Mr. Speaker, this week Israelis celebrate 70 years of independence and success against all odds. In Israel, independence day is celebrated the day after the entire country solemnly remembers its fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. 

The mingling of memorial and celebration in Israel is rooted in the country’s history: from the very moment of its founding, Israel’s enemies have tried time and again to wipe the Jewish state off the map. 

Israel was established in 1948 as a refuge for the Jewish people, after generations of oppression in all corners of the earth. After over 2,000 years of exile, Holocaust survivors and persecuted Jews from Muslim lands miraculously returned to their ancient homeland to forge a new future together. 

These refugees went on to make the desert blossom and establish a prosperous, industrious, and free nation. Today, Israel stands as a stalwart American ally and an outpost of freedom and democracy in a region plagued with tyranny and fear. 

 So today, we congratulate Israel for 70 years of defying the odds and tell the Israeli people: The United States will always stand by their side. 

And that’s just the way it is.