...So on this Yom Haatzmaut, count your personal and our national blessings. Life in Israel is full of meaning and delight – adorned by sacrifice, commitment, achievement and joy – all the components that make life satisfying and exciting, and certainly so for a Jew. Despite the overwrought friends, and the naysayers, boycotters and detractors – the Heavens are shining, not collapsing, upon Israel.
A Citadel Defending Zion..
01 May '14..
In recent months, the imperious American Secretary of State and others have warned Israel that unless it rapidly proceeds to establish a full-fledged Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, the sky will come crashing down on the Jewish state.
The doomsday diviners are certain that unless the “two-state solution” is promptly implemented, Israel will moulder, or atrophy into apartheid and inch into isolation.
Well, guess what, they’re wrong. The wisdom and utility of a two-state settlement aside, its absence is not a catastrophe for Israel. In fact, Israel will continue to prosper and achieve, despite long-term lingering conflict with the Palestinians and notwithstanding the apocalyptic agonizing of well-meaning friends like John Kerry.
As Israel approaches its 66th Independence Day next week, it is important to emphasize and re-emphasize this; to shake off the bleak and sinister prognostications of our ‘friends’ and enemies. The gloomy, wintry forecasts are just not accurate.
In fact, a cold evaluation of Israel’s strengths versus our enemies’ threats leads to the conclusion that Israel is winning on all battlefronts; overcoming every challenge; and advancing in all ways.
Major military threats to Israel have greatly diminished, as Arab societies and armies crumble across the Middle East. Soft power attacks on Israel – things like international campaigns to divest from Israel and to sanction Israel – have mostly fallen flat. The Chinese, the Indians, and even the Europeans are lining up to buy Israeli technologies, not to boycott them. Palestinian attempts to prosecute or confront Israel are a nuisance and ongoing, but they are mostly empty threats, as the Palestinians are in disarray and deeply divided (despite the flimsy, fake, rehashed Fatah-Hamas unity accord).
The amorphous situation in the West Bank is messy but manageable, and is far less bad than most alternatives. The dramatic weakening of America and the US-Israel relationship under President Obama is of grave concern, but this is temporary and reversible. And for Israel’s major challenge – the peril of an Iranian nuclear bomb – that too will yet be dealt with, I believe, quite firmly.
In the meantime, Israel’s dramatic drive to succeed ever-more in all aspects of life continues unabated, with spectacular results: outstanding science and top-notch technology; leading brain scientists and rocket missile defense systems; Nobel Prize winners; first-class doctors and world-class health care; high levels of Torah study – only 70 years after the destruction of European Jewry’s Torah world; a robust economy and strong currency; massive foreign investment; innovative water desalinization programs and newly-discovered, massive natural gas resources; a super-vibrant social assistance sector; multiple humanitarian missions undertaken abroad; and most of all, sensational activism and high motivation of our magnificent youth. So my net assessment of Israel’s strategic and internal situation is astonishingly optimistic.
In overall perspective, Israel is stronger than any of its enemies. Neither the perpetual Palestinian conundrum, nor the acute Iranian threat to Israel, nor the unstable regional situation – make me a pessimist. Nor do John Kerry’s miserable prophesies.
If anything worries me, it’s our domestic disputes, social ills and spiritual deficiencies. Plus the hard-left negativism of mainstream media. But these are our challenges to overcome. Their resolution depends on our energies and wisdom, not on force majeure or the foibles and dictates of others.
And note: Israelis are neither crushed nor dispirited by their challenges. They remain quite resilient and energized to build an even better future.
Listen to the words of the late, great Rabbi Dr. Ambassador Yaacov Herzog, speaking in 1971 about “The Permanence of Israel”:
“We face perils. No man can guarantee that fighting will not resume tomorrow, that our soldiers will not have to fight again bloody battles. But we know we have the strength to withstand them. The balance of arms is in our favor at the moment… We may face political isolation and pressures, but we face all this in the knowledge that we belong to a new epoch and that the Jew has changed – in Jerusalem, in Israel and across the world. And though at times it looks dark, the light will reappear. With firmness touched with generosity, with strength uplifted by spiritual understanding, we can move ahead. With all the difficulties, with all the pressures, we are the generation of redemption. Let us indeed be worthy of this privilege that defies human logic and supersedes human vistas.”
So on this Yom Haatzmaut, count your personal and our national blessings. Life in Israel is full of meaning and delight – adorned by sacrifice, commitment, achievement and joy – all the components that make life satisfying and exciting, and certainly so for a Jew. Despite the overwrought friends, and the naysayers, boycotters and detractors – the Heavens are shining, not collapsing, upon Israel.
Published in The Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom, May 2, 2014