YOM HA’ATZMAUT 5775: HAPPY 67th BIRTHDAY ISRAEL!

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

Yom Ha’atzmaut 5775: Am Israel Chai!: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Apr. 23, 2015 — Jewish history is an unending story which comes down to us across the centuries.

Israel at 67 — A Booming Economy, But Chaos All Around: Rafael Barak, National Post, Apr. 22, 2015 — Sixty-seven years ago today, David Ben Gurion proclaimed Israel’s independence, restoring Jewish sovereignty to our ancient homeland.

Independence Day: We Have Reason to Rejoice: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Apr. 21, 2015— The Bible quotes Balaam describing the Jews as “a people that dwells alone and is not counted among the nations”.

At 67, Israel Exudes Long-Term Optimism: Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom, Apr. 22, 2015— Sixty-seven years ago, upon Israel's declaration of independence, Life magazine noted (May ‎‎31, 1948) the odds facing the 600,000 Jews of the newly born economy-‎starved and militarily embargoed Jewish state…

 

On Topic Links

 

Netanyahu's Independence Day Greeting From Jerusalem: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 23, 2015

A Great Moment For The World: Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel: Israel Video Network, Apr. 23, 2015

Israeli Envoy Prosor Recites 'Hatikva' at UN in Memory of Israel's Fallen: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Israel: Drybones, Apr . 22, 2015

         

                             

YOM HA’ATZMAUT 5775: AM ISRAEL CHAI!                                                                                              

Baruch Cohen                                                                                                                                         

CIJR, Apr. 23, 2015

 

                                                                                          “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,

                                                                                          And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest”

                                                                                           —Isaiah 62:1

                                                           

Jewish history is an unending story which comes down to us across the centuries.

 

There are several concentric circles of history: First is the circle of preservation. How did our people manage to preserve its identity in diaspora and exile, without a territorial base or political organization, in conditions under which no other people succeeded?

 

Second is the circle of power, reflection, and prolonged resonance. Third is the circle of suffering: a history that passeth all understanding. Fourth is the circle of renewal, the ability to take a language, land and people, separated for centuries, and revive them together, to forge a new nation and an independent life.

 

We, the Jewish People, stand as we have often stood, returned to our Land, though some be still dispersed, vulnerable, yet all inspired by an old, powerful dream: our restored home! We are today inspired by a continuing vision: AM ISRAEL CHAI!

 

Today, the State of Israel is a dream, a miracle come true. AM ISRAEL, the State of Israel, is center, and vanguard, of the entire Jewish People.

 

AM ISRAEL CHAI V’KAYAM! A joyous Independence Day to all CIJR’s friends and supporters!

 

(Baruch Cohen is CIJR’s Research Chairman and a Member

of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center)

 

                                                                       

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ISRAEL AT 67 — A BOOMING ECONOMY, BUT CHAOS ALL AROUND                                                                   

Rafael Barak                                                                                                       

National Post, Apr. 22, 2015

 

Sixty-seven years ago today, David Ben Gurion proclaimed Israel’s independence, restoring Jewish sovereignty to our ancient homeland. Israel began as a doubt in the world’s eye. Surrounded by enemies, we had to fight six wars in six decades. With a territory two-thirds the size of Vancouver Island and few resources, other than the ingenuity of our people, we transformed ourselves from a developing country into a high-tech economy, taking our seat alongside other industrial nations of the OECD. Over the span of less than seven decades, we grew 10-fold in population and 50-fold in gross domestic product.

 

As Israel celebrates 67 years, to quote Charles Dickens, Israelis find themselves living in both “the best of times and the worst of times.” On the one hand, the future has never seemed so bright. Our economy is prospering, with consistent growth of at least 3 per cent, our culture is thriving, with Israeli cuisine being served in the world’s top restaurants, and our democracy is thriving, as evidenced by the 85 per cent of citizens living in Israel who cast their ballot in last month’s election. On the other, we live in a region that is full of surprises, instability and violence.

