Tag: Independence Day

YOM HA’ATZMAUT 5778: HAPPY 70TH BIRTHDAY ISRAEL!

Celebrating Israel at 70: David Harris, Algemeiner, Apr. 17, 2018— Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary this month.

Israel Proves Exceptional, Once Again: Evelyn Gordon, JNS, Apr. 11, 2018 — In January 2017, the Ipsos Mori research company published a shocking poll headlined “Six in ten around the world think their society is ‘broken.’ ”

How an ‘Iron Wall’ Has Slowly But Surely Made Israel Invincible: Zev Chafets, National Post, Apr. 19, 2018 — In the run-up to this week’s 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, Israel Defense Forces chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot pronounced the country “invincible.”

Noted Historian on Israel’s 70th Birthday: Justice Is on Jewish State’s Side: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Apr. 18, 2018 — At 70 years old, the State of Israel has grown up, and might be unrecognizable to those who founded it.

 

On Topic Links

 

On Israel’s 70th Anniversary, Netanyahu Says ‘We’re Just Getting Started’ (Video): Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2018

Trump on Israel’s 70th Anniversary: US Has ‘No Better Friend Anywhere’: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2018

A Gift for Israel’s Birthday: a Legal Summary of its Clear Legitimacy: Barbara Kay, National Post, Apr. 17, 2018

New York Times Greets Israel’s 70th With Piece Claiming 1948 Was ‘Catastrophe’: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Apr. 18, 2018

Celebrating Israel at 70: David Harris, Algemeiner, Apr. 17, 2018

 

CELEBRATING ISRAEL AT 70

David Harris

Algemeiner, Apr. 17, 2018

Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary this month. Let me put my cards on the table — I’m not dispassionate when it comes to Israel. For centuries, Jews around the world prayed for a return to Zion. We are the lucky ones who have seen those prayers answered: The establishment of the state in 1948; the fulfillment of its envisioned role as home and haven for Jews from anywhere and everywhere; its wholehearted embrace of democracy and the rule of law; and its impressive scientific, cultural, and economic achievements are extraordinary accomplishments.

And when one adds that Israel’s neighbors tried from day one to annihilate it, the story of Israel’s first 70 years becomes all the more remarkable. No other country has faced such overwhelming odds against its very survival, or experienced the same degree of never-ending international demonization by too many nations ready to throw integrity and morality to the wind.

Yet Israelis have never succumbed to a fortress mentality, never abandoned their deep yearning for peace or their willingness to take unprecedented risks to achieve that peace. This was the case with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and one day, let’s hope, a deal with the Palestinians — if and when their leadership finally accepts the reality of Israel and the legitimacy of Jewish self-determination.

To be sure, nation-building is an infinitely complex process. In Israel’s case, it began against a backdrop of tensions with a local Arab population that laid claim to the very same land and tragically refused a UN proposal in 1947 to divide it into Arab and Jewish states (the original two-state solution). This also took place as the Arab world sought to isolate, demoralize, and ultimately destroy the state. At the same time, Israel was forced to devote a vast portion of its limited national budget to defense expenditures, even as it coped with forging a national identity and social consensus among a geographically, linguistically, socially, and culturally diverse population.

Like any vibrant democracy, Israel is a permanent work in progress. To be sure, it has its shortcomings, including the excessive and unholy intrusion of religion into politics, the inexcusable marginalization of non-Orthodox Jewish religious streams, and the unfinished, if undeniably complex, task of integrating Israeli Arabs into the mainstream. But such challenges, important as they are, cannot be allowed to overshadow Israel’s remarkable achievements.

In just 70 years, Israel has established a thriving democracy unique in the region. This includes a Supreme Court prepared to overrule the prime minister or the military establishment, a feisty parliament that includes every imaginable viewpoint, a robust civil society, and a vigorous press. Israel has built an enviable economy, increasingly based on mind-blowing innovation and cutting-edge technology, whose per capita GNP far exceeds the combined total of its four contiguous sovereign neighbors — Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. It has joined the OECD, become a global hub of research and development, and is a magnet for foreign direct investment.

It is home to universities and research centers that have contributed to advancing the world’s frontiers of knowledge in countless ways and won a slew of Nobel Prizes in the process. It has created one of the world’s most powerful militaries — always under civilian control — to ensure its survival in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood. At the same time, it strives to adhere to a strict code of military conduct that has few rivals in the democratic world, much less elsewhere, even as its enemies send children to the front lines and seek cover in mosques, schools, and hospitals.

It is ranked among the world’s healthiest nations, with a life expectancy higher than that of the US — not to mention a consistent top ranking in the annual world “happiness index.” It has forged a thriving culture admired far beyond Israel’s borders, and has lovingly taken an ancient language — Hebrew, the language of the prophets — and rendered it modern to accommodate the vocabulary of the contemporary world…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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ISRAEL PROVES EXCEPTIONAL, ONCE AGAIN

Evelyn Gordon

JNS, Apr. 11, 2018

In January 2017, the Ipsos Mori research company published a shocking poll headlined “Six in ten around the world think their society is ‘broken.’ ” Out of 23 countries surveyed—13 Western democracies and 10 non-Western democracies, most with relatively strong economies—only in six did a majority of respondents disagree with that statement. Moreover, almost four in 10 respondents agreed another troubling claim: “These days I feel like a stranger in my own country.” Though the proportion topped 50 percent in only two countries, it exceeded a third in all but three.

Pollsters then asked several questions designed to elaborate on those general sentiments—some exploring trust in national institutions and others exploring attitudes toward immigration. Their theory was that low trust in institutions would correlate to high levels of belief that society was broken, while negative attitudes toward immigrants would correlate to high levels of feeling like a stranger in one’s own country. And there was, in fact, some correlation, albeit not perfect. Notably, countries with both high trust in institutions and low concern about immigration had among the fewest respondents saying either that society was broken or that they felt like strangers in their own land.

And then there was the one glaring exception: Israel. A majority of Israeli respondents voiced little or no confidence in all seven categories of institutions—international institutions, banks, the justice system, big companies, the media, the government and political parties. In five of the seven categories, more than 70 percent did so. Israel was among the top 10 most distrustful countries in all but one category; in most, it was in the top six. Yet when it came to the summary question of whether society was broken, Israel suddenly plummeted to the bottom of the negativity rankings, with only 32 percent of Israelis agreeing (Japan and India, at 31 percent and 32 percent, respectively, were in a statistical tie with Israel for the bottom slot).

