The State of Israel is celebrating its 70th birthday. I know – lots of us have “issues” with Israeli government policies. But in the same way that I wouldn’t raise my issues with a beloved family member on the day that he or she turns 70, I’m taking this opportunity to state with pride seven things that I love about Israel (one statement for each
decade; I could offer one per year but really, who wants to read a bulleted list with 70 points?!)
1) If someone begins to argue with me while I’m there, I know it’s not because that person is not an anti-Semite.
2) I know that the same person who is arguing with me one moment would be ready to “have my back” the next. Everyone knows that they can count on one another in times of crisis, so you learn to put everyday disagreements in that context.
3) I can eat at a kosher for Passover restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner and have delicious food (yes – one point of pride has to do with food).
4) When I walk into a theater, I don’t have to worry about a crazy person pulling out an assault rifle and randomly killing audience members.
5) Israelis value intergenerational relationships and aren’t so age-segregated. Israel is a small country and family members of different generations are frequently together for holidays, Shabbat and family
celebrations. Even if they don’t live in the same neighborhood, they can still easily drive to visit one another regularly. It’s an expectation that family members see each other regularly.
6) Israel is in a constant state of renewal and reinvention, making some mistakes and scoring some brilliant achievements in a very harsh “neighborhood.”
7) As someone who has a deep appreciation for world history and civilizations is Jewish, and theologically feels a kinship to “the promised land,” it’s a privilege to be alive during only the third time in 4000 years of Jewish history when there is a Jewish democratic state that welcomes all who come to visit.
Happy 70th Birthday Israel!
With love, Hayim