 

The Jewish people intimately understand the link between rhetoric and action. When Israelis hear the ayatollahs call for our destruction and we see an Iranian regime, which has no qualms oppressing its own people, arming itself with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, we can be excused if we have cause for concern. We also take pause when the world’s superpowers negotiate an agreement that leaves Iran with its nuclear capabilities intact.

 

In the middle of the Middle East, Israelis wake up every morning in one of the world’s darkest regions. Each day, we learn about a new civil war, another border being wiped out, women and minorities being persecuted, the destruction of archaeological remains of past civilizations, barrel bombings of civilians and beheadings of infidels. We witness this turmoil not from the comfort of our living rooms, but directly with our own eyes. In fact, on a clear day, we can see the fighting in Damascus from our northern border.

Despite the storm raging around us, Israel is an island of stability. The 3.5 million tourists who visited Israel last year arrived to a country that has never been a more vibrant, a more dynamic and, frankly, a more fun place to be. A renewed spirit of creativity has sparked a renaissance in a variety of sectors from the arts to science and academia to business.

 

Israel boasts one of the world’s most innovative economies with the highest ratio of startups per capita, the second-largest venture-capital industry and more than half of our exports deriving from the high-tech sector. In 2014, we witnessed approximately 75 acquisitions or public offerings by large multinationals worth about $15 billion. More than 350 multinationals — including Intel, Apple, Facebook and Google — have established R&D centres, most following the acquisition of an Israeli startup. Just this week, Canada’s BlackBerry purchased the Israeli file-sharing security company, WatchDox, and announced plans to establish a new security-focused R&D centre in Israel.

 

Our expertise in innovation also extends to the academic field, where Israel has a particular knack for the commercialization of knowledge. Each year, the technology transfer organizations of Israel’s seven universities and five medical schools generate a total of $360 million in royalties and licence 150 new technologies.

 

In addition, a place that the Bible calls the “Land of Milk and Honey” has just discovered significant natural-gas reserves off its coast. One thousand billion cubic metres of gas brings the promise of energy security for many years to come and an opportunity for economic co-operation with our Arab neighbours, including last month’s $1.2 billion agreement to send gas to Egypt and similar deals with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

 

As we mark our independence at a time of both promise and peril, we are emboldened by the strong multiparty support of Canada and our deep people-to-people connections. We have seen our ties reach new heights with greater collaboration in areas from security to development, research to commerce, and innovation to culture. Above all else, it is the moral courage of Canadian leaders who have the self-confidence to stand up for what is right, which serves as a pillar of strength for all Israelis. At a time when few have the courage to confront the darkness in our region and beyond, Israel extends a heartfelt thanks to Canada for not only its words but also its actions.

 

Rafael Barak, Ambassador of Israel to Canada, Will be Speaking at CIJR’s 27th Anniversary Gala-Conference.

For More Information Visit http://www.israconf.com/

                                                                       

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INDEPENDENCE DAY: WE HAVE REASON TO REJOICE                                                                            

Isi Leibler                                                                                                  

Candidly Speaking, Apr. 21, 2015

 

The Bible quotes Balaam describing the Jews as “a people that dwells alone and is not counted among the nations”. Alas, that aptly describes the status of the Jewish state on the 67th anniversary of its rebirth. Yet despite enormous challenges confronting us, we have every reason to celebrate.

 

Yes, Israel is the only country in the world whose right to exist and defend itself is continuously challenged. We have neighbors who still dream of driving us into the sea; we face an ongoing global tsunami of viral anti-Semitism; the world judges us by double standards; Israel is an oasis in a region in which primitive barbarism reigns as hundreds of thousands of people are butchered as a matter of routine.

 

But despite this, by any benchmark Israel unquestionably represents the greatest national success story of all time. Exiled and scattered throughout the world for 2000 years and suffering endless cycles of persecution and mass murder climaxing with the Shoah, the Jews miraculously resurrected a nation state.  Since the late 19th century, Jewish idealists have been returning to their homeland and transforming deserts into gardens. In 1947 the world was astonished when incredibly for a brief moment, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union unprecedentedly agreed to endorse the creation of a Jewish state.

