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Yesterday was Yom HaZikaron – the day where Israel remembers the 22,684 fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terrorism are remembered.  A solemn day of remembrance in Israel.  The below YouTube video is an excellent expression of the grief that is remembered by all Israelis on Yom HaZikaron

And today is Yom Ha’atzmaut!  Happy 62nd Birthday Israel!

I am reminded of two quotes by Golda Meir:

“Above all, this country is our own. Nobody has to get up in the morning and worry what his neighbors think of him. Being a Jew is no problem here.” (Meir, Golda, interview with International Herald Tribune, May 11, 1978, found at WikiQuotes


“Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” (Meir, Golda, quoted in Media Bias and the Middle East, 2003, found at WikiQuotes)

Here’s the text of the editorial written on the day when Israel was re-born:

Today is the world’s birthday for Israel. Today is the end of one period, and today is the onset of a new period. Today is the end of the British Mandate in Palestine, the Mandate for which the Jewish people held out tremendous hopes – almost messianic hopes – a quarter of a century ago, but which over the years came to symbolize a great moral failure. Today marks the expiration of the White Paper, that shameful document, which tried vainly to cloak in legal garb the vast betrayal of the historic rights of the Jewish people, but which in its nine years of existence succeeded in closing the gates of the country to tens and hundreds of thousands of Jews who could have been saved from the Nazi furnaces.

Today Hebrew independence has been revived on the soil of Israel after 1,900 years of exile. In the course of that lengthy period, the face of the world changed, the face of this land changed and so, too, the face of the Jewish people changed. But the bond between the people and its land was not severed, and today, as thousands of years ago, our ancient and rejuvenated nation, after an unexampled period of subjugation and suffering, sets about laying the foundations for a life of freedom and independence on its soil. And today we enter a new stage, a stage of heightened danger, in our desperate struggle with the neighboring Arab peoples, who have so far refused to accept the historic necessity of Israel’s return to its land.

Hebrew independence is not being renewed during an hour of mercy. Nor are we being measured with strict justice by the [UN] General Assembly or in the councils of the world’s rulers. We are not begging for the world’s mercy and are not fearful of its judgment. But it is our obligation to protest against the harsh perversion of justice, in which attempts were made to heap obstacles on the path of a persecuted nation that aspired to a tranquil haven. It was just half a year ago that this world, the world of power and materialism, sat in judgment of us, and despite everything, despite the intriguing and the scheming, we were exonerated. But the world of material power lacked the moral strength to execute its own judgment, and schemers and plotters of all types tried to abnegate it.
And on this day, when we shall declare our right according to the world’s judgment, which was not undermined and was not annulled, we must perforce do so in a hostile atmosphere. Great nations view us as an uninvited guest as we seek to take our place at the table of the nations. But no other path is available to us. Just as we reached our present status with our own might alone, so we must continue to conquer our state with our own might, in the hope and confidence that the world of power will accept us when it sees that we, too, possess the strength to safeguard what is ours.

But the campaign will be very difficult. These days of supreme heroism and self-sacrifice of the highest degree in the Etzion Bloc and at Sha’ar Hagai must teach us that the strength of our foes is not yet depleted. To the contrary: Our foes have not yet begun to wield their full might against us. Harsh times and bitter auguries lie in store for us. Many have already fallen, but many more will fall, and the boundaries between front and rear will become blurred. The great test still awaits us and we must all meet it. We cannot fight our war through the proxy of angels and messengers. Each of us must do his duty in the same part of the front in which he can make the greatest contribution to the struggle of the entire nation.

Great is the day, but exceedingly grave the hour. May we all display the valor, the readiness for sacrifice, the psychological stability amid the vicissitudes of the campaign, the faithfulness in doing our duty and the spirit of Israeli fraternity thanks to which we shall reach our sought-after destination.

And if we meet the test and are thus privileged, this day, a day of blood and pillars of smoke, shall be the day on which we lay the foundations for a life of security and liberty for ourselves and for our children.

(Ha’aretz, found at

I recently stumbled upon Daniel Gordisarticle on the purpose of the state of Israel.

It’s an excellent piece and I highly recommend that you read it. Dr. Gordis hits the nail smack on the head. He contrasts two different pictures of Jews. In one there is the little boy, hands held high in the air in surrender, completely vulnerable while a Nazi points a gun in his surrender. We know what his fate is — the fate of Jews for centuries past — death. In the second we have a different photo of a Jew. One where the Jew determines his own destiny, his own fate. A picture where the iconic image of the Jew as defenseless and a victim is transformed into an image where the Jew is now the soldier — strong, at home in Jerusalem not in Europe — able to defend himself and his loved ones.

Warsaw Ghetto - WWII

Warsaw Ghetto - WWII

Six Day War soldiers at the Temple Wall

Six Day War soldiers at the Temple Wall

These two pictures provide a dramatic contrast — in one the fate of the Jew lies in the hands of others while in the second the fate of the Jew lies in his own hands. As I read Dr. Gordis’ article I find myself agreeing with him that the world has changed seems to regret it’s decision of November 29th 1947 to partition the Palestine Mandate into a Jewish and Arab state. The world seems to regret having created the state of Israel and restoring the land to it’s rightful heirs — the Jews. Why?

Perhaps it’s because the rest of the world wishes to return all Jews to the ghetto where they can be periodically harassed and murdered without consequence. Or perhaps because the rest of the world needs a victim and a scapegoat on which it can blame all the ills of their society on — which in turn leads harassment and murder of Jews. Or perhaps it’s because the rest of the world knows that we are God’s chosen people and they hate us for that simple fact. No matter. We will not accommodate them. We wish for peace with our neighbors and with the rest of the world but we will not do so at the expense of our lives. As Dr. Gordis put it at the end of his article

[O]ne fact must remain clear: we [Israel] will not end the conflict at all costs. That is what the international community must demonstrate it understands. For on this Erev Yom Ha-Atzma’ut, as on all the others, we, at least, know well what is at stake. Given the choice between sending our children off to fight yet again, or of returning to the world of that first photograph in which someone else will decide if we live and for how long, almost all of us will choose the former.

(Gordis, Daniel, “Erev Yom Ha-Atzma’ut – A Brief Reminder About Purpose”,, April 28, 2009)

August 2020

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