The same thing happened on questions about immigration, which Israeli respondents almost certainly interpreted as referring to non-Jewish immigrants (the ostensibly neutral Hebrew word for immigration, hagira, is actually used only for non-Jews; Jewish immigration, for which Israeli support has traditionally been high, is called aliyah). Israel was among the six most immigrant-averse countries in all four categories: belief that employers should prioritize hiring locals over immigrants, concern about immigrants’ impact on social/public services, concern about their impact on jobs and opposition to uncontrolled immigration.

Yet when it came to the question about feeling like a stranger in your own country, Israel again suddenly plummeted to the bottom of the negativity rankings, with just 20 percent of Israelis agreeing. Only Japan, at 14 percent, was lower.

Two factors help explain Israel’s exceptionalism in this poll. One is simply that complaining is Israel’s national sport; Israelis routinely gripe about every aspect of their country. Many of those grievances relate to real problems. Nevertheless, the reality is rarely anywhere near as bad their complaints make it sound (a fact that American Jews, who often accept the Israeli left’s complaints at face value, should bear in mind).

Indeed, Israel’s flourishing economy, high standard of living, and high levels of both personal security and personal freedom are all testaments to the fact that its institutions aren’t nearly as dysfunctional as Israelis deemed them in this poll. Countries with truly dysfunctional institutions rarely score well on any of these fronts. And despite their complaints, Israelis actually do know this. That’s why Israel consistently ranks as the 11th happiest country in the U.N.’s annual “World Happiness Report,” and why on overall assessments of the country—like whether society is broken or whether people feel like strangers in their own land—Israelis were far more upbeat than respondents in most other countries Ipsos Mori surveyed.

But there’s also a deeper reason. Israelis understand that there is only one Jewish state, and for all its flaws, its very existence is something precious and worth preserving. That’s why 90 percent of Israelis define themselves as Zionist. For Zionism, at bottom, is simply the belief that the Jewish people has a right to its own state, and that a Jewish state therefore ought to exist. This has enabled Israel to escape one of the modern West’s besetting ills. In a world where elite opinion scorns both religion and the nation-state as anachronistic but has failed to provide any compelling source of identity to replace them, many Westerners have grown increasingly unsure of their identities. Hence, it’s no surprise that they feel like strangers in their own land—or as if their societies were broken.

Israelis, in contrast, are very confident of their identity: They are Jews living in the world’s only Jewish state. Thus, it’s impossible for most Israeli Jews to feel like strangers in their own country; this is the state created precisely so that all Jews, anywhere, will always have a home. []Similarly, it’s difficult for most to feel that their society is broken when, against all odds, it has not only successfully maintained the first Jewish state in two millennia, but also turned it, in 70 short years, into one of the world’s most thriving countries. Israel has successfully absorbed Jewish refugees from all over the world and continues to provide an insurance policy for Diaspora Jews nervous about their own countries’ future. It has built one of the world’s 20 wealthiest economies per capita. It has maintained a robust democracy despite being at war since its inception. And its growing economic, military and diplomatic clout led American analysts Walter Russell Mead and Sean Keeley to rank it last year as one of the world’s eight great powers.

Thus, despite arguing bitterly over what policies their country should pursue and complaining endlessly about its many shortcomings, Israelis are overwhelmingly glad that a Jewish state exists, and committed to both preserving and improving it. And that’s why most will be celebrating on Israeli Independence Day … Because the very existence of a Jewish state, whatever its flaws, is grounds for rejoicing—and all the more so when that state has so many real achievements to celebrate.

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HOW AN ‘IRON WALL’ HAS SLOWLY

BUT SURELY MADE ISRAEL INVINCIBLE

Zev Chafets                                      

National Post, Apr. 19, 2018

In the run-up to this week’s 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, Israel Defense Forces chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot pronounced the country “invincible.” This was a bold statement. The country faces a growing threat from Iran and its puppets in Lebanon and Gaza, and the possibility of a clash with Russia over Syria. And yet, few Israelis have disagreed with this assessment.

There is mood of confidence here, and its origin lies in a doctrine of strategic defence that has proven itself over nearly a century of intermittent warfare. That doctrine was first enunciated in a 1923 article titled “The Iron Wall” by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a visionary Zionist leader and the ideological father of the Likud. The Jews of Palestine were then a small, embattled minority. Only three years had passed since the first Arab riots in Jerusalem against them. The Jewish community’s socialist leaders hoped they could appease Arab enmity by offering economic co-operation, progress and prosperity.

Jabotinsky derided this as childish, and insulting to the Arabs, who would not barter away their homeland for more bread or modern railroads. They would, he said, resist while they had a spark of hope of preventing a Jewish state. “There is only one thing the Zionists want, and that is the one thing the Arabs do not want,” he wrote. Nothing short of abandoning the Zionist project would placate Arab hostility and violence. If the Jews wanted to remain, they would have to come to terms with a harsh reality: this was a zero-sum game. There could be no peace until the Arabs accepted Israel’s right to exist.

Jabotinsky saw that the Arabs (in Palestine and beyond) were far too numerous to be defeated in a single decisive war. The Jews needed to erect an iron wall of self-defence and deterrence — a metaphorical wall built of Jewish determination, immigration, material progress, strong democratic institutions and a willingness to fight. Gradually, the enemy would be forced to conclude that this wall could not be breached. The Iron Wall concept was intended to deter aggression until psychological victory was won, and extremists, “whose watchword is ‘Never!’,” were replaced by more moderate leaders willing to live peacefully with a Jewish state.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding prime minister, despised Jabotinsky and his political heir, the future prime minister Menachem Begin. He certainly rejected their ideological commitment to a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River. In 1947, he accepted a two-state partition. The Arabs of Palestine, and their allies in the Arab world, rejected it. The war that followed created the Jewish state, but as Jabotinsky had predicted, the Arabs refused to accept it. Ben-Gurion came to the reluctant conclusion that his rival’s doctrine — deterrence by gradual demoralization of the enemy — was correct. In 1953, Ben-Gurion essentially adopted this concept (without, of course, crediting Jabotinsky). Israel would be forced to fight a long, existential war composed of many small wars. It must win each time, and use the interim to strengthen the national wall of iron by cultivating Israel’s advantages in human resources, technology and military experience.

