Israel’s president thanks Diaspora supporters in Independence Day message

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will forever be indebted to its friends and supporters abroad, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in an Independence Day message to Diaspora communities.

“As we look to the year ahead, we are all aware of the difficult challenges that lie before us, both internally and externally,” said Rivlin, who is in his first year as president. “We can overcome these obstacles, as we always have done, together, with mutual respect and understanding.

“Together we can work to ensure that Israel fulfills its promise of a Jewish and democratic country, with equality and freedoms for all its citizens. This is my hope, my prayer, and my mission, and I know it is yours, too.”

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In the message, Rivlin called Israeli independence “the accomplishment of a 2,000-year-old dream.”

He also released a video on YouTube offering greetings from Israel to “friends in Israel and around the world.”

Israel Independence Day begins Wednesday at sundown with a ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.