Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reflections of Remembrance and Independance

The atmosphere of the Remembrance day and Independance day is hard to express in words, however, a friend wrote the following in his blog which captures the feelings of the vast majority of us who live here. I hope you agree with this description.

In Israel we commemorated the fallen in all our wars and the victims of terrorism on Yom Hazikaron, the Day of Remembrance, the day before Yom Ha'atzmaut, Independence Day, May 9-10. This year, 138 additional names were added to the list of ca. 23,000 people who have died either in uniform or in the name of the State since its inception (i.e. prior to the actual founding of the State). To those who believe in peace with the Arabs, I point out that all of those Jews were killed by Arabs. Included in this number are not only the fallen in our many wars, but the ca. 1000 victims of terrorism, killed by suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings and rocket attacks.

Although this number may seem large, it is miniscule compared to the killings of Jews that went on throughout civilized Europe during WWII, when thousands of Jews were killed every every other nationality (Germans, Russians, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Romanians, etc. etc.). So we who are Zionists prefer to face the odds with guns rather than being powerless. Although the Arabs have not been successful in destroying us and our State, they are still trying and their culture is still based on hatred of Jews. And now they are joined by a more sinister force, that of Iranian Shia Islam.

However, notwithstanding the constant barrage of violence, we are stronger and more affluent than ever before. Israel's economy was virtually unaffected by the economic crisis that brought most other world economies to their knees. Unlike the similar sized countries - Ireland, Greece and Portugal, we had no Bank failures and no debt crisis, We had 7.5% GDP growth rate this year, and the shekel is one of the strongest currencies in the world. Our armed forces are second to none and our air force is probably the best in the world. Our high tech industry is second only to the US and our computer skills are the top in cyber warfare. And now we have an anti-missile system, Iron Dome, the first in the world that works. We are still surrounded by enemies, but they are undergoing serious internal schisms.

When I sit in the sunshine in Ha'atzmaut Square in Netanya, sipping tea and eating cake, surrounded by Russian and French immigrants, bringing our total population today to 7.7 million I feel great pride. Even the Israeli Arabs, many of whom celebrate the so-called "disaster" (nakba) of Israel's founding, nevertheless the vast majority of them when polled state that they would prefer to remain Israeli citizens than join any Palestinian State, showing that they are not stupid. Tell that to those knee-jerk leftists who claim that Israel carried our "ethnic cleansing" rather than merely defending itself from constant attack by Arab armies and terrorists, or who claim that Israel is an "apartheid" state. Let them come here and see for themselves the falsity of those stupid claims, or are they afraid to face reality.

So we sat in the crowd at the commemoration of Yom Hazikaron and then the next day on Yom Ha'atzmaut we watched on the television the national celebration of the 63rd anniversary of Israel's independence from Har Herzl in Jerusalem, and we were very glad to be part of it. Then we saw the fly-over of our IAF planes celebrating Yom Ha'atzmaut. As it says in our national anthem: To be a free people in our land of Eretz Zion and Jerusalem

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