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76 reasons for optimism

Even after the darkest day in recent memory and the many painful events since, including war, Israel inspires hope
People at the beach in Tel Aviv on Israel’s 76th Independence Day, May 14, 2024. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
People at the beach in Tel Aviv on Israel’s 76th Independence Day, May 14, 2024. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

This year’s Yom HaAtzmaut was unique. It was one that came amid sorrow and crisis. One we marked as we are still missing our 132 hostages in captivity and mourning our more than 1,500 who have fallen since October 7.

For we are still seeking our path to rise like a phoenix, as a nation emerging from the ashes we are still blackened by. But have no doubt. Rise we will. Israel will rise and grow to become stronger than ever, for now and for generations to come.

So, for Israel’s 76th year, here are 76 reasons for optimism for our future:

  1. Israel has built a miracle country from the ground up.
  2. The resilience and unique history of Israel, which has never taken its survival for granted, as demonstrated by the response to the October 7 attacks.
  3. The amazing people of Israel have consistently risen to the occasion, none more so than in this last year and a half. None even more so than in the past seven months.
  4. Since October 7, our civil society has stepped up and Israelis have shown a true sense of mutual responsibility to one another.
  5. Societal changes were evident in the increased support for local farmers, with many volunteering their days and weeks or more to go down south to pick fruits, vegetables and help make sure our farms have all the hands they need.
  6. Evacuated Gaza border communities that saw they homes destroyed have shown an incredible sense of community spirit, remaining united as refugees in their own country and seeking to stay together – just visit a community evacuated from the Gaza border region or the Upper Galilee to see the amazing communal spirit of resilience.
  7. The Be’eri Printing Press’s quick recovery after the October 7 attacks is a symbol of Israel’s unyielding spirit and resilience.
  8. The rise in volunteerism was exemplified by initiatives like Asif, which partnered with chefs to provide meals for soldiers and displaced citizens, or friends that just grabbed a BBQ and made hamburgers in the field for soldiers to show their appreciation.
  9. There has been a huge rise in local community-led grassroots initiatives to support those affected by the war.
  10. The Israeli public used their democratic rights to protest and stopped (for now) the government’s attempt at a judicial overhaul, preserving the checks and balances essential to Israel’s democracy.
  11. These demonstrations were a beacon of light and inspiration for many people and nations around the world that face their own struggles to preserve democracy.
  12. Passionate Israelis are now back in the streets engaging in the democratic process and exercising their democratic right to advocate for change.
  13. Out of this crisis and these struggles, future leaders are emerging, ready to take responsibility and lead the nation forward.
  14. People like Nisan Zeevi in Kfar Giladi continue to stand on the border and defend their northern border community and Israel.
  15. “Brothers in Arms” quickly changed course to help the war efforts, showcasing the best of Israel.
  16. Eden Golan’s heroism at Eurovision inspired a nation at a time of need.
  17. Israel received top points in the Eurovision televote from 14 participating countries and from “rest of the world” — giving it the second highest amount of points from the public overall.
  18. US President Joe Biden’s support and speeches have reinforced the strong bond between the United States and Israel.
  19. The strong support of Germany has been a pillar of strength for Israel, especially in international forums.
  20. The strong leadership and support of the UK have been unwavering.
  21. The global community responded to October 7 with a massive increase of weapons packages, aid and a bold show of diplomatic support.
  22. Biden saying “Don’t.”
  23. The US sent two aircraft carriers to the Middle East to help protect Israel and send a powerful message to its enemies.
  24. Polling of US public opinion consistently shows that over 80% of Americans support Israel.
  25. The air train of defense equipment and support the US sent has been instrumental in bolstering Israel’s security.
  26. The multi billion package of aid from the US has provided crucial support for Israel’s defense and recovery efforts.
  27. The bold leadership of US House Speaker Mike Johnson has been a source of inspiration.
  28. Senator Lindsey Graham’s speeches and strong support have echoed across the US Senate.
  29. Congresswoman Elyssa Stefanik’s direct and bold grilling in Congress of university presidents brought critical issue of antisemitism on campus to the forefront.
  30. The leadership of Jewish students on campuses has been a light in the dark fight against antisemitism.
  31. The brave outspokenness of Prof. Shay Davidai at Columbia University has served as an inspiration for how academic leaders should speak out, with moral clarity.
  32. The recent crisis and the rise of antisemitism has reaffirmed the importance of a Jewish state, serving as a haven and a home for Jews worldwide.
  33. Ella Travels has rededicated her social media savvy and talents to take on the battles online, fighting misinformation and effectively defending Israel in the online narrative war.
  34. Despite 300 rockets fired by Iran at Israel in one night, the nation’s defense systems and spirit remained unshaken.
  35. The Iron Dome has continued to protect Israeli skies, saving countless lives.
  36. The Arrow weapon system has proven its effectiveness, providing a shield against long-range threats.
  37. Patriot missiles have been a key component of Israel’s multi-layered defense strategy.
