WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement in commemoration of Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut:

“On Israel’s Independence Day—Yom Ha’atzmaut—I congratulate the people and state of Israel and celebrate the freedoms that Israel stands for.  Throughout its existence, the Israeli people have faced grave threats from hostile neighbors, defending themselves bravely against repeated terrorist and military attacks from state and non-state actors.  And we must not forget that such success does not come without loss, as we remember those who have fallen in service to their country on this day.  Despite these hardships, the Israeli people have not wavered in their commitment to democracy and freedom.  

“Since its establishment on May 14, 1948, Israel has proven itself to be a vibrant democracy, and a nation that prioritizes innovation, liberal values and freedom.  It is these shared principles that have created the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel.  For 68 years, Israel has shined as a bright light in a very dark region.  We must continually strengthen our relationship with the state and people of Israel, sending a clear and unmistakable message to Israel’s enemies that America stands in solidarity with the Jewish people.”