“Sisters and brothers in Jewish communities around the world, Happy seventy third Independence Day! Seventy-three years is a short time in the life of a country. We are still building our modern state in our ancient homeland, a state that is Jewish and democratic, democratic and Jewish, in the same breath, at the same time, and you are all full partners in this effort.

Over the last seven years, I have had the great privilege of learning from you. I deeply admire the strong spirit of mutual responsibility which characterizes so many Jewish communities. I deeply appreciate the diverse expressions of Jewish identity. Our Sages told us to follow the school of Beit Hillel, which truly listened to all sides. This lesson should serve as a guiding light for all of us. We must always truly listen to all sides. We must remember that we are one, strong, big and diverse family. We have a shared destiny. A new Israeli and Jewish Hope must be based on unity and diversity, on mutual understanding and shared experiences.

On this Independence Day, and in the last months of my term as president I am proud of everything that we have accomplished together. From Tikvah Israelit, Israeli Hope, to the joint delegation of Israeli and Jewish leaders to Africa, from expanding Israel Experience programs and programs for Israeli opinion-leaders in Jewish communities abroad. Together, we are combatting antisemitism, making Jewish education stronger, and promoting Holocaust remembrance. Yet, while we have come far, there is still so much more we can do.

I want to thank all of you for all that you do for Israel and the Jewish people. For being side by side with Israel, for defending Israel, for defending Zionism and the Jewish people. This place, Beit HaNasi, will always be your home. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

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