The Western Wall

LXVIII

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Today is the 5th of Iyar.  In English, it is the 12th of May.  It’s the first choice that determines my post today, because the English date changes all the time.  It’s Yom Ha’atzmaut- Israeli Independence Day.

Under the most set of improbable circumstances, the State of Israel was founded 68 years ago today.   After centuries, after millenia, there was a bona-fide home for the Jewish people, who’d been hoping, praying, craving this situation.
And, before those of you who claim no anti-Semitic feelings state your clearly anti-Semitic sentiments, consider these facts.  What country would you like to pick – anywhere around the globe- that came to its independence without a war against others, without a fight over the land upon which is resides?  Why is it you feel obliged to hold Israel to a different standard?
Did not the United States appropriate its lands from the Indians?  Or, the Latin American countries from their indigenous peoples?  Not to mention the other states (some of which are falling apart as we speak) in the Middle East.  Even the European nations became what they are from wars.

Menora from the Knesset

Is Israel a perfect state?  Hardly.  I, for one, probably abhor the policies of its Prime Minister more than you do.  However, I know for what Israel stands.  It does stand for democracy.  It does stand for justice.  And, most of the Israelis have a desperate yearning for peace.
For decades, this nation has been reclaiming the desert and the swamps.  As opposed to other nations that have been squandering their resources (water, land), Israel developed and pioneered processes such as drip irrigation to maximize the benefit of the little water it has.  Forested major areas of the desert.  (Now, it recognizes that it must also cull those forests to preclude major fires.)
And, as opposed to other nations, Israel has accepted all those Jews persecuted in Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan.  You don’t find those folks in refugee camps, the way you find the refugees who were advised by the Arab League to vacate Israel during the wars started in 1948, when the UN declared Israel’s right to exist.  Still there, still in poor conditions, some 68 years later.
(I am NOT making light of the situation that obtained for a while for the Mizrachi and Sfardi Jews who had decades of problems being accepted by the Ashkenazi Jews in Israel.  But, that battle didn’t extend over centuries, as it still obtains in the US.)
And, when America liberated Kuwait from Iraq way back during the first Iraq war, what was the very first act the liberated Kuwaiti government effected?  It banished the Palestinians from its borders.
But, after just 68 years, Israel has not had multiple coups, disintegration, etc.  It has grown an economy- and a high tech industry- that is the envy of almost every other country in the world.  And, that is for a nation that until recently lacked its own energy sources.  And, one that has few natural resources, to boot.
It has wonderful universities- for all.  It has a vibrant culture of literature and the arts.  It is one of the very few countries in the world that protects other faiths- and their places of worship.  (Except when some of those places are deliberately stocked with munitions and weaponry.)
And, like the USA, Israel’s democracy is still a work-in-progress.  One that I look forward to seeing burgeon even further- one that will provide reasons for my children and grandchildren to evoke feelings of pride and honor.
The Western Wall
A nation whose anthem was written some 80 years before it actually became one.  A nation whose pledge of allegiance dates back to King David.
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
let my right hand lose its powers,
let my tongue cleave to my palate.
If I do not remember you,
if I do not regard Jerusalem
with my utmost concern.
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