Never Give Up
The Real Meaning of Israel Independence Day
Iyar 5, 5773 or April 15, 2013
Iyar 5, 5773 or April 15, 2013
This year we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Independence of Israel, which was proclaimed by David Ben Gurion on the 5th of Iyar in 1948.
declaration and its consequences is without doubt the most important event in
the long history of the Jewish people, not only because it rescued so many Jews
from abject decimation by the European killers and haters, not only because it
revived the Hebrew language, not only because Israel has become a military and
scientific powerhouse, not only because Israel is the only democracy in the
whole Middle East, but mostly and mainly because it has restored Jewish self
respect and demonstrated that nothing, and I mean nothing, will destroy us, the
There are today a number of folks with Jewish sounding names whose grandparents were indeed Jews but whose descendants denounce and attack Israel every day. The New York Times, at one time a reliable segment of the American media, has become an anti-Jewish propaganda sheet which includes the rantings of a columnist with an evident Jewish name whose career has been based on bashing Israel every week. Founded by Jews whose descendants have become members of another religion, the Times curses the inhabitants of Israel and screams for the blood of another six million Jews at the hands of the Arab killers whom they call their friends.
Then there are Jews who make their living by speaking at anti-Jewish conclaves at universities and in Arab lands for money and publicity. There is also that whole Jewish “liberal” establishment who endorse the enemies of Israel with money and political support.
In addition, there are the non-Jewish hatemongers Jimmy Carter and the Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who have rewritten the infamous “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and torn a page out of Hitler’s book to attack and hopefully destroy Israel.
It will do them no good. For the real meaning of the Independence of Israel is that we Jews will not give up. We will never surrender. We will never be defeated because we will never accept defeat. Despite the mass murder or because of the mass murder of six million European Jews, Israel became independent once more. Despite the centuries which have passed since the Romans defeated Israel and concluded that “Judea capta,” it is Rome which is no more and Israel which lives.
Large numbers of American Jews intermarry and seek to forget their Jewish origins. Nevertheless, Judaism lives here and in Israel, which now has six million Jews threatened with annihilation by Iran and the 250 million Arabs surrounding them. Yet Israel prevails, as the few Jews have defeated huge Arab armies in never ending wars designed to slaughter every Jew in Israel and in the world.
The lesson is clear. We, Jewish individuals, don’t give up. We never surrender. We are never defeated. We came as destitute immigrants to the United States after suffering the most heinous persecutions yet devised. Without the help, but in face of the opposition of the entire American community, Jewish and not Jewish, we German-Jewish immigrants have succeeded beyond all expectations. What took all other immigrants three generations to achieve, we German Jews achieved ourselves in one generation. No one helped us but we succeeded just the same. Driven by the horrors of our youth and determined to let no one stand in our way, we won where others lost, we lifted ourselves up from poverty to equality, from contempt to citizenship, from misery to respectability.
That then is the real meaning of the Independence of Israel. No matter what obstacles had to be overcome, we overcame them here and there. As Israel defeats its unrelenting enemies each day we, the remnants of the German Jews, achieve more and more each day because we have self respect and are not afraid. In the final words of our Shabbat song “Adone olam” we face each threat with the conviction “Adonai Lee, v’lo eera”.