Diplomatic and consular corps at the presidential residence
Diplomatic and consular corps at the presidential residenceMark Neiman/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday hosted a reception for the diplomatic and consular corps in honor of Israel’s 71st Independence Day. Acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) also participated in the event.

“Distinguished members of the diplomatic corps, dear friends. It is a pleasure to welcome you to this celebration of our seventy-first Independence Day, in our three-thousand year old capital of Jerusalem,” said the president at the beginning of his remarks, noting that in his meetings with world leaders they comment admiringly on Israel’s achievements, and said that Israel is indeed a miracle, particularly in the vibrancy of its democracy.

“From the day Israel was born until today, we have faced enemies. Yet despite the severe security threats, we have built a thriving democracy with an independent judiciary, a free press, and religious freedom for all. This is a modern miracle,” he said.

“Israel is a small country, but we have big dreams. In fact, we are already becoming a world superpower. Not a superpower of military might -though we will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves - but a superpower of hope. Hope for a better future for all humanity.”

“Israeli technologies are already improving the lives of people around the world in the fields of clean water, sustainable farming, green energy and medical aid. Now imagine how these technologies could improve lives throughout the Middle East,” he continued.

“Peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors, especially our Palestinian neighbors, could bring such tremendous development and prosperity to the region. We continue to dream of peace with all our neighbors, because I deeply believe that we are not doomed to live together, we are destined to live together. Together we can build a better future for all the peoples of the region,” he concluded.

Acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said, “I congratulate the US administration for the sanctions, which they renewed against Iran, in order to bring an end to Iran's evil activity. I call upon the international community to support the American policy and to join the enforcing of the sanctions.”

During the day, the official presidential residence received messages of congratulations for world leaders on Yom Haatzmaut. Among those sending messages were President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump, who noted "shared values are the cornerstone of relations between our two great nations”.

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin congratulated Israel on its 71stanniversary and noted that today is also Victory Day, marking the end of the war against Nazi Germany and that the sacrifices for the sake victory was enormous.

Messages were received from Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who sent her best wishes for the good fortune and happiness of the people of Israel. King Felipe VI of Spain, President of Italy Sergio Mattarella and many others also sent wishes.