63 years ago, Israel was established, giving the Jewish people their own state. Over the ensuing decades the tiny country has been attacked with everything from sticks and stones in its own sovereign territory to words in the hallowed halls of the United Nations. Through a combination of ceaseless vigilance and sheer faith the people of Israel have persevered in the face of relentless bombardment of hard and soft bigotry–not to mention rockets–and not only persevered but prospered.
Israel has achieved amazing things given its small size and precarious location. Its hulking neighbors, notably oil-rich Iran, seem poised to swallow it up–yet Iran is the one facing unemployment and popular discontent. Israel on the other hand is open for business, boasting an advanced and prosperous industrial economy that welcomes international investment despite security concerns. Furthermore, Israel is notably helpful in the region, doing good deeds such as striking Iraq and Syria’s nascent nuclear programs. Some see our friendship with Israel as a one-way street and advocate cutting aid, but we might find ourselves feeling surprisingly lonely if we pursued that short-sighted policy.
While we contemplate the so-called “Arab spring” with all its exciting promises of spreading democracy, we would do well to remember the free state that has been our good friend for these many years. While the President may take this opportunity to chide the Israelis about achieving a “two-state solution” and sharing their “peace, prosperity and dignity” with “all the people of the region,” I prefer Senator Marco Rubio’s suggestion that we mark the occasion by reconfirming that “we must always support [Israel’s] right to secure and defend its territory and people.”
I join Senator Rubio in wishing joyful and blessed Yom Ha’atzmaut to all our friends in Israel.