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Senate Resolution 522—Recognizing The 60Th Anniversary Of The Founding Of The Modern State Of Israel And Reaffirming The Bonds Of Close Friendship And Cooperation Between The United States And Israel

Mr. REID (for himself, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Akaka, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Allard, Mr. Barrasso, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Bayh, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Biden, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. Bond, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Brown, Mr. Brownback, Mr. Bunning, Mr. Burr, Mr. Byrd, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Carper, Mr. Casey, Mr. Chambliss, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Coburn, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Coleman, Ms. Collins, Mr. Conrad, Mr. Corker, Mr. Cornyn, Mr. Craig, Mr. Crapo, Mr. DeMint, Mr. Dodd, Mrs. Dole, Mr. Domenici, Mr. Dorgan, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Ensign, Mr. Enzi, Mr. Feingold, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Graham, Mr. Grassley, Mr. Gregg, Mr. Hagel, Mr. Harkin, Mr. Hatch, Mrs. Hutchison, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Inouye, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Kerry, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Kohl, Mr. Kyl, Ms. Landrieu, Mr. Lautenberg, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Levin, Mr. Lieberman, Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Lugar, Mr. Martinez, Mr. McCain, Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. Menendez, Ms. Mikulski, Ms. Murkowski, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mr. Nelson of Nebraska, Mr. Obama, Mr. Pryor, Mr. Reed, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Salazar, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Shelby, Mr. Smith, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Specter, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Sununu, Mr. Tester, Mr. Thune, Mr. Vitter, Mr. Voinovich, Mr. Warner, Mr. Webb, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Wicker, and Mr. Wyden) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:

Whereas on November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted to partition the British Mandate of Palestine and create a Jewish state; Whereas on May 14, 1948, the people of Israel proclaimed the establishment of the sovereign and independent State of Israel, and the United States Government established full diplomatic relations with Israel; Whereas the desire of the Jewish people to establish an independent modern State of Israel is an outgrowth of the existence of the historic kingdom of Israel established in the Land of Israel 3,000 years ago, with the city of Jerusalem as its capital; Whereas for over 2,000 years, there has been continuous Jewish presence and residence in the land comprising the modern State of Israel; Whereas the establishment of the modern State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people followed the slaughter of more than 6,000,000 European Jews during the Holocaust; Whereas since its establishment 60 years ago, the modern State of Israel has rebuilt a nation, forged a new and dynamic democratic society, and created a thriving economic, political, cultural, and intellectual life despite the heavy costs of war, terrorism, and unjustified diplomatic and economic boycotts against the people of Israel; Whereas the people of Israel have established a vibrant, pluralistic, democratic political system, including freedom of speech, association, and religion; a vigorously free press; free, fair and open elections; the rule of law; a fully independent judiciary; and other democratic principles and practices; Whereas Israel has developed some of the leading universities in the world, and 8 Israeli citizens have been awarded the Nobel Prize; Whereas Israel has developed an advanced, entrepreneurial economy, is among the world's leaders in the high-tech industry, and is at the forefront of research and development in the field of renewable energy sources; Whereas Israel regularly sends humanitarian aid, search- and-rescue teams, mobile hospitals, and other emergency supplies, to help victims of disasters around the world, including the 1994 Rwandan civil war, the 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy in Kenya, the 1999 earthquakes in Turkey, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 hurricanes along the southern coast of the United States, and the 2007 fires in Greece; Whereas Israel has absorbed millions of Jews from countries throughout the world and fully integrated them into Israeli society; Whereas Israel has bravely defended itself from repeated terrorist and military attacks since its independence; Whereas successive leaders of Israel have sought to achieve peace with Israel's Arab neighbors; Whereas Israel has established peaceful bilateral relations with neighboring Egypt and Jordan and has made its desire to establish peaceful relations with all Arab states abundantly clear; Whereas for 6 decades, the United States and Israel have maintained a special relationship based on mutually shared democratic values, common strategic interests, and moral bonds of friendship and mutual respect; Whereas the American people feel a strong affinity for the Israeli people based on common values and shared cultural heritage; and Whereas the United States continues to regard Israel as a strong and trusted ally and an important strategic partner: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate-- (1) recognizes the historic significance of the 60th anniversary of the reestablishment of the sovereign and independent State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people; (2) reaffirms the bonds of friendship and cooperation which have existed between the United States and Israel for the past 60 years, and commits to strengthening those bonds; (3) commends the people of Israel for their remarkable achievements in building a new state and a pluralistic, democratic society in the face of terrorism, as well as hostility, ostracism, and belligerence from many of their neighbors; (4) reaffirms its support for Israel's right to defend itself against threats to its security and existence; (5) reaffirms its enduring support for Israel as Israel pursues peace with its neighbors; and (6) extends the warmest congratulations and best wishes to the State of Israel and the Israeli people for a peaceful, prosperous, and successful future.

Sen. Harry Reid

legislator photo

Mr. President, I come to the floor today with the distinct honor of introducing a resolution with my friend Senator McConnell commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel.

On this historic occasion, Jews and non-Jews from around the world will come together to celebrate 60 years of Israeli independence. Out of the dark shadows of the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of over 6 million Jews, and many others, the state of Israel was reborn on the very same lands where the Jewish people had maintained a continuous presence for more than 2 millennia.

As an American, I am so proud that the United States has stood by Israel, our closest of allies, from the very beginning of its modern existence. On May 14, 1948, the date on which the people of Israel proclaimed the establishment of the sovereign and independent state of Israel, the United States was right there to offer our unwavering support and establish full diplomatic ties with our new friend. Sixty years later, I want the new generations of Israelis and Jewish-Americans to know that America reaffirms its commitment to the U.S.-Israel alliance and pledges to strengthen the bonds we have forged throughout the decades.

Yom Ha'atzmaut, the Israeli Independence Day, falls on May 8th this year, the same day the world traditionally celebrates the Allied victory over Nazism. Because of America's commitment to defeating European fascism, the histories of the United States and Israel will be forever linked. For it was from the ashes of World War II that our great country rose to become a global superpower at the same time a beacon of democracy and hope was established in the Holy Land.

Today, we face a new set of challenges to peace and freedom. As we have so many times before, the United States and Israel will stand together to combat those who seek to undermine the right of a Jewish state to exist. The Middle East remains an extremely volatile region with a series of ongoing violent conflicts, so it is a great comfort to know that we have a strong partner in such a strategically important part of the globe.

In a region long dominated by autocratic and monarchic traditions, Israel has been a paragon of democratic pluralism. Over the course of its modern existence, Israeli society has defended the principles we, as Americans, hold in such high esteem: freedom of speech, religion, and the press, an independent judiciary, and free market capitalism. Israel's strong democracy, despite being constantly under siege from neighboring states and terrorist entities, shows a remarkable commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy.

Millions of Americans will undoubtedly commemorate this momentous anniversary, including thousands in my home State of Nevada. I am very fortunate to hail from a part ofthe country with such a dynamic Jewish community; one that is committed to promoting the interests of our great State in any way they can. I would like to offer special congratulations to all those folks in Nevada who have worked so hard to put on events to honor the 60th anniversary of Israeli independence.

In the spirit of continuing the tradition of strong U.S.-Israel relations, I urge this entire chamber to wish all those who choose to celebrate this occasion another 60 years of happiness and prosperity. My best wishes for a safe and peaceful anniversary celebration.