Here is the full speech of US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on July 13, 2022, during his first visit as President.
“Mr. President Herzog, Mr. Prime Minister Lapid, it is an honor once again to stand with friends and visit the Jewish and independent State of Israel.
President Nixon was the first American president to visit Israel in 1974. I was actually on my first visit, as you mentioned, a young American senator from Delaware, in 1973, a few weeks before the Yom Kippur War.
I had the privilege of spending time with Prime Minister Golda Meir. I’ll never forget. I was seated next to a young man, to my right, one of his assistants. His name was Rabin. Looking back, I realize that I had the great honor of being part of the incredible history of this country.
And I say it once again, you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.
The thing is, I’ve met every prime minister since then, and it’s been an honor. I have established strong working relationships with each of them, and now I am making my tenth visit.
Every opportunity to return to this beautiful land, where the roots of the Jewish people go back to biblical times, is a blessing. Because the bond between the Israeli people and the American people is deep, very deep.
Generation after generation, this bond grows. We invest in each other. We dream together. We are an integral part of the goal that we both set for ourselves.
I was in it as a senator, as a vice president, and frankly, before that, I was raised by a good Christian, when we had dinner at the table every night before he went back to work . It was a place where we had a conversation, and incidentally, where we ate.
And I remember he taught us about what happened during the Holocaust. Why weren’t the railroads bombed, why didn’t we… Why? Why ? Why ? He instilled in us that sense of duty that we all have.
And now, as President, I am proud to say that our relationship with the State of Israel is, in my view, deeper and stronger than ever. And with this visit, we are strengthening that bond even further.
We reaffirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security, including partnering with Israel on the world’s most advanced defense systems.
From here, I will jump right into a briefing on Israel’s missile and rocket defense capabilities, including US support for the Iron Dome, and Israel’s new laser-based system called Iron Beam. We will deepen our relationship in science and innovation and strive to address global challenges through the new high-level strategic dialogue on technology.
We will continue to advance Israel’s integration into the region, develop emerging forums and engagement such as the new 12U2 summit that will bring together Israel, the United States, the UAE and India, as well as deepen our economic cooperation between the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific.
Greater peace, greater stability, greater connection. It is essential, it is essential if I may add, for all the peoples of the region. This is why we will discuss my continued support, even though I know it is not [feasible] in the short term, for a two-state solution. This remains, in my view, the best way to ensure the future of an equal measure of freedom, prosperity and democracy for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
We will celebrate the end of people-to-people relations and the enduring bond that unites our nations, commemorating history that we must never allow to repeat itself.
Later today, I will once again return to the hallowed ground of Yad Vashem to honor the six million Jewish lives stolen in the genocide, and to continue, as we must do every day, to bear witness. To keep alive the truth and horror of the Holocaust, to honor those we lost, so that we never, ever, ever forget this lesson. You know, and to continue our common and endless work to fight the poison of anti-Semitism, wherever it rears its ugly head. Wherever we find it in the world, we fulfill the promise of “never again” by fighting it.
We have a busy schedule for the next two days. Because the relationship between Israel and the United States covers all issues that matter to our common future. We are united by our common values and vision.
I look forward to the time we will spend together over the next few days.
May Israel and the United States continue to grow and prosper together for the benefit of the whole world. And I really mean it, for the benefit of the whole world.
Thank you and God bless you all.”