Israel’s 74 years of independence
Last week, Israel celebrated the 74th anniversary of its independence. Independence Day comes a day after Israel’s Remembrance Day — a day dedicated to the memory of the fallen soldiers who fought to protect our country. We also commemorate the civilians who were murdered in attacks by terrorist organizations trying to eliminate and destroy our country.
This is a very emotional and difficult time for us, Israelis, who observe these two events annually. On the one hand, we are very happy that we get to celebrate having an independent state—a homeland for the Jews. On the other, we mourn those whom we have lost; those who are no longer able to celebrate with us. We remember the 24,068 fallen soldiers and civilians. It is a particularly difficult time for their families. Personally, these days connect me more than ever to my country, to my people—the Jewish people—to our history, and to our destiny. It is a miracle that this small Jewish nation, exiled from its homeland and forming a tiny minority wherever it found itself for two thousand years, was able to rebuild a modern and free state. Finally, after centuries of persecution, anti-Semitism, and suffering, we have finally been able to establish a strong independent state with a thriving economy. The State of Israel was built on self-determination, strength of character, and the people’s will to have a homeland for the Jews, knowing that we have nowhere else to go.
This makes me proud of my country and my people. It is a strong, vibrant country of democratic values, of freedom, of human rights, of peace, and of helping others in need. It is a country that promotes education, research, and academic excellence, which is apparent through our academic publications and scientists. It is also a country of innovation and technology, which helps the global community and contributes to a better standard of living in all countries—rich and poor. To name just a few of the better-known Israeli innovations: the drip irrigation system that contributes to food security; the Waze app that helps with navigation; the flash drive which is essential for information storage; Viber, which eases communication; Mobileye, a leader on autonomous vehicles; and so many more.
Israel is continuously striving for peace. In September 2020, we signed the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Shortly after, we also established diplomatic relations with Morocco and Sudan. This paved the way for Israel to expand its relations, as seen through the multifaceted partnerships that have quickly emerged with those countries. These are the fruits of peace.
In the last few years, we have witnessed the deepening of the relations between Israel and the Philippines. We have seen Israeli technologies introduced to the Philippines, from defense and cyber security to water, agriculture, information and communication technology, and health. Not only has Israel shared equipment, experience, and strategies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have also sent over humanitarian relief after Super Typhoon “Odette” struck the Philippines last December 2021.
So what would I wish for my country for our 75th year of independence? I wish for us to achieve peace with our neighbors in the Middle East. I wish for us to be successful in developing new technologies that will assist international efforts in combating climate change and food security. I wish for us to be able to work together with other countries in eradicating poverty and hunger, as well as in creating more jobs and more opportunities. I wish for my country to flourish and develop because the success of Israel is also the success of the world.
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Ilan Fluss is the ambassador of Israel to the Philippines.
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