Uniting the new and old as Israel marks birthday

June 24th, 2015 10:59 am

First Posted: 4/17/2013

Celebrating the 65th anniversary of Israel, one cannot help but be struck by the incongruity of conflating an ancient people with a birthday befitting a baby boomer.

Indeed, the old and new coexist side by side in the Jewish state, perhaps like no other country in the world. Unlike in modern Greece, for example, citizens of Israel converse in their ancient tongue, a language that would still be intelligible to the Hebrew prophets who lived here in the biblical era.

Archaeological sites that are an integral part of our landscape are discovered regularly, giving constant, tangible evidence of the Jewish people’s ancient ties to this particular strip of land. At the same time, Israel is an eminently modern country, overrepresented in the number of patents it produces per capita, in the number of Ph.D.s, published scientific papers, companies listed on Nasdaq and startups per capita.

Israel at 65 remains a country of paradoxes and contradictions that strives to fuse new and old, particularism and universality, vitality and vulnerability.

Israel at 65 has not resolved the Jewish predicament and has even created a set of new challenges.

But its accomplishments are mind-boggling considering they were achieved while fighting conventional and nonconventional wars, absorbing a huge immigrant population and providing basic democratic rights to every citizen, regardless of race, creed or religion — including those openly opposed to Israel existence as a Jewish state.

The Jerusalem Post