Video - Israel at 70: Flourishing against All Odds

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Dore Gold - The rebirth of Israel is nothing short of a miracle. It involved dedication and commitment of a national movement that began with the establishment of Zionism, which is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. That movement brought the energies of a people back together and allowed for the Declaration of Independence by David Ben-Gurion in 1948. At its birth, Israel was attacked by multiple Arab armies around it. Territorially, Israel is a country with little or no strategic depth. It takes only four minutes for a jet fighter to cross from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, giving Israel very little early warning time. Ten thousand square miles. You could drop Israel into the Great Lakes, and you wouldn't even hear the splash. Our Arab neighbors have 650 times the amount of territory. That gives them a distinct strategic advantage. That's the miracle that Israelis will think about when they consider what the meaning is of the country being 70 years old. There was this extraordinary commitment to innovation. Every time our adversaries threw at us another strategic challenge, we had an answer. Recently, we've been facing this threat of rocket fire from Lebanon and Gaza. So Israel develops the first really working rocket defense system. To replace the rockets, our adversaries develop tunnels to allow terrorists to come in their hundreds into Israeli territory and kill innocent civilians. So Israel makes the first anti-tunnel system in the world. Israel also developed a formula for integrating diverse immigrants into our society - people from backgrounds like the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, Germany, the United States, India, Great Britain - and despite many flavors of Israeli society we became one. That determination, that commitment to making the Zionist experiment work, gave us enormous strength for facing every challenge that was hurled against us. People like to ask, is Israel closer to being a Sparta, a military powerhouse, or an Athens, a country with art, poetry, and excellent universities? Frankly, Israel has to be both. You can't have an Athens in a dangerous Middle East unless you have some qualities of being a Sparta, which is able to defend itself. Since the days of its founding in 1948, Israel developed a doctrine that it must defend itself by itself. Amb. Dore Gold, President of the Jerusalem Center, served in 2015-16 as Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously he served as Israel's Ambassador to the UN.

2018-04-18 00:00:00

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