I would like to join my colleagues who have chosen to come to the floor and recognize and salute the 60th anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel.

Today is a great milestone for the people of Israel and for all. Ever since President Truman recognized Israel minutes after its birth on May 14, 1948, the United States and have enjoyed a friendship based on values rooted in democracy and mutual strategic goals. Israel’s survival and success are a remarkable testimony to the vision that inspired its creation six decades ago. And to the Israeli people who have made that vision a reality. On this day of celebration, we must reflect on the course charted by the great leaders over the last six decades that have made this milestone possible.

Through the journey, they have always been courageous and it has not always been easy. It has not always been a straight and smooth path. Each step along the way has been paved with the two fundamental and complimentary tenets of the Israeli nation: resilience and faith.

The existence of Israel across these six decades, the way it has grown and flourished has provided security and opportunity for its citizens. It has strengthened and enhanced Jewish life around the world. And it has been a beacon of democracy that has made the entire world a safer, more hopeful place.

I had the honor, Mr. President, of traveling to Israel two years ago and seeing firsthand the strength and vitality of the country. I still remember the warm welcome I received from the Israeli people as well as the courage and pride they bring to everyday life.

I was honored to meet with Prime Minister Sharon just a few weeks before his tragic stroke, and I will value the lessons forever that I learned from that conversation. Today, America’s and Israel’s interests in the Middle East and around the world have never been so closely aligned. Our common values and objectives continue to drive us to meet the challenges we face and to pursue opportunities for greater peace and prosperity. We are in the midst of turbulent times with instability threatening to spread across the Middle East.

But the people of Israel must know that wherever forces of intolerance gather to endanger their safety or security, the United States will stand beside them in defying and defeating those foes. By continuing to support Israel, Mr. President, we support stability and democracy and we can make further progress toward peace in the region. So, Mr. President, I ask that my colleagues join with me in congratulating and celebrating with the people of Israel on the 60th anniversary of the founding of their nation and that we renew our commitment to ensuring that we will continue to celebrate each successive anniversary for decades to come.