Israel at 70: More than a Startup Nation

Video published on Apr 15, 2018 by the Teddy Benhamou YouTube channel – Start Up Tv Show in Sossa Tel Aviv (1st Edition) – Produced and directed by Neo Prod Israel : Teddy Benhamou – Concept by Stephane Calvo

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Israel at 70: More than a Start-Up Nation

Israel’s flag testifies to our miraculous, unfinished mission.

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

When I first visited Israel at age 24, a proud American who adored the Statue of Liberty and the Fourth of July, I was struck by Israeli flags waving everywhere from government buildings to private homes to yeshivas. Then, as I studied Torah and walked in the footsteps of Abraham and King David, I began to appreciate how that flag – with its six-pointed star and two blue stripes – bespoke a flourishing ideal, unparalleled in human history.

This idea was punctuated a few weeks later when Natan Sharansky – after a decade in harsh Soviet prison for the audacity of wanting to go to Israel – was finally freed. That same evening I joined thousands of euphoric Jews at the Western Wall, raising Sharansky on our shoulders in a triumphant cry of Am Yisrael Chai – “the Jewish nation lives!”

What was the secret of this magical land?

When the State of Israel was proclaimed, the world watched with great anticipation. Everyone knew of the Jews’ awesome impact – from the rabbinic greats Maimonides and the Vilna Gaon, to the groundbreaking work of Freud, Einstein and countless Nobel laureates. If the Jews could achieve this despite difficult exile – Crusades, Inquisition, pogroms, and Holocaust – then reunited in their ancient homeland they would surely transform the world.

Israel’s first 70 years have been nothing less than astounding. Israel rose from a population of 800,000 in 1948, to 8.6 million today – multiplying more than 10-fold. (By contrast, the U.S. population has slightly more than doubled in that time.) Prior to the Holocaust 80 years ago, only 3% of Jews worldwide lived in Israel. Today that number is 45%, and for the first time in 2,000 years, the largest Jewish population center is Israel.

On a broader scale, Israel’s growing economic, military and diplomatic clout now ranks it one of the world’s top-10 superpowers. Israel has achieved the unimaginable by reviving Hebrew as a spoken language, while miraculously “ingathering the exiles” – nearly a million immigrants from Middle Eastern countries, and another million from the former Soviet Union, plus dramatic returns of Ethiopian Jews and “lost tribes” from the Far East.

This rebirth of the Jewish people in their homeland is totally unprecedented in the annals of history.

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