“Today we celebrate 65 years of Israel’s independence. The 1948 Declaration of Independence by future Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion marked the Jewish people’s realization of self-determination in their historic homeland.
“Canada was one of 33 countries that voted in favour of the United Nations resolution calling for the creation of a Jewish state. Canada was also one of the first countries to formally recognize the State of Israel upon its founding.
“We are proud to celebrate not only Israel’s independence, but also warm Canada-Israel relations based on fundamental, common values. The strong ties between our two countries continue to flourish and are enhanced by our shared commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
“Israel is a pluralistic democracy that celebrates freedom of religion, equality of the sexes, and minority rights. It is commendable that Israelis have built an open and prosperous society despite constant threats and attacks from extremist groups and hostile regimes, and from the anti-Semitism of critics who seek to delegitimize and deny Israel’s very right to exist.
“Canada will continue to stand with the State of Israel against those who terrorize her people, imperil their right to exist and live in peace and security, or single out the only Jewish state for disproportionate or unique criticism.
“As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I extend my warmest wishes to everyone celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, both in Canada and around the world.
“Yom Ha’atzmaut sameach!”