Egypt, Jordan and Syria bounced off the Iron Wall in the Six Day War of 1967. That was enough for Jordan, which withdrew permanently from armed conflict with Israel. But in 1973, Egypt and Syria tried again, launching a surprise attack that caught the IDF completely unprepared. It was their last best shot and it failed. Israel did not crumble. Four years later, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem and cut a deal with Begin. A few years later, King Hussein of Jordan followed. The rest of the Arab states have gradually come to terms with the permanence of Israel…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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NOTED HISTORIAN ON ISRAEL’S 70TH BIRTHDAY:

JUSTICE IS ON JEWISH STATE’S SIDE

Benjamin Kerstein

Algemeiner, Apr. 18, 2018

At 70 years old, the State of Israel has grown up, and might be unrecognizable to those who founded it. From a relatively barren imperial backwater, it has become a flourishing, vibrant and innovative regional leader. From a population of 500,000, it is now home to over 8 million people. From a tiny nation fighting for its life, it has become a military power. And from a socialist-dominated one-party state, it has become a thriving capitalist democracy. Yet, a leading Israeli historian told The Algemeiner this week, in many ways Israel has not changed at all. Its core national identity as a Jewish state remains as strong as it ever was.

“Obviously Israel has changed,” said Efraim Karsh, the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a professor emeritus of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London. “First of all it has increased in a way no other Western or developed nation has grown over this period. I mean, more than tenfold. Then of course, the different kinds of populations that arrived. Essentially from predominantly European-based Jews to those who arrived from other nations — many were expelled in the Independence War and then immediately afterwards — some expelled in the ’50s, and then in the mid-’60s from North Africa, then later on you have the large Russian immigration, and then of course the Ethiopians.”

“Israel is a melting pot,” Karsh stated, “and on the whole I think it has been a success story. And I think in a way it’s remarkable, because you don’t have many societies, Western or otherwise, absorbing huge populations several times their size and doing it in such a successful way that eventually, with all the difficulties and the grievances of certain communities at certain times, it is relatively a highly equal society. “So I think in this respect, yes, Israel has changed,” he continued. “But, on the whole, not for the worse. On the contrary, you have an Israeli identity developing over the time that crystallizes all of the different sections.”

Asked whether the identity of the Israeli sabra, the native-born, muscular “new Jew” of Israel’s founding era, still exists, Karsh says, “Yes, there is the sabra, but the sabra is different today than it was before. You could say it’s become more Mediterranean, more eastern than it used to be. But definitely the Israeli sabra is a unique identity. If you go to many Jewish communities around the world, you can see for all the similarities and all the attachments between Jewish communities and Israel, the Israelis have their own identity.”

“So I don’t think the sabra has disappeared,” he went on to say. “They have changed in certain ways. You know, I’m not one of these people who looks nostalgically at the past and says, ‘Oh, our generation was better.’ I think they are very good in their own way. Of course, they are different because the world has changed. You live in a different age. When I grew up in Israel, we didn’t even have a telephone. Only in the ’50s. Television came only after the Six-Day War. … Today the world is open. I mean people go around the world much more freely. You have the internet.”

“So, of course, the young generation is different,” Karsh pointed out. “You can say in certain ways it’s more individualistic than we used to be. You cannot educate them the way they educated us. But when the moment of truth comes, or you see moments of difficulties, you see that there is social cohesion. We all feel a shared destiny, a shared history.”

Karsh has been a longtime critic of Israel’s “new historians,” a group of Israeli intellectuals — mostly on the left — who in the 1990s began to adopt the Palestinian narrative of Israel’s history. Asked whether the new historians’ revisionism has changed Israeli culture and society, Karsh replied this only took place in academia, and was driven by a reaction to widespread hostility toward the Jewish state. “Israel is a Jewish state, the only Jewish state in the world, and the only Jewish state that has existed for thousands of years,” he said. “And as such, it carries the very difficult burden of the Jewish people, which is mostly unpleasant. And it’s going to continue like this. For academics it’s much easier to join the gang.”

Karsh’s hope, he states, lies with Israel’s youth. “I hope it is the young generation that will keep on fighting,” he said. “Because in the final account, the story is quite straightforward. Justice is on Israel’s side in this respect.” As a historian with intimate knowledge of the grand sweep of Israeli history, Karsh remains a cautious optimist about the country’s future. “I am a realist,” he said. “I think Israel will never be left alone. It will continue to carry the burden. So it’s not like people say, ‘Ok, you will have peace with the Palestinians tomorrow, if you give them every last inch of the West Bank’ — it’s not going to resolve the problem. They’re going to continue to ask for more. And then you can give them the Galilee, and then they’ll ask for more. So I don’t think the Israeli-Palestinian problem will be resolved.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

Contents

On Topic Links

On Israel’s 70th Anniversary, Netanyahu Says ‘We’re Just Getting Started’ (Video): Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2018—“Israel’s success didn’t happen overnight,” Netanyahu said, pointing out that all Israelis – ranging the gamut from young and old, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, religious and secular – men and women have worked hard to build the nation.

Trump on Israel’s 70th Anniversary: US Has ‘No Better Friend Anywhere’: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2018—U.S. President Donald Trump sent his congratulations to the State of Israel on the eve of its 70th Independence Day celebrations with a special tweet.

A Gift for Israel’s Birthday: a Legal Summary of its Clear Legitimacy: Barbara Kay, National Post, Apr. 17, 2018—Israel’s 70th birthday will be celebrated Thursday. Note the passive voice. I would have preferred “the world will join in celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday,” but immediately saw its impossibility.

New York Times Greets Israel’s 70th With Piece Claiming 1948 Was ‘Catastrophe’: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Apr. 18, 2018—The New York Times is marking Israel’s 70th birthday with an op-ed piece describing the Jewish state’s creation as a “catastrophe.” The article also offers a historically false account of events in Haifa in 1948.

