18 April '10
Without the sacrifices made to preserve freedom, there could be no independence. And without independence, those sacrifices have no meaning. And so tonight Israel remembers its fallen in the Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day. And tomorrow, it remembers their achievement, a free and independent nation in Yom HaAtzmaut, Independence Day.
A day after Israel's declaration of independence on May 14, 1948, it was fighting for its survival against local Islamist militias, including the Mufti of Jerusalem's, Jaysh al-Jihad al-Muqaddas, along with the armies of 7 Arab nations, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Yemen. On the Muslim side was the Arab Legion, at the time considered to be the best army in the region, under the British General Glubb, whose son would later convert to Islam, and become involved with terrorist groups.
On the Israeli side were frontier units that had evolved not that long ago from orchard guards, ex-WW2 US and UK soldiers, refugees just off the boat who had been given a rifle to hold, with or without ammunition and small groups of farmers holding out as best they could. One such small group of farmers in the Battle of Gesher, held out against several battalions of the Iraqi army, under the Crown Prince of Iraq, Abd Al Illah (Slave of Allah).
But today while the sirens sound in the cities of Israel, the electronic wail for the voiceless dead-- the corridors of power under Obama are filled with a relentless scurrying and plotting on how to best convince or compel Israel to surrender its independence. Pundits contribute their op-eds in the Times and the Post, debating the finer points over whether Obama should try to bring down Israel's government or visit to deliver a speech in the Knesset laying out the plan he intends to impose on Israel. On how to make the sacrifices of 1948, as worthless as the sacrifices of 1967. How to carve up Israel into pieces small enough for its old enemies to be able to swallow up whole.
During a Memorial Day address at Ammunition Hill, Netanyahu remembered the high price Israel had paid, twice over, for Jerusalem.
"One of the critical battles in this campaign took place here. True heroes fell here. They and their friends changed our country's way of life.
Twice we have paid a heavy price to relieve the siege on Jerusalem - the first time during the War of Independence, and the second time when the city was bombarded during the Six-Day War. Jerusalem, which was then a withered, divided city, has returned to being a city full of life.
"The life that we create here is a debt that we pay every day to our fallen soldiers,” the prime minister said. “It is an ancient, inner duty – to establish a state here that will be the pride of generations, that will justify their painful sacrifice with its existence and its future.”
Today Jerusalem is under siege for a third time.
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