President Isaac Herzog
President Isaac HerzogMaayan Toaf / GPO

President Isaac Herzog hosted the annual Independence Day Reception for ambassadors, international representatives, and members of the diplomatic corps based in Israel, at the President’s Residence, Jerusalem. Also attending was Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yisrael Katz, and other senior officials and dignitaries.

In his address, President Herzog welcomed the representatives from countries around the world. He noted, “These are difficult times,“ and said, “yet there is still so much to be grateful for on this 76th Independence Day of Israel. Our improbable story in Israel is a story of bold and obstinate hope. A story of rising from the depths, again and again, to build and re-build the world in the image of our dreams. Hope has always defined us. And it continues to do so now.”

He noted, “When Hamas launched its rampage of rape, murder, and abduction on October 7th, it was not only trying to weaken the State of Israel. It was trying to weaken the pillars of free, open, democratic societies. It was trying to weaken the path of innovation, progress and prosperity. And it was especially trying to weaken the winds of warm peace that were blowing through our region, promising real change. For the security and integrity of every nation, we must not allow this. We must stand together as champions of moderation, democracy and peace. We must speak loudly and forcefully against the startling spike in antisemitism, which is exposing the dangers of corrosive hate that still lurk within societies all over the world. Most importantly, we must stand together as a family of nations and respond decisively to a despicable, ongoing crime against humanity: the cruel abduction of men, women, and children, of so many different nationalities, of over 220 days. Our hostages. We call upon all nations, on all of humanity to act forcefully in order to bring them back home as soon as possible. The world cannot enable international forums to be violated by this evil force, or be misused.”

He stressed, “True victory in the fight against radical hate will come not only when we have defeated the terrorists, returned our hostages, and rebuilt our communities. But when we have built a new corridor of collaboration and connectivity, across the Middle East. It can be done. I look forward to working together with all of you to get there.”