YOM HA’ATZMAUT 5777: HAPPY 69TH BIRTHDAY ISRAEL!

 

Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut in a World of Turmoil: Isi Leibler, Algemeiner, Apr. 30, 2017 — Israel Independence Day symbolizes the empowerment of all Jews in the wake of the most successful renaissance of a nation after two thousand years of exile.

Israel’s Birthday, Abbas and Balfour: Ruthie Blum, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017 — While Israel gears up to celebrate its 69th birthday, the Palestinian Authority is as busy as ever bemoaning the existence of the Jewish state.

The Fight for Zion: Asaf Romirowsky, BESA, Apr. 4, 2017 — For American Jews, Zionism has become a source of debate, controversy, embarrassment, and guilt as they try to come to terms with the activities of the Jewish state and its elected officials.

A Return to Israel from Egypt: More Than Geography: Allan Levine, CIJR, Apr. 27, 2017 — As our bus crossed the Gaza border back into lsrael at Rafiach after spending eight days in Egypt

 

On Topic Links

 

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel: Jewish Virtual Library

UNESCO’s Anti-Israel Resolution Gets Least Votes Ever: UNWatch, May 2, 2017

Ex-Canadian PM Harper: Popularity of My Support for Israel Among Electorate Makes It Difficult for Trudeau to Go in Different Direction: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, May 1, 2017

Moments in History: What Led up to the Declaration of Israel: Hillel Fendel, Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2017

CELEBRATING YOM HAATZMAUT IN A WORLD OF TURMOIL       

Isi Leibler                                          

Algemeiner, Apr. 30, 2017

 

Israel Independence Day symbolizes the empowerment of all Jews in the wake of the most successful renaissance of a nation after two thousand years of exile. It highlights the dramatic contrast between our status today and that of our powerless kinsmen facing doom on the eve of the Holocaust. It is not a celebration exclusively for Israelis but for Jews throughout the world. But as we celebrate, we should be under no illusions. Our remarkable status is due to our independent power and the fact that we do not rely on the goodwill of others for our survival.

 

The world has not changed or learnt from the tragic consequences of appeasement in the 1930’s which led to Nazi aggression and the Holocaust. Today we witness again a state of global turmoil, confronted by an evil Islamist menace which threatens to undermine the Judeo-Christian moral structures of our civilization.

 

Europe is in a state of near anarchy. The decision by Chancellor Merkel to open Europe to “refugees,” most of whom are anti-democratic and fiercely antisemitic, has created massive demographic and social upheaval. Conventional political parties are disintegrating and populist and radical right wing parties are on the upsurge, with governments obliged to restrict civil liberties to strengthen security.

 

In the US, the liberal left has still not come to terms with the fact that the populist Donald Trump was elected as their president. But he has astounded them by showing that despite his America First policy, he was not reticent in employing force to bring vicious war criminals like Assad to heel and sending a clear message to the North Koreans and Iranians that the days of Obama groveling were over.

 

What is the status of Jews in this insane world? Jews who remain in the diaspora have forfeited the privilege of being part of the greatest miracle of the last 2000 years: the ultimate realization of the most sacred Jewish prayers, faith and hope during endless years of exile and persecution. And today, the high cost of remaining in the diaspora is becoming all too clear. Antisemitism is at an all-time high with Jews in most European countries treated like pariahs, facing constant terror threats and in many cases requiring security forces to guard them at their synagogues and their children in their schools.

 

In the United States madness prevails with far left “liberal” Jews spearheading “Jewish religious” campaigns against Trump. Even mainstream groups like the ADL and sectors of the Reform movement sought to accuse Trump and his administration of either supporting or harboring antisemites. The problem with many of these Jews is that they are utterly ignorant of their Jewish heritage and view Israel through the far-left prism in which regarding it as a colonialist implant is a critical component of their DNA.

 

But despite this dismal picture of Diaspora Jewry, most Jews are reassured that with the existence of an empowered Jewish state always ready and willing to accept them, they will never face the horror that their ancestors experienced in Europe in the 1930’s when no country would grant them haven. But at the end of the day, it is inevitable that it will be a struggle for Jews outside of Israel to retain their identity, whether because of antisemitism or assimilation, and as their commitment to Israel diminishes, so too will their connection to the Jewish people and Judaism. Yom Haatzmaut should be more than a holiday and barbecues. We should focus on the spiritual aspects and seek to convey to younger generations that the rebirth of their nation – which so many seem to take for granted – is truly miraculous.

 

We need only remind ourselves of the incredible devastation that took place 75 years ago following 2000 years of wretched dispersion, persecution, expulsion and murder and climaxing with the Holocaust. We should view this in the light of our resurrected nation which has grown from 600,000 Jews in 1948 to over 6 million Jews today. We should remind ourselves that our vibrant nation state revived the sacred tongue of our ancestors and molded broken refugees and survivors from all corners of the globe into a thriving national culture. Despite being one of the smallest states in the world, Israel has created one of the most powerful global military forces which has defeated superior forces seeking its destruction and today deters its enemies.

 

Israel is an economic miracle with one of the most successful economies in the world, creating more startups in the technological and medical arena per capita than any other country. Over recent years, Israel has discovered vast gas fields which will make it an exporter rather than an importer of energy. And it has produced the most efficient desalinization program in the world which enabled it to overcome the water shortage and provide assistance to other nations.

 

Never in their wildest dreams could those who survived the Holocaust ever have imagined the miraculous success of the recreated nation state based primarily on refugees from Eastern European pogroms, Nazism or Arab persecution. It was a wise decision, reflecting compassion and insight, to directly precede Yom Haatzmaut with Yom Hazikaron, a day to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives in defense of our homeland. Above all, as we celebrate we should pledge to ensure that as a nation we must continue strengthening ourselves militarily, economically and socially. The reason for our extraordinary success in nation-building flows from our inner strength and determination.

 

Israel today has been blessed with an American leader who is deeply sensitive to Jews and has displayed unprecedented support for Israel. We should seek to continue improving our relationship with the Trump administration and cooperate with his efforts to renew peace negotiations. We can hopefully progress toward reaching an accommodation on the settlements, annexing the Golan and have Washington formally recognize Jerusalem as our capital by relocating its embassy.