 

There were only 600,000 Jews in Palestine when the State of Israel was declared. Yet against all odds and despite inadequate armaments and lack of military training, fighters from the fledgling state successfully vanquished the combined military forces of its Arab neighbors, determined to destroy us. Victory was not achieved without painful sacrifice and 24 hours before rejoicing on Independence Day, we pay tribute to over 20,000 Jews those who gave up their lives to defend our Jewish state.

 

Our miniscule state enabled an ingathering of exiles from all corners of the world, providing a haven for survivors of the Shoah, refugees from Arab persecution, Jews from underdeveloped countries like Ethiopia and over a million from the former Soviet Union. Out of this melting pot Israel has created one of the most vibrant and resilient societies in the world. Today we boast a thriving nation of over 8 million citizens and represent the largest Jewish community in the world.

 

Israel has become a veritable economic power house, emerging as the second largest country (after the U.S.) in high tech and startup facilities. We overcame our water problems by an extraordinary desalinization program. And now we are effectively energy self-sufficient and will even be exporting surplus gas resources. Whilst there is room for improvement, our social welfare structure and in particular the medical system provides outstanding services for all Israeli citizens without discrimination.

 

Culturally, we are a pulsating country in which our ancient and sacred language has been renewed as the lingua franca for Jews coming from totally different cultures. There has been a dramatic revival of Torah learning with more Jews familiar with the texts and teachings of Judaism than at any time in our history. Despite external threats and terror, we remain a democratic oasis in a regional cauldron of barbarism, providing the right to vote to all citizens and guaranteeing genuine freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

 

But the most incredible transformation is that after 2000 years as a subjugated and persecuted people, we have become a regional military superpower. The empowerment of the Jewish nation, the success of our people’s army and its ability deter the combined force of all its enemies is mind boggling. As we face tough challenges such as the threat of a nuclear Iran, even the mullahs realize that an attack on us would lead to their decimation.

 

Although the American people and Congress remain strongly supportive, as long as the Obama Administration remains in office, Israel may soon be denied the U.S. diplomatic umbrella at the United Nations and the Europeans may well be hatching further schemes to sanction us. Yet, it is mind boggling that our Prime Minister was invited three times to address Congress and on each occasion received standing ovations. That Winston Churchill was the only other leader honored in this manner says it all.

 

Lessons from our bitter history have taught us that when the chips are down, we can only rely on ourselves. We were initially perceived as the unfortunate underdogs. Today, we are accused of being too powerful. Most of us concur that if the price for being strong and independent obliges us to lose favor with confused bleeding heart liberals, so be it. The reality is that we are stronger today and better able to withstand political and military pressures than ever before.

 

In Europe, popular anti-Semitism has again transformed Jews into pariahs. Yet Jewish communities will always remain and Israel must encourage efforts to strengthen their Jewish identity and support their struggle against anti-Semitism. Diaspora Jews are fortunate knowing that if their world collapses, Israel provides them with a haven. But many will not wish to see their children grow up in an environment in which they feel obliged to conceal their Jewish identity and have military personnel guarding schools and synagogues. Increasing numbers are therefore likely to make aliyah or at least encourage their children to do so.

 

In the United States, aliyah will attract those Jews concerned about t their grandchildren remaining Jewish in an open society – where currently 80% of non-orthodox are marrying out. Committed Jews are also increasingly attracted to the the opportunity of living in a pulsating Jewish state which provides a cost-free Jewish education, in which the Hebrew language, culture and national holidays create a unique Jewish lifestyle which they can never experience in the Diaspora. We must surely appreciate the privilege of living in a Jewish state and not facing the painful Jewish identity issues confronting our diaspora kinsmen.

