In anticipation of Israel's 60th birthday on Yom HaAtzmaut, the writers at Tzipiyah have envisioned an amazing project which they have asked me to contribute to. I have been asked to write about the 4 accomplishments of the State of Israel of which I am most proud. Since I will be leaving in a week, and it will be yom tov in a few days, I have decided to post them now and leave them until Yom HaAtzmaut.
1) JEWISH PRIDE
They came running through the streets like lions, dropping from the skies, guns blaring, fire burning. They ran, in the spirit of David and Joshua, Judah the Maccabee and Bar Kochba, full of courage and bravery. Their enemies fell before their in fear and shame, as they streamed towards the Kotel, the most holy and awesome place which had been denied to them for so long. Who were these men? What sort of people were they? Were they the Jews, the people of the gas chambers and ovens? Were they the same people that had long been associated with death and persecution, with helplessness and passivity, fighting their enemies? Is it possible that a nation that had been taunted for so long, that was rounded up from all of Europe for annhilation, asserted itself and stood up strong?
The establishment of the State of Israel and the amazing turn-about of Jewish fortune following the Holocaust is nothing short of miraculous. There is no parallel to this sort of reversal in all of the annals of human history. One third of the Jewish People had been consumed in the cruel fires of the Nazi war machine. The survivors were downtrodden and ashamed. "Even all the nations shall say 'Wherefore Why has HaShem done this to His land? What is the meaning of the heat of this great anger?'"(Deut 29:24) From this crushing defeat there would be no respite. The downtrodden Jew would finally disappear into the dust of history. And yet in the ashes of such an evil blaze, like a phoenix, the Jewish nations rose again. "'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say: Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off... Thus saith the Lord G-D: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, O My people. And I will put My spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I will place you in your own land; and ye shall know that I the LORD have spoken, and performed it, saith the LORD." (Ezek. 37:10-12) The Jewish nation arose once again, and like a firebrand plucked from the fires of the Holocaust, defeated a mighty army of one million well-trained Arab soldiers committed to driving the fledgling state into the sea. The world saw with crystal clear vision, and again in 1967, that G-d had never divorced Israel. For two thousand years of exile, the Catholic Church had taught the hideous doctrine of the Witness, that the Jewish People were designated to be a sign to show how wretched life would be for those who rejected their god. G-d had replaced Israel and now they were dejected and low. The miracles and triumphs of 1967 was the best refutation of such a perversion ever. The State of Israel shows that G-d still loves His people and that He has great things in store for them.
2) THE INGATHERING OF THE EXILES
As we head towards the Kotel, we are joined by thousands of our brethren from hundreds of dispersions, from Poland and Russia, Morocco and Tunisis, Ethiopia and India, all going towards the same place, the Holy Wall. Three times a day for two thousands years, Jews in the cramped ghettos of Warsaw and Lublin, the squalor of the Pale of Settlment, the melahs of Casablanca and Fez, had turned like spiritual magnets towards Jerusalem to beseech the Holy One, Blessed be He that "our eyes may behold Your return to Zion in mercy." Never did they forget to pledge "Next year in Jerusalem!" at the close of every Passover seder and Yom Kippur feast. Despite promises of emancipation and acceptance, we never forget that we were but strangers in a strange land, ever waiting the day when we would come home.
Following the Establishment of the State of Israel, one millions Jews from Arab lands who had lived there since time immemorial were expelled, leaving behind many millions of dollars in property and goods. The State of Israel took them in and despite many problems and setbacks along the way, successfully integrated them into society. On the streets on Israel, one can see the most amazing diversity: black-hatted hareidim with Yiddish accents alongside gutteral Sepharadim, Jews from America and the UK with native born Sabras, Jews from the former Soviet Union, liberated from Communist oppression with the Jews who worked so hard to ensure their freedom, fine-featured and delicate Ethiopian Jews with lily-white Ashkenazim. Oh, the Jewish nation has come home!
3) TORAH AND JEWISH RENEWAL
In the Diaspora, Judaism is in a very dangerous lethargic state. With rampant assimilation and intermarriage, great ignorance, a proliferation of cults and missionaries and rising anti-semitism, prospects are not looking good. Despite all of the problems in Israel, it is the only Jewish community that is growing, and flourishing. The Torah community is very strong and the land is full of yeshivot and Torah learning. There is truly a fulfillment of the verse: "For out of Zion will go forth Torah and the word of G-d from Jerusalem." Israel is the only place in the world where a committed Jew can live a full Jewish life instead of compartmentalizing his identity to when it is most appropriate.
4) ISRAEL'S TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES
Israel is one the world's most technologically advanced societies. Just the other day, a scientist invented a method of being able to write halachically on Shabbat. Since the prohibition is on writing permanently, this shabbos pen allows you to write something down and it will disappear three days later, once one has had enough time to photocopy the info.
Here are some facts about Israel's scientific advances:
Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.
Medicine... Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized,no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.
An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment. Every year in U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.
Israel's Givun imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used to view the small intestine from the inside, the camera helps doctors diagnose cancer and digestive disorders.
Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.
Technology... With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start-ups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world (apart from the Silicon Valley).
In response to serious water shortages, Israeli engineers and agriculturalists developed a revolutionary drip irrigation system to minimize the amount of water used to grow crops.
Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.
Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. Israel places first in this category as well.
The cell phone was developed in Israel by Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.
Most of the Windows NT operating system was developed by Microsoft-Israel.
The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.
Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.
Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.
The AOL Instant Messenger was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.
A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the ClearLight device,produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct - all without damaging surroundings skin or tissue.
An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California's Mojave desert."
Am Yisrael Chai!
Cross-posted to Goat's Barnyard