Israel at 70 - AJC eBook - Page 12

lived in Palestine for generations. There were local Arabs, both Christian and Muslim. There were Druze, whose religious practices are kept secret from the outside world. The list goes on and on. I was moved beyond words by the sight of Jerusalem and the fervor with which Jews of all backgrounds prayed at the Western Wall. Coming from a nation that was at the time deeply divided and demoralized, I found my Israeli peers to be unabashedly proud of their country, eager to serve in the military, and, in many cases, determined to volunteer for the most elite combat units. They felt personally involved in the enterprise of building a Jewish state, more than 1,800 years after the Romans quashed the Bar Kochba revolt, the last Jewish attempt at sovereignty on this very land. “Israelis, with only seven decades of statehood under their belts, are among the newer practitioners of statecraft.” To be sure, nation-building is an infinitely complex process. In Israel’s case, it began against a backdrop of tensions with a local Arab population that laid claim to the very same land, and tragically refused a UN proposal to divide the land into Arab and Jewish states; as the Arab world sought to isolate, demoralize, and ultimately destroy the state; as Israel’s population doubled in the first three years of the country’s existence, putting an unimaginable strain on severely limited resources; as the nation was forced to devote a vast portion of its limi ѕѥՑЁѼ)͔ɕ쁅́ѡչ䁍ݥѠɝ)ѥѥ䁅ͽ͕́ձѥ)ѡЁձЁٔɔɅ䰁եѥ)ͽ䰁ձɅ䁡ѕɽ̸(