 

So despite the challenges facing us, we should dismiss the purveyors of doom and gloom who transform self-criticism into masochism and continuously whine about our failings and reject the highly vocal fringe elements who disparage our achievements, mock Zionism and challenge the merits of statehood. Of course, many aspects of Israeli society, as with any other, require attention. These include issues of growing inequality between rich and poor and the ongoing irritants in relationship between the state and organized religion. Not to mention the dysfunctional political system.

 

Alas, the dream of peace with our neighbors remains just a dream. But we should exult in the realization that we are stronger today than in the past when we overcame far greater challenges and genuinely faced annihilation. Opinion polls indicate that we rank amongst the happiest and most contented people in the world. However many young Israelis now take Jewish statehood for granted,  never having undergone the chilling experience of European Jews in the 1930s as they desperately sought entry visas to countries to avoid the impending Shoah. Nor can they appreciate the devastating impact of living in an anti-Semitic environment where Jews are considered pariahs.

 

Today, on our 67th anniversary, we should give thanks to the Almighty for enabling us to be the blessed Jewish generation, privileged to live in freedom in our resurrected ancient homeland. We should continually remind ourselves that our success defies rationality and by any benchmark must be deemed miraculous. Chag Sameach.                                                  

                                                                       

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AT 67, ISRAEL EXUDES LONG-TERM OPTIMISM                                                                         

Yoram Ettinger                                                                                                    

Israel Hayom, Apr. 22, 2015

 

Sixty-seven years ago, upon Israel's declaration of independence, Life magazine noted (May ‎‎31, 1948) the odds facing the 600,000 Jews of the newly born economy-‎starved and militarily embargoed Jewish state:

 

"King Abdullah of Transjordan sent ‎his Arab Legion against Jerusalem. … Egypt's planes repeatedly bombed Tel Aviv. ‎Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia pitched in. … The Arabs cut off Jerusalem from ‎the coast by blocking the road to Tel Aviv. … The old walled city came under artillery ‎fire. … A three-pronged attack was compressing the [Jewish] defenders into the ‎Jewish Quarter of the Old City. … King Abdullah's Arab Legion was spearheading ‎the Arabs' land offensive. … The Jews had little but light anti-aircraft to fight off these ‎attacks. … A country the size of Connecticut is ringed by hostile neighbors. … Time and ‎geography favor the Arabs, and England, which does not recognize Israel, is sending ‎the Arab states arms, [while] Israel's friends in the U.S. aim to lift our embargo on ‎arms. … Can Israel survive?" ‎

 

In defiance of the jagged cutting edge of the Middle East and the world at large, and ‎in spite of boycotts, sanctions, embargoes, condemnations, wars, terrorism and ‎diplomatic adversity, the Jewish state has catapulted from the Holocaust, ‎and the near-destruction during its War of Independence, to world-class ‎stellar performance in the areas of economy, technology, science, medicine, health, ‎agriculture, irrigation, first responding, military and counterterrorism, and sharing ‎its exceptional achievements with the Third World, the West, and especially with the ‎U.S. ‎

 

At 67, Israel reaffirms a historic fact: Pressuring the Jewish olive produces superb oil.‎ At 67, against all odds, and beyond the wildest expectations, Israel demonstrates that ‎principle-driven, highly motivated and defiant societies are capable of transforming ‎tough times into challenges and opportunities, while surging to new heights. ‎

 

At 67, Israel enjoys splendid integration into the global economy and Israel's ‎economy is praised by the International Monetary Fund and the three leading rating ‎companies, Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch Ratings. Israel's gross domestic product and industrial ‎exports total $300 billion and $47 billion, respectively, compared to $1.5 billion and $5 million, ‎respectively, in 1948. Israel's GDP growth (3%) is similar to the U.S. and higher than ‎Canada (1.9%), Britain (1.6%), Germany (1.1%) and the OECD average (1.3%). ‎Israel's unemployment rate (6%) is lower than the OECD average (7.5%). Israel's ‎debt-to-GDP ratio (67% and declining) is lower than the U.S. (106%), the Euro bloc ‎‎(108%), the G-20 (97%), Britain (92%) and Germany (75%). Israel has the largest (per ‎capita) number of startup companies in the world, the highest (per capita) ratio of ‎university degrees, the highest ratio of research and development personnel (140 per ‎‎10,000 workers), and is a research and development hub of some 250 U.S. high ‎technology companies. Overseas investment in Israel is at a record level and trade ‎with India and China is skyrocketing. ‎

