When tragedy strikes America, Israel mourns.
Tragedy has struck America.
In recent days, tornadoes and floods have claimed the lives of hundreds of Americans.
Israel grieves with you.
To all our supporters in this great hall, and to the millions of our supporters across this great land, the people of Israel thank you.
Thank you for your staunch commitment to Israel’s security.
Thank you for defending Israel’s right to defend itself.
Thank you for standing by Israel as it seeks a secure peace.
You know that Israel is America’s indispensable ally.
You understand that Israel and America stand shoulder to shoulder fighting common enemies, protecting common interests.
You know that Israeli innovators help power computers, fight disease, conserve water, and clean the planet.
Your support for Israel flows from the heart.
It’s not just what Israel does. It’s what Israel is.
Yesterday, they let me out.
My wife got to visit Washington’s majestic memorials.
I read Jefferson’s timeless words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”
I read Lincoln’s immortal address reaffirming “Government of the people, for the people, and by the people.”
You know why these words resonate so powerfully with me and with all Israelis.
Because they are rooted in ideas first championed by our people, the Jewish people.
The idea that all men are created in God’s image.
That no ruler is above the law.
That everyone is entitled to justice.
These revolutionary Jewish ideas were spoken thousands of years ago when vast slave empires ruled the earth.
Israel is the cradle of our common civilization, crucible of our moral ideals.
The Jewish state was founded on these eternal values.
This is why Israel’s more than one million Muslim citizens enjoy full democratic rights.
This is why the only place in the Middle East where Christians are completely free to practice their faith is in the democratic State of Israel.
And this is why only Israel can be trusted to ensure freedom for all faiths in our eternal capital, the united city of Jerusalem.
Israel and America have drawn from this deep wellspring of common values.
We have forged an enduring friendship not merely between our governments but between our peoples.
Support for Israel doesn’t divide America.
It unites America.
It unites the old and the young, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans—and yes, Joe Leiberman, it even unites Independents—
This broad support for Israel is a source of great strength for my country.
Since Harry Truman, Israel has looked to American Presidents to stand by its side to meet unfolding challenges of a changing world.
President Obama has spoken about his ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.
He rightly said that our security cooperation is unprecedented.
He spoke of that commitment not just in front of AIPAC, but in two speeches heard throughout the Arab world.
And President Obama has backed those words with deeds.
I know these are tough economic times.
So I want to thank the President and Congress for providing Israel with vital assistance so that Israel can defend itself by itself.
Thank you for supporting the Iron Dome missile-defense system.
A few weeks ago, Hamas terrorists in Gaza fired eight rockets at Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva.
The rockets never reached their targets.
Iron Dome intercepted them.
For the first time, a missile defense system worked in combat.
Thank you, America.
America and Israel are cooperating in so many other ways.
In science, in technology, in trade, in investment.
Its not only American companies investing in Israel.
It’s Israeli companies investing in America.
In the last decade, Israeli companies have invested more than $50 billion in America.
One of those investments is happening just down the road in Richmond.
An Israeli company is building a food factory there.
That means more business, more jobs and yes, more Hummus.
Well it’s not just food we’re bringing to America.
Israel is advancing cures for multiple schlerosis, cancer and alzheimer’s.
We’ve developed the mechanical means to make paraplegics walk again.
We placed a tiny diagnostic camera inside a pill.
A Jerusalem start-up company has developed a bandage to rapidly stop bleeding.
A million of those bandages have been supplied to the US army.
They are saving American lives and limbs.
But not just on the battlefield.
A few months ago, one of those bandages was carried by a policeman in Tuscon, Arizona.
It helped save the life of a great friend of Israel, Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords!
Israel and America are also cooperating to end the world’s worst addiction — the addiction to oil.
This dependence fuels terrorism.
It poisons the planet.
We’ve launched a ten-year program to seek a substitute for gasoline.
If we succeed, we can change history.
The American people’s support for Israel is reflected in my invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress tomorrow.
I will talk about the great convulsion taking place in the Middle East –
I will talk about the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran.
I will also outline a vision for a secure Israeli-Palestinian peace.
I will speak the unvarnished truth.
Now, more than ever, what we need is clarity.
Events in our region are finally opening people’s eyes to a simple truth.
The problems of the region are not rooted in Israel.
The remarkable scenes we are witnessing in town squares across the Middle East and North Africa are occurring for a simple reason.
People want freedom.
They want progress. They want a better life.
For many of the people in the region, the 20th century skipped them by.
Now 21st century technology is showing them what they missed.
That desperate fruit vendor in Tunis didn’t set himself on fire because of Israel.
He set himself on fire because of decades of indignity, decades of intolerable corruption.
The millions who poured into the streets of Tehran, Tunis, Cairo, Sanna, Benghazi and Damascus, were not thinking about Israel.
They were thinking of freedom.
They were yearning for opportunity.
It’s time to stop blaming Israel for all of the region’s problems.
Let me stress one thing.
Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a vital need for us.
Peace would be the realization of a powerful and eternal dream.
But it is not a panacea for the endemic problems of the Middle East.
It will not give women is some Arab countries in the Middle East the right to drive a car.
It will not prevent Churches from being bombed.
It will not keep journalists out of jail.
What will change all this? One word.
Democracy. Real, genuine, democracy.
By democracy, I don’t just mean elections.
I mean Freedom of Speech. Freedom of the Press. Freedom of Assembly.
The Rule of Law. Rights for women, for gays, for minorities, for everyone.
What the people of the Middle East need is what you have in America, and what we have in Israel.
It’s time to recognize this basic truth:
Israel is not what’s wrong about the Middle East.
Israel is what’s right about the Middle East.
Israel wants peace because we know the pain of terror and the agony of war.
We want peace because we know the blessings peace could bring to us and to our Palestinian neighbors.
But if we hope to advance peace with the Palestinians, then it is time that we admitted another truth.
This conflict has raged for nearly a century because the Palestinians refuse to end it.
They refuse to accept the Jewish state.
This is what this conflict has always been about.
There are many issues that must be resolved between Israelis and Palestinians.
We can and must resolve them.
But I repeat. We can only make peace with the Palestinians if they are prepared to make peace with the Jewish state.
Tomorrow, I will speak more about what such a peace could look like.
But tonight I wanted to express Israel’s gratitude for all you are doing to help strengthen Israel and its great alliance with America.
*You help maintain our Qualitative Military Edge.
*You back sanctions against Iran.
* You support a genuine peace.
*You oppose Hamas.
*You’ve joined President Obama and me in denouncing Hamas and demanding that it release, Gilad Shalit.
That’s another outrageous crime of Hamas.
Keeping a young soldier locked in a dark dungeon for five years without even a visit from the Red Cross.
Hamas must release Gilad Shalit!
I spent my high school years in Philadelphia.
I went many times to see the Liberty Bell.
Now, as Prime Minister of Israel, I can walk down the street and see an exact replica of that bell in Jerusalem’s Liberty Park.
On both bells is the same inscription.
It comes from the Bible, from Leviticus.
“Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land.”
My Dear Friends,
This is the essence of the great alliance between our two nations.
Two peoples bonded in Liberty, and seeking freedom and peace for all.