Yom Ha'Atzma'ut: Israel's 70th Independence Day:
Israel - The Miracle
This is a unique year for the Jewish people: the 70th Anniversary of the Creation of the State of Israel will begin this Wednesday evening, following the Hebrew date of the Declaration of Independence (Yiar 5, 5708). I had a wonderful story that I thought about sharing in this message of celebration - the story of a Maccabi member who was part of the very Creation of the State, but after lots of thought and pondering, and in an effort to truly honor the 70 years of the State of Israel, I decided to convey a more simple, clear and shorter message:
Israel, the Third Jewish State of the People of Israel, with 70 years of Independence - which ended the Jewish people's forced exile, all began with the defeat of the great revolt of Bar Kochvah and Rabbi Akiva in 135 of the Common Era and confirmed by all the powers that dominated the Land of Israel since then... Israel is truly a Miracle.
The existence of the State of Israel is a miracle. It is the miracle of a people reborn from the ashes of the Shoah, following the death of their most extraordinary communities. It is the miracle of barely 600,000 Jews -who had to fight against 7 different armies from Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon, and in that state of emergency and historical responsibility, bequeathed us an extraordinary State. It is the miracle of absorbing not once, but three times, an unprecedented number of immigrants in relation to the host population. It is the miracle of desalinated water in an increasingly desert area. It is the miracle of peace in the midst of hatred and the desire for destruction, with two of its borders - Egypt and Jordan -with stable peace accords. It is the miracle of high technology, science, and becoming one of the most important high tech centers in the world. It is the miracle of democracy in a sea of dictatorships, gender violence, and systematic abuses of human rights. It is the miracle of a millenary recreated language. It is the miracle of permanent national growth when a significant portion of the national budget should be still devoted to the protection of the country. It is the miracle of a happy people, the Israelis, always among the happiest, although the life of Israel demands more hours of work than all the developed countries in the West. It is the miracle of a birthrate that - in secular families - is closer today to 4 children per household than to the 3, while many of the Western developed countries commit suicide in abandonment to procreation. It is the miracle of solidarity and the countless mutual aid voluntary associations. It is the miracle of freedom - an absolute and sometimes almost obscene freedom, which allows a member of the Knesset, the Parliament of Israel, to stand on the podium of the Legislative Chamber of the Nation and proclaim from there that Israel must be destroyed. It is the miracle of agriculture that produces everything that the rocks and the desert once denied in the past. It is the miracle of this amazing emotion we feel when celebrating it, after so many national hardships.
Israel is a miracle.
Happy Birthday, Israel! I, today and always, celebrate the miracle of your life, which I chose for mine.
May God bless the State of Israel, which marks the beginning of our National Renaissance, the rebirth of our pride and our Future as a People.
Chag Ha'Atzma'ut Sameach!
Chazak ve' ematz!
RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO
Deputy Director-General & Director of Education
Maccabi World Union