They say that pride is one of the seven deadly sins; that it can literally destroy a man. We frequently see how the negative connotation of the word pride leads people astray. However, if someone were to ask me for a word that describes my feelings about Israel I wouldn’t be able to think of a better one than pride; A pride so intense and fierce that I struggle to describe it merely with words. A pride so deeply rooted in my heart that I couldn’t fathom my life without it.

Why I am so proud to be a part of Israel and the Jewish nation? Simply put, I am proud to be Jewish and support Israel because Jews and Israel value life to the highest degree. We live in a world where we are surrounded by death, destruction and loss. The news only seems to cover violence, killings and war. We see so many countries, groups and dictators slaughtering thousands of innocent men, women and children around the world that sometimes it seems like we’re living in a hopeless world. Then I look to Israel; the one place that truly gives me hope. A country that has fought five major wars and countless battles and skirmishes in less than a century; a nation that has experienced some of the worst genocides and atrocities in human history, To the outsider, Israel has a history that would seem to point to one tragic end. Yet Israel is still here. The Jewish people are still here. Not only have we survived but we have prospered and lived full lives.

I am proud to be a part of the only country in the Middle East that treats men and women equally and empowers women them instead of putting men above them in all aspects. I am proud to be part of the only country in the Middle East that respects LGBT persons instead of treating them like subhumans and executing them. I am proud to be a part of the only country in the Middle East that practices fair elections and upholds true freedom of speech and religion instead of the mockery we often see with our neighbors. People are allowed to criticize the army and the government in Israel without fear of disappearing and never being heard from again. I am even prouder to be a part of the only country in the Middle East that holds its military to such a high and professional standards, as evidenced by the fact that we have five open internal investigations into our own conduct during the recent Gaza War. But perhaps I am most proud to be a part of a country that fights every single day to save lives around the world. We were the first to set up field hospitals in Haiti, Japan and Ebola- stricken countries. Our doctors and engineers have developed new technologies like drip irrigation and water purification systems to combat poverty and provide clean water throughput the entire world. Our high tech companies created so many new and innovative technologies such as Iron Dome and the Emergency Bandage to protect and save soldiers and citizens alike. Our hospitals treat terrorists and their victims in the same ward side-by-side. These are only a few reasons of why I am so proud to be a Jew and even more proud to be a part of nation of Israel.

If you are a Jew or an Israeli reading this I am asking you to stand up and be proud. Be proud of who you are and who we are as a people. Be proud that we will never stop fighting for our right to exist. Be proud that we will always choose life over death. Just be proud.