U.S. President Barack Obama extended a warm greeting Friday to all those celebrating Passover and likened the holiday's story to the revolutions sweeping the Middle East.
In a signed letter, Obama noted that the story of Passover – "the passage of the children of Israel from bondage and repression to freedom and liberty" – applies to the "modern stories of liberation" in the Middle East.
"The Seder instructs each generation to remember its past, while appreciating the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails," Obama wrote. "This year, that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa."
"Against the backdrop of change, we continue to pray for peace between Israel and her neighbors, while reaffirming our enduring commitment to Israel's security."
Obama wished Jewish families around the world a happy Passover and urged that the world must work to "alleviate the suffering, poverty, injustice, and hunger of those who are not yet free."
For the past two years, Obama has hosted a Passover Seder in the White House for some 20 friends and staff members, and he plans to do so this year as well. He is the first U.S. President to have hosted a Seder at the White House.
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