 

At 67, Israel is facing a potential wave of aliyah (Jewish immigration), which could be ‎the most effective engine of growth, attracting more investment to Israel, enhancing ‎Israel's Jewish demography, and bolstering Israel's posture of deterrence in a ‎dramatic manner. A proactive aliyah policy could generate 500,000 immigrants — in the next five years — from France, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Britain, Argentina and ‎the U.S., due to the relative strength of Israel's economy, the rise of global anti-‎Semitism, the gradual Islamification of Europe, and the expansion of Jewish/Zionist ‎education in major Jewish communities. ‎

 

‎At 67, Israel is — in contrast to the tumultuous, unpredictable, unreliable, violent and ‎generally anti-U.S. Arab street — the only stable, predictable, reliable, capable, willing, ‎democratic and unconditional ally of the U.S., regionally and globally. In 1969 and ‎‎1978, the revolutions that installed Muammar Gadhafi ‎and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini transformed Libya and Iran, respectively, from pro- ‎to anti-U.S. regimes. In 2003, the rise of Erdoğan changed Turkey from a pro-U.S. to ‎an anti-U.S. Islamic orientation. In 2012, the pro-U.S. Egyptian military regime was ‎replaced by the anti-U.S. Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization. A regime change ‎in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States would trigger a similar anti-U.S. shift. On ‎the other hand, Israel's Right and Left, hawks and doves are inherent and unfailing ‎allies of the U.S. ‎

 

‎At 67, Israel is increasingly involved in mutually beneficial, two-way street, win-‎win ties with the U.S., providing the U.S. with critical intelligence on Islamic terrorism, ‎exceeding intelligence received by the U.S. from all NATO countries combined. ‎Moreover, Israel is the most battle-tested, cost-effective laboratory of the U.S. defense ‎industries, sharing with U.S. manufacturers thousands of upgrades and modifications, ‎enhancing the U.S. global competitiveness, exports, research and development and ‎employment. Israel is to the U.S. defense industry what triple-A tenants are to ‎shopping malls: increasing value and drawing clients — a mega-billion dollar bonanza. ‎

 

At 67, Israel's robust demography leads birth rates in the free world with more than three births ‎per Jewish woman, providing a tailwind to Israel's economy and national security. In ‎‎1995, there were 2.3 Jewish births per each Arab birth; in 2014 — 3.4 Jewish births. ‎The number of Jewish births surged from 80,400 in 1995 to 136,000 in 2014 — a 69% ‎increase — while the annual number of Arab births has stabilized over the years. ‎From 600,000 Jews in 1948, Israel's Jewish population has grown to 6.5 million, ‎benefitting from a robust tailwind of fertility (especially among secular Jewish ‎women!) and net immigration, while Arabs have experienced an unprecedented ‎modernity-driven decline in fertility, in addition to net emigration.‎

 

Against the backdrop of the last stormy 67 years, one may conclude that the ‎sustained wars, terrorism and diplomatic adversity have been merely bumps on the ‎road of unprecedented growth and development, benefitting the Jewish state, the ‎U.S. and the rest of the world.‎

 

Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

Netanyahu's Independence Day Greeting From Jerusalem: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 23, 2015

A Great Moment For The World: Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel: Israel Video Network, Apr. 23, 2015

Israeli Envoy Prosor Recites 'Hatikva' at UN in Memory of Israel's Fallen: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 21, 2015 — Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor recited the opening words of Israel's national anthem "Hatikva" during a meeting on the Middle East at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, as a way of honoring the memory of Israel's fallen soldiers on the occasion of Remembrance Day.

Happy Birthday Israel: Drybones, Apr . 22, 2015

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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