 

Where appropriate, we should continue building both covert and open alliances even with countries traditionally hostile towards us who share the common threat facing the region from the Iranian terror state. Despite living in a region where barbarism is rampant and facing threats from religious fanatics pledged to our destruction, Israel has never been as strong and secure as it is today. We have every reason to count our blessings, rejoice and give thanks to the Almighty. Chag Sameach.    

 

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ISRAEL’S BIRTHDAY, ABBAS AND BALFOUR

Ruthie Blum       

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017

 

While Israel gears up to celebrate its 69th birthday, the Palestinian Authority is as busy as ever bemoaning the existence of the Jewish state. PA President Mahmoud Abbas does not admit to this, however, particularly when speaking to members of the administration in Washington. The last thing he wants at this moment is to have his invitation to the White House rescinded. He also hopes to continue to manipulate the US State Department into playing the shuttle diplomacy game as a means of keeping himself relevant and blaming Israel for any lack of progress on the peace front.

 

But even his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump, scheduled for May 3, did not deter the aging rejectionist from reiterating his threat to sue Britain for the Balfour Declaration, the November 2, 1917, letter sent by British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour to Jewish community leader Walter Rothschild, stating, “His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” This week, the PA received written confirmation from the British government that no apology for the “historic” Balfour Declaration would be issued. “We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel,” it declared. “The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.”

 

The Palestinian campaign to criminalize the Balfour Declaration was launched last summer, with Abbas announcing plans to engage in an international campaign against the United Kingdom. At the end of June, PA Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki attended the Arab League summit in Mauritania – in place of Abbas, whose brother had just died in Qatar – and conveyed his bereaved boss’s message to the Muslim-Arab honchos gathered in Nouakchott: the PA intended to file a lawsuit against Britain for the Balfour Declaration and wanted to enlist the support and assistance of their brethren in this endeavor. A few months later, in September, Abbas demanded an apology for the document in his address to the UN General Assembly, as the UK and Israel began preparations to mark its centennial in 2017.

 

In a piece in The Washington Post in October, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the Balfour Declaration the “symbolic beginning of the denial of our rights.” He failed to mention that it is actually the leaders in the West Bank and Gaza who have ever denied the Arabs of the PA their rights. Well before the Six Day War, when the term “Palestinian people” was coined, Arabs rejected the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine – the original “two-state solution.” They have been refusing to reach any peaceful arrangement with Israel since then.

 

The end result is on display for all to see. Israel has spent nearly seven decades building a booming democratic country, while the Arabs of Palestine have frittered away the time by engaging in acts of destruction. Yes, as the Jewish state marks 69 years since its establishment, 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem and 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, the PA is threatening to take Britain to court. Let Trump be reminded of this before hosting Abbas in the Oval Office and listening to his lies. The rest of us should take a break from discussions of war and peace to toast Balfour – and Israel’s success in a region otherwise characterized by failure.            

 

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THE FIGHT FOR ZION

Asaf Romirowsky                                                          

BESA, Apr. 4, 2017

 

For American Jews, Zionism has become a source of debate, controversy, embarrassment, and guilt as they try to come to terms with the activities of the Jewish state and its elected officials. Consequently, many seek to detach themselves from what used to embody the core of Jewish identity. A case in point is Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a pro-BDS Jewish group that uses its “Jewishness” to validate its cause.

 

While JVP’s desire to persuade the Israeli government to change its policies is legitimate, the growing strength of the BDS movement at large makes the demise of the two-state solution ever more likely. JVP’s executive director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, is notorious for her hard leftist views, as illustrated in her Washington Post op-ed entitled “I’m Jewish, and I want people to boycott Israel.” So strong is JVP’s antipathy to Israel that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called it “the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group” in the US. Yet the true essence of Zionism lies in its ability to encapsulate both religious and secular Jewish identities. The current challenge is to identify the component of renewal. The Zionist enterprise did not end with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Each generation must redefine Zionism as it is relevant to them.

 

Theodor Herzl famously wrote in his diary, “Were I to sum up the [1897] Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: ‘At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. If not in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.’” The difference between Herzl’s generation and post-1948 generations was a first-hand understanding of what the absence of a Jewish state means for Jewish survival. The state represents the difference between autonomy and servility, indeed between life and death. But today’s millennial generation has no memory of a time when Israel did not exist or was ever on the “right side of history.”

 

Given the wedge that has been pushed between Zionism and Judaism, one might even suggest that were Herzl to raise the question of a Jewish homeland today, he might not receive support. The irony is that what initially led Zionist leaders to bond over the idea of a homeland was the growing threat of antisemitism. Today, even as antisemitism is on the rise around the world, anti-Zionism is often viewed as legitimate criticism.

 

Abba Eban dispelled this notion eloquently, stating, “There is no difference whatever between antisemitism and the denial of Israel’s statehood. Classical antisemitism denies the equal right of Jews as citizens within society. Anti-Zionism denies the equal rights of the Jewish people its lawful sovereignty within the community of nations. The common principle in the two cases is discrimination.”

 

But with the popularity of the BDS movement’s crusade against Israel, some American Jews on the left have placed other Jews beyond the pale, as people who cannot be debated due to their abominable views. Moreover, an insidious double standard applies: Jewish organizations like Hillel must include anti-Israel voices or be deemed intolerant or racist. Jewish intellectuals must engage in dialogue with BDS representatives or other Palestinian advocates who demand the ethnic cleansing of Israel, lest they be called cowards and be subjected to insults. And now, leading American Jewish intellectuals have adopted the rhetoric and methods of BDS, to be applied to Jews only. Perhaps the next move will be to follow the Palestinian lead and charge Israelis in international courts.

 

Individuals like Peter Beinart, in his book The Crisis of Zionism, purport to offer so-called “tough love,” an approach that is supposedly required to curb the alleged expansion of the “occupation.” Driven by guilt, Beinart has embraced the left’s move to distance itself from Israel and the Zionist enterprise at large. For Beinart, the answer is a “Zionist” boycott of Israeli settlements and products. Beinart, like many post-Zionists and revisionists, only opposes the “occupation,” which leads him to place all the onus for the lingering Palestinian-Israeli problem on Israel. In this distorted narrative, Israel is largely to blame for the collapse of the Oslo/Camp David process of the 1990s-2000s and for the subsequent failures to revive the peace process. But the centrality of the “settlements” is an empty issue. It deflects from the core problem that truly obstructs a negotiated settlement: the Palestinians’ century-long rejection of a sovereign Jewish state.

