CELEBRATES ITS 60th BIRTHDAY
Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld
Tel Aviv, On May 14, 1948 at 4:00 p.m. (the 5th of lyar in the Hebrew
calendar), despite immense international pressure not to declare independence,
Israel declared itself a state. David Ben Gurion read the Declaration
of Independence over the radio:
On November 29,
1947, the United Nations had voted for the partition plan, dividing
Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The Arabs in the UN rejected
the partition. Nevertheless, the British were planning to leave Palestine
on May 15, 1948. That provided the Jews with their longed-for opportunity
to create an independent Jewish state, certainly one of the great miracles
of the twentieth century in the making.
five Arab countries declared war and Egypt bombed Tel Aviv. Thus, like
the creation of the United States in which the Declaration of Independence
of July 4, 1776 was followed by the War of Independence against Great
Britain, so was Israel’s declaration of Independence greeted by
a ferocious war by its Arab neighbors.
At the time, the
Jewish population in Palestine was less than 700,000. Nevertheless,
in its fight for survival, the new Jewish state beat back the invaders,
capturing more territory than the partition plan had given it.
Despite the cease-fire,
the Arabs were determined to destroy Israel, and sixty years later,
despite peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, Arab Palestinian belligerence
population has grown to over 7 million, including 1.2 million Muslims
who enjoy equal democratic rights, 140,000 Christians, and 100,000 Druze.
In fact, Israel now has a larger population than Jordan, Denmark, Finland,
Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and Lebanon.
In its sixty years,
Israel has developed a dynamic high-tech economy, a highly efficient
agriculture, world-class universities, and a vibrant cultural life.
It provides some of the world’s most advanced medical research
and technology. The products of its pharmaceutical industry are used
throughout the world. Its defense forces are first rate.
While the Arabs
are rich in oil, the Israelis are rich in brains. Yet, Israel is the
only member of the United Nations threatened with annihilation by another
member, Iran. It is the only country whose borders are not internationally
recognized, the only country whose capital city has no foreign embassies.
And it is the only country expected to jeopardize its security by yielding
tangible assets to its enemies.
Indeed, when the
Israeli government unilaterally destroyed its highly productive settlements
in Gaza, uprooting thousands of Israeli citizens, the Palestinians showed
their appreciation by continuing to lob bombs into southern Israel,
killing innocent civilians and destroying property.
Despite this ongoing
war against Arab terrorists, Israel continues to grow and prosper. It
has become a world innovator in science and technology, being second
only to America in the number of high-tech start-ups represented on
the NASDAQ. In world culture, its musicians and conductors and the Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra play in all the great concert halls of the world.
And what have the
Palestinians accomplished in the past 60 years? They have been on the
receiving end of world charity during all of that time. Despite the
fact that Arab nations are rolling in petrodollars, they produce nothing
that contributes to the social and economic betterment of mankind. Their
exports are radical terrorists, Islamic schools in which to inculcate
Islamic extremist doctrines, and the building of mosques throughout
the world. They’ve done virtually nothing to solve the Palestinian
refugee problem since 1948.
Israel, on the
other hand, has welcomed the hundreds of thousands of Jews who have
had to leave Arab countries to escape persecution, has absorbed a million
Russian Jews, and continues to rescue Jews from Ethiopia and non-Jews
from Darfur and other African troublespots. Israel’s record of
humanitarian generosity speaks for itself. Indeed, Muslims living within
Israel enjoy a higher degree of economic security and freedom than they
would in any Arab country.
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And so, there is
much to celebrate in this 60th anniversary of Israel’s birth:
the triumph of good over evil, the triumph of brains over terrorism.