The above words are those of a well-known Australian rabbi.
And so, the miracle nation reaches its 65th birthday, and as well as giving thanks for its creation and for its safe deliverance we who love and admire that country congratulate it and celebrate its achievements.
Some of the most significant of those achievements are itemised (in a list that's long and impressive) here
(Hat tip: reader Jean)
In the words of the State's foundation document:
The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish People. Here their spiritual, religious and national identity was formed. Here they achieved independence and created a culture of national and universal significance. Here they wrote and gave the Bible to the world. Exiled from Palestine, the Jewish People remained faithful to it in all the countries of their dispersion, never ceasing to pray and hope for their return and the restoration of their national freedom.Impelled by this historic association, Jews strove throughout the centuries to go back to the land of their fathers and regain their statehood. In recent decades they returned in masses. They reclaimed the wilderness, revived their language, built cities and villages and established a vigorous and ever-growing community with its own economic and cultural life. They sought peace yetIn the course of one of his regular columns in the Jerusalem Post, international Jewish leader Isi Leibler reflects that
"Our spectacular success far exceeded the expectations of our idealistic founders. By any rational benchmark it would be deemed a modern day miracle.
And yet despite this, there are those in our midst who constantly whine about our failings and transform self-criticism into masochism. Instead of celebrating they predict doom and gloom.
There is also a tiny, but highly vocal minority who disparages our achievements and complains about the sacrifices required to ensure our security and existence, some of whom even mock Zionism and challenge the merits of Jewish statehood.
Also there are some young Jews, never having experienced the dehumanizing impact of powerlessness on the Jewish psyche, who take the State of Israel for granted. They never underwent the chilling experience of their European antecedents in Europe who in the 1930s sought desperately sought – mostly unsuccessfully – to obtain entry visas to countries to escape the impending Nazi genocidal onslaught. And nor do they appreciate the soul destroying impact of living in an environment of anti-Semitic incitement where Jews are considered pariahs and the mainstream media shamelessly promotes frenzied anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic stereotypes.
However, despite the prevailing belief that after the revelation of the horrors of the Shoa, anti-Semites would become an extinct species, the world’s oldest hatred has returned with full vengeance, particularly in Europe whose soil had been drenched in Jewish blood only a few years before Israel’s independence.
The extent of the current European malaise is exemplified by youngsters in some public schools seeking to hide their Jewishness in order to avert torment or face social exclusion. In many European cities there is also a growing reluctance to outwardly wear Jewish symbols like a kipah to avoid random violence from hooligans in the street.
In Europe, especially in France, the UK, Scandinavia, Hungary, Greece, Ukraine, and throughout South America there are daily reports of increasing anti-Semitic violence, of incitement and even murder. Whereas, in North America, public opinion is strongly pro-Israeli, the campuses have been transformed into launching pads for visceral anti-Israelism anti-Semitism.
But even in these dark areas, Jews are comforted in the knowledge that today there is a State of Israel which will defend the Jewish people. A Jewish state which will always provide a haven for them if their world collapses.
Of course we face challenges and genuine threats. The dream of peace for which we all yearn remains a distant vision and future generations of youngsters will continue to carry the burden of defending the nation against its adversaries....
But today, almost half the Jewish people are happily domiciled in Israel. The word happily should be stressed because despite our masochistic self-criticism and endless complaints, all polls show that Israelis are numbered amongst the happiest and most satisfied people in the world...." (Read the rest here)As for the heinous, hypocritical forces that seek to delegitimise Israel, Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor, writing in the Jewish Chronicle, notes a belated yet not ineffective fightback on the part of Israel's friends:
"....[T]he emphasis has gradually shifted from defensive to offensive, particularly by unmasking the unethical activities of those who claim a moral mandate. On campus, Israeli academics and top diplomats are active in challenging the crude propaganda. At the UN, the blatant double standards of the Human Rights Council stand exposed, in the contrast between automatic condemnations of Israel and minimal responses on Syria.
Officials of groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are belatedly being held to account, and displays of bias that were once overlooked now draw negative publicity, tarnishing their impact....
Recently, the funders of Miftah, a Palestinian NGO headed by PLO spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi, were forced on the defensive following the publication of an article invoking the blood libel. Such negative publicity could help end funding for demonisers.
The Anglican church has needed to repeatedly justify the Synod vote to endorse the anti-Israel group, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, while the new Archbishop of Canterbury has distanced himself from that decision. And, while an employment tribunal ruled against Ronnie Fraser in his lawsuit charging the UCU with discrimination triggered by opposition to its anti-Israel agenda, the judgment's absurdity in the face of the evidence and critiques of the decision are significant. Each example shows that involvement in the political war against Israel is no longer cost-free...."See his entire article here