Google “Right to Exist” and see what you come up with. I’ll tell you what you don’t come up with: abortion issues or immigration issues or capital punishment issues. You won’t find Iran’s right to exist being debated, or North Korea’s or Syria’s – all of whom should be questioned as to what they are doing, the atrocities they are committing and what they stand for, which should unequivocally cause us to question their right to exist.
No, with this Google query the only entry you get, of course, is “Israel.” Entry after entry, page after page ( I had to go five pages into Google before I found an article about something other than Israel and I believe it was a debate around Donald Trump’s toupee and whether or not it has the right to exist – obviously not). Article after article is about whether or not Israel has a right to exist. It is shocking that as her 65th birthday approaches her very existence is still under question; being challenged and, in too many circles, denied. It is even more shocking that Israel, of all countries, should be singled out for question. Indeed, Israel is exceptional but not for the Anti-Zionist, Anti-Semitic rhetoric you’ll read on those sites.
Israel is exceptional because of what She has accomplished in 65 short years.
Israel is exceptional because She accomplished so much considering She is the 150th smallest country in the world.
Israel is exceptional because She has achieved all this with only 1/1000 of the world’s population.
Israel is exceptional because She has achieved what She has in spite of being under constant threat by enemies all around Her.
Israel is exceptional because relative to Her population, She has absorbed more immigrants than any other country in the world – 350% of its population.
Israel is exceptional because She is the only country in the world to have revived a dead language.
Israel is exceptional because She has more Nobel Prize winners per capita than any other country other than Sweden.
Israel is exceptional because She has more laureates in real numbers than China, Mexico and Spain combined.
Israel is exceptional because She has the eighth longest lifespan (beating UK and US).
Israel is exceptional because She is the only country in the world with net gain in tree growth, even more remarkable as Israel is 60% desert.
Israel is exceptional because She is the only country in the world with shrinking deserts.
Israel is exceptional because because 90% of homes use solar power to heat water.
Israel is exceptional because Her Science institutions rank third in the world and 2nd in space sciences.
Israel is exceptional because She produces more research papers, per capita, than any other country in the world, by a long margin.
Israel is exceptional because She ranks 3rd in highest rate of female entrepreneurs.
Israel is exceptional because She has attracted more venture capital money than any other country, outside of the US, in the world; 30 times more than Europe.
Israel is exceptional because She leads the world in medical patents.
Israel is exceptional because She has more companies listed on the Nasdaq (outside of the US) than any other country in the world (more than Europe, India, China combined).
Israel is exceptional because She has more start-up companies than any other country in the world (other than the US).
Israel is exceptional because She is the only country whose indigenous population returned to its homeland after 2000 years of forced exile.
Israel is exceptional because, in this world, there are 26 Muslim states and 18 Christian states but there is only one Jewish state.
Simply put, Israel is exceptional and Her exceptionality needs to be celebrated, not condemned, which is exactly what we should do this Yom Ha’Atazmaut – Israel Independence Day.
Yom Huledet Samei’akh – Happy Birthday Israel – You are exceptional!
Rabbi Baruch HaLevi
Rabbi B is the spiritual leader of Congregation Shirat Hayam, Swampscott MA and co-author of Revolution of the Jewish Spirit: How to Revive Ruakh in Your Spiritual Life, Transform Your Synagogue & Inspire Your Jewish Community [Paperback & Kindle], Jewish Lights
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