The following op-ed was co-written by NJA Managing Director Steve Winston and Events & Projects Manager Dalia Hajioff. The article was originally published in the Jewish Weekly on March 16, 2023.
OPINION: Governments come and go, but Israel is here to stay.
“Never lose sight of the full story of the Jewish state and how unbelievable it is,” urge Steve Winston and Dalia Hajioff of the National Jewish Assembly, ahead of Israel’s landmark anniversary.
Israel turns 75 years young next month – three-quarters of a century old, and despite insurmountable odds, the modern Jewish state is more than merely existing and surviving; it is thriving in so many ways.
As committed Zionists, we know how disheartening it is to see and hear what is currently going on in Israel. There are trends that are concerning many people in Israel as well as many in the Diaspora.
Despite the whirlwind and chaos that Israel is facing in its current chapter, we must never lose sight of the full story of Israel. And how unbelievable it is. Israel continues to be a modern-day miracle, embodying the previously unthinkable, albeit something that had been yearned for in our collective consciousness for millennia; the Jewish people’s desire to fulfil their self-determination in their historic homeland.
It’s human nature to take things for granted, but as Israel’s Independence Day fast approaches, we must do our best to see past the politics and focus on just how much Israel — the country and its people — have achieved in just 75 years, much of it against all odds. This has been pivotal to Jewish survival and has shaped and strengthened Jewish identity around the world.
In the metaphorical blink of an eye, Israel has transformed itself from a desert to a blooming economic powerhouse, with more companies listed on the Nasdaq exchange than any country other than China and the United States.
Often referred to as ‘The Start Up Nation’, our much-loved Jewish homeland has exceeded all expectations, continuing to lead in high tech, agriculture, medicine, and innovation, all of which quite literally saves the world and makes it a better place.
A small nation with the biggest of hearts, Israel’s IDF and several other Israeli humanitarian aid organisations are often one of the first to arrive in disaster zones across the world, even in countries that have refused to enter diplomatic relations with it.
And talking of big hearts, Israel’s ‘Save a Child’s Heart’ has saved the lives of over 6,000 children across the world, including the lives of Palestinian children in Gaza.
The above is only a small example of Israel’s achievements; we could go on and on.
However, we will conclude with a nod to the man attributed with making it all happen, the father of Zionism, Theodor Herzl. He had a dream, and as he said, in those now immortal words, ‘If you will it, it is no dream’. Let’s all come together and celebrate not just the continuance of that dream, but the thriving of our homeland.
We will be celebrating all of this and so much more, as Israel turns 75. The National Jewish Assembly and World Zionist Organisation, together with Sponsors Stand with Us UK, El Al Airlines, and Camera on Campus UK, are holding a Yom Ha’atzmaut Party on 26 April at a London venue. See https://nja.org.uk/product/75rael/
After all, governments come and go but Israel is here to stay, and that is something that we must always celebrate, loudly and proudly.