Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I am a Zionist

Reuven Koret

I belong to a people who brought the Bible to the world, transmitting the tradition of the Torah, the Ten Commandments, and the idea of One God from generation to generation.

I am part of an ancient nation that reclaimed its homeland two thousand years after being expelled from it, rising up like a phoenix from the ashes and impotence of the Holocaust.

I am a citizen of a country that has gathered in her scattered people, taking in refugees from one hundred nations, rescuing the persecuted and the impoverished, welcoming idealists and adventurers and restless wanderers who chose to join her, like me.

I am defended by the IDF, the finest small fighting force in the world, a citizens' army with high moral standards and purity of arms second to no other nation.

I am grateful to merit Jerusalem as my capital, the place to which our people have always turned, the city that our soldiers reunited and redeemed from desecration after our enemies destroyed her synagogues and sacred sites, using her shrines as garbage dumps and the tombstones of our ancestors to line their sewers.

I am grateful to walk the streets in a land where a Jew can wear a skullcap or a Star of David or a black robe without fearing ridicule or persecution or even looks askance.

I speak and understand Hebrew, the sacred tongue of Holy Writ, a "dead language" revived by our people so that our nation would have a common basis for communication. I am proud that every child can read the Torah in its original form.

I raise my children in schools where the victories and tragedies of our people are remembered, where the holidays celebrate our God and our traditions.

I participate in the only democracy in a region of the world where freedom of expression and human rights are otherwise absent.

I live in a land where I can speak of our national flaws, our social failings, our fallible leaders - and there are many, many of each -- without fear of being censored, imprisoned or executed.

I am proud that our country is hated by some of the most vicious, cruel, backward, repressive, terror-supporting dictatorships in the world.

I am proud that the morally vapid governments of Europe, Africa, and Asia, along with the UN in which their majorities rule, have nothing better to do than to condemn us.

I am proud that our strongest ally is the greatest nation in the world, and proud that its people and its elected representatives stand by us and prevent us from isolation and condemnation by lesser nations with weaker moral fiber.

I am proud of our entrepreneurial accomplishments, our research, our technologies, our innovative products.

I am proud of our artists, our musicians, our authors, our athletes, and our pilots. I'm proud of our national airline, and its legendary security checks, and I'm proud that by now they let me pass with a few perfunctory questions.

I am proud of my fellow citizens, who have shown such grace and courage under fire, refusing to allow their love of life and their passion for freedom to be sapped by death-seeking, freedom-hating terrorists.

I am proud of our compassionate leftists, and our patriotic rightists. I'm proud of our unbending ultra-Orthodox and our ultra-rational secularists. I'm proud of our pioneering settlers and our peace-seeking activists. I am proud that we are a stiff-necked people.

I belong to a people who dwell alone, yet shine a light unto the world. We may not always be right, but we're never as wrong as our enemies claim. And even when we are wrong, we are a nation that seeks to make things right.

Our people holds the birthright to the land on which we live, inscribed in the Bible, proven by archaeological excavations, and verified by the investment of agricultural, industrial, and financial investments we have made, sealed by our sweat and by our blood, by our tears of sorrow and of joy, to develop and defend our country.

We stretch out our hands in peace to our Arab neighbors, in full knowledge that they rejected the UN Partition in 1947, invaded our fledgling state in 1948, tried to strangle us in 1967, surprised us on Yom Kippur in 1973.

We pray for a just settlement with the Palestinian people, even though from the inception of the PLO in 1964, before the conquests of the Six Day War, their leadership has been dedicated to liberating Palestine, which means eliminating Israel.

We have endured from the Palestinians unceasing terror attacks ever since, and despite all political agreements and diplomatic initiatives, we see that the Palestinians continue to incite their people to despise us and to aspire to destroying us. We have offered to share our land with our neighbors, but we will not give land to be used to drive us into the sea.

Even if hundreds of millions of people hate us, even if some nations pray we did not exist, even if some of our enemies won't rest till they kill us and many in the rest of the world don't give a damn, I couldn't be prouder. We have come home, and this is it.

I am an Israeli, a citizen of the one and only Jewish homeland. I thank God that I was a born in a time when I could fulfill the dream of two thousand years to return to Zion.

I am a Zionist, a believer and supporter and defender of our reborn nation.

And you who read these words, with compassion and understanding and identification -whether you are Jewish or not, Israeli or not -- you are a Zionist, too.

Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.

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