In a message to the Diaspora for Independence Day, President Shimon Peres called Israel “a miracle.” Israelis and Jews should be proud of what they have accomplished, Peres said, but need to realize that they had much more to do.

“We are celebrating the 66th anniversary of the State of Israel,” Peres stated. “There is so much to be proud about.”

Peres, who has been active in Israeli political life for over four decades, said that the country's founders had great dreams for the country's future – but the reality dwarfed even those dreams.

“I have to admit that the dream was too small when I see the reality that has come out of it,” Peres said. “We never dreamed there would be 8 million people in the State of Israel – that there would be more Hebrew-speaking people than Danish speaking people, that we shall be in the first line of scientific development, that we would have a good army to defend our lives, that we should have a young generation in search of peace, and maintain a brotherhood between Israel, the Diaspora, and the Jewish people.

Israel, Peres said, “is in many ways a miracle. We can and should be proud but never satisfied. Our task is never over. We have to work hard for peace. We have peace with two Arab countries, we have to have peace with all of them. To pursue peace is a Jewish value. The sooner the better.

“We have to fight anti-Semitism, to fight poverty and spread freedom. We are born to do so, and even if we have not done it, we must continue to try.” Israelis and Jews around the world, said Peres, need “to continue to dream, because dreams are the greatest way to reach reality. G-d bless you.”