tel_aviv

 

A couple of months ago I attended in the day care center where my mother-in-law spends her mornings at the party given for her birthday together with the celebrations for other colleagues of her born in February. All of them were aged between 80 and 90 years. The animator of the celebration said some festive words dedicated to the anniversary year of the country, welcoming the generations of celebrated, people who participated (those who were in this country) in the founding of the state and its building during the pioneering years. He asked ‘would those in the generation of the founders 70 years ago believe that our country will get where it arrived?’ and of course he was thinking of the positive aspects. And he was right. Who would have imagined 70 years ago that the scattered and persecuted nation of which one third were murdered in the Holocaust would gather their strength to found again a country in the place from where our ancestors had gone into exile 2,000 years ago? That this country will resist and defeat its enemies in seven successive wars? That it will become a technological and scientific power, a center of culture and education, a place where a large number of citizens feel good enough to position it in statistics as the happiest country in the world?

 

jerusalem

 

He was right, but he had said only half of the truth. I do not blame him, it was a festive moment. But the coin has two faces, and other questions can also be asked. Would the founders of the State of Israel imagine that, after 70 years of existence, we have not yet been able to turn the cease-fires into peace and that we can not even promise to their children or grandchildren that they will no longer have to serve in the military? That a president of the State of Israel will be sent to prison for rape, and a prime minister for embezzlement, that much of a generation of politicians are investigated under suspicions of bribery and corruption? That the democratic values ​​of the state are under attack by the very people who were sworn to serve in order to promote and defend them? That one part of the population will try to impose upon the others their vision on a way of life that the previous generations kept firmly, but also with compassion and tolerance? That the descendants of the nation who has been persecuted, exiled and marginalized in 2000 years of history will close their eyes and borders to the sufferings of others, and condemn them to exile instead of sheltering them?

 

haifa

 

70th anniversary is a festive moment. But the celebrations must last only a day or two, and they can not be limited to songs, dances and parades. Zionism is a way of life, it means tradition and values ​​to be lived. The reality – and perhaps this would also amaze the founders – is that although the country of the Jews is 70 years old and although the gates are now open to most of them, more than half of the world’s Jews chose not to live here, and even some of its inhabitants, even some born here decided to go to other places. Maybe it’s normal, maybe it’s a good sign. Perhaps we are condemned to eternal Zionism, and perhaps this is not such a bad thing in the open and dangerous world we live in. Anyway, I think those who live here have to resist the nationalist and messianic instincts, the myths of superiority, the tendency to dictate to neighbors how to live their lives. A tolerant and democratic Israel, where different people can feel at home, where all Jews can live their own Jewish way, where all citizens can be what they are and first of all equally likely to be happy – this is the model that the generation of founders had in mind.

 

nord