The logo for the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel resembles a "six" that develops and rolls like a wheel. Indeed, we are on a tire problem, as "gilgul/galgalim" refer to changes and revolving actions, mutations.
The victims that perished for the State of Israel are counted since that year, i.e. 22,437 killed till now, counted since 1860 and the killing of the Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem.
This Independence Day may interrogate in many different ways. It is a recurrent and slow-slow mental process to envision the dream of a free Jewish state; then, to wake up and hurry to constant wars and, in the end. . . how does this state appear to be independent? Who is independent? Where are the barriers, the borders, regions and their connections? Shall we eat the traditional big meat "mangal" - an Arabic word that at least sounds "acculturating" a "bbq = barbecue" for the West, the "shashliki" for the former Soviets and the Oriental Jews. Interestingly, koshrut is more and more a problem for a certain segment of the population who would like to feel free to have pig-pork sausages. The question was of course the same some 60 years ago.The state was anxiously declared by David Ben Gurion, an exceptional politician heading a group of prodigious, mammoth-like strong-minded co-fighters. We miss them. We miss this spirit of width, breadth, depth, insights shaking any mental and stubborn barriers. Are we 59 years-old? Or 89, if counting from 1860? Should we count down from the arrival of the Inquisition survivors and the false messiah Shabtai Zvi? Or refer to Rabbi Luria and his Shulchan Aruch accepted by all Jews and that spiritually paved the way to some sort of pre-ingathering process?
"Rebekah went to consult the Lord and He said: "Two nations are in your womb, two people are quarreling while still in you. . . Isaac was sixty years old when Esau and Jacob were born." (Bereishit 25:23-24). Oh, we love this verse! It would explain anything, everything, except who we are indeed. But, in the sixtieth year of the existence of the State of Israel, it maybe useful to consider that Israel/Jacob's father was only sixty and that we may not have reached the real point of Jacob's wrestling in the night. We can be egotistic, condescending, arrogant, quarreling eggheads or self-centered aesthetes.
The philosopher Eliezer Schweid suggested a reasonable and very Israeli absorption system explanation for why we use a hammer and knock the head of our fellow people on the Independence Day. He described it as a sign of "anonymity" in a country where each ego is altogether a state, a government, a region. . . or the world. It has nothing to do with the present rather "prudent condition of anonymity" that allows people to hide from others and gossip with some evil tongue. True, anonymity means that each person is drifted to firstly clutch and accept first to the unity of the Jewish society. This is a major problem as regards all those who, inside Israeli society, show more aggressiveness toward the Hebrew community. It is diversified. Druses, Bedouins, Gypsies, Tcherkesses and Georgians; according to the statistics, an increasing number Arabs (Christian and others) serve in the Israeli Army which maybe confusing and dangerous, but still in conformity with the law that should be respected. Few independent countries of the world would accept to include soldiers that could turn to enemies. This is definitely a point on the Yom HaZikkaron / Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims Remembrance Day, in particular after the contested Lebanon war II.
Independence Day, in Israel, is also special because of the annual Bible Quiz, first organized in 1958. It means something very special. There are whizzes that come from all over the world for this competition. Thus, Israel is more, much wider than the country that has to be determined with righteousness and for the good of every inhabitant. Yom HaAtzma'ut is rooted in the creation of the state in the grafting of the Jewish identity, spiritual background and the Scripture. The Torah is then the reality of the Klal Israel (whole community of Israel). A curious occurrence for the remnant of the Tribes whose priests were not allowed to own any properties nor lands, but served God in the Temple with perpetual reference to this Eretz Israel. It is thus funny and normal to find a Messianic Jew among the possible winners. . . contested by the rabbis.
At this point, all attempts for Israel to be recognized to the full and her real identity by the Churches resemble to mirages in daytime dreams. Israel is not recognized in depth, more tolerated and denied in too many situations. This is a part of the permanent stuttering and hesitant monologue whose words can hardly be heard by both parties, with the exception of a very few people of good will. Irrational contests or disputes are dangerous and must be handled with prudence, wisdom. It is maybe a paradox, but the Churches had scarcely been contradicted by the Jews over the past 1500 years. When Jesus was born, he was not the citizen of any sort of Jewish State. Then, all the political issues that can exist as a consequence of local backgrounds, the Independence Day of Israel cannot, at the moment, be viewed as a "new grafting" of the olive-tree into a modern state (Romans, chapters 9-11). Again, it will take a lot of time and honest, free outspoken discussions. Theological disputes are like matches that can put fire to fireworks, stakes or "candles of life. At the present, Israel has, in some hidden way, a very spiritual, mystic function that grows as years pass. This was unforeseen by the Orthodox, Catholic and other Churches and their heads. It underscores that, according to the Gospel, the interfaith dialogue is at the heart of the coming years, without vain or unrealistic dreams.
In Hebrew, "Atzma'ut - independence" comes from "atzmi - self/personal"; "sherut atzmi = self-service". It is linked to "atzam - to close, press, especially the eyes; to acquire, possess". And "etzem - bone" (because bones are solid and strong). "Hit'aztem - to be headstrong, stubborn in an agreement; to fortify". Bones are never self-sufficient. Maybe, even if Hebrew, the word is not the sole or precise word to speak of "independence". A bone needs "moach - marrow and wit" and "ruach -spirit". This is why the best way to talk about such a day as having also some theological elements to discover is the vision of the "anonymous bones that move together and raise to be revivified" in Ezekiel 37. It allows overcoming any political attempt to reduce the resurrection to humane actions.
May 7, 2008 - 2 deIyyar 5768