This Yom HaZikaron, we commemorate a day that is deeply personal for every Israeli–whose parents, children, brothers and sisters lie in military cemeteries in towns and cities across the country. Even since last year, dozens have died fighting in the Gaza Strip and on Israel’s borders, or as victims of rocket attacks and terrorism.
Their sacrifice is a terrible price to pay for Israel’s freedom and security. And until there is a two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is a cost that will surely grow.
As we join with our Israeli friends and family to mark this solemn day, and then rejoice in 67 years of independence as we move to Yom Ha’atzmaut, we remember the responsibilities that come with having a state of our own, and the choices that we must make to safeguard the Jewish homeland for generations to come.
Israel faces formidable challenges at home and abroad, but as we mark these days, we honor the Israel that David Ben-Gurion declared to be “based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel” and ensuring “complete equality… to all its inhabitants.”
It is these values that have united our two countries since Israel’s founding. They must be protected at all costs. Today, and tomorrow, let us reaffirm our own stake in Israel’s Jewish and democratic future, and fight for the Israel that we want for our children.