President Barack Obama said Israel’s independence validated the vision of Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl.
In his message April 16 wishing Israelis a “joyous” Independence Day, Obama recalled visiting Israel last month and laying a wreath at Herzl’s grave in Jerusalem.
“There, I was honored to pay tribute to Theodor Herzl, who did so much to realize the dream of an independent Israel, to the presidents and prime ministers who guided her, and to those in uniform who have laid down their lives to protect her,” Obama said. “The strong and prosperous Israel we see today proves Herzl’s vision — ‘if you will it, it is no dream.’ ”
Obama administration officials have continued the practice initiated by President George W. Bush of referring to Israel repeatedly as a Jewish state. — jta