Happy 75th Birthday, Israel!
Israel Celebrates 75 Years
The Jewish State of Israel celebrated her 75th birthday yesterday and though I’ve lived in Israel for twenty years, Israeli Independence Day only grows more meaningful with time.
I fell in love with the Land of Israel when I was a teenager, and made it my permanent home as soon as it was possible to do so. I’m proudly Jewish, raised in a generation that feels welcome and comfortable as Jews in many countries around the world, yet few have deep roots that span generations and connect them to the land they call home. Most of my generation has or had grandparents who fled to the US from hostile and genocidal countries worldwide, and my peers were raised with our recent history embedded in our being.
When I landed in Israel for the first time, I became intoxicated with my first breath of air. The Land itself is beautiful beyond words, and generation after generation of Jews have called it their home since Biblical times. The physical earth is connected to the rich history that the Jewish nation has lived through, which includes repeated attempts to wipe our nation off the face of the planet and barring that, our expulsion from the Land of Israel.
A Modern-Day Miracle
The creation of the State of Israel post-WWII is nothing short of a miracle. Despite Hitler’s best attempts and the tragic murder of six million Jews, with heroic efforts from the post-war generation, the State of Israel was officially designated as a home for the Jewish people.
Establishing myself and my family’s roots in Israel was the only thing that ever made sense to me, and as the years go by my gratitude continues to increase for the gift of raising a family in this Land. This nation is tough, we’re realistic, we work hard, and most of all, we create. Israel’s growth as a leader in a wide range of industries has exploded in recent decades, and the physical infrastructure of our land is growing alongside it. Generations of hard-working people have transformed Israel into a modern physical beauty that Jews and others from all over the world can call home.
Duty to Defend
Jewish children in Israel grow up with deep gratitude for the gift granted to them and a fierce sense of duty to protect and defend this incredible homeland full of our people and our families. Children here are raised with the understanding that we have a land on which we must continue to build and create for future generations. We have a high rate of young adults who get married and start families at a young age, which in my opinion may be a strong reason that Israel has soared to 4th place worldwide in the happiness index. Building a family in a vibrant land among colorful and happy people is something that should be treasured, and that message is undoubtedly imparted to our children.
At the same time, we are a tiny country surrounded by people who have publicly declared our demise their greatest goal, and that is something that faces us every single day, some days more than others. Our boys and girls know that post-high school, before starting out on a few self-centered years of young adulthood, there will be time set aside to contribute to the existential need to defend the nation against outside threats.
The juxtaposition between the somber and harsh reality of the darkness we face and the joyous and celebratory gratitude for the gifts we have is something we grapple with constantly, and it may just be that deep sense of reality that keeps us grounded, and the gratitude that keeps us happy.
I consider our generation to be the luckiest Jews of any time in history, and I have full faith that my beautiful nation will continue to build and create incredible contributions to the world. I only pray that one day those who seek to destroy choose instead to build.
I hope you enjoy this video I created of the annual Israeli Air Force Flyover, where over 100 planes fly back and forth across the country to celebrate our independence. In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, this year the Israeli Air Force pilots were joined by pilots from the UK, Germany, Italy, and the U.S.
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