President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog participated tonight in the U.S. Independence Day celebrations hosted by U.S. Ambassador Thomas R. Nides and his wife Ms. Virginia Moseley. Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, government ministers, members of Knesset, and foreign ambassadors and diplomats also attended.

President Isaac Herzog’s full remarks:

Before we begin, I want to express my deepest condolences and shock at the deadly mass shooting yesterday at the Fourth of July parade at Highland Park. Unfortunately, we the People of Israel know too well the reality of happy occasions marred by grief. Of evil characters who choose to attack the innocent at their most joyous moments. On behalf of the State of Israel, I extend our sympathies to the families of the victims and I pray for the recovery of the wounded.

Ambassador Nides, Virginia, distinguished guests, dear friends, what a pleasure to celebrate this American Independence Day, here in Jerusalem, amongst good friends, old and new.

This is the first Fourth of July I have the privilege of marking as President of the State of Israel. This is also the first “Fourth” for you, Tom, as the United States Ambassador to Israel. Since presenting your credentials just seven months ago, your energy, conviction, and deeply-felt connection to Israel have left a deep impression on the Israeli people. It is evident how invested you are in learning the Israeli reality and understanding the beauties and the complexities of the Israeli society.

Dear friends, for us and indeed for the Israeli People, this is a true Simcha, a joyous occasion, which we are delighted to share. Since its founding over two centuries ago, the American model has been an inspiration to the world. The United States has championed so many weighty values derived from the Holy Bible and Jewish thought. It has gifted the global community with unprecedented prosperity and security, pushed the boundaries of individual freedom, and pioneered the notion of liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness.

The Israeli and American peoples are bound together by a deep kinship, which overcomes disagreement and transcends political affiliation.

The close strategic alliance Israel and the United States share, most notably in areas of defense and regional security are a fundamental pillar in our bilateral ties. We will never take this partnership or friendship for granted. The remarkable American Jewish community also comprises a vital part of the American mosaic.

It has enriched the deep friendship our nations share and deeply influenced Israel going back to its early days.

I eagerly await welcoming President Biden to Israel, just a few days from now. The President is a longtime friend of Israel, who is known for his faith and resolve, as much as his warmth and decency. Tom, kindly convey our sincerest congratulations to President Biden and the American People on this celebration.

You, Tom, are a loyal representative of the strong values of the administration which sent you and you are a true pleasure to work with. We thank you and of course your wife Virginia for hosting this lovely event, and we raise our glasses to toast our friends, the American people:

May America’s shores continue to serve as a beacon and an exemplar, and may we celebrate together for generations to come. I wish to conclude with a nuanced take on a famous Jewish blessing: "The Lord will give strength unto our people; the Lord will bless our people with peace." L’Chaim!