WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in recognition of Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day:
“On this, Yom Ha'atzmaut, I want to congratulate the citizens of our steadfast friend in the Middle East and the Jewish community throughout the world on the 56th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel.
“The story of the creation of Israel is long and complex, but ultimately hopeful. In July 1922, as the world was still reeling from the aftermath of World War I, the League of Nations issued a mandate requiring Palestine to form the establishment of a Jewish national home, citing the 'historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine' and the 'grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.'
"Our 67th Congress then passed a Congressional Resolution supporting a Jewish homeland, the first of many acts in our nation’s support for Israel. And when Israel was created in 1948, it took President Truman only 11 minutes to recognize the new Jewish State.
“Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, shares the foundation of our own government: freedom of religion, free speech, basic human rights and the rule of law. When the United States has needed support, either militarily or diplomatically, Israel has been among our strongest allies.
“The United States and Israel are both nations of immigrants. We are safe havens for the oppressed. We are partners for peace. And even in the dark hours, when violence and hate threaten the people of Israel and the United States, our partnership is unbreakable and we stand united against the scourge of terrorism.
“Today, I congratulate the leaders and the people of Israel on 56 years of democratic independence. And I am honored that I had the opportunity this past August to lead the largest Congressional delegation in Israel’s history to the Jewish State, during which Members of Congress – many of whom had never visited Israel – saw first-hand her security challenges and gained a better appreciation of her importance to our own national security.”