The State of Israel is nothing short of a true miracle: in her 64 years, Israel has achieved more than any other nation on earth, a miracle that was created by a mosaic of different groups.
A wise man once said that Israel is the only country in the world that was founded on a dream: each group had its own — one was hoping to recreate an Eastern European shtetl, another was dreaming of an egalitarian kibbutz; one aspired for an urban Western style of bourgeoisie, and the other was eying the Orient. At times, our various dreams and aspirations collided.
However, Israel’s incredible success proves that much can be achieved in spite of these profound differences, and some would argue because of them. Moreover, the sense of a shared destiny hovered above and made it all possible.
In her 64 years, Israel has been characterized first and foremost by her love of life, and there is nothing more symbolic of life than water, embodying its source and essence. While coping with the water scarcity at home, Israel has become over the years a global leader in the fields of water desalination, management and conservation. Hence, Israel is proud to lead the world in the rate of water re-utilization (76 percent).
Water is also a wonderful example of what can be achieved together: as a rare resource not only in Israel, but in the Middle East as a whole, it constitutes an opportunity for all the peoples of the region to come together and join hands in the struggle to create a better future for our children. It is in this moment, when we are reminded of our basic needs of survival, that we have the opportunity of connecting with each other on the most human level.
Water is only one case in point of what Israel has become over the years: an inspirational source of creative energy, where dreams come true.
Whether in the field of medicine, or theater, modern dance, bird migration, high-tech, bio-technology or filmmaking, nano-technology, religious studies, green energy or emergency preparedness — Israel is a major player, with her strongest skill of all: the human resource and ingenuity.
Israel’s abilities have turned her into a true light unto the nations, bettering the lives of each and every one of us.
Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day (April 25 this year), is a day in which we can take a moment in our busy lives to marvel at this modern day miracle: Israel’s creative spirit, energy and endurance.
On Independence Day itself, the parks of Jerusalem and the beaches of Tel Aviv are filled with picnics and barbeques and soaring Israeli flags, full of music and dancing, as the nation comes together to celebrate as one big family and community.
Just like in Israel, many communities in New York and all over the United States join together in these celebrations.
New York, as the world’s largest Jewish city, is a special place in this regard as it is home to the largest annual show of support for Israel worldwide: the Celebrate Israel Parade.
On June 3, masses of supporters from the tri-state region and beyond will collectively show their love and unwavering dedication to Israel. It is a united effort put forth by all members of our extended community to come together as one, and show Israel our love and support. It is a unique day on our calendar where once a year we set aside our differences and agree on one major thing: Israel. This coming together is a testament to the strong bond between the Jewish community and the State of Israel.
This year’s creative theme, “Israel Branches Out,” is specifically fitting as it demonstrates just how diverse and large our community has become. When we come together, we become stronger and can better show the world Israel’s many strengths, contributions and accomplishments. The parade gives us a chance to show the positive impact Israel has had and continues to have on each and every one of us around the world, and this in itself is a reason for celebration.
Yom Ha’Atzmaut marks a unique moment in our history that joins us together as a people and as a nation, celebrating the most meaningful miracle of our modern history: the rebirth of an independent Jewish nation in our homeland. It is a realization of a dream and a prayer long sung in the hearts of our people.
Just as water connects people, Yom Ha’Atzmaut gives us the opportunity to come together as one family and tell the whole world: this is the State of Israel, it is there for you and me to celebrate, and we love her with all our hearts.
From ashes to resurrection, from destruction to sovereignty.
Chag atzmaut sameach.
Ambassador Ido Aharoni is consul general of the State of Israel in New York.
First appeared in The Jewish Week