Yet another topsy-turvy week in Israel. One moment our heads are lower butting each other over the role of the Supreme Court in a Jewish State and the next our heads are lifted up watching German and other foreign nation pilots fly 11 fighter jets in celebration of Israel’s 75th Independence Day celebrations. It’s almost surrealistic, but it’s real.
We barely concluded remembering our Holocaust and now begins Memorial Day to honor our fallen soldiers. On Tuesday, our cemeteries will be packed with mourning crowds and in the evening those same crowds will fill our city streets and squares with dancing and song to celebrate our independence and return to our homeland.
One more grave story for our people, one more brave story to remember. This is the bittersweet of our life in Israel. Like the fireworks that will light up the skies on our Independence Day, the celebrations will be just a temporary spark to shine some light on the pain of the price we pay to live in this land. Thank God we still know how to celebrate.
These contrasting poles of opposites is the story of Israel. Here we live with Left and Right, secular and religious, the mundane and the holy, conservative yet tolerant. Our very existence as a state is filled with contrast.
We have become a military and technological superpower, yet we battle daily with the boycotts and condemnations of a world that wants to limit our power and influence. We are the country that traveled 4 million miles to get to the moon and then crashed just a few yards before landing.
It took us 2,000 year to get back to our homeland, but even here we don’t have a moment’s quiet. We gave the world the Word of God’s love for mankind, and we are a people hated by humanity.
Our forefathers understood this dilemma thousands of years ago when they taught us that in the beginning the response to the chaos that was over the surface of the deep God spoke and light came into being (Gen 1:2). It was their faith in God that gave them strength to keep walking through the valleys and shadows of death toward the hope of greener pastures and quieted waters.
In the final analysis, only when we are willing to turn our hearts to the creator of Israel will we find the golden streets that will lead us on the path to our eternal home and our true Shalom.
We are a nation taught to love our neighbor as ourselves, and so we will feel both the pain and suffering of every Israeli and every family, and we will rejoice at our every and any unfathomable accomplishment no matter how great or small.
Happy Independence Day Israel. May you be comforted in your hope.
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