Yom Ha’azmaut greetings from community leadership

April 19, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Australian Jewish leadership has congratulated Israel in its 70th anniversary.

Peter Wertheim, joint-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry writes:”Israel’s 70th anniversary is an appropriate time to marvel at its prodigious accomplishments, to take deep satisfaction at the seemingly insuperable hurdles it has overcome, and to reflect on the challenges that lie ahead.

For one hundred generations of Jews, the longing to regain our political independence and freedom in the historic homeland of our people was merely a dream. For today’s generation, the realisation of these aspirations is a fact of life, but this must never be taken for granted.  Jews everywhere should never lose sight of how privileged we are to live in this present era of restored Jewish sovereignty.

We can take great pride in Israel’s achievements in science, technology, medical research, agriculture and many other fields.   Israel currently enjoys unprecedented military power, economic success and diplomatic acceptance.  Yet the peace we long for remains elusive.

Peter Wertheim

Those opposed to the restoration of Jewish statehood stopped at nothing to prevent it from happening and, from the moment Israel was established, stopped at nothing to try to wipe it out.  Conventional warfare, terrorism, economic and cultural boycotts, demonisation and even the revival of antisemitism have all been tried, and have all failed, in the attempt to bring about Israel’s demise. For this we can thank God, and the steadfastness of Israel’s people and their supporters.

Israel’s enemies have not yet exhausted their repertoire of follies.  More trials undoubtedly lie ahead. The theocratic dictatorship in Iran pursues its pathological ambitions for regional hegemony and, ultimately, for confrontation with Israel.  Palestinian leaders, stuck in a century-long rut of fanaticism, violence and corruption, continue to bring one disaster after another upon their people.

Yet, as we have already witnessed with Egypt, Jordan and, more recently the Gulf States, enmities between nations, as between people, do not last forever.  Over time, the march of history can bring about dramatic changes in relationships between nations.

This makes it all the more important for Israel to hold fast to our Jewish values, to the founding principles of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, to democracy, individual freedom, an independent judiciary and a vigorous free press.  Only then can we remain optimistic, secure in the knowledge that Israel represents the light of the future, while its enemies wallow in the darkness of the past.

Executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein stated: “The 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence is a time to celebrate the incredible achievements of the Jewish State in such a short period, and also to reflect on the challenges ahead.

Dr Colin Rubenstein

Having survived its troubled genesis, being invaded from all sides, much subsequent violence and diplomatic adversity, and, until recently, a lack of natural resources, Israel nonetheless thrives and prospers.

What has not wavered, however, is Israel’s commitment to being a haven for all Jews, and its commitment to genuine democracy for all its people, serving as an example for all those in the Middle East and beyond who aspire to a free, inclusive and open society.

Today, in many ways, Israel is stronger than ever. After struggling for 40 years, its start up economy is now admired by so many nations. It leads in numerous fields, including water and irrigation, medical research and technology. Meanwhile ,Israeli relief teams are often among the first assisting at disasters around the world. Diplomatically,Israel’s reach is stronger and more expansive than ever.Even countries that formerly reflexively opposed and ostracized the Jewish State are adopting more nuanced positions,most notably with several of its Arab neighbours today establishing firm  ties  with Jerusalem.

Harold Finger

While there are challenges ahead, most notably from its recalcitrant Palestinian neighbours, from belligerent Iran and its allies, and others who still question the Jewish State’s right to exist, we have no doubt that Israel will prevail over these hostile forces, showing the same courage, determination and ingenuity that have characterised its remarkable 70 years so far.”

Harold Finger, federal president of UIA, told J-Wire from Israel: “After the emotional tribute to the fallen soldiers at Latrun for Yom Hazikaron and then the celebrations at Mount Herzl for Yom Haatzmaut, I will in 10 minutes witness the might of our Israeli Air Force fly across the skies of over Tel Aviv.”

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