Every day in many languages from Farsi to Arabic to English, in many countries on five continents, the airwaves and streets are resounding with calls for the extermination of the Jewish state and the annihilation of the people of Israel. Not only is this horrific diatribe heard and witnessed in the streets and even the lecture halls of universities, but in the supposedly “diplomatic” assemblies of varied international organizations running the gamut of Middle Eastern potentates to African presidents to European parliamentarians and to the great assemblage on the East River in New York City, the United Nations.
The United Nations, which was founded upon the principles of peace, freedom and brotherhood and whose foundation stones rest upon the remains of the 60 million dead of World War Two and the ashes of that people whose losses are far greater than any other nation during that conflict. For no other people, other than the Jews of Europe, were so cruelly destroyed as to the loss of two thirds of their number.
The United Nations, whose founding philosophy is carved on to a great wall a few yards away from its headquarters upon which is inscribed-“Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn was anymore.”-Yeshayahu (Isaiah); a prophet of Israel. Yet it is the nation that brought forth this noble idea that has suffered the most from the umbrage and hypocrisy of this organization that defies its charter and founding principle at every opportunity.
However, history will judge, in due course, the incredible bigotry and hatred towards the Jewish state and her people that this undeniably and increasingly irrelevant collection of dictatorships and cowardly sycophants of anti-Semitism will deserve. The Jewish people has a long memory and years ago someone far wiser than I said that to the the Jewish people the words “I believe” are akin to “I remember.”
Despite the daily calls for our destruction, we continue to live and more importantly, to thrive. Sure, there are the terrorist outrages, the provocations of our neighbors and the constant alert along our borders, but we are made of sterner stuff. We don’t melt like the ” ice cream soldier” nor have we allowed ourselves to become a martial people, walking in our streets in marching cadence or forever attuned to the strains of military music on our radios and televisions.
Daily we go about our business-to our jobs, schools, markets and theatres. Even during the worst of the so-called intifada when buses were blown up by suicide bombers and restaurants and theatres had security guards examining pocketbooks and placing metal detectors at the entrance of all these facilities, we still went out to dinner, traveled in the buses and lived our lives. Sure, we became a bit more aware of our surroundings and did pass up the opportunities that we might have indulged in from time to time, but the country didn’t stop.
Israel, having been born in battle from the day of her birth has fought four major wars in her 67 years and countless terrorist attacks and recently, the campaigns in southern Lebanon, the operations in Gaza and in the liberated lands along the Jordan River. We have borne the massive assaults by thousands of missiles from the south and from the north of our borders. For the first time since the War of Independence in 1948 has the home front become a major field of battle. It has always been the doctrine of the Israel Defense Force to ensure that the conflict takes place as far from the territory of the state as is possible. Yet, with all the successes of our valiant military, our cities and villages, lay bare and exposed to the fury of the enemy’s rockets.
So, do we lose heart and hope? Will the last person to leave the country kindly turn out the lights? The answer to these questions us a resounding NO!
Israel is the wonder of the ages. Despite wars and terror and Kassam rockets, we are the venture capital investment center of the world. Our domestic industry and our citizens’ productivity far outweigh the contribution to the world’s economy than nations far bigger and richer than our own. Our technology and progress in too many varied fields to mention here has made life far more pleasurable and survivable for countless millions throughout the continents.
It is not for naught that our citizens are among the world’s most satisfied with their lot. Many studies and polls measuring a society’s relative happiness places Israel among the top examples.
Sure, not everything is milk and honey (although many would say that milk and honey take a lower place on the scale than bakeries and ice cream) which often cost more here than in other nations, and yes, the Israeli worker, in many cases, earns less and pays proportionately more in taxes than his counterpart in other lands, but our population is growing. The standards of health and the longevity of our seniors is increasing and the fecundity of our young couples is on the rise. In fact, there was a higher incidence of babies being born nine months after that last operation in Gaza, than at any previous period-guess some of the soldiers, sailors and airmen did get some home leave after all. The Jewish birthrate, especially among the denizens of the liberated parts of Eretz Israel, is increasing even in greater numbers than in other parts of our tiny Jewish country.
As an immigrant myself, the return of our exiled brothers and sisters homeward is the greatest of all weapons in our quiver. Thousands, nearly 15,000 new Israelis from France alone, will make Israel their home this year. During the decade of the 1990s, almost ONE MILLION Jews from the former Soviet Union, came home to the land of their heritage. This, after the passing of several generations of official anti-Zionism and Jew hatred. Since the inception of the magnificent work of Nefesh b’ Nefesh, 35,000 Americans and Canadians have made their home here in over 200 of our communities. AND they are going to be the antecedents of tens of thousands native born Israelis.
One hundred thousand Jews from Ethiopia, several thousand of the B’nei Menashe Jews from India long thought lost to the Jewish people are building and contributing to the growth of the homeland.Several hundred Jews from far off China have returned to the place from where their ancestors sprung. Those many Christians today whose Jewish roots were torn out by the Spanish Inquisition, are re-discovering their Hebraic traditions and rejoining the people of Israel.
Crazy, no? Millions of people, many of whom have never experienced anti-Semitism, or lived comfortably among the people of their nations, have decided to join their brethren in the homeland despite the bloodshed and threat of war and terrorism. Even the acculturated Jews of Western Europe after generations of living as Frenchmen, Britons, Italians, Dutch and Belgian, are lining up at aliyah fairs to plan their homeward journeys. The Jews of the Ukraine, who were nearly liquidated in their entirety during the Nazi invasion of World War Two, who face more danger today than they possibly imagined would ever occur again, are traveling here to stay.
Can one imagine if all the billions, if not trillions of dollars spent on war and terror fighting had been directed towards the building of this country’s infrastructure-for roads, hospitals, schools and for the general welfare of all its citizens? Heck, the garden of Eden would be a slum compared to what Israel could have been. But, we haven’t done badly either.
If one recalls the food rationing of the early years, the strain on the nation to house the first waves of immigration, the constant border clashes with our neighbors and the incessant demand for aid from our people in other countries and now,to look at our skyscrapers today, the institutions of higher learning, the Nobel laureates among us, the headquarters of many major international corporations, the research and developments centers for medicine, technology and computer sciences, and the fact that Israel, a nation of fewer than 10 million people, has sent satellites into Earth orbit and whose pharmaceutical production supplies 80% of the world’s generic medications.
To some, this is the stuff of fiction, To many, it is truly a miracle of the spirit of mankind. To others, it is a testament to the strength of the Jewish nation restored in its homeland. To our friends, it is a source of achievement and co-operation. To our enemies, it is an enigma and a source of virulent jealousy.
To us, the people of Israel, it is a source of pride, a wellspring of courage and evidence of hard work, determination, and the inevitable victory of our sovereign rights to this tiny Jewish country.
Our people’s survival throughout the centuries which has seen countless efforts to destroy us, that has witnessed our expulsion from our homeland, and witnessed our return and the ferocity and bravery with which we defend our native soil, the progress that in the face of incredible odds that no other nation has had to endure, is truly a miracle. It can’t be explained any other way, for otherwise, no one would ever believe it.