On this 65th Yom Hatzmaut, Much to be Thankful and Proud of.

Thousands of articles will be written about Israel worldwide.

The breadth and depth from Israel’s founding to the potential for energy independence through its natural gas exploration. The chalutz that too many predicted is gone from the sabra of yesteryear is alive and well. It’s just transformed from the Agricultural to the Technological Revolution of infinite scope.  Thomas Friedman in his NYT op Eds incessantly begs the Arabs to emulate Israel’s focus on education and technological advancement.

I have a small beef on this Yom Hatzmaut at my fellow Jews in diaspora.

Why is it difficult for so many shuls on Sabbath to recite the mi sheberach l’chayalim, a blessing for the well-being of Israel’s Army?

Why is it so important that every synagogue do this?

Just last week Israeli researchers at Tel Aviv University in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress reported a 30% increase in Anti-Semitism around the world. Much of it stems from extreme right wing European political parties.

Make no mistake about the tone of many articles in Europe, Arab and Muslim countries on Israel 65th birthday. They’re wishing Israel “retires” permanently. These will not be well-wishers.

I as so many in the US hold dual citizenship. I am a sabra living in the US most of my life brought here as a youngster by my parents seeking the golden dream.

I am an Israeli American Jew.

I am an American Israeli Jew.

I am a Jewish American.

Say it anyway you wish it amounts to the same, proud to be Jewish, proud to be American, a proud Israeli.

In times of crisis usually a war there are unifying cries on behalf of Israel and its army. Funds are raised, Tehilim is said, Jewish Americans flock to Israel to volunteer. All this is good and important.

In times of peace-at least as Israel experiences it different than the rest of the world-there is a special tefilah that all should say. Typically said every Saturday morning in shul it prays for the safety and well-being of all who serve in Israel’s armed forces.

Yet so many shuls consciously choose not to add this one minute prayer immediately following a prayer for the sick. Why?

Why need we wait for a crisis, a series of suicide bombings, a war to galvanize our support? Do we need “shock and awe” to remind us of our precarious state in this world order? Is not every vote in the (dis)United Nations a reminder of anti-Semitism the world over?

Mi sheberach l’chayalim. A one minute oration for the safety and wellbeing of tens of thousands who place themselves in daily danger to ensure Israel has many more strong healthy birthdays. This prayer is not making a Zionistic, nationalistic or political statement. It is beseeching G-D to protect our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters from harm.

Anyone got a problem with that?

People may retire to Israel.

May Israel never tire.

About the Author
David Mandel is Chief Executive Officer of OHEL Children's Home and Family Services in New York