A Millennial Dream: 65 years of Israel's independence

A Millennial Dream: 65 years of Israel's independence

Juan M. Dircie in El Nuevo Herald
El Neuvo Herald
Juan M. Dircie
April 15, 2013

The realization of the age-old dream finally materialized 65 years ago.

 

The longing of the Jewish people to have their own state, where they could live safe and secure and realize their national aspirations, took shape with the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel in 1948.

 

A people who had been victims of persecutions, expulsions, abuses, killings, and even the worst mass murder in the history of humanity; stood up and ventured to normalize a situation that had condemned them to remain at the mercy and the approval of foreign rulers.

 

The land that had witnessed the epics of the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the return of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt; the glory of King David and King Solomon's wisdom, and the courage of the prophets of Israel; now opened its arms to the waves of new immigrants and exiles who came to its shores in search of refuge, salvation and protection. The Promised Land was no longer only a metaphor for salvation, but a reality, both for the hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors of the still hot death camps from the recent Nazi Europe to Jews fleeing for their lives from the Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

 

The young state, facing existential threats from the day one due to the military offensive from several Arab countries seeking its annihilation, has successfully coped with the constant challenges of a hostile neighborhood and of a land that was not blessed with abundant natural resources.

 

But defeat was not an option or an alternative abatement. Persistence and tenacity overcame all obstacles and the most pessimistic forecasts.

 

Democracy as lifestyle took hold, the education of the younger generation was adopted as an imperative, equal opportunities for both sexes became the norm and human capital development turned out to be the ultimate natural resource.

 

New challenges rose by those who were, and remain, denying the Jewish people their right to a state. But then came the peace with Egypt, peace with Jordan and a firm pledge to remain committed to peace, despite everything.

 

And so, in just 65 years, the small and timid state became an example of freedom, economic development and one of the largest producers of advanced technologies.

 

The reality overcame perhaps the most optimistic fantasy of those millennial dreamers, forging a new vision of a modern state and free which stands as an example for nations of the world. Happy first 65 years, the State of Israel!

 

Juan M. Dircie is Associate Director of AJC’s Latino and Latin American Institute.