My Israel–Shira Shemesh

The winning speech by sixth grader Shira Shemesh of Kaplan elementary school (for winning the competition Shira got to host an hour-long radio segment on Kol Israel radio station):


Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin of blessed memory said that “we are a small nation with a giant heart.”

I believe that we are a giant nation with a giant heart, because what matters isn’t quantity, but quality.

It’s impossible to explain something this important with a few short words.

So today I brought this box—inside this box you can find all of Israel.

The first piece of the puzzle represents Israeli society—the open and warm people that make up Israel. That is who we are.

The next part is the culture, the traditions, the Judaism. Every nation and land has its own unique characteristics. We have the Mahane Yehuda market, Felafel, Bamba, our holidays.

We are also the only Jewish country in the world—and we have a responsibility to preserve that!

The next part is the history, because how could we have reached where we are today without all that we did to get here? We are built on our past, for better and for worse.

From the past we jump to the present—to the innovations and inventions that improve our lives on a daily basis and demonstrate the extent of Israeli ingenuity.

The two pieces that are left are the foundation of being Israeli. The empty piece symbolizes the future. We don’t know how Israel will look in the future—this part we’ll complete together.

And finally, we have the Israeli heart, that beats inside each and every one of us. Love for Israel and her citizens.

When we add all of these puzzle pieces together, we create a picture—that’s our Israeli identity. That’s what being Israeli means!


About the Author
Rachel Amrani is the Director of the Young Ambassadors School in Petah Tikva, a unique youth leadership program run by the Petah Tikva Municipality in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. The goal of the program is to create, empower and support a new generation of young leaders, with all of the knowledge, skills and experience to successfully contribute to their own society, and to represent Israel abroad.
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