[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush (2008, Book I)]
[January 9, 2008]
[Page 47]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Welcoming Ceremony in Tel Aviv, Israel
January 9, 2008

    President Peres and Prime Minister 
Olmert, I thank you for your warm welcome. You 
know, it's been nearly a decade since I've been in Israel, and I've 
really been looking forward to coming back. Truth of the matter is, when 
I was here last time, I really didn't think I'd be coming back as 
President of the United States. But I knew I'd come back because Israel 
is a special place. And it's a great honor to make my first visit as the 
President of the United States. Thank you all for coming out to welcome 
    My one regret is that my wife isn't traveling 
today. Laura is back home in Washington, but she sends her very best 
regards to both of you all and to the people of Israel.
    The United States and Israel are strong allies. The source of that 
strength is a shared belief in the power of human freedom. Our people 
have built two great democracies under difficult circumstances. We built 
free economies to unleash the potential of our people. And the alliance 
between our two nations helps guarantee Israel's security as a Jewish 
    Each of our nations must guard against terror. We must firmly resist 
those who murder the innocent to achieve their political objectives. We 
must recognize that the great ideology based upon liberty is hopeful. In 
working the lines here, one of the religious leaders said, ``Remember, 
Mr. President, justice and love.'' Justice and love is based upon a 
society that welcomes human rights and human dignity, a society which 
recognizes the universality of freedom. And that's what we stand for 
today. We will do more than defend ourselves. We seek lasting peace. We 
see a new opportunity for peace here in the Holy Land and for freedom 
across the region.
    I look forward to my meetings with President Peres and Prime Minister Olmert. We 
will discuss our deep desire for security, for freedom, and for peace 
throughout the Middle East. I want to thank the people of Israel for 
their friendship and hospitality, and I appreciate the opportunity to 
visit your beautiful country once again. God bless.

Note: The President spoke at 12:23 p.m. at Ben Gurion International