Israeli President Isaac Herzog Addresses Joint Session of Congress

By Stephen E. Lipken

Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, introduced by Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy.

After a thunderous, prolonged standing ovation, Herzog began, “On November 10th, 1987, I was sitting at home with my wife Michal, expecting our first child. We were watching the first Israeli president invited to address a Joint Session of Congress, in honor of Israel’s 40th year of independence. That president was my father.

 Standing here today, representing the Jewish democratic State of Israel in its 75th year, at the very podium from which my late father, President Chaim Herzog, spoke, is the honor of a lifetime.

“Against all odds, the Jewish people returned home and built a national home, which became a beautiful mosaic of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and Circassians, secular, traditional and Orthodox…”

“Perhaps the greatest challenge that the U.S. and Israel face together is the Iranian nuclear program. Let there be no doubt: Iran does not strive to obtain nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran has spread terror, hatred, and suffering throughout the Middle East, adding. fuel to the disastrous suffering in the Ukraine.”

“My deep yearning, Mr. Speaker, is for Israel to one day make peace with our Palestinian neighbors. Palestinian terror against Israel or Israelis undermines any possibility for a future.

of peace between our peoples…At the same time, successful terror attacks are celebrated, terrorists are glorified, and their families are financially rewarded for every Israeli they attack.”

“Terror is hatred and bloodshed. It contradicts humanity’s most basic principles of peace.”

A Joint Statement from Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)-NY-LI and Westchester Jewish Council (WJC) expressed sincere appreciation to Congressional Delegation members for their support for the 75-year relationship between the United States and Israel by supporting H. Con. Res. 57, “Expressing the sense of Congress supporting the State of Israel” and for attending Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s special address.

After his address to Congress, New York’s governor, Kathy Hocul met with President Herzog. Afterward, she spoke about New York’s “unbreakable bond” with the State of Israel, “The State of New York and the State of Israel have an unbreakable bond, and I was proud to reaffirm that commitment to Israeli President Isaac Herzog during our meeting today. I also congratulated President Herzog on his powerful speech to the U.S. Congress, where he stood up for our shared democratic values and highlighted the need to fight antisemitism in all forms.”

Speaking about New York’s commitment “to curb the rising tide of antisemitism,” she continued, “As Governor of the State with the largest Jewish population outside the State of Israel, I feel a solemn responsibility to protect and uplift New York’s vibrant, diverse Jewish communities. I shared with President Herzog the steps we are taking in New York to curb the rising tide of antisemitism, in partnership with President Biden, as well as efforts to push back on the harmful BDS movement. We discussed the need for further economic cooperation between New York and Israel, and we committed to continuing conversations between New York and the Israeli Ministry of Economy.”