Before her death, Queen Elizabeth II had her Platinum Jubilee, celebrating 70 years on the throne. For the 75th Jubilee of Israel, I nominate we call it the Titanium Jubilee, after one of the world’s strongest metals. After one examines the last 75 years, it’s clear how strong Israel has had to be.
We begin this jubilee with mourning. Since the last Israeli Memorial Day, 59 soldiers fell during their military service, and an additional 86 disabled veterans passed away from their injuries. In total, 24,213 died during service to the country since we began counting in 1860. It’s a sobering and heart-breaking price we had to pay for our country.
I think of my fallen sisters and brothers, and my heart goes out to their families. Sadly, in Israel, everyone knows someone who laid down their life for the country. My uncle fell in battle and his loss still remains painful for his family.
We all know that we don’t want to fight, but have no choice. We, the citizen army of Israel serve to protect our families. We know what we’re fighting for. We know that we are all that stand between terrorism and our families. We know if we lay down our arms, we will be destroyed.
Only after we mourn our losses can we celebrate the Titanium Jubilee, and mark the realization of the dream of 2000 years. We are the third and fourth generation who have been born in our own country, with our own flag, and our own army. Despite the deep divisions in our country, we have so much to be proud of. One of the greatest is that we ended the river of blood that ran through Jewish history.
For centuries, we were helpless under persecution. We were sold as slaves, exiled and murdered. Although isolated cases had us fight back, for the most part, we were at the mercy of others.
A friend made a chart of some of the tragedies that happened to Jews in just 50 years before the birth of the state of Israel.
- In the Holocaust (1933-1945) 6 million Jews were killed.
- The Farhud. Baghdad, Iraq. (1941) 150 and 180 Jews were killed, 600 more were injured and an untold number more were sexually assaulted or robbed.
- Constantine riots (1934) 25 Jews were killed
- During the Thrace pogroms (1934) 15,000 Jews displaced
- Hebron Massacre, (1929) 67 Jews were killed.
- Russian Civil War, (1919–1921) As many as 70,000 Jews were massacred.
- Massacre of Mountain Jews (1918), where 10,000 Jews were murdered.
- Fez Massacre, (1912). 42 Jews were killed.
- Shiraz Blood Libel, (1910) 2 Jews were killed, more than 50 were wounded, and 6,000 Jews were robbed of all property.
- Casablanca pogrom, (1907) (60 Jews murdered, more women and children enslaved)
- Kyiv pogrom, (1905) 100 Jews were murdered.
- Kishinev Pogroms, (1903) where 49 Jews were murdered.
Notice the mass murders end in 1948. There’s a reason. It’s because we began to fight back. Today, we mourn those who fell so that these tragedies would never happen again.
So yes, we mourn today. We mourn family and friends. We feel the empty places at tables and the scars of loss.
But our hope is not broken. We have something worth fighting for. We have something worth dying for.
The Silver Platter, by Natan Altermann says that the Jewish state was not given on a silver platter.
Silver isn’t strong enough. We are built on the titanium strength of heroes, who are sorely missed, but who died so that others may live.
Tonight, we remember them.