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On behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, I extend warm congratulations and good wishes to the people and Government of Israel on the celebration of Yom Haatzmaut  Independence Day.

Sixty-four years ago, the nation of Israel was declared as a place of ingathering and safety, a democracy based on liberty, justice and peace and which guaranteed freedom of religion, language and culture to all its people.

In a modern-day miracle, this promise has been richly fulfilled, and so Israel and its many friends around the world have much cause for celebration.

We also acknowledge the price paid in defence of Israels creation through the Day of Remembrance Yom Hazikaron for those who have fallen in battle for the defence of the State of Israel.

These painful losses also remind us of the need to work patiently for a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine, so that two independent states can exist in peace and security for all the people who live there.

As Israel’s Ambassador, Yuval Rotem, observed at the Independence Day celebrations for Israel here in Australia last year, Let us raise our eyes to the day when peace will number among our greatest achievements.

Let us indeed use the meaning of this day to redouble our resolve to find the path to a real and durable peace for Israelis and Palestinians, and also to work with other nations of goodwill to ensure that no country faces a nuclear threat from Iran.

On this day of Yom Haatzmaut, let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the region and the whole world.

The Honourable Julia Gillard

Prime Minister Australia

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