  38. David’s Sling has added a critical layer of defense, intercepting threats that could evade other systems.
  39. Refael and Elbit have continued to innovate, keeping Israel at the cutting edge of defense technology.
  40. The coalition that worked with Israel to defend from Iranian missiles has shown the power of international cooperation.
  41. Saudi Arabia and Jordan joined these efforts in defense against Iranian missiles – a precedent!
  42. The prospects of a peace deal with Saudi Arabia signal a potential shift towards a new future for Israel, and the entire region.
  43. The resilience and strength of the IDF, which has overcome initial hurdles to have significant military success in the recent campaign.
  44. The 130% response to the call for reserves on October 7 reflects the nation’s unity and readiness to defend itself.
  45. The young generation of Israelis that are answering the call, serving their with pride and honor and volunteering everywhere they can, proving that the “TikTok generation” will continue to build our country as direct constituents of the pioneer generation.
  46. The increased participation of women in combat roles has showcased their bravery, commitment and necessity to Israel’s defense.
  47. Former generals and reserve soldiers at all levels that grabbed their arms on Saturday and drove immediately to the south to save lives
  48. Gen (res.) Noam Tibon, who drove to rescue his son and grandchildren at Nahal Oz and on the way saved many other lives
  49. Elite IDF troops carried out daring operations to rescue Ori Megidish, Fernando Merman, and Luis Har from Hamas captivity.
  50. Israeli hospitals, such as Sheba Medical Center, were recognized for their innovative treatments and research contributions, even as they dealt with the challenges of the war.
  51. Israeli medical teams have achieved breakthroughs in treating war injuries, with Israeli health-tech at the forefront.
  52. A renewed focus and deep commitment of the medical system and private sector to support our community’s mental health need.
  53. Israeli doctors performing the first-ever artificial cornea transplant, restoring sight to a blind man.
  54. Leading Israeli industrial companies like Bazan and Teva that have doubled or tripled down on their commitment to donate funds to the needs of the Israeli society
  55. The resilience of the Israeli spirit, with citizens showing unwavering strength and optimism in the face of challenges.
  56. Shikma Bresler, a top scientist of Physics at the world renowned Weizmann Institute, has dedicated herself also to the future of Israel, embodying the spirit of innovation and patriotism and showing a new model for Israeli leadership.
  57. Leaders in the hi-tech and biotech sectors have recognized the importance of being part of Israel’s leadership, merging industry success with national responsibility.
  58. Israeli innovators have shown tremendous resilience in quickly adapting to the new economic realities, proving that #nomatterwhat is not just a slogan.
  59. Knowing that investors love resilient founders to lead startups and will recognize the opportunity to invest in these great companies and entrepreneurs
  60. Despite global economic downturns, Israel’s economy remains robust, with low unemployment.
  61. The Israeli economy grew by 14% in Q1 2024 – during a war!
  62. Israel’s tech scene continues to flourish, with exits galore in cyber and general AI, reinforcing its status as a “Start-Up Nation.”
  63. Multinational corporations have maintained their investment in Israel, a vote of confidence in its economy and innovation.
  64. Despite massive budget cuts across the board, the importance of Israeli ingenuity and entrepreneurship was recognized with the Israel Innovation Authority’s budget being almost doubled.
  65. The Innovation Authority has stood up to war-time challenges and opened several new start-up and deep-tech funds to boost the high-tech sector’s resilience and ability to bring Israel out of the crisis.
  66. Over 20 new funds have been established since October 7, raising $1.7 billion, to address the urgent funding needs of startups affected by the conflict and to bolster confidence in the Israeli tech ecosystem.
  67. The tech sector has seen 220 private investment rounds in the past six months, raising an estimated $3.1 billion.
  68. ⁠A record of almost $3 billion has been sold in State of Israel bonds since the start of the war.
  69. Former science minister Yizhar Shai, who lost a son on October 7, set up the Next October initiative to form and support new start-ups in memory of those killed.
  70. Hundreds of strangers on Yom Hashoah attended the Haifa funeral of 95-year-old Esther Greizer, a Holocaust survivor who died with no family.
  71. ⁠Israeli satire show Eretz Nehederet has continued to shine a light on the absurd, allowing us to laugh (especially at ourselves) even during our most challenging moments.
  72. Israelis have lined the streets, silently waving flags, to honor fallen soldiers being taken to cemeteries around the country.
  73. The return of 110 Israeli hostages highlights the nation’s commitment to leaving no one behind.
  74. Individuals like Rachel Goldberg have shown unwavering courage to work towards the release of her son an all the hostages, and have inspired the world doing so.
  75. You can understand the amazing spirit of the Israeli people by visit the Hostage Families headquarters
  76. The public’s broad support for the hostage deal, reflecting a unified stance on the need to #bringthemhome.
About the Author
Mati Gill is CEO of AION Labs, a venture studio with a first-of-its-kind company creation model for new start-ups utilizing AI for drug discovery and development. Prior to founding AION Labs, Mati was a senior executive at Teva Pharmaceuticals and served as Chief of Staff for Israel’s Minister of Public Security. He is an IDF veteran (Maj. res.)`and currently serves on the boards of the Israel Advanced Technology Industries Association (IATI) and the Israel America Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
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