Reflecting on the challenges of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
By Harris Green
Many of Israel’s enemies challenge her right to exist as the Nation State of the Jewish people. They deny the historical rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. They deny the archeological evidence that justifies our claims to this land. They deny the irrefutable links of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. They deny our right to self-determination.
I’m not referring to isolated individuals.
I’m not referring to minor league academics who believe their warped and failed political agendas give them the right to change the historical facts and to recreate a narrative that conveniently ignores the context.
I’m referring to organizations within the international community including the General Assembly of the United Nations, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and UNESCO. These organizations are in flagrant violation of the mandates under which they were established and have dedicated themselves to delegitimizing Israel’s right to exist.
Around 80% of the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly condemn Israel!
Does the international community really believe that if Israel ceased to exist, 80% of the world’s most serious conflicts and issues would simply dissipate?
What has permanent agenda item 7 of the UNHRC done to enhance human rights?
Have UNESCO’s outrageous resolutions regarding Jerusalem and its relevance to Jews done anything to change the historical evidence that supports the centrality of Jerusalem to Jewish life? They have however, had some success in creating doubt thereby delegitimizing our right to statehood. These resolutions fuel the wave of antisemitism currently engulfing even the so-called “more affluent countries” of the world.
Israel is the land where our patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, lived and interacted with the same God we worship today. This is where they are buried. This is where the visions of our Prophets were inspired. This is where we built our Temples. This is where our language was born. King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel 3,000 years ago. This land, its seasons and even its rainfall have been sourced in our century-old prayers long before the emergence of those who claim this land belongs to them.
William Albright, an archaeologist of international repute wrote “there can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition.” To deny Jewish rights to the Land of Israel is contrary to the fundamentals of Judeo-Christian tradition.
We lived in exile for nearly 2,000 years. We were scattered amongst the nations of the world. We weren’t always made to feel welcome. Our heritage was ridiculed. Our loyalties were questioned. We suffered through inquisition. We were the victims of pogroms and blood libels. Only three generations ago we suffered an unparalleled, surgically coordinated genocide that claimed the lives of one third of our people.
For centuries we were the eternal and ultimate scapegoats for the mismanagement and personal greed of despotic rulers. Even today Jewish communities in the diaspora remain soft targets for terror. Their institutions require sophisticated security systems. The number of antisemitic incidents has escalated to an inconceivable level. Who – even just a few years ago – would have believed this sad state of affairs would come about during our lifetimes?
More than 70 years have passed since the establishment of the State of Israel. It seems to me that for too many people, the penny has yet to drop. We’re not going anywhere. We’re here to stay.
At the time of its creation 70 years ago, Israel was home to only 5% of world Jewry. Today 45% of world Jewry resides in the State of Israel. Jews from more than 90 different countries have returned to become useful citizens in a country we can proudly call our own. Our loyalties are no longer questioned. We speak the language of our forefathers – the indigenous language of this land. Our national aspirations could not have become a reality without the belief that this land is our land.
Although Israel has lived under threats of annihilation during her entire existence, we have a strong and resourceful military to protect us. We are now a country that more than pays its way as a sought-after ally and trading partner.
Given the number of failed states that populate our planet, challenging our right to a country of our own is not only an affront to us and our heritage but also to what this country has achieved in the short space of 70 years.
Which country is always the first to provide aid to countries following natural disasters around the world? We don’t only talk about Tikkun Olam. We deliver!
Israeli technology is at the source of everything that opens and closes. From military innovations to cyber security, from medical technologies to life-saving pharmaceuticals, from communications to driverless vehicles, from wastewater recycling to water desalinisation.
You name it. Israel has done it.
But we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. The military threats remain. We have a responsibility to narrow the gap between the more and the less fortunate amongst us. We have a responsibility to those Jews still living in the diaspora.
The international community may have forgotten its responsibilities to us, but we shouldn’t forget our responsibilities to mankind:
- Given the chance, we can make this world a better place in which to live.
- Given the chance, we can advance life expectancy in many African countries by up to 30 years.
- Given the chance, we can easily replicate in other countries what we have so successfully achieved here in Israel.
- Given the chance, we can alleviate many of the dangers resulting from global warming.
- Given the chance, we can provide solutions to the diminishing food supplies for growing populations in developing countries around the world.
There are challenges ahead. We have a responsibility to respond.
About the Author
Harris Zvi Green was born in Cape Town, South Africa and immigrated to Israel nearly 50 years ago. An accountant by profession, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of a number of Israel based hi-tech companies. Harris is a founding member of Truth be Told (TbT), an organization engaged in public diplomacy on behalf of Israel.
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