Thursday, April 15, 2021

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

I wrote the original essay around 2002 and I have been modifying it every year since then. Here is this year's version:

I am a Zionist and I am proud of it.

I know that Israel has the absolute right to exist in peace and security, at least as much as any other country. Given Israel's unique history and the resurgence of antisemitism worldwide, Israel arguably has more moral legitimacy than any other nation on Earth.

In last year's essay, I wrote:
In a short period of time Israel made itself into a strong yet open nation that its neighbors can only dream of becoming.

And they are indeed starting to dream. Arab nations are waking up to the reality of Israel and the desire to be more like her.. Despite the constant incitement against Israel in their media, ordinary Arabs know that Israel treats its minorities with more respect, and gives them more civil rights, than Arab nations give their own Arab citizens. Miraculously, in recent years, we are seeing some of Israel's enemies now accepting that Israel has the right to exist and seeking to partner with it. This was unthinkable a few years ago, and the reason is because of Israel's strength, both militarily and economically. The biggest (and artificial) dagger that has been used against Israel for 72 years, the Palestinian Arabs, is quickly losing its effectiveness in the Arab world except for lip service. Israel is simply more valuable to the Arab world as a partner than as an enemy, and this is directly due to wise and forward thinking Israeli policies..
Little did I know what amazing changes would happen the following year.

This was the year that Israel signed normalization deals with the UAE and Bahrain, and peace deals with Sudan and Morocco. 

Who cannot be proud of such accomplishments?

The Abraham Accords go way beyond the specific treaties, though. They mean that Israel is now truly part of the Middle East, with economic ties as well as growing cultural ties. There was a sea change in the Arab world this year, and we now see articles that are pro-Israel and philosemitic in countries that would never have published those a year ago. Saudi Arabia is no longer an enemy. Qatar cooperates openly with Israel. Jordan and Egypt remain hugely antisemitic, but they are buying natural gas from Israel and there is no foreseeable danger of them becoming enemies again.

Clearly the people who accuse the Jewish state of anti-Arab racism were not prepared for Israel - and Israelis - eagerly embracing their new Emirati friends. It turns out that "militant" and "intransigent"  Israel is far more interested in peace with its Arab neighbors than any of Israel's many critics, who often belong to groups with "human rights" and "peace" in their names. 

If  those had been the only amazing accomplishment for the year, dayenu.  But there is so much more.

This has been an annus horribilis for everyone. And yet, under such trying circumstances, Israel one again showed the world how seriously it takes its responsibilities. 

Israel spared no expense to become the world's leader in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. It paid a huge premium on vaccines, and bargained with the leading vaccine manufacturer, in order to get them as early as possible - and to save as many Israeli lives as possible. That is the most basic obligation of any state, yet no other nation acted so above and beyond to save their people's lives. It has been a light unto the nations. 

We can safely assume and be just as proud that Israel has been equally innovative, creative and effective in fighting Iran's nuclear ambitions as it has been in fighting the coronavirus. 

Because of COVID, the number of Palestinian terror attacks went way down this past year. That is one reason the number of Palestinians killed while attacking Jews and the IDF also plummeted.  But the other reason there were fewer casualties is because the IDF keeps continuously improving, learning from its mistakes  It is truly the most moral army in the world, and I am proud of it. 

There seems to be no limit to what difficult problems Israel can solve. I am proud of how Israel responds to so many seemingly intractable problems. In the early days of the intifada there seemed to be no solution - but the IDF found one, managing to bring deadly suicide attacks from 60 in 2002 down to practically none today. For every "successful" attack (if you can use such a term) there have been many failed attempts, and these are truly miraculous. Hamas has been reduced to celebrating attacks that cause only minor injuries because most of their major attacks, thank God, are foiled. Today there are new challenges, but each one is met and solved with brains and creativity.

If Israel had a real Palestinian partner for peace, there would be peace.

Israel has succeeded and continues to succeed in its many accomplishments in building up a desert wasteland into a thriving and vibrant modern country, with its countless scientific achievements, incredible leadership in high-tech and the environment, world class universities and culture. Practically every computer and mobile phone being built today includes technology and innovations from a single small Middle Eastern country. A tiny nation, under constant siege, with few natural resources besides breathtaking beauty, has used its smarts and strength to build a modern success story.

Zionists have every reason to be proud of the incredible achievements of the Jewish national movement. 

The word "Zionist" is not an epithet - it is a compliment.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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