On Yom Ha’atzmaut, the Jewish State is Flourishing
It was May, 1967, just about two weeks before the Six Day War, when then Syrian Defense Minister, soon to be president ,Hafez Assad, boasted that his country’s forces were ready to “explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland” and annihilate Israel.
Fast forward to January 2003 and the declaration of a Palestinian Christian cleric that Haifa, Jaffa, Be’ersheba and Safed are, in fact, Palestinian cities because “the Zionist Jews are foreigners in this land.”
And only last week on the Electronic Intifada website a Palestinian writer referred to Israeli residents as “European alien settlers.”
The decades pass but the refrain remains the same. Israel the illegitimate. The Zionist entity that doesn’t belong. The painful, foreign presence on Palestinian soil. All of this enduring denial of Israel’s right to exist despite a United Nations resolution authorizing the creation of Israel as a Jewish state.
On Yom Ha’atzmaut 2012 ON April 26th, while we reflect on Israel’s physical survival against would-be annihilators, we should also reflect on a victory of equally immense proportions. The continuous attempt to deny Israel’s rightful place among the world’s family of nations is a dismal failure. Israel is an economic powerhouse, a technological innovator, the creator of conveniences that we take for granted, a producer of life-saving devices and an expert in rapid response humanitarian relief, often stepping forward first while her detractors sit on the sidelines.
Despite obsessive calls for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel, her expertise in dozens of fields is sought worldwide and her brightest, most talented men and women contribute to countries everywhere.
For Israel, simple survival would be enough to classify as a remarkable achievement. But Israel’s ability to lead the world in so many ways is truly extraordinary. On this, Israel’s 64th birthday, it’s the most powerful response possible to those who dream of Israel’s demise.
Howard English is Senior Vice President, at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the advocacy arm of Canadian Jewish Federations.