Obama, Zionism and the American Dream

Barack Obama writes for Jewels of Elul:

Just as the courageous Zionists who established the State of Israel were energized by Theodore Herzl’s dictum, so do Americans draw inspiration from the notion that determination can turn our dreams into reality.

As someone who grew up without a strong sense of roots, I have always been drawn to the belief – embedded in the long journey of the Jewish people – that you could sustain a spiritual, emotional, and cultural identity in the face of impossible odds. And I deeply understood the Zionist idea – that there is always a homeland at the center of our story.

For America’s Founders, that story was based on a set of ideals – freedom and equality, justice and opportunity. Generations of Americans have worked to build a more perfect union that lives up to those ideals. And time and again, Americans have come together to meet great challenges at home while working to repair the world abroad.

Today, we face another defining moment. We must reclaim that basic American Dream for all Americans – the idea that if you work hard, you can support a family; that if you get sick, there will be health care you can afford; that you can retire with the dignity and security you have earned; and that every American can get a world-class education. Abroad, we must advance peace in a dangerous world and achieve a clean energy future that breaks our dependence on foreign oil, while securing our planet. Americans also stand firm in our friendship with the Israeli people and our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.

As Israelis take stock of their remarkable achievements over the last 60 years – and as Jews everywhere reflect with reverence on this treasured past while looking to an uncertain future – Americans are united in our determination to help Israel achieve lasting peace and security. These are dreams we can achieve if we are willing to come together and work for them.

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