Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Remarks for 60th Anniversary of the Founding of the State of Israel

Remarks at the Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Israel



May 8th, 2008

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 Today, thousands of people are gathered here to dance – I hope that we will break a Guinness record – to dance to show our enthusiasm, an enthusiasm as great as the courage of a people. 

A great people who, despite being victims of the worst kind of atrocities, admirably recovered and regrouped to help liberty, democracy and prosperity to triumph. 

Through song and dance, we express the joy we all feel to see this State progress, year after year, nurtured by 60 years of relentless efforts . . . this State of Israel, a country young in years, but venerable in spirit. 

Today thousands are gathered here in Montreal, but the whole of Canada is celebrating our friendship with Israel — a friendship that has lasted 60 years! Sixty years – it’s young in terms of the lifetime of nations, and there remains much for us to accomplish together in the name of peace.  

And, while there is no peace without security, peace is not merely the absence of war; peace is harmony among nations. We need peace, peace for Israel, peace for all, peace for Palestinians, peace in the Middle East, peace everywhere on earth. 

That’s the cause we are defending, the cause of progress for all of humanity. The world needs Israel and its boundless creativity:   A country that has given Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman to the world of music, S.Y. Agnon to the world of literature and Yitzhak Rabin to the great dream of peace. 

A country with a population of just 7.2 million, which has already produced eight Nobel prize-winners, four of which in the last six years.   A world leader in solar and geothermal energy, at a time when we must reconcile humanity with the planet. These are just a few of Israel’s outstanding achievements that we celebrate today, in addition to the remarkable achievement of Israel’s creation 60 years ago. 

Today as we celebrate, we do so with Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, still fresh in our minds. That is as it should be, because remembering the horror and celebrating the triumph go hand in hand. But today we focus on our common feelings of triumph and joy. Israel is a country that has enriched our global community with its vibrant culture, its powers of invention, and its commitment to freedom, democracy, and prosperity.

Here in Canada, it is not just the Jewish community that is eager to join Israel in celebrating this joyous occasion. Canadians from all different walks of life recognize the importance of this event and wish Israel well today.

Canada and Israel share many values and aspirations and this occasion provides us with an excellent opportunity to celebrate the friendship that exists between our two nations. 

The banner for Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations bears the words “today and beyond,” encouraging us to look to the future, Israel’s next 60 years.

On behalf of my Liberal colleagues, I wish Israel a happy anniversary and a bright future. Congratulations on the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel! 

Masal-tov le-chaggigot shishim shanna le-medinnat Israel.  Today and beyond, Hayom vehamahar. 

Thank you