Change is in the air and it's looking good.

Chargé d’Affaires my friend Michael Ratney, the team here in the American Embassy, Congressmen and the delegation, distinguished guests, my friends all,

It's a very touching moment for me. I have to tell you – I still remember the bicentennial coins. Do you remember those? There was a quarter, bicentennial, I've been about four years old and I remember the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school in America. My mom and dad both were born, raised in San Francisco. They came to age in the 50s and 60s. One of the things that I'm most proud of my dad, may he rest in peace, my dad Jim Bennett was arrested by San Francisco police in a sit-in in a San Francisco hotel that would not hire black people. And I was always proud of my dad for fighting for his principles.

Walking down to the Brooklyn Bridge to see the fireworks on Fourth of July, I was there in 2001, that was before 9/11 but the year after and through the tumultuous times so I really feel at home over here and we are here in Jerusalem, Israel's eternal capital. I'm not sure if you know – there's something in common between Jerusalem and Washington, DC. Washington, DC, if I remember, doesn’t belong to any state.

It's beyond. Jerusalem was founded precisely because it didn’t belong to any of the tribes. Right? Jerusalem was founded after the entrance of the Jews into the land of Israel so every tribe sort of found their place. Jerusalem was exterritorial. And Washington, DC is what? David's capital. Right? Washington, DC. and District of Colombia.

On behalf of the people of Israel, I'd like to wish all of you a very happy independence day. Indeed, 245 years ago the founding fathers of the United States of America put down those amazing words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness." And this proclamation went down and was echoed down generations, inspiring people all around the world to follow in the footsteps of America's founders.

As the Chargé d’Affaires mentioned, our own declaration of independence in 1948 reaffirmed these very commitments to these principles. But our nations' connection runs way way deeper. Because anyone who's read American history knows that the revolutionary ideas expressed by America's founding fathers sprung from their faith in and deep understanding of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh. They were very learned and they founded America on the very principles of the Bible. They saw the Bible's insights into human nature, civic virtue, social order and political authority as essential to the establishment of this new great nation America. Being decent, being good, discerning between good and bad, respecting our parents, respecting elders, helping the weak and applying justice.

Likewise, it was the vision of our ancient prophets that the scattered exiles of Zion would one day return to the land of Israel. My dad's family reached America from Europe in the 50s, in 1850s. In fact, they reached San Francisco because my ancestors were on the Gold Rush. It didn’t really work out well.
And it’s the depths of these shared ideals and shared identity that binds our nations together in the unbreakable bond. The bond is expressed both in times of peace, joy and happiness like these good happy days right now but also in times of difficulty, danger and tragedy. America has had our back and we always try to help out when we can.

Most recently, the aftermath of the heartbreaking disaster in Surfside, Miami revealed again the strength of the solidarity and partnership between our two countries. Our hearts go out to all those who lost loved ones and those who have yet to locate precious missing family members. It's tough to [unclear]. Right away when it happened we called up the governor, the mayor and sent over folks who could help out because that's what friends do. We help each other. And we stand with you all.

As the prime minister of the new government in Israel, which is the most diverse coalition in Israel's history – we've got eight different parties, left and right, Jews and Arabs, it's not easy but it's working. It's working because there's a spirit of good will. And when there's trust and good will – it can work. So I stand committed to making the bond between us even stronger by expanding our already strong strategic cooperation in the face of any threats to our people's security, building even more robust economic and trade relationships.

You know my own company, which I founded twenty somewhat years ago, was founded already as an American-Israeli company. We didn’t start in Israel. So that's how companies [unclear] together. It took a while to work out the joint mentality. For example, I have to tell our American friends: Israel has unique physics. Right? It's the Holy Land. In Israel, when an elevator opens, you can walk in even before anyone walked out. Did you realize that? It's a miracle.

I remember…I got to tell you this story. So, one time…I was the CEO on this company in Manhattan, hired a good guy. His name was Bryan Derman [ph], American, and I was on the phone, I was like…on the phone…and Brian walks in and I'm talking and I say….and he says: Naftali, I don’t know what that means. What does that mean?

And one more thing for Americans to learn how to work with us – in Israel it's impolite to allow the other person to finish his sentence. You have to interject. Right? You got to…

We're going to work together to make this grow more and more. We're doing amazing stuff, great startups, great work together. We're going to work with the new administration in America and with Congress to upgrade our friendship and partnership.

And I had such a warm discussion with President Biden and I'm sure he's going to be an amazing partner in this endeavor. In his decades of public service, President Biden has always proven not only his commitment to the American-Israeli alliance – but his true love to the Jewish people. You can't miss it. And we appreciate it.

You know, Israelis across the political spectrum are fundamentally pro American. We like America. We appreciate, we admire what you're doing out there. And that's the way it ought to be also in America vis-à-vis Israel. And I'll challenge any attempt to make America a partisan political issue in Israel and any attempt to make Israel a partisan political issue in the United States. Our policy is bipartisan. We're friends of everyone. Because the friendship between our two democracies will always transcend party politics.

Michael, please pass on to President Biden, to Vice President Kamala Harris and to the administration my very best wishes for your independence day.

May God bless the United States of America. May God bless Israel and may God bless the remarkable and enduring friendship between us.

Thank you.