Today is Israel’s Memorial Day, Yom HaZikaron. As we remember the soldiers who have fallen in battle and others who have lost their lives to terror, we wanted to share with you this reflection from our friends at The Council for Peace and Security. As veteran leaders of Israel’s security establishment, they are focused on what Israel can and must do to secure a bright future as a Jewish and democratic state.
The Council for Peace and Security sends its blessings for the 68th anniversary of the State of Israel to the citizens of Israel, to the IDF and to all our security forces, who protect our country and give it its power. We also send our blessings to the Jewish people in Israel and around the world, for whom Israel was established as the national home.
The week prior to our independence day, which begins with the holocaust memorial day, continues with a memorial day to all those who died in Israel’s wars and ends with a celebration of our independence, might be the most Jewish and Zionist week of the year.
During this week and these days, we are required to examine the meaning of our independence and the independence of the Jewish people in their land in the light of the Zionist vision. We can be filled with pride over all that we have accomplished — the establishment of a defense force that ensures Israel’s unquestionable security might, the absorption of immigrants during the first years of the country and thereafter, the establishment of an economic infrastructure which puts us at the forefront of developed countries, the establishment of a magnificent educational system, the establishment of a public health system that serves all of our residents, and above all, the laying of the foundations of a Jewish and democratic state that promise “full social and political equality to its citizens with disregard to their religion, race or sex” as mentioned in our scroll of independence.
When it comes to the meaning of our independence we must ask ourselves: Are these mighty accomplishments guaranteed to last? Will we be able to celebrate them on the next independence day and the one after that? What about in the next few years and in the next generations?
When we look at ourselves in the mirror, as a society and as a state, many of us fear that our independence is not guaranteed for years to come and for the generations ahead. The dangers we face are from within — threats that our military might wasn’t designed to deal with. The long-standing stagnation in the political process with the Palestinians jeopardizes Israel’s existence as the national home of the Jewish people and erodes the country’s moral and democratic fiber.
The Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF vividly expressed these concerns in the end of his speech in a national Holocaust Memorial ceremony: “What is the purpose of us coming back to our land? What should be considered sacred and what shouldn’t? What ideals should we hold up? And mostly — how must we proceed to fulfill our destiny as a light of all nations and as an exemplary society?”
To ensure our independence for generations to come, we must hold true to the vision that established the State of Israel as the national home for the Jewish people and we must protect it with the full might of our security forces.
That being said, we must also work to ensure our democratic character.
The two are entangled — setting our final borders, separate from the Palestinians, will ensure our Jewish and democratic character. These borders will also determine the core values in the heart of our nationality, as well as our moral values.
Happy holiday and may Israel’s independence live forever!
Brig. General (res.) Gadi Zohar, Chairman
Lt. Colonel (res.) Aviv Feigel, CEO
The Council for Peace and Security