From the mournful stories and songs of Yom Ha-Zikaron yesterday to the wonderful fireworks of Israel Independence Day today! Everybody singing, dancing, swimming and sunning on Israel’s many beaches, and barbecuing in parks all over the country from Kiryat Shmona to Sderot. A marvelous snapshot of a strong, vibrant, modern Israel at 63 years of age!
Yet this morning, as always, Israel has its doubters–especially among her leftist ‘intellectuals’. An op-ed in Yedioth Acharonoth (newspaper) written by the Vice President of Research at the Israel Democracy Institute, Yedidia Stern, declares that Israel’s self-confidence has been undermined by its lack of ‘cultural depth’.
And what manifestations does Stern see of the average Israeli’s lack of self-confidence? First, that some Israelis have an inferiority complex and “see the ultra-Orthodox as the only authentic Jews of our time.” Second, that “other Israelis see their Jewish identity as a barrier to their integration in global society, and wish to rid themselves of all distinguishing characteristics.” And lastly, that some Israelis have turned to racist nationalism that “defines its own identity by negating the rights and unique identities of others.”
With all due respect, I don’t know what Yedidia Stern has been smoking. The average Israelis that I know are supremely confident. They have no inferiority complex whatsoever in regard to the ultra-orthodox, respecting them for their religiosity while demanding that they begin to bear financial responsibility for their beliefs. They and their children travel the world, never hiding their ‘Israeliness’–and leaving their proud footprints everywhere. And finally, these average Israelis are stridently nationalistic while respecting the rights of others. Every house in our neighborhood of Ashdod is flying an Israeli flag this morning–a phenomenon seen everywhere throughout the country!
Is Israel perfect? Far from it. But Israel’s accomplishments in 63 short years are nothing short of miraculous. Let’s go party!