Israel at 75
This year we marked both Yom Hazikaron and Anzac Day on the same day.
As Australian Jews, this coincidence bears meaning beyond us being both proud Australians and proud Zionists. It was Australian troops that famously liberated Beersheba in 1917, paving the way for the Ottomans’ defeat and ultimately the establishment of Israel.
We remember them, as we remember all those who have served our country, and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, to allow us to live freely and as Jews without fear of sanction.
We pay tribute to the memory of Israel’s fallen, both the soldiers who have given their lives in defence of a dream and those taken too soon in terrorist attacks.
Like Australia’s troops, the sacrifices of Israel’s soldiers have not been in vain.
The Jewish homeland, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this week, is a thriving beacon of freedom and innovation, an example to the world.
More than just a refuge for Jews of all walks of life, it is a thriving multicultural society where Jews, Christians and Muslims live, work and play together. It is the “startup nation”, exporting its technological wizardry, environmental solutions and medical marvels to all corners of the globe.
Like any country, Israel is of course not without its flaws. These very pages have documented the ongoing internal struggles around the government’s judicial overhaul plans. There is a growing divide between religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardi. Israel’s Arabs, while as equal citizens are freer than any of their brethren anywhere else in the Middle East, continue to face societal problems.
As committed Zionists, we can be proud of Israel’s achievements while still rigorously debating these and other matters. Our positions come from a place of love; we all have a stake in its future.
As Israel passes the three-quarters-of-a-century mark, may all of its rifts heal and may it emerge stronger. May the country know a day when its troops no longer need to put their lives on the line in its defence; when its citizens can live free from the fear of terror.
And may the State of Israel continue to be a light unto the nations.
Am Yisrael chai.