Sen. Cruz Commemorates 70th Anniversary of Israel’s Independence Day

Yesterday I delivered a floor speech recognizing the 70th anniversary of Israel’s Independence Day.

Watch my floor speech in its entirety here. The full text of my remarks is below:

Mr. President, I also rise today to join Israel and the Jewish people to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

On Friday, May 14th, 1948, Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion brought together members of the Jewish People’s Council in the Tel Aviv Museum.

By then the Zionist movement to rebirth a Jewish state had been at work for decades.

Ben-Gurion stood underneath a portrait of the pioneer of that movement, Theodore Herzl, and described the historic right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel:

‘The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

‘After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.’

That right had been recognized by the international community, he said, and declared the founding of the modern state of Israel:

‘…we, the members of the People's Council, representatives of the Jewish Community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist Movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British Mandate over Eretz-Israel and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel...’

Eleven minutes after Ben-Gurion made his declaration, and over the objection of many of his advisors and the State Department, President Harry S. Truman courageously recognized the State of Israel. I’m sorry it took us a full 11 minutes to do so.

Meanwhile armies from five Arab states declared war and invaded in an attempt to destroy the new state.

Despite being outgunned and outnumbered, Israel would prevail.

The Israeli victory might not have happened without heroic U.S. soldiers who had recently returned from World War II, including Jewish Americans, volunteering to go and help.

Some volunteers provided badly needed weapons. Others offered their military experience. Some fought.

In 1951, Ben-Gurion, then serving as Israel’s first Prime Minister, established Israel’s Memorial Day, which takes place the day before Israel’s Independence Day and which commemorates those killed in the wars and terror campaigns waged against Israel.

From Tuesday to Wednesday evening, Israel came to a complete standstill in honor of the 23,646 Israelis who have fallen in wars and the 3,134 victims of terrorist attacks since 1860. 

I stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in commemoration.

It has been seven decades since Prime Minister Ben Gurion made his historic declaration of independence and President Truman gave his historic recognition.

And I’m proud to say America continues to stand unshakably with our allies.

On December 6, 2017, President Trump rightly recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced that the U.S. Embassy would be moving to Jerusalem, implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that was adopted overwhelmingly by Congress.

I had long advocated and supported the United States to take these two actions, which are required to rectify an historic injustice.

Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, and the capital of the Jewish State since its founding in 1948.

I recently introduced a resolution reaffirming the deep connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem and denouncing efforts at UNESCO that have attempted to rewrite historic truth. To erase from history undeniable facts. 

I am also proud that my home state of Texas adopted legislation on Israel’s Independence Day last year to combat the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. 

And on May 14th, 2018, exactly seven decades since President Truman recognized Israel, the United States will finally and formally recognize as much, and open our embassy in Jerusalem.

Mr. President, I, along with many millions across our nation and across the world, look forward to that day. We stand in alliance and solidarity with the people of Israel, celebrating the great friendship, the great national security alliance between two great nations. Mr. President I yield the floor.


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