WHAT a privilege it is to be in Israel as the people of this land celebrate the 50th year of their national rebirth. Truly, the day has come against all odds--wars, terrorism, international vilification and betrayal. And it finds Israel a strong, viable and proven sovereignty, an established world leader in numerous fields.

In many ways, Israel has progressed far beyond what those hope-filled Jews dreamed possible as they danced in the streets in 1948 and heard, above the music of their celebrations, the exploding sounds of war.

In next month's Digest we will be looking more closely at the celebration of Israel's Jubilee. During these past weeks we have been watching, and in a small way sharing in, the series of intense events referred to by some Israelis as their annual emotional roller coaster. For gentiles living here, Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day, Memorial Day for Israel's fallen, and the sharply contrasting celebration of Independence Day are times of deep reflection as we are confronted anew with the suffering of the Jews, the guilt of our nations, and the steadfast faithfulness of Israel's God.

Because of global interest in Israel's anniversary, this year's commemorations were transmitted to millions of homes around the world by global television networks like CNN and the BBC. As the Americans say, it was Israel "in your face" day after day, and one wondered how people used to receiving a regular fare of Israel-the-aggressor from these same news agencies were reacting to what they were seeing now.

Fifty years after the establishment of Israel raised a banner for the nations of the world to rally around, or to oppose, it is increasingly difficult for anyone to ignore, and to remain neutral about, the events taking place in what was once referred to as the centre of the earth.

Back to Middle East Digest - April 1998
Back to Middle East Digest Page {} Return to Home Page

Recommended Links