I wrote the following essay a few years ago on a Yahoo message board, and it seemed appropriate for Yom Ha'atzmaut.
I often do Internet news searches on the word "Zionist" and, not surprisingly, the word is far more often used as an insult than as a compliment. It is way past time to reclaim the term Zionism and for those of us who support Israel to show pride in the term.
Yes, I am a Zionist and I am proud of it.
I know that Israel has the absolute right to exist in peace and security, just like any other country.
I am proud of how the IDF is conducting itself during the current war on Palestinian terror. There is no other country on the planet, save the US, that would try to minimize civilian casualties in such a situation where innocent Israelis are being threatened and murdered in cold blood.
I am proud of how the IDF is performing doing the most difficult type of battle, that of looking house to house for terrorists, while maintaining amazing professionalism under fire and minimizing its own casualties. I defy anyone to find any other nation who has performed as well -- and as ethically -- as Israel has done during the current conflict.
I am proud that Israel remains a true democracy, with a free press and vigorous opposition parties, while in a constant war situation. Any other nation, again besides the US, would have imposed martial law to maintain peace.
I am proud of how Israeli citizens are going through their day to day lives, even while knowing that a despicable terrorist can still make it in to their hometowns.
I am proud of how many terror attacks have been thwarted by the Israeli police and citizens, and how many lives have been saved. For every "successful" attack (if you can use such a term) there have been many failed attempts, and these are truly miraculous.
I am proud that Israel will investigate any mistakes that happen on the battlefield and keep trying to improve its methods to maximize damage to the terrorists while minimizing damage to the Palestinian people. And over the years of the "intifada" we can see that the number of civilians killed accidentally by Israel has gone down dramatically. I challenge anyone to find an example of a country that was as restrained under these circumstances as Israel has been.
I am proud that Israel takes steps to stop vigilante actions from its own citizens living in impossible conditions.
And, of course, I am proud of Israel's many accomplishments in building up a desert wasteland into a thriving and vibrant modern country, with its many scientific achievements, world class universities and culture. In a short period of time Israel made itself into a strong yet open nation that its neighbors can only dream of becoming.
I am proud that the vast majority of Americans support Israel as I do, and that the rabid terror-lovers we see on the Internet are the aberration.
There is a right and a wrong in this conflict, and I am proud that Israel is in the right.