Two nights ago, I attended a concert of light classical music performed by the Israeli Philharmonic orchestra. I have heard many orchestras in my lifetime. But there was something magical about this one, something that left us all glued to our seats asking for more

The feeling of elation followed me for many hours later. It nagged at me, keeping me awake at night wondering what was so unique in what I had experienced

And then it hit me. I suddenly came to the realization that many of us almost forgot how great Israel and how brilliant some of its facets, cultural, scientific, artistic and other ones really are

In recent years, we, Jews and Israelis, have been the subject of much criticism and hatred both from within and without. We have, innocently or otherwise, allowed into our midst various NGO’s and foreign entities whose sole goal was to bring our demise. They have infiltrated into every aspect of our Israeli society and with dire consequences. Many of us have been brainwashed into believing that we, Jews and Zionists, are bad, evil and inhumane. Many also fell into the trap that Zionism is racism and the Jews are the Nazis of today. Furthermore, much money was poured into projects which were deceitfully disguised as benefitting us and were meant for our own good. But worst of all, they tried to convince us that there is no hope for us unless we give up some of our most cherished values. They have tried to cure us from being nationalists and turn us into universalists. As a result, many Jews, Israeli and others, have engaged in self criticism, self-flagellation, pointing a accusing finger at ourselves, and blaming and punishing our own for the sins of others

Wake up, my Jewish brother s and sisters. This sad reality is nothing but a passing one. It is merely another nightmare for us in the dark chapters of human history. We have overcome and survived worse times in our past and came out stronger than ever before. My own parents came out of the ashes, mere embers that survived the inferno. The Hope that they and many before them had clung to was the Pillar of Fire that guided their way out of the abyss. Their survival and the survival of many other Jewish refugees from Europe, Arab countries and other places is a miracle. Our whole survival as a nation over a few millennia of persecution and ongoing efforts to annihilate us, a survival that culminated in the establishment of our Jewish Homeland is, in itself, a miracle

Hope is what  our ancestors had and Hope is what we, in Israel, must continue to have. Hope is the fabric of our Jewish soul. It runs in our blood and is engraved on our hearts. It is the name of our National Anthem, “Hatikvah.” Hope, for ourselves and the world, is what pushes us not merely to survive but also to thrive, contribute and share. We need to remind ourselves and our future generations of it. The conviction that a better future for us and for mankind is possible is a gift that we have been given and in return shared with the world. In Israel, it is possible to be both nationalists and universalists

A couple of nights ago, I had, yet, another reminder of what we have so often almost  forgotten. We may not be perfect but we are still wonderful and getting more so. Israel, we need to remind ourselves and the world, is not the problem, it is the solution