Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin NetanyahuReuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released on Tuesday a special message to President Barack Obama and to the citizens of the United States, in honor of the Fourth of July holiday. His speech was taped and sent to the annual July 4 celebration at the home of the United States Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro.

“As Israel’s Prime Minister, I appreciate deeply all that America has done for Israel, and as the leader of one of the world’s most vibrant democracies, I appreciate all the great sacrifices that America has made in order to advance liberty and democracy throughout the world,” said Netanyahu.

Speaking about the transformations in the Middle East, Netanyahu said, “All those who value freedom should remember that to be a real democracy, it is not enough to have a government that represents the majority of the people.

“Real democracy also means having a government that respects the rights of each and every individual in it.

“Real democracy is not merely about holding popular elections. 

“It is about what happens between elections.

“It means ensuring that no one is above the law.

“It means protecting free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion.

“It means upholding the rights of women, minorities, gays, children, everyone.

“By ensuring both popular sovereignty and individual rights, the nations of the region can join America and Israel in being genuine democracies.”

He said that “In the near term, I think we'll all agree, there's ample reason for skepticism…But in the long term, in the long term I believe there's reason for hope.

“Because with the spread of information technology, it will become increasingly difficult to keep young minds closed, cloistered in darkness.

“Ultimately, the power of freedom is bound to prevail.

“Ultimately, people throughout the Middle East will enjoy the rights that we in free societies too often take for granted.”

He concluded by saying, “On behalf of the people of Israel, let me wish President Obama and all the American people a Happy Independence Day.”