Obama recalls Herzl visit on Israeli independence day

President Barack Obama on Tuesday recalled his visit last month to the grave of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, as he marked the 65th anniversary of Israel's independence.

"On this date 65 years ago, the Jewish people realized their dream of the ages -- to be masters of their fate in their own sovereign state," Obama said, in language reminiscent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's own rhetoric.

"Among the many memories I will always cherish from my visit will be my time at Mount Herzl," Obama said in a statement.

"There, I was honored to pay tribute to Theodor Herzl who did so much to realize the dream of an independent Israel, to the presidents and prime ministers who guided her, and to those in uniform who have laid down their lives to protect her."

"The strong and prosperous Israel we see today proves Herzl's vision -- 'if you will it, it is no dream.'"

Obama's visit to Herzl's grave in Jerusalem, was for Arabs, a controversial moment of his visit to Israel last month, in which he vowed to prevent a nuclear Iran and defend Israel in perpetuity.