Israel, When She’s 64
Tue, 04/24/2012
Special To The Jewish Week
Ido Aharoni
Ido Aharoni

The State of Israel is nothing short of a true miracle: in her 64 years, Israel has achieved more than any other nation on earth, a miracle that was created by a mosaic of different groups.

A wise man once said that Israel is the only country in the world that was founded on a dream: each group had its own — one was hoping to recreate an Eastern European shtetl, another was dreaming of an egalitarian kibbutz; one aspired for an urban Western style of bourgeoisie, and the other was eying the Orient. At times, our various dreams and aspirations collided.

However, Israel’s incredible success proves that much can be achieved in spite of these profound differences, and some would argue because of them. Moreover, the sense of a shared destiny hovered above and made it all possible.

In her 64 years, Israel has been characterized first and foremost by her love of life, and there is nothing more symbolic of life than water, embodying its source and essence. While coping with the water scarcity at home, Israel has become over the years a global leader in the fields of water desalination, management and conservation. Hence, Israel is proud to lead the world in the rate of water re-utilization (76 percent).

Water is also a wonderful example of what can be achieved together: as a rare resource not only in Israel, but in the Middle East as a whole, it constitutes an opportunity for all the peoples of the region to come together and join hands in the struggle to create a better future for our children. It is in this moment, when we are reminded of our basic needs of survival, that we have the opportunity of connecting with each other on the most human level.               

Water is only one case in point of what Israel has become over the years: an inspirational source of creative energy, where dreams come true.

Whether in the field of medicine, or theater, modern dance, bird migration, high-tech, bio-technology or filmmaking, nano-technology, religious studies, green energy or emergency preparedness — Israel is a major player, with her strongest skill of all: the human resource and ingenuity.

Israel’s abilities have turned her into a true light unto the nations, bettering the lives of each and every one of us.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day (April 25 this year), is a day in which we can take a moment in our busy lives to marvel at this modern day miracle: Israel’s creative spirit, energy and endurance.

On Independence Day itself, the parks of Jerusalem and the beaches of Tel Aviv are filled with picnics and barbeques and soaring Israeli flags, full of music and dancing, as the nation comes together to celebrate as one big family and community.

Just like in Israel, many communities in New York and all over the United States join together in these celebrations.

New York, as the world’s largest Jewish city, is a special place in this regard as it is home to the largest annual show of support for Israel worldwide: the Celebrate Israel Parade.

On June 3, masses of supporters from the tri-state region and beyond will collectively show their love and unwavering dedication to Israel. It is a united effort put forth by all members of our extended community to come together as one, and show Israel our love and support. It is a unique day on our calendar where once a year we set aside our differences and agree on one major thing: Israel. This coming together is a testament to the strong bond between the Jewish community and the State of Israel. 

This year’s creative theme, “Israel Branches Out,” is specifically fitting as it demonstrates just how diverse and large our community has become. When we come together, we become stronger and can better show the world Israel’s many strengths, contributions and accomplishments. The parade gives us a chance to show the positive impact Israel has had and continues to have on each and every one of us around the world, and this in itself is a reason for celebration.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut marks a unique moment in our history that joins us together as a people and as a nation, celebrating the most meaningful miracle of our modern history: the rebirth of an independent Jewish nation in our homeland. It is a realization of a dream and a prayer long sung in the hearts of our people.

Just as water connects people, Yom Ha’Atzmaut gives us the opportunity to come together as one family and tell the whole world: this is the State of Israel, it is there for you and me to celebrate, and we love her with all our hearts.

From ashes to resurrection, from destruction to sovereignty.

Chag atzmaut sameach.  

Ambassador Ido Aharoni is consul general of the State of Israel in New York.

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The "occupation" is what the Arabs did when they invaded what the Romans had called Palestine. It's what Arabs did in 1948 in all the land of Israel they could control by force. Arab occupation means destruction of Jewish holy places, Friday sermons to urge killing all Jews, denial of any Jewish rights. Israeli "occupation" gives Arabs self-government, massive UN and other foreign aid, increased population and standard of living, and the ability to send rockets into Israel while shielded by children that the IDF won't shoot. I agree we should end the "occupation," but it's the occupation by the gangster leaders of Palestine that are the occupiers.

