As a liberal Arab, I look to Israel with admiration and even more with bewilderment. How did Israel get to where it is today?
How did a small group of Jews, many of whom were survivors of Arab pogroms, Russian pogroms, or the Holocaust, build the powerful, successful, and democratic nation that is Israel today, while Israel’s neighbors who are far more numerous, have far more natural resources, have far more international support, have far less scrutiny of their actions, continue to falter in regressive social practices, poor economies, despotism, and infighting?
Are Jews geniuses while Arabs are dimwits?
No, not at all. It is simply a matter of priorities.
Arabs devote their energies to stifling human potential in their own ranks, particularly among women and minorities, to blaming others for their own failures, and to finding every possible way to destroy or at least humiliate the “enemy”, the worst of them being the despised “Zionist entity”.
Jews, on the other hand, devote their energies to building a nation and making it greater every day. Even among the Jews who criticize Israel, with a few rare exceptions, while their outlook is often naïve, their objective is to make Israel better.
The fact that Arabs have forced the Jews to spend inordinate amounts of time and resources defending themselves did not slow them down either. On the contrary. It has made the Jews even more determined to succeed.
So as an Arab, on Israel’s 70th anniversary, I salute the Jewish spirit, and I sincerely thank the Jews for having given the Middle East the best role model that anyone could have ever dreamed of.
And I tell the Arab world: For your own sake, stop complaining, stop bellowing, stop hating, sit down, show humility, listen, and learn. That’s the only way you’ll ever be great.