and a deeply meaningful pleasure, to celebrate America’s Independence Day.

It’s true, July 4th is first and foremost an American holiday.

It’s a time when Americans celebrate their freedom; it’s a time when they celebrate the cherished principles of American democracy.

These are values we deeply share here in Israel.

In the Middle East, Israel has always been an island of stability and democracy in a sea of instability and despotism.

This has always been true, but today, this is clearer than ever before.

Israel will always remain America’s steadfast and unwavering ally.

We are allies, there’s a powerful bond between us.

And the bond comes because of what has been said here tonight – because our deepest values are identical to those of the United States.

We too believe that a government, as President Lincoln said, is of the people, by the people and for the people; a government, as Jefferson insisted, where the majority rules, but where the rights of the minority, all minorities, are vigorously protected; a government, as the American founding fathers so wisely conceived, where checks and balances help prevent the abuse of power and ensure that no one is above the law.

That’s why the Fourth of July is more than an American holiday.

It is a day that is celebrated by all those who cherish freedom around the world.

It’s a day that we honor the nation that has held the torch of liberty for 237 years. That Statue of Liberty shines not only in New York Harbor, not only in the United States of America, it shines around the world. Everybody sees America’s gift of freedom.

This is the day we also salute the courage of America’s soldiers, who for nearly a century have answered the call of freedom and have defended freedom across the globe.

It is a day when those who live in tyranny can dream of a future of liberty for their families and for their countries.

In the Middle East today, there are many people who seek such a future.

Those who seek liberty are our natural peace partners.

They also provide hope that the great turbulence that is rocking the Middle East today will ultimately result in a brighter future for all the peoples in our region.

This will not happen overnight. But if real freedom ultimately takes root throughout the Middle East, a future of prosperity and peace will finally be realized for all.

Until that day comes, America knows that in the Middle East there is one genuine democracy, one country that it can always count on, and that country is Israel.

Our two societies are so much alike, there is so much diversity, there is pluralism, there is creativity – fountains of it, endless bursts of creativity in every field: scientist, technologist, entrepreneurs, businessmen, business women, musicians, artists, writers. In every field of human endeavor, Israel and the United States are explosive fountains of human ingenuity and creativity.

And I know that because when I look around the world and I see the world looking at us, they say there are only two places that have such a compilation of genius across the board. They say the United States of America and the State of Israel.

We in Israel are proud of our vibrant democracy and our strong democratic institutions.

We are proud of our rambunctious parliament where no punches are pulled. How do you translate rambunctious? Dan?

We are proud of our independent courts that protect the rule of law. We are proud of our free press that holds all to account.

And Israelis know, we know, that it has been the great fortune of our own democracy that in the past seven decades the preeminent power in the world has been the United States of America.

That is why when the United States, the greatest democracy in the world, celebrates its independence, Israel celebrates with you.

President Obama put it best when he said on his visit to Israel this year, he said: “The Star of David and the Stars and Stripes fly together.”

Exactly. “Our alliance,” President Obama said, “is eternal. La’netzach.”

Dan, I know you worked hard on the pronunciation. It’s the sentiment that counts. It’s a real sentiment of friendship.

Our countries are true friends; we are true partners; we are true allies.

And to address the great challenges that we both face today, our alliance is needed more than ever.

We must work together to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability.

President Obama said on his visit, as he did before. He said: “This is a common goal, but always remember that Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threat.”

We adhere to those principles.

We must work to address the threats posed by the situation in Syria and by the unraveling instability throughout the region.

And, our friends, we must work together to advance peace with the Palestinians.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his tireless efforts to advance peace. When I say tireless, I mean just that. That man works until three o’clock in the morning. We all do. But then he goes on to a 45 minute stroll in Jerusalem. I think I’ll join him next time.

Israel hopes those efforts will succeed.

We place no obstacles whatsoever to resume direct negotiations.

We are ready for those talks to begin immediately. And we hope the Palestinians will join us in trying to secure a lasting peace between us.

On behalf of the Israeli people, I thank President Obama and the American people for their unwavering support for the State of Israel.

May your great nation continue to hold freedom’s torch high, and may democracies everywhere continue to be blessed by American leadership for generations to come.

G-d bless America.

Chag Sameach.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)