 

There is little debate that there will be a redistribution of land in the event that a peace agreement is achieved. Most of the bargaining will be about whether these exchanges will take the shape of a total phased Israeli withdrawal, or an exchange of land annexing the more populous Israeli towns to Israel for other land in the Jordan Valley or Negev Desert. But this must be left to the parties to decide, not imposed by outside powers or guilt-ridden American Jews.

 

Anti-Zionist American Jews have found Israeli counterparts even in the Knesset. This was on display at the AIPAC Policy Conference in late March, at which Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, whose trip to the conference had been paid by AIPAC, decided to join a protest outside the conference. At the protest, organized by the Jewish anti-establishment group IfNotNow, demonstrators held up signs reading “Reject AIPAC” and “Reject Occupation.” Zandberg justified her decision to participate by saying, “there is no greater deed of patriotism than opposing the occupation.”

 

Stronger Zionist anchors are needed within the Jewish community to overcome the guilt over Israel’s existence rather than its actions. Collective historical memory is absent from today’s discourse on Zionism, especially in America. While there are Zionists on the left and right who still appreciate Jewish history and believe in Jewish destiny, Zionist renewal outside Zion is needed. There is a serious need to teach and appreciate both Herzl’s Zionism and “Start-Up Zionism” if the dream is to be kept alive.

                       

Contents                                                                              

 

A RETURN TO ISRAEL FROM EGYPT: MORE THAN GEOGRAPHY                                                  

Allan Levine                                                                                                                    

CIJR, Apr. 27, 2017

 

As our bus crossed the Gaza border back into Israel at Rafiach after spending eight days in Egypt, on an Academic Study Mission of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East, I was filled with a sense of relief and joy knowing we had returned to Israel and deeply moved at the sight of "green" Israel and the realization that we were "home again" and secure. I was happy at seeing young Israeli men and women soldiers at the border and those who climbed aboard our bus to welcome us. Part of their routine was, of course, checking under our bus and under our seats and in the overhead, to be sure there were no bombs or explosives on board that might endanger us or anyone else. It was the Eve of Purim, 1985.

 

Young, friendly, tense, citizen soldiers.

 

In home spun costumes whose originality

   tells us much more than uniforms and

Absence of militarism and alone

   can convey,

 

They peek in and under, check our bus

   throughout,

Patient, pleasant

   and serious.

 

Knowing too well the cost of smuggled danger,

   and the daily price they pay

For fresh food and water, freedom,

    self-government and civil society.

 

And we applaud the flowers

   anemone, goldenrod and narcissus fields full,

Telling us

   welcome home.

 

 

Allan Levine is Professor Emeritus – Psychology, Los Angeles Valley College and

 contributor to the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Happy Yom Ha’atzmaut!

 

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel: Jewish Virtual Library—On the day the British Mandate over Palestine expired – Friday, May 14, 1948 – the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum to declare the establishment of the State of Israel. There is no record of who attended the meeting, but 350 invitations were sent out instructing the recipients to keep the information secret.

UNESCO’s Anti-Israel Resolution Gets Least Votes Ever: UNWatch, May 2, 2017—“Israel lost the vote today, but it did score a small moral victory: despite reported fears that Germany’s negotiations with the Palestinians would erode support, Israel in the end won more votes than ever before, including from major democracies like the U.S., Britain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

Ex-Canadian PM Harper: Popularity of My Support for Israel Among Electorate Makes It Difficult for Trudeau to Go in Different Direction: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, May 1, 2017—Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Sunday that the pro-Israel stand he took while in office has made his successor, Justin Trudeau, cautious about moving in a different direction.

Moments in History: What Led up to the Declaration of Israel: Hillel Fendel, Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2017—As Israel's Independence Day arrives – its 69th edition is celebrated on Tuesday, May 2 – let's face it: Not everyone knows exactly what happened when. Ask a given millennial how Israel arose, and as likely as not, the answer will be, "Uh, we were in exile for 2,000 years and then the British left and we had a State."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

 

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

   

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/

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

                                                    

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.                                                  

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                                

   

                            

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

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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Baruch Cohen: YOM HA’ATZMAUT 5775: AM ISRAEL CHAI!

 

                                                                                                                                                               “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 realm 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 to revive together, to forge a new nation and an independent life.

 

We, the Jewish People, stand as we have often stood, restored to our Land, small and still dispersed, vulnerable, yet inspired by an old, powerful dream: our restored home! We are today, still, inspired by a large, powerful dream, a vision: AM ISRAEL CHAI!

 

Today, the State of Israel is a dream 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)

 

YOM HA’ATZMAUT, 5772/2012: HERZL, BEN-GURION, TRUMAN & THE MIRACLE OF NEW-OLD ISRAEL

YOM HA’ATZMAUT, 5772
Baruch Cohen

In loving memory of Malca z’l

“And what glory awaits the selfless fighters for the cause! That is why I believe that a wonderful breed of Jews will spring up from the earth. The Macabees will rise again.”—Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State, Herzl Press, (N.Y., 1970), p. 110.

Theodor Herzl was the father of the modern Zionist movement. He, more than any other, shaped and channelled the millennial, theological yearnings of Return to Zion into a modern political movement: Zionism.

Of all the revolutionary national ideologies that sprang onto the political horizon during that time, the Herzelian Vulcan forged Zionism into the most triumphant, one which flourished and eventually evolved into the State of Israel, and which alone survives until today.

Theodor Herzl’s dream became a reality due to the sacrifices of all of Israel’s daughters and sons, who adhered to the principles and values of Zionism and Jewish national Peoplehood.

As Am Israel today celebrates its 64th birthday, let us commit ourselves to ensuring that Israel always remains strong, powerful, successful, and, above all, true to Jewish history and Jewish values—to the fulfillment of Theodor Herzl, David Ben Gurion, and Menahem Begin’s dreams.

(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.)

APPRECIATING THE ACHIEVEMENTS
Editorial

Jerusalem Post, April 24, 2012

As Israel turns 64, we have much to be proud of. But we do not always appreciate our many achievements.

