This is my 18th Yom Ha’atzmaut whilst living inIsrael.

For me this year the number 18 is significant.Israelis the only country where people know the multiples of 18! Why? Because 18 represents ‘chai’ literally translated as ‘life”. I think for me this year it represents a ‘lifetime’.

It is no longer just ‘exciting’ to watch the flags being put up, or putting a flag on my car. It is a natural part of the yearly cycle.

The day after Pesach when my youngest son went back to kindergarten, he had been taught how to draw the Israeli flag. For our children growing up here it is as intrinsic to them as talking about  matza was a few weeks ago. On the way home he asked me why there were not flags on all the cars , as for him it is obvious.

This is why I live here.

Unfortunately, where I live in Bet Shemesh , there is a definite shortage of Israeli flags in some areas of the city, and in some places people are too scared to put flags on their car for fear of them being ripped off,. This angers me. This is the State of Israel 2012. There cannot be a ‘no go” area for Israeli flags. The flag represents our countries past, present and future and what type of future we want it to be .We need all of its citizens to be part of this future, or we have no chance of succeeding. There is no opting out: not from the army, not from the workforce and not from flying the flag.

Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) shows us what has happened to our people in the past. Yom Ha’aztmaut (Independence Day) is about our people’s future. We as a nation have the ability to decide on our values, direction and actions. It is up to us.

This year more than ever we must grab this feeling of national pride and do something with it. Let’s decide what country we want for ourselves and our children.

So come on, fly the Israeli flag with pride and here’s to a brighter future, with each of us doing our part to make a difference.