Blessings from Israel

This week, Israel marks two important days in the calendar; Remembrance Day and Independence Day.

The former honours 22,437 civilians and members of Israeli security services killed since 1948. Rabbi Ari Kahn noted in his article on facebook that one of the strongest blessings that he can offer to soldiers and to all Israelis is that “they return home safely along with all their comrades, and live normal lives …..” .

When you balance those remarks with current trends in the peace process, they take on greater significance. President Abbas appears to be retreating on previous commitments to recognise Israel. In the words of an official from the Israeli Foreign Ministry: –

The Palestinians cannot negotiate for a two-state solution where one is Palestinian and the other is Palestinian-to-be. This is essential; it is the choice between ending the conflict or failing to end the conflict.”

Yes, Israelis are still very much in need of the blessing of peace. The IDF Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi commented this week how: 

Even after dozens of years of struggle, we have still not lost our hope to live by your side in peace and mutual respect; but I don’t recommend that anyone tests the strength and determination of the IDF.

In direct contrast, as we review Israel’s celebrations for her 61st year, we can see just how much President Abbas has to learn from his adversary. The official event to start the 24 hours of celebrations saw the customary participation of all parts of society, including Druze and Bedouin. Pluralism at its best.

But it is more than that. Israel is a beautiful country. In the winter, you can ski on the Hermon, and then a few hours later you can sunbathe in Eilat. In Jerusalem, you can almost literally walk back thousands of years and touch elements belonging to the First Temple Period. Israeli technology is literally universal, as she has become one of the few countries to possess satellite capabilities.

Israel’s modern history is replete with triumphs, which others would be proud of, but have difficulty in bringing themselves to acknowledge.

Israel has many blessings to offer other peoples and nations around the globe. All are welcome to receive them in peace and with good health. They too have much to celebrate from Israel’s 61 years of independence.

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