Today we honor -- no, we celebrate -- the sixty-seventh anniversary of Medinat Yisrael, the modern state of Israel. I recently heard someone marveling about how the Jewish pioneers in the early part of the twentieth century "made the desert bloom" -- indeed an impressive and romantic achievement. But it was only the beginning, for Israel's accomplishments have extended far beyond the desert. They have encompassed technology and science, the arts, humanitarian aid, environmental protections, a robust democracy, and much more. All accomplished, of course, in the midst of unyielding international ostracism and war. We may rightly use of the word "miracle" to describe this country, despite the academic and diplomatic nabobs who compulsively condemn the Jewish state.
Yes, there is much work to do. Israel -- like all countries -- is a work in progress. And we fervently hope, with the signers of Israel's Declaration of Independence, that "bonds of cooperation and mutual help" will take root between Israel and her neighbors. Someday. But for today, we marvel as we celebrate one of humanity's most impressive accomplishments: the founding and thriving of the modern state of Israel.
Rabbi Jeffrey Weill