Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day:
“Today, on the 66th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, I would like to extend my warmest regards to all those celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut.
“The story of Israel is a great example to the world. It is a story of a people who have overcome great suffering and unspeakable tragedy to realize a two thousand year old dream and build a nation based on the values of freedom and democracy.
“The deep friendship that Canada enjoys with Israel is rooted in these shared values and it is my hope that this relationship will only continue to grow stronger with each passing year. Canada is proud to support the Jewish State of Israel. We believe that the Jewish people deserve the opportunity to live safely and peacefully in their ancestral homeland.
“Despite facing constant threats to their existence, Israel and its people have not only endured, but thrived. Israel is helping to shape the world through advances in many areas, most significantly through innovation in the fields of medical research and high technology.
“Earlier this year, Laureen and I were very pleased to visit Israel and to see first-hand the beauty of the land and the way in which this great country has flourished since its founding in 1948. It was a deeply moving trip with visits to Yad Vashem, the Western Wall, and many other holy and historic sites. I was honoured to be granted the privilege of speaking to the Knesset and delighted to visit the bird sanctuary in HulaValley that bears my name.
“The visit reinforced my image of Israel as a truly modern country, firmly ensconced in the family of democratic nations and as an example to others in the region.
“I wish all those celebrating this historic day a Yom Ha’atzmaut Sameach.”