Impossible is what Israel is about, and there are few places in the world that are able to take that which can’t be done and do it anyway.
I want to tell you about a special place – perhaps the most unique place on earth, a place where logic is defied and miracles occur.
I want to tell you about this special land. A land of wonder. A land of amazement. A land of dreams. A land of hope. A land of love.
I want to tell you about this special country – a country that breathes with you, and cries with you, and loves with you, and fights with you – a country that is as tough as nails, yet wears its heart on its sleeve.
I want to tell you about this special state – a state forged in war, yet built by devotion and commitment and love and destiny. A state that has to spend every day fighting just to live another day.
This special place, this special land, this special country, this special state has so much meaning for so many people, and yet it’s so personal too.
It’s my Israel, a country like no other, a country that will bring you so much joy and so much pain. It will make you cry and it will make you laugh and will make you weep tears of joy and tears of sorrow.
This small patch of land has witnessed the genesis of time and each bit of dirt is not just dirt, but history itself. It is blessed with landscapes so vast and oceans so blue and sunsets that melt into the sea each night.
Each day, discoveries of long gone eras are unearthed, as the land gives up more of its secrets, and yet each day there’s always more just waiting to be discovered.
In Israel, each grain of sand is loved and battles have been fought across centuries over earth and dust and trees and water.
This is a country whose heartbeat can be felt in the air, whose breath can be felt in the wind, whose tears can be felt in the rain, whose anger can be felt in the storms, whose radiance can be felt in the summer rays beating down.
If you want inspiration, it was invented here.
If you want dreams, they are created each night.
If you want hope, well… it’s the currency of the land and the lifeblood of its people.
This is a country so small with a heart so big that its very embrace can circle the world. For when natural disasters hit, Israel’s outstretched arms are never far away.
This is the place where dreams become real. Where swamps are drained and life restored. When barren deserts are made to bloom. Where inventions of mind boggling ingenuity are brought to reality.
Israel is one of the most creative places you can ever hope to see in all spheres of the human mind. Each day brings new advancements in medicine and in science and technology and defence, from virtual iron domes that protects the skies, to an invisible iron walls that protects the earth beneath it.
From drip irrigation that revolutionises farming methods to cherry tomatoes that just taste so damn good!
From the famous PillCam that allows doctors to see inside a human body and detect disorders to the ReWalk technology that allows disabled people to do the impossible and walk again.
But impossible is what Israel is about, and there are few places in the world that are able to take that which can’t be done and do it anyway.
However Israel is more than just the technological marvels it’s created. It’s more than just the amazing achievements it’s accomplished. It’s more than just the wonders it’s revealed.
It’s also the one place on earth that Jews can truly call their home. It’s the place where we come from, engraved into our DNA, so much so that for every proud Jew, there is a constant calling that we all feel, a pull that we can’t resist.
It’s that sense of hominess that for Jews makes Israel unlike any other country, because our long history in which we’ve been rejected everywhere will not occur in our homeland under our regained sovereignty. It simply can’t, because the soul of this country is the same as the soul of the Jewish people. It’s what makes Israel more like a family than a country, and despite people constantly arguing with each other over politics, parking and religious issues, I believe that at its heart, there is a 4000 year bond that is stronger than all of that.
You can feel it when the sirens go off on Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron and people from all walks of life stand still together. You can feel it when Pesach comes in and families unite to celebrate our freedom at their evening seder. You can feel it in times of crises and you can feel it in times of joy.
As many countries struggle to deal with terrorism, Israel remains strong, forged by a belief that this is our home and if we don’t fight for it here, there’ll be nowhere left to fight for it anywhere. It protects us and the iron dome that extends around the country also extends around the whole Jewish people.
As Israel celebrates its birthday, the people of the world who value freedom and innovation and the desire to make the world a better place, will celebrate it too.
And for Jews in Israel and in the diaspora, we too will celebrate this modern miracle of our time. We’ll show our appreciation and our love and our commitment to our homeland.
Over thousands of years many Jews were forced to leave its boundaries, but Israel never left them. It always lives in our hearts. For when we raise our eyes and look to the hills and the mountains, across the oceans and the lands, across the forests and the deserts and across time itself, we’ll always see our special place, our special country, our special home – forever shining its warmth upon us.
Happy Birthday Israel, we are so lucky to have you!
Justin Amler is a noted South African born, Australia-based writer and commentator on international issues.
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