President Shimon Peres welcomed United States President Barack Obama to Israel on Wednesday. “Your generosity enabled freedom to prevail all over the world,” he told him.
Peres began, “President Barack Obama, dear friend, welcome to Israel. We welcome you as a great president of the United States of America. As a remarkable world leader. As a historic friend of Israel. Of the Jewish People. Your visit here is a crown demonstration of the profound relationship between our two nations.
“The people of Israel welcome you with open hearts. From the depth of our hearts, From the depths of our history, todah rabah,” he said, using the Hebrew phrase for “thank you.”
“Thank you, Mr. President,” he continued. “Thank you, America. Thank you for what you are. Thank you for what you do.
“Thank you for the hopes you carry with you. In a few minutes you will be on your way to Jerusalem. Our ancient capital. The cradle of all believers, of all prayers. You will see the hills and mountains where our prophets preached. Where the soul of the Jewish People was born. Where the State of Israel was created.
“America and Israel are somewhat different in size. In size — not in destiny. The American dream stems from the Bible. The Israeli spirit is inspired by American exceptionalism. We are separated by an ocean and united by the commitment to freedom, to justice. By the ongoing struggle for peace. We face the same dangers. We share the same hopes.
“Mr. President, The United States became great by giving. Not by taking. Your generosity enabled freedom to prevail all over the world. A world without America’s leadership, without her moral voice, would be a darker world. A world without your friendship, would invite aggression against Israel.
“Mr. President, Your story reflects the history of the world as it is. Your vision reflects the future as it should be. You have offered the American people and the peoples of the world a leadership of vision, a leadership of values. A leadership dedicated to a brighter tomorrow. In times of peace, in times of war, your support for Israel is unshakeable.
“You enabled our security in an extraordinary way, to project strength. To strive for peace. Strengthening security is the best way to strengthen peace. We long to see an end to the conflict with the Palestinians. To see the Palestinians enjoying freedom and prosperity in their own state. We extend our hand in peace to all the countries of the Middle East.
“America stood by our side from the very beginning. You supported us as we rebuilt our ancient homeland. As we defended our land. From Holocaust to redemption. From Truman to Obama.
“Mr. President, Wherever you go in our land, you will meet the friendship and warmth of the people of Israel. The people of Israel want you to feel at home. Welcome home Mr. President.”