We agonize over the Iranian nuclear threat, endlessly debating the pros and cons of a preemptive military strike against an Islamic Republic run by apocalyptic mullahs who have expressed their desire to wipe Israel “off the map.” But we, a people who just last week commemorated the Holocaust—the ultimate price paid for Jewish powerlessness—forget to appreciate having the option of launching such a strike single-handedly if we need to. And while we are the strongest military might in the region, we are also the most restrained and most moral.

We take to the streets to protest the high cost of living, skyrocketing housing prices, and the general difficulties of making ends meet every month—and the government does its best to listen, a testament to democracy in action. But we forget to appreciate our low unemployment rate, brisk GDP growth and general economic stability at a time when much of the western world—in particular the US and Europe—is in the throes of one of the worst economic downturns in recent history.

We lament the sorry state of our education system but take in stride the fact that Israel is over-represented in the number of patents it produces per capita, in the number of PhDs, published scientific papers, companies listed on NASDAQ, or start-ups per capita.… Not surprisingly, emigration of American Jews to Israel has been growing incrementally and now stands at more than 3,000 a year. And in recent years the number of Israelis coming home after an extended stay in America has doubled and now stands at about 9,000 a year. With all the criticism leveled against it, Jews are voting with their feet.…

Unfortunately, too much emphasis has been placed on Israel’s faults while ignoring the Zionist movement’s tremendous achievements over the past 64 years.… On one level this propensity for complaining and finding fault is a very Jewish trait. After all, we are a people who believe in tikkun olam, repairing the world. The world cannot be fixed without first acknowledging its flaws. We have, therefore, developed an acute sensitivity to injustices, particularly those said to have been perpetrated by fellow Jews.…

But there is another central idea in Judaism called ahavat yisrael—love of Israel. A hypercritical approach to Jewish sovereignty must be buffered by equally strong expressions of love, commitment and appreciation for the Jews living in Israel.… [And] do [our hypercritics] believe that we, who suffer the direct consequences of the ongoing conflict, do not wish to live in peace with our neighbors?

As Israel turns 64 the Jewish people has much to be proud of. Let’s all learn to appreciate the achievements while recognizing the challenges.

TRUMAN’S RECOGNITION: THE US-ISRAEL RELATIONSHIP IS BORN
Jeff Dunetz

The Lid, April 24, 2012

Sixty-four years ago Israel declared her independence. Israel’s independence would have been short lived were it not for the strong will of President Harry S. Truman, who became the new Jewish State’s first international supporter, not because of any political stance, but because he thought it was the right thing to do.

When Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Isaac Herzog, visited the White House after Israel declared her independence he told Truman, “God put you in your mother’s womb so that you would be the instrument to bring the rebirth of Israel after 2000 years.…”

“What I am trying to do is make the whole world safe for Jews,” Harry Truman wrote as he agonized over his decision to recognize a Jewish state in Palestine. Secretary of State George Marshall  was just as opposed to the creation of Israel as Truman was for it. Clark M. Clifford, Special Counsel to President Truman at the time, remembered the internal US fight regarding the recognition of the Jewish State—the final discussion in the oval office.

The meeting turned out to be an angry battle with Clifford and the President on one side, Marshall and Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett on the other. The argument used many of the same memes as used today.

Lovett first argued that Truman was supporting Israel solely for political gain and he warned the president that the move would lose more votes than it would gain. When that didn’t work, Lovett tried another approach: the red scare:… “Mr. President, to recognize the Jewish state prematurely would be buying a pig in a poke. How do we know what kind of Jewish state will be set up? We have many reports from British and American intelligence agents that Soviets are sending Jews and communist agents into Palestine from the Black Sea area.…”

When Lovett was done speaking it was Marshall’s turn…: “If you follow Clifford’s advice and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you, [he said].…” But Truman’s mind was made up.…

At 4 p.m. Friday May 14, 1948 just before the start of Shabbat, David Ben-Gurion read a 979-word declaration of independence in front of a small audience at the Tel Aviv Art Museum. He finished in his usual terse manner: “The state of Israel is established! The meeting is ended.” At midnight, British rule over Palestine lapsed; 11 minutes later White House spokesman Charlie Ross announced U.S. recognition.

In 1961, long after he was out of office, Truman met with Israeli PM David Ben Gurion in New York. Ben Gurion said this about the meeting:

“At our last meeting, after a very interesting talk, I told him that as a foreigner I could not judge what would be his place in American history; but his helpfulness to us, his constant sympathy with our aims in Israel, his courageous decision to recognize our new state so quickly and his steadfast support since then had given him an immortal place in Jewish history.

“As I said that, tears suddenly sprang to his eyes. And his eyes were still wet when he bade me goodbye. I had rarely seen anyone so moved. I tried to hold him for a few minutes until he had become more composed, for I recalled that the hotel corridors were full of waiting journalists and photographers. He left. A little while later, I too had to go out, and a correspondent came to me to ask, ‘Why was President Truman in tears when he left you?’

“I believe that I know. These were the tears of a man who had been subjected to calumny and vilification, who had persisted against powerful forces within his own Administration determined to defeat him. These were the tears of a man who had fought ably and honorably for a humanitarian goal to which he was deeply committed. These were tears of thanksgiving that his God had seen fit to bless his labors with success.…”

WHY 1948 MATTERS MORE THAN EVER
Alex Safian

Jerusalem Post, April 21, 2012

Of all the events surrounding modern Israel’s rebirth—the rise of the Zionist movement, the first and second aliyahs, the building of pre-state institutions in the Yishuv—by far the most important, at least for the prospects for peace, spring from the War of Independence itself, because the competing “narratives” about that period lie at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

If, as is believed almost uniformly throughout the Arab world, Israel was born in original sin, if the Jews really did ransack placid Arab villages, murdering children in front of parents and parents in front of children, and expelling whoever was left, then Arab hatred for Israel and Jews would be understandable, as would their fundamental refusal to really make peace with Israel.

But the Arab narrative (which is often shared by Europeans) is wrong. Israel was not born in original sin.… Even as early as 1937, in a letter to his son Amos, Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion wrote: “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places. All our aspiration is built on the assumption—proven throughout all our activity…that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.”

