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Diane Weber Bederman’s Tribute to Yom Ha’atzmaut

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to my palate, if I do not remember you, if I do not bring up Jerusalem at the beginning of my joy. Psalm 137

There is no country in the world like Israel. Israel is not a miniature America, or a replica of any European country. Israel is unique. It is 3500 years old despite the fact that for millennia the Jews were spread far and wide across the land whose name changed at the whim of others. But all over the world, the remaining Jew always prayed-“Next Year in Jerusalem.”

In 1948 the rebirth of the Jewish State of Israel took place on its legal and historical land: Eretz Yisrael, blessed by the League of Nations and then the United Nations. This was no easy task as the Jewish country was under attack from the moment the papers were signed. But this is the Jewish state reborn, and it is like no other: it is a people, a religion, a nation, a culture, a country: from time immemorial. It is a country that has and will continue to withstand outside attacks, and now sadly, like so many other countries, it is under attack from within and will survive these attacks as well.

From the moment God created the Jewish people, He declared us a Light Unto The Nations. And from that moment on, others tried to destroy us; beginning when God, through Moses, took us across the Dead Sea into the desert where Amalek ordered the murder of the weakest amongst us. In every generation there has been an Amalek.

Today, though, for the first time in Israel’s 3500 year history and in particular since the rebirth of the Nation of Israel 75 years ago, the light has dimmed. We, Jews, are known for our discussions and disagreements: two Jews, three opinions. But, we learned from the great Sages like Hillel and Shammai about disagreements; that we can and must learn from the majority as well as the minority report. And we learned about respect. The Mishnah describes the disputes of Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel as "being for the sake of Heaven." But something happened. Today, in our 75th year of the rebirth of Israel, Jews in Israel, on the left, decided that they were going to take down the duly elected government because they did not agree with the policies. The protests swept through the country like a virus. Why? Why now? For decades, people on the right accepted the duly elected government and carried on, carrying that light.

This must be seen as an aberration. We must not let this Jewish state, the only Jewish state of 195 nations, fall from civil unrest. For that is not who we are. This must be seen as a blemish on our history, and not a reflection of our history.

We have fought for our right to be Jewish, in a Jewish state for millennia. God graced us with the opportunity to live, again, on our land, in Eretz Yisrael in 1948, despite the fact the world was against us, again, as always.

We must never let the others destroy us physically or spiritually

We must never let the others tear us apart. Ever.


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