Israel shall endure forever
“To those who ask ‘what of the future?’ I still have only one answer: I believe that we will have peace with our neighbors, but I am also sure that no one will make peace with a weak Israel. If Israel is not strong there will be no peace. I have seen my five grandchildren grow up as free in a country that is their own. Let no one anywhere have any doubts about this: our children and children’s children will never settle for anything less.” Golda Meir, My Life (1975)
Few states since the end of the Second World War have faced the kind of lethal, unremitting hatred and threats that have plagued Israel since her birth. Today’s struggle is for the right of Israel and her citizens to live in peace and dignity, secure against her relentless enemies: Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and inflamed worldwide anti-semitism. They have demonstrated their willingness to employ any means available to create hurt, suffering, and devastation.
For Israelis who have fought and continue to fight so valiantly just to stay alive, the notion of peace may seem as too great a luxury to believe in. Israel at 69 must continue to struggle for its existence. We celebrate knowing that Israel, more than just a country, is an idea that inspires millions of Jews around the world. From the ruins of Europe, from the ashes of the gas chambers, from Russia, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Romania, Poland, the United States, Canada and dozens of other lands, our people created a vibrant new land sustained by an ancient faith.
Our greatest success is not only material but moral. Our enemies, consumed by hatred, attacked us barbarously even before 1948. Yet we have not abandoned our democratic values. We have sacrificed our soldiers’ lives in order to minimize the risk of Palestinian civilian casualties in a way that few, if any, democracies under similar circumstances would ever consider.
The days to come will be a challenge. At Israel ‘s 69th Independence Day, let us remember how we started, what we are today and that we have to go forward in a dynamic way, improving our work-in-progress. Looking back at what has been accomplished, we must and we should have every confidence that we will succeed. Am Yisrael Chai.
At this 69th Israel Independence Day, let us remind the world that Israel is facing an enormous threat from Muslim hatred and global anti-semitism. Iran’s aggressive nuclear ambitions and its sponsorship of Hezbollah and Hamas are looming daily threats for Israel and Jews the world over.
We Diaspora Jews can stand in the front line of this conflict by lending our support and encouragement to our sisters and brothers in Israel. We must work according to our hope and belief that Netzah Israel lo ishaker – the eternity of Israel will never falter.
Join us at our Pinellas Community celebration on May 7 at Congregation B’nai Israel.
Rabbi Jacob Luski
The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press in cooperation with the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the board. The views expressed in the column are those of the rabbi and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Press or the Board of Rabbis.