By: Michal Valk, Hanoar Hatzioni Shlicha -United Kingdom
On November 29 we are reminiscent of a very important day in our history, a day which symbolizes the commencement of a major step forward in the Zionist dream for a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel.
On November 29, 1947 The United Nations General Assembly passed, Resolution 181 .Thus calling for the establishment of two independent nations side- by-side in the land of Palestine – a Jewish State and an Arab State with an international enclave around Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The Jewish community accepted, although we were to receive only about 4% of the total land promised to us in the Balfour Declaration (1917), whereas the Arabs rejected it. On May 14, 1948, less than four months after Resolution 181 was approved, and amidst immense pressure from every which side possible of forging the way for a second holocaust, David Ben-Gurion, provided outstanding leadership and declared the independence of a “Jewish Nation to be called Israel”. The Zionist dream – to return to Zion – was now fulfilled 50 years since Herzl gave his opening speech in the first Zionist congress in Basel.
This past year we celebrated 60 years of independence. This small country not only has been able to make its own desert bloom but has created technological advancements that have helped the rest of the world.
Israel has high standards of health services, top quality medical resources and research. It is known to be one of the ten best science and technology developing centers in the world, as well as one of the strongest economies, this past year Israel was granted the prestige invitation to belong to one of the most important global unions, the organization of the 20 most important economies in the globe.
We can say that we are doing well…but you know what… Sometimes I wonder…
November 10th is Israel’s National Memorial Day for Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, z”l who was assassinated because of his opinions. Yigal Amir, the assassin, disagreed with Rabin’s policies and decided to act in a radical, illegitimate way. With three shots he killed the man that for most Israelis was the symbol of “the Israeli”, a Sabra, from a Zionist commander in The Palmach, through Tzahal, and later in politics, he was always a leader.
Disputes and disagreements are part of our everyday life. The Jewish tradition accepts and embraces “Machloket” – disagreements. “Machloket” are everywhere, especially in our scriptures… but there is always place for “Daat Yachid” – one person’s opinions – as opposed to “Daat Rabim” – the majority opinion. It is our Jewish and human duty to explore and ask questions about everything, including our disagreements.
I have always asked myself how such a thing could happen. How can a Jew kill a fellow Jew? How could we have prevented such a terrible action? But most importantly, how can we be sure it will not happen again?
But guess what …recently on Israel’s Friday night news an interview with Yigal Amir was heard. Is this the man we should be listening to? A man who didn’t give his fellow man a chance to live just because of his different opinion?
On this Year, 61 Years since UN resolution 181, and 13 years since the assassination that traumatized a nation, we reunite, not only to remember and reminisce, but also to foresee our future, were are we headed? Is this the place we want to go? And how/what can we do to make a difference. Israel is not a perfect place, but it is ours, it is our only nation, the only Jewish nation, if not us who, if not now when?