SEVENTY FACES OF ISRAEL

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By: Sergio Edelstein, Mazkirut Olamit Hanoar Hatzioni

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This is what the State of Israel should be: rich, innovative, effervescent, spiritual, creative,
encompassing, home! In seventy different ways, we can and must see the Israeli society, a
mosaic and puzzle of the rich and millenary cultural Jewish spectrum, diagrammed after the
expulsion of the Jewish people from their land, with the destruction of the Second Temple and
our dispersion throughout the world. The State of Israel will be the bridge between the Jews in
their land and the Jews in the diaspora, a bridge of union and of the strengthening of identity
and shared destiny.

There is Gefilte Fish, there is Jachnun and there is Injera; there is an Ashkenazi-style prayer and
a Sephardic-style prayer. But we cannot break or neglect for a second the primary value of the
consolidation of Medinat Israel – solidarity and union among its components. And this is our
premise as people who care, as Zionists committed not only to the now and the today but also to
tomorrow, to the continuity of our people and sovereign state. Without tolerance and respect
for one another, there is no future. Assimilation is not our only threat. Unfortunately, more
threatening are the sectarianism and separatism that we are witnessing in recent years, and that
some sectors attempt to deepen within the Israeli society and the communities in the diaspora.

Those who do not accept the wise saying of “There are Seventy Faces to the Torah”, which
highly enriches our sources and was stated by our sages during generations of creativity,
discussion and dialogue, lead us on the path of Sinat Chinam (baseless hatred), which
tremendously damaged the continuity and existence of our people during dark times. Nowadays,
our people have managed to overcome those dark times due to all the teaching and legacy that
we carry in our cultural and national baggage. Israel cannot be “one more” country, or like any
other. We must be an exemplary society for ourselves, for our solidarity and consolidation and
for the entire humanity, as a people with foundations worthy of being the value base for the
whole of humanity.

These values of our shared narrative are based on being able to see and contain “Seventy Faces of
Israel”.
Chag Sameach!

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