Dear Ambassador Aharoni,
I would like to congratulate you on the Op-Ed and on the initiative. Though even we in Israel may at times be cynical, on Memorial and Independence Days, the entire country stops to pay tribute to those who fell in the line of duty and the victims of terror and then, in sharp transition, again stands together to celebrate the accomplishments of the State of Israel. When we learn the stories of the young soldiers who gave their lives; when we witness such Independence day events as the opening ceremony, the wonderful young soldiers at the President's residence being recognized for outstanding service, the Bible contest in which Jewish youth fom throughout the world participate, and the Israel Prize ceremony, and when teh entire country takes pleasure at heaing the Israeli songs which fill the air waves, it makes me feel that despite the cynicism which is our national pass-time, we have an exceptional country with outstanding talents and a strong bond that unites us with the Jewish People.
Lt. Col. (Res.) Yehuda Weinraub, Ph.D.
College of Management Academic Studies

I don't see how anyone can write about Israel without talking about the occupation, which is extraordinarily unethical, brutal, and indisputably illegal. I don't see how anyone can write about Israel's creation without writing about the devastating consequences of its creation--that is, the displacement (through expulsion and other means) of the people who were living there--the Palestinian people--from their homes and from their homeland. The Jewish ethics I grew up with taught me to stand up against injustice when it is being perpetrated, and that's why I believe we need to speak out and take action against the occupation and for peace and justice and dignity for all peoples.

The only occupation going on is an illegal Arab occupation of the liberated Israeli lands of Shomron, Judea, and Gaza. Israel captured those lands, rightfully hers anyway, in a war of annihilation that was forced on her back in 1967. She has shown great kindness to the Arabs illegally living on those lands by improving their standard of living in myriad ways. They have gotten nothing but acts of vandalism, assassinations, suicide bombings, and hijackings in return. The sooner those Arab animals and their orgiastic visions of the afterlife are kicked off those lands, by whatever means necesssary, the sooner Israel will have peace.

This happened, 64 years ago. When is this going to be put to rest? Isn't it time to leave the "camps"? What other group, in the whole world has not moved on against adversity? You know there are about 23 Arab states and only one Israel. And yet the Arabs do not want these people. WHY?

Israel is the only country whose indigenous population
returned to its native land after 2,000 years of forced
exile. There are 26 official Muslim states in the world, &
18 official Christian states, but there is only one Jewish State. Let it live and prosper.

BRUTAL? YES, against Israel!
Isn't it time that we should stop hearing DEATH TO THE JEWS, PUSH THEM INTO THE SEA?

Here's wishing the State and People of Israel a Happy Independence Day!!

Wars of self defence, living with ever-present threats of terrorism and the wishes of others to deny Israel the right to exist aside, Israel is truly a miracle in today's world. A nation with very little natural resources, Israel has taken what it was given and created one of the true success stories of a nation state the world has seen.

Unlike many nations that abound with natural resources but have no plans and so wallow in the grip of poverty, Israel has given the lie to claims that a nation has to be "rich" to develop and treat its people with dignity. Recognizing its poverty of natural resources, Israel rose to the challange years ago and developed its human capital. Today, Israel, a nation planted in a desert, feeds itself and even exports some food products. What could be a better example for small nation states, especially African nation states, to emulate? Israel has and continues to examplify what it means to "grow where you are planted." Best of wishes to the People and Nation of Israel.

New York is not the world largest Jewish city. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are with Jerusalem the mot important city for the Jewish nation because it has been the capital of the Jewish nation for millennia and never someone else. A consul general of Israel in New York should know that.

I find it unbelievable that the UJA and other organizations that sponsor the Israeli parade this year are going to allow groups to participate who promote BDS against any Israeli goods and services as part of a representation of the diversity of the love and support of Israel. As a result, I will not contribute any monies or support them until they condemn these actions and not permit these groups to march down 5th Avenue. There are several other Jewish organizations that deserve my money and loyalty far more then these groups who are "useful idiots" for the enemies of the State of Israel.

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