There are many reasons why I love you Yisrael. I could list at least 68, one for each year of your life. Let me name a few.
First and foremost, you are my birthplace, the miracle I call my Home. You are the fertile ground that nourishes my soul, the womb that remains connected to me simply because we refused to cut the umbilical cord. You are the dream I carried along with me, the place that was always with me whenever and wherever I wandered in a vast foreign land. You are the light that brightened up the path of my life’s journey during some of the darkest moments. You are my personal memories, present, past and future.
You are also the birthplace of Am Yisrael and our Jewish people. You are the fountainhead from which our forefathers drank the elixir of their everlasting Spiritual Life, the bosom that gathered our tears and the legacy that held and kept us alive for untold generations.
The gifts you yield and share with many are another reason myself and others love you. Whoever values civilization, progress and enlightenment holds you in the highest esteem. You are so tiny, yet such a giant when it comes to contributions that have helped shape the modern world and make it a safer, better place. You have given us Intel, Amdocs, Desalination, roof top solar hot water systems, the first Capsule endoscopy solution to record images of the digestive tract. You have given us the Iron Dome (which is probably one of the reasons I am still here) and the world’s smallest DNA computing machine system, the smallest biological computing device ever constructed. And the list goes on and on.
Your name, Yisrael, though is probably one of the most important reasons I fall in love with you over and over again. I love its ring but most of all, I love what it stands for.
The name “Yisrael,” first appears in the Torah, in the Book of Bresheet (AKA Genesis in its Hellenistic translation) Chapter 32 verse 29 “לֹא יַעֲקֹב יֵאָמֵר עוֹד שִׁמְךָ כִּי אִם-יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי-שָׂרִיתָ עִם-אֱ-לֹהִים וְעִם-אֲנָשִׁים וַתּוּכָל ” No longer shall your name be Yaakov, but Yisrael because you fought with G-d and people and you won.
It is the name that mirrors what we, Am Yisrael and you, Eretz Yisrael are all about. It holds our struggles, our pains, our losses and our eventual victory. It connects our ensanguined yet triumphant past to a hopeful, glorious and promising future. Despite all efforts to eradicate us, to reduce us to a spec on the pages of the history of mankind, we remained defiant, just like our forefather Yaakov, rose against all challenges and went from strength to strength. You are the fulfillment of the age old prophecy and blessing bestowed upon Yaakov by the angel of G-d.
You are Hatikvah, our Hope and as long as one Jewish soul continues to throb and one eye stares in the direction of Eretz Tzion V’rushalayim, we shall remain One. And that, in my book, is the definition of ETERNITY.
Am Yisrael Chai!