Ten years later [December 1947], even after much violence and conflict, Ben-Gurion’s core beliefs about living in peace with the Arabs had not wavered: “In our state there will be non-Jews as well—and all of them will be equal citizens; equal in everything without exception.… The attitude of the Jewish state to its Arab citizens will be an important factor—though not the only one—in building good neighborly relations with the Arab states.”

Despite the Yishuv’s attempts to live peacefully with their neighbors, the leader of the Palestinians, the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini, chose to make common cause with the Nazis, meeting Hitler and Himmler in Berlin and pushing them to accelerate the slaughter of the Jews, and helping to create Muslim SS units in the Balkans that committed bloody war crimes against both Christians and Jews.

The Mufti’s actions directly implicated the Palestinian movement in the Holocaust, but the Jews still tried to reach an accommodation with their Arab neighbors. When the United Nations in 1947 passed a resolution to partition the Palestine Mandate (or what was left of it, since most of the original territory had been lopped off by Britain to create Jordan) into a Jewish and an Arab state, the Jews supported the plan despite being deeply disappointed with how little land they would receive. The five Arab states in the UN all denounced the resolution (UNGA 181), voted against it, and together with the Palestinian representatives vowed to go to war to kill it.

At the UN in May of 1948, just weeks prior to partition, Abba Eban once again urged all parties to support the world body’s proposal and to avoid war, “…much suffering and grief can still be avoided by seeking the way back onto the highway of the partition resolution.”

Unfortunately for all involved, the Arabs ignored Eban, and launched a brutal war against the Jews, in which more than one percent of the Jewish population was killed. Expecting an easy victory, the Arabs were surprised to meet stiff resistance, and when the Arab armies began to fall back from their initial victories (an Egyptian armored column had penetrated up the coast to within 21 miles of Tel Aviv), the Palestinians panicked and began to flee, thus creating the Palestinian refugee problem that endures to this day.

Had the Palestinians accepted partition, a Palestinian state would have been created side-by-side with Israel in 1948, and there wouldn’t have been a single Palestinian refugee.

This Palestinian refusal to accept statehood was no fluke—they have refused statehood at least two more times since 1948. In the summer of 2000, President Bill Clinton presented his plan (the Clinton Parameters) at Camp David, which would have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, with a shared Jerusalem and free passage. Israel’s Ehud Barak accepted the Clinton plan, but Arafat refused it, and rather than making a counter offer instead returned home and launched the second intifada, or violent uprising, in which more than a thousand Israelis were killed.

Despite this, in 2008 the Israelis tried again, when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his own peace plan, which would have uprooted tens of thousands of Israeli settlers, abandoned Hebron, divided Jerusalem, and even offered some accommodation to the Palestinian claim to a right of return. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, refused the peace proposal and once again failed to make a counter proposal.

In the face of the documented truth that it is the Palestinians who have repeatedly run away from a negotiated peace and statehood, it is astounding that both the Palestinians and many Europeans act as if Israel refuses to make peace, as if Israel stands in the way of a Palestinian state. Until the Palestinians and the Arabs abandon their myths and face reality, until they accept the hard truths that they have been their own worst enemy, the prospects for peace will be dim indeed.…

(Alex Safian is associate director of CAMERA.)

ISRAEL, A NATION ONCE AGAIN
Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield Blog, April 25, 2012

Israel’s Jewish population is approaching six million. If current birth rates hold steady that significant milestone will be reached in time for next year’s Independence Day.…

In the sixty-four years that the revived country has existed, there has been a dramatic population shift. Western and Eastern Europe and Russia, where the majority of Western Jews once lived, now hold a fraction of the Jewish population. The Muslim world, former location of the majority of Eastern Jews, is barely worth mentioning.

Globally the Jewish population is divided between Israel and the United States. Israel is the home of the majority of the world’s Jews, but the combined Jewish Anglosphere is still larger, not so much because of the United Kingdom, but because of North America, which holds the largest number of Jews. In a development that would have been all but incomprehensible a century ago, the majority of Jews in the world speak English or Hebrew. Smaller numbers speak French and Spanish, but in a generation hardly any will speak Russian or Arabic.…

Had Europe not imploded so badly in the twentieth century, the history of the Jewish State might have been quite different. Israel’s Second Commonwealth didn’t manage to attract a majority of the Jewish population from Babylon and the various Greek states. Israel’s Third Commonwealth was in better shape, despite the tiny borders and constant threats, but it is doubtful that it would have the population that it does today, if Jewish life in the Eastern Hemisphere had not become so impossible.

To survive the hostility and chaos of the Eastern Hemisphere, Jews crossed the ocean to the Americas and rebuilt a fortified republic in their homeland. In the natural course of events, the republic would have mainly picked up idealists, nationalists and the devoutly religious. It would have been a viable country, but a smaller one, with more in common with Ireland than its energetic overcrowded self.

Israel’s composition is a fossil record of various periods of persecution, Russian Jews, German Jews, Middle Eastern Jews and then Russian Jews again.… Israel has been defined as much by that external pressure as by its idealism—and that combination is perhaps the truest summary of the Jewish experience.…

Jews are a peculiar people, there is a great deal of talk about them, good and bad, but like most of the peoples of the world, they simply are. They exist and have gone on existing to the irritation of that part of mankind which was aware of them. There are prophecies about them, in their blood runs the veins of the prophets and kings whose words and deeds are on the lips of even those who hate them. But still they go on living their day to day lives until it seems as if there is nothing particularly special about them, and then unexpectedly they do something extraordinary, cure a disease, unlock the mysteries of the universe or build a country that stands as a bulwark against all the rage and hate of the East.…

[Israel] won its independence as an infant, at 19 it defeated seven armies. At 40 it launched its first rocket into space. At 44 it made a terrible life decision that it has still to recover from. It is 64 now, and yet booming with life, with anger, love, doubt, fear and a thousand other human tremors. It has gathered to itself the dead lost in the ashes and seen them born again amid its rebuilt ruins. It has stood on ancient mountains and reseeded the land and made it green again. It has reclaimed a legacy of a lost people and a lost land better than even its dreamers and visionaries could have imagined.

Who knows what it will do next?