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As we approach Passover, Jews remember we are no longer dependent on anyone else to guard our backs.

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The Jewish People’s Council, led by David Ben-Gurion, signed the Declaration and brought forth a Jewish homeland. (Photo: thenagain.info)

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This year of 2021, someone born in Israel before May, 1948 would be seventy-three years old. This is a good round age, surpassing the fabled three score and ten.

A Jew, born in that tumultuous year in Israel, has lived his whole life in freedom, unhyphenated, and not as a member of an ethnic minority, as he might be in every other country in the world. It has not been a garden of roses, three formal wars, and continuous threats from without and within. But, as we approach Passover, Jews remember we are no longer dependent on anyone else to guard our backs.

We have to look back to better appreciate the miraculous story of Israel.

In the days leading up to the Declaration, after the partition decision at the United Nations, it seemed the whole world had turned against the Jews. Britain sold heavy weapons to a number of Arab countries who announced non-recognition of the U.N decision, and plans to march on Jerusalem.

The U.S. State Department urged Ben Gurion, the Prime Minister of the emergent state, not to declare statehood and bring on a new Holocaust. The Palmach numbered under one thousand, the Haganah, just organizing, a few thousand, no heavy armor, and no air force. The Jewish population, numbering 600 thousand, scattered through the territory, faced a hostile Arab population in the millions, and seven organized and equipped armies on its borders.

Ben Gurion, our re-born Moses, appreciating that it was now or never, went ahead with the Declaration. Harry Truman, thanks to the intervention of a Jewish friend, announced U.S. recognition. Nearly one million Arabs fled the territory at the urging of their Arab compatriots and for fear of Israeli retaliation for their hostility.

Fighting even with sticks and stones, the Jews threw back the worst of the onslaught. Jews arrived from around the world to join the struggle. Some pilots flew in with their planes to create a small air force that was effective in turning back the Egyptian army. Jordan retained the Old City of Jerusalem and The West Bank that had been allocated to the Arabs. Similarly, Egypt occupied the Gaza strip.

In the end Israel remained with a larger land area than it had been allocated under the Partition. The price, aside from the destruction of war, was ten per cent of its population killed and wounded.

The agony of those days when the issue was in doubt is painful to re-live, even today. I remember, aged fourteen, going to bed, each night, with fear in my heart.

When Egypt, Jordan and Syria attacked again in 1967, Israel was better-prepared. Israel drove out the Egyptians and Jordanians, occupied the Egyptian Sinai and the Syrian Golan Heights. Though surprised by the Egyptians in 1973, Israel recaptured the Sinai, and bartered it for a peace agreement with Egypt, followed by one with Jordan.

Examining our world today, so many things remain the same, and so many things are very different. The recent Abraham Accords have heralded a number of normalization agreements with Arab countries in the Middle-East and Africa.

These developments reflect the altered status of Israel among the nation. It is now recognized among those who are near the pinnacle of technological achievement in the world. Israeli knowhow can offer important economic and security benefits to any who wish to engage to pursue such benefits. For Arab some countries now appear much more advantageous than the sterile pursuit of Israel’s downfall.

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What appears no different is the widespread development of an anti-Israel sentiment which is currently the more-politic face of a continued flush of antisemitic feeling. In some measure it is the product of pan-Arabism cum Islamism carried into the west on the back of Islamic integration. It feeds and rejuvenates the imbedded historic religious origins of anti-Jewish feeling going back centuries. It has made a marriage with the white-supremacist movements in many countries.

We are yet witnessing the growth pangs of this democracy in Israel in its early stages. It is confronting so many of the challenges it was born with. It is absorbing the twenty percent of its population that have been raised on a diet of rejection and hated, and coming to the realization that their lives are better here than the experience of their co-religionists. This is the realization that has just struck the Arab Christians in Israel. They are re-defining themselves as Arameans rather than Arabs.*

It has to deal with Orthodox Judaism which finds it difficult to co-exist with a secular government. It has to deal with a political system almost designed for impasse. And yet, they have created a nation whose accomplishments astound the world. They will solve these problems as well.

While Jews everywhere have always obeyed the biblical injunction toward loyalty and devotion to the countries of their refuge, they have never ceased “to weep by the rivers of Babylon”. That sentiment ultimately led to a “return” by some of our brothers and sisters. And as they are our brothers and sisters, we cannot fail to be concerned with their welfare. These days, more and more, however, the shoe is on the other foot.

With the rising prominence, even relevance, of Israel, it is we Jews in THE diaspora that will be receiving warmth from the reflected glory of that declaration of independence.

*The Head Prelate of Arab Christians, who, Arab-speaking, used to identify with the Arab Palestinian cause, has issued a call to his followers to become supporters of Israel, including volunteering for the IDF, recognizing that their origins pre-date Palestinian residency, and include the Jewish followers of Jesus, and Aramaic-speaking residents of the area. The Jewish state recognizes Aramaic as an ethic group in Israel. Arab Christians can now register themselves as Aramains instead of Arabs. They are now volunteering for national service in the hundreds. The IDF is not compulsory for them as it is for Jews. Christianity under the Palestinian Authority has been decimated.

Max Roytenberg is an author, poet and blogger, with many published articles in Jewish periodicals in Dublin, New York, Winnipeg and Vancouver. After a career as an Economist and Executive in the Food Industry, in Canada and abroad, he writes, and lives with his Bride, in Vancouver. He has children and grandchildren in the US, Canada, China and Israel. His last book, “Hero In My Own Eyes”, is available through major booksellers and on Amazon.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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