The European Jewish Congress, the representative umbrella organisation of Jewish communities in Europe, would like to express its joy on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Yom Ha’atzmaut, the Israeli Day of Independence.

In the diaspora, as much as in Israel, grandparents never cease to tell their grandchildren of that ecstatic moment in 1948 where, after all the suffering and hardship, the hope of two thousand years was finally realised.

Seventy years on, Israel has made us proud: It has made the deserts bloom, created the most remarkable hub of technological innovation, taken the lead in addressing global environmental challenges and guaranteed liberty and prosperity for all its citizens, regardless of their background.

Through all its challenges, it has remained steadfast in its commitment to democratic values and to Tikkun Olam, and most importantly, it has maintained its Jewish soul.

To mark seventy years of this wonderful story and as a symbol of the importance of strong ties between Israel and the Diaspora in ensuring the blossoming of the Jewish people, the EJC has planted a garden of trees in the urban forest in the Negev.

We extend a hearty Mazal Tov to the people of Israel, to Jewish communities across the world and to all well-wishers on this joyous occasion and wish you a happy celebration.