SIXTY-eight years is not a long time in the span of history, yet the rebirth of the modern state of Israel in 1948 still stands as one of the most inspiring events of the 20th century, a story of liberty and hope for all oppressed people.
As Israeli leader Abba Eban phrased it: “It goes beyond an achievement. We are a colossal success.” When David Ben Gurion declared independence, it was a moment of redemption for a people who always dreamed of returning to their promised Land of Milk and Honey, who had suffered persecution and repression and the loss of six million of their brethren in the Holocaust.
This week, Israelis will rejoice in the streets and fireworks will paint the sky as they dance and celebrate the creation of the Jewish state 68 years ago. An ancient and embattled people, the children of Abraham and Sarah came back to the land where kings Saul, David and Solomon once ruled, where Jesus walked and where the great Jewish Temple stood.
Free at last, they were home after 2000 years of forced wandering and discrimination and they resolved to never allow their children to face annihilation.
After the military operation in Uganda to save Israeli and Jewish hostages from terrorists and Idi Amin, the French pilot, Michel Bacos, was asked if he had ever imagined that Israel would take such a gamble to rescue its people. His answer: “Who else?” The message of Operation Thunderbolt to Jews around the world was, “You are not alone”.
From its precarious origins, Israel put out the welcome mat to refugees, traumatised survivors and victims of anti-Semitism who were not wanted anywhere else and who simply wanted a haven to live as equals. The Law of Return, the first universal immigration law in history, grants every Jew, whether in Melbourne or Los Angeles, who needs and wants, automatic Israeli citizenship.
Israel’s Zionist spirit of self-reliance and determination helped the country and its citizens, against the odds, to prevail over the host of unprovoked wars, terrorism and unrelenting international censure and economic boycotts.
Through hardship, sacrifice, resilience in the face of terror and nation-building, a decimated and scattered people built a thriving, free and tolerant state, overcoming great odds by prevailing in eight wars against enemies dedicated to its destruction.
Read the full article by DVIR ABRAMOVICH (Chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission) in the Herald Sun.