The Elder and I have partnered up in a certain kind of way.
He has allowed me to publish some of my material on Sundays at the Elder of Ziyon blog and to publish some of his material here.
He wrote the original version of this essay around 2002 and has been modifying it since then.
Here is this year's edition:
Every year, the State of Israel seems to be up against yet another unsolvable crisis. These have ranged from wars to suicide bombings to terror rockets to facing the prospect of nuclear-armed enemies. This year the threats are more political, but no less concerning, as haters of Israel attempt to move forward with their decades-old attempts to delegitimize Israel.
Yet, here she is, 66 years old and more beautiful than she was at birth.
In prayers every morning Jews recite a phrase praising G-d, describing Him as המחדש בכל יום תמיד מעשה בראשית - He who continually renews the act of Creation. In other words, the Jewish concept of G-d has him in an active role keeping the universe running, and as such it is appropriate to praise Him.
It is a little hard to conceptualize this idea, that the very laws of physics, that the world rotating and revolving around the sun is not automatic, but only occurs due to the constant will of G-d. But perhaps it is easier to understand this phrase if we apply it to the modern state of Israel.
Every single day that the Jewish state continues to exist cannot be explained adequately with historical or social or military reasons. Which means that we are witnessing a miracle every day.
When we step back and look at the big picture, Israel is something to be very proud of.
Yes, I am a Zionist and I am proud of it.
I know that Israel has the absolute right to exist in peace and security, just like - and possibly more than - any other country.
I am proud of how the IDF conducts itself during its war on Palestinian terror. There is no other country on the planet, save the US, that would try to minimize civilian casualties in such a situation where innocent Israelis are being threatened, shot at, mortared, rocketed, and murdered in cold blood. At times there are discussions whether the IDF's moral standards are too high and end up being counterproductive - and what other army could one even have that conversation about?
I am also proud that Israel investigates any mistakes that happen on the battlefield and keeps trying to improve its methods to maximize damage to the terrorists while minimizing damage to the people that the enemy is hiding behind. This is not done because of pressure from "human rights" organizations - it is done because it is the right thing to do. Even when everyone knows that the world will accuse it of "war crimes," the IDF retains incredibly high moral standards. It would be so easy for Israelis to say that since the world will accuse them of atrocities anyway, then why bother with holding to such standards - but young Israeli soldiers do, day in and day out. The rare exceptions prove the rule.
I am proud that Israel remains a true democracy, with a free press and vigorous opposition parties, while in a constant war situation.
I am proud of how Israel responds to seemingly intractable problems. In the early days of the intifada there seemed to be no solution - but the IDF found one, managing to bring deadly suicide attacks from 60 in 2002 down to practically none today. The enemy has not stopped trying, and if Israel hadn't acted decisively things would look like Iraq or Afghanistan today. For every "successful" attack (if you can use such a term) there have been many failed attempts, and these are truly miraculous.
There is a right and a wrong in this conflict, and I am proud that Israel is in the right.
Today's battles are completely different. They are battles against Israel's very legitimacy. Jews know something about being singled out, about being judged with double standards. They have been attacked for being too rich and too poor, too successful and too needy, too capitalist and too socialist, too religious and too secular, too insular and too integrated. These same wildly inconsistent attacks are now targeting the Jewish state. Israel will survive and thrive, just as Jews themselves have, despite these attacks.Yet if one looks up the word "Zionist" on Google Images - which I just did - we get virtually nothing but hatred.
And the best survival technique is success.
Israel has succeeded and continues to succeed in its many accomplishments in building up a desert wasteland into a thriving and vibrant modern country, with its many scientific achievements, incredible leadership in high-tech and the environment, world class universities and culture. Practically every computer and mobile phone being built today includes technology and innovations from a single small Middle Eastern country. A tiny nation, under constant siege, with almost no natural resources besides breathtaking beauty, has used its brains - and strength - to build a modern success story. In a short period of time Israel made itself into a strong yet open nation that its neighbors can only dream of becoming.
And they are indeed starting to dream. The internal struggles throughout the Arab world are, in many ways, a subconscious cry from Israel's neighbors to be more like the Jewish state. Despite the constant incitement against Israel in their media, ordinary Arabs know that Israel treats its minorities with more respect, and gives them more civil rights, than Arab nations give their own Arab citizens.
I am proud that the vast majority of Americans support Israel as I do, and that the rabid haters we see on the Internet and on college campuses are the aberration.
The word "Zionist" is not an epithet - it is a compliment.
In the west this hatred is primarily coming from the progressive-left.
What puzzles me is why so many Jewish people promote a political movement that reviles their own children.