Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Friends, it is my sincere honor and privilege as the United States Ambassador to Israel to welcome you all to our birthday party. This is the 246th anniversary of America’s Independence.
Let’s hear loud applause for the one and only military band, coming all the way from Qatar. I am so proud of our servicemen and women. Let me just say – Daniela Escobar and Eve Zuckerman – thank you for your beautiful renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner and Ha Tikva.
Thank you as well to Marina Maximilian, who we will hear in a little bit, for being here this evening to help us celebrate with her beautiful music. As an Israeli who traces her roots to Ukraine, your presence here tonight reminds us that, even as we celebrate, the people of Ukraine face incredible hardships at the hands of a brutal dictator. Let’s keep them in our thoughts.
Thanks to the David Citadel Hotel for this warm, warm welcome. Hope it’s not too warm. And thank you to the many corporations that I had to call to pay for this. Thank you for all of your help, and please give them all a round of applause.
One of the most important honors I’ve had here is getting to know President Herzog and Alternative – I love those words – Alternative Prime Minister Bennett. These two gentlemen are the real deal. But more important than that, behind the curtain, actually not behind the curtain, is the country’s most famous first lady – Mrs. Herzog, please stand up.
I also have a first lady – my wife Virginia Moseley is here and my daughter Taylor. So please give a round of applause to them as well.
And finally, to all of you who have joined this celebration of U.S. independence: thanks for being here to celebrate America’s birthday and the unbreakable bonds and friendship between our two nations.
Before I begin my remarks, I wanted to take this opportunity to honor my friend and colleague, Jonathan Shrier, who has been the Deputy Chief of Mission at this Embassy for the last three years. Through many changes and difficult times he has been a steady and positive force. He’s a spectacular diplomat. But we will be saying goodbye to him this summer as he goes on to his next post.
So, Jonathan, please come up here. I’d like to present Jonathan with an American flag, which was flown over the Embassy in Jerusalem just yesterday. Please give Jonathan warm, warm, warm applause. He’s a crowd favorite, I think.
As most of you know, President Biden is due to visit Israel very, very soon. This will be his 10th – I say 10th – visit to Israel. This is a President who knows and loves Israel, who is uniquely attuned to the critical importance of our partnership. Starting with his first visit as a Senator in 1973, President Biden has befriended every Israeli President and Prime Minister since Golda Meir.
This is a President who proudly proclaims himself as a Zionist, and who embodies America’s ironclad bipartisan support for Israel’s security and Israel’s integration into the broader Middle East. So, let me just say we are looking forward to a fruitful visit, one that will be its own way to celebrate these unbreakable bonds.
But let’s not lose sight of the breadth and depth of the diversity of those bonds. Because as deep and effective and important as our security is and our government-to-government relationships may be, these pale in comparison to the people-to-people connections, institutional partnerships, and economic links that bind us together as a people.
We are, both of us, nations of immigrants, with all the diversity and cultural richness that brings. And we are both countries that value public service. And here let me take a moment to thank the public servants that are in this room — Americans and locally engaged team members — who work at the U.S. Embassy every day to support every facet of this relationship. And yes, let’s not forget the men and women who serve in our armed forces to keep us all safe. Thank you for your service.
The United States is a nation built on founding documents. We are here today because 246 years ago American patriots were prepared to sign a piece of paper which, had the Revolution failed, would have meant everyone would be sadly imprisoned or died. But they risked their lives to commit to self-evident truths that all people are “created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That’s from the Declaration of Independence, a document that every American knows.
So just think 158 years later, when President Truman was the first world leader to recognize the State of Israel, he did so knowing that the history of the Jewish people and the history of the United States were bound up together from the time of our birth as a nation. So, tonight we celebrate those ties between us.
So let me close by saying to President Herzog and Alternative Prime Minister Bennett, and all our honored guests: thank you for joining us for this celebration of the United States and the unbreakable ties we all share.
May God bless the United States of America!
Thank you very much.