Happy 60th Birthday Israel
Israel turns 60 years old today. In this Examiner editorial, we look back at the achievements and the long odds of success that were overcome:
As the state of Israel turns 60 years old today, it deserves to be celebrated both as one of the most remarkable national survival stories in world history and as a stalwart and admirably democratic ally of the United States. Besieged from all sides from its very inception - five of its neighbors launched military attacks against it at its formation by the United Nations in 1948 - Israel has not just survived. Israel has thrived, thanks to the fortitude and hard work of its citizens, as well as their wholehearted embrace of Western political and economic values.
It is worth noting that Israel has always asked only that it be left in peace. The original U.N. plan called for it to coexist side by side with a newly created Palestinian state, which would have been the first such country in world history. Meanwhile, Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, from the beginning pleaded with non-Jewish residents within Israel to remain in their homes and promised them full civil rights.
But Palestinians rejected both offers, voluntarily left their homes and denounced the U.N.'s two-state plan. Instead, the Palestinians chose permanent warfare aimed at grabbing every bit of the territory for themselves. How absurd, then, that Palestinians today demand a "right of return" to the place their forbears voluntarily left. And they still refuse to recognize the official existence of Israel.
It is worth noting that tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the first Arab-Israeli war as Arab states didn't let the ink dry on the declaration of independence before invading Israel, making their first attempt to destroy the Jewish state. Due to the remarkable fortitude and imagination of the Israelis (they had no army or air force to speak of when the war started), they not only held off the Arabs but pushed them out of their country.
Sixty years later, the Jewish state once again faces an existential threat to its existence as they confront the implaccable hatred of Iran. If the past is any judge, the Jewish people will once again overcome great odds and win the ultimate victory over their enemies who wish to destroy them.
For an excellent read on Israeli independence, see "Israel's Democratic Garrison State Turns 60" by Edward Glick in today's AT.