DCG Driquez’s Independence Day Thoughts

Good evening Sarasota!

Distinguished guests, dear community, ladies and gentlemen, it’s an honor and an immense pleasure to be here today, because this ‘Atzmaut celebration is different – both in meaning and in magnitude.

Israel’s 75th Independence Day! But don’t make any mistake dear friends: we may be 75 years young, but, we are a nation 3000 years old.

It is more than simply the day in which Israel has become independent. This is the watershed moment in the history of the entire Jewish people, and of the world. The Jewish people have gone through thousands of years of presence in Eretz Israel, and then through 2000 years of exile, prosecutions, pogroms, the Holocaust, until reaching that very moment of that Friday Afternoon on May 14th 1948, when David Ben-Gurion, having had all the courage, leadership and vision that one could hope to have had, declared Israel’s Independence.

In that very moment, the 2000 years-long dream to reestablish our statehood in the Land of Israel was realized. The State of Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People, was established as a Jewish and Democratic state.

This was just the beginning of the Israeli story and of the young state’s journey. In matter of months, while fighting for its life, the young state absorbed millions of refugees and immigrants – from the ashes of Auschwitz, from the deserts of North Africa, and from 150 other countries around the world. They all found refuge in the newly-established Jewish state.

A few days ago, we remembered our fallen heroes, who paid the ultimate price to defend our beloved country, the only Jewish State, to defend our homeland. So first and foremost, this celebration is dedicated to them, to the friends I lost, to my brothers in arms. To them and to others who gave everything for the privilege of having a Jewish home on this planet. This is unfortunately the unbearable price of having our Jewish home, but one week ago we commemorated the even more monstrous price of not having one. The Israeli story is a story of diversity. It is a story of Jews of all colors, ethnicities, cultures and languages that came together, revived the Hebrew language, created a multicultural society, and learned to embrace diversity as a source of strength and power. The Israeli story tells and embraces the story of the non-Jewish minorities as well – Muslims, Christians and Druze – who empower the unique fabric of our society.

This is just the beginning, since something incredible happened about 3 years ago in the Middle East, a real paradigm shift. The Abraham Accords, between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco are a genuine expression of our shared values, and also a strategic partnership that unites the moderate forces in the Middle East who strive for peace, stability, and prosperity.

While we celebrate this newly established peace, challenges in our region remain clear. Iran continues to pose a dramatic threat to peace and stability across the Middle East. Tehran continues to spread and inspire terror against Israel, against Arab countries and against American interests in the region, while advancing its nuclear program. The world cannot allow Iran to become nuclear and has to be united against its aggression across the region.

Iran is Israel’s and the world’s most dangerous enemy, but it’s not a secret that we recently had also a few debates internally. Our enemies can think that those discrepancies are a sign of our weakness, but they cannot be more wrong – they are the ultimate proof of our strength. The strength of our democracy, the strength of Am Israel.

On this tremendous day, we have the duty to think of and deepen our common values and shared interests, which are the foundation of the Israel-US sacred bond. Israel has no better friend and ally than the United States of America. And The United States of America has no better friend and ally than Israel. We are grateful to President Biden and his administration, to the US Congress and to the millions of good Americans across this country for their unconditional support of Israel’s security and right to self-defense. I want also to take this opportunity to commend Gov. DeSantis, who has just resumed a successful trip to Israel and showed his ironclad support for the Jewish State on his anniversary, to Lt. Gov. Nunez, and the entire Florida federal, state and local legislatures for their support of the State of Israel and of the Jewish community. In dire times as well as in celebration, they have always stood up with us, and we are committed to further fostering this strategic partnership.

This vision applies locally too. Throughout the year, we will continue to work to bring Israel and Florida closer than ever. It’s only natural to connect the flourishing innovation scene of Florida to the creative start-up nation of Israel. One sentence I can tell you about Israel’s innovation sector – unicorns do exist. And many of them live in Israel. In water and agriculture, cyber technologies, smart mobility, medicine, space and aviation, life sciences and much more – Israel and Florida have done great and will do even better. We at the consulate are committed to make it happen, you are more than invited to follow our social accounts, to contact us and to participate actively to deepen those ties.

And I cannot conclude today without expressing my appreciation to the members of the Jewish communities in Miami and Florida. Thank you for the friendship, for your staunch support, commitment and dedication, thank you for being advocates of the great bond between our countries and of the Jewish people. And as Jews, we have the duty to stand up against all types of hatred, so don’t be quite when you feel attacked, don’t let antisemitism be legit, speak up! Don’t worry, Israel has your back. Now and forever!

We are one nation, one heart, for one country. The only Jewish State – Medinat Israel! Am Echad, Belev Echad, Medina Achat!

God bless Israel, God bless America, and God bless you all! Yom Atzmaout Sameach! Happy Independence Day. Mazel Tov Israel!


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