Seventy-six years ago this week, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine and the creation of the independent Jewish state of Israel, acknowledging the rights of the Jewish people to sovereignty in their homeland.
While the world endorsed our right to independence, and despite extending our hands in peace, the Arab countries rejected the partition and declared a never-ending war. Following the establishment of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled or left Arab counties.
In just 76 years, Israel has become an economic, technological, and military powerhouse. A modern-day miracle. No nation has achieved as much is such a short time, despite the ongoing wars, hostilities and horrific terrorist attacks from our neighbors. The resilience and determination of the Jewish people is mirrored by our sacrifice and deep pain.
Israel’s pursuit of peace and security has always been paramount. It withdrew from the entire Sinai Peninsula following the Camp David peace treaty with Egypt in 1982, and signed the Oslo Accords, in 1993 handing over most of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and the entire Gaza Strip to the administration of a Palestinian Authority. In 1994 Israel made peace with Jordan and in 2004, it dismantled all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip leaving behind a rich agricultural infrastructure, hoping for a peaceful future with its Palestinian neighbors. The signing of 2020 Abraham Accords opened the doors to peaceful relations with Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. Yet the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East, and the rest of the world, is Islamic extremism and terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthis which are funded by Iran and Russia.
As the world has witnessed the most unimaginable brutalities of October 7, and widespread senseless antisemitism, one thing should always remain clear: our spirit will never be broken! Our right to exist will not be determined by the UN or US congress, and no beast or barbarian will scare us. Our right to exist is God given, and we are here to stay. Strong. Determined, and always hopeful, that He who makes peace in heaven, will make peace here in our beautiful homeland soon in our days.
In the pictures is my grandfather Eliyhu Cohen Aslan, born in 1904 in the heart of Jerusalem and died at the tender age of 95 in the very same house. He fought in the British Brigade in WWII and spent six years in a German prison camp. Upon his return home, he joined הַהֲגָנָה ha-Haganah, the defense force that operated to protect the Jewish population, and fought in the Independence War in 1948. In the 60’s he built the Model of Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period, on the grounds of the Holyland Hotel, which was moved to its new site at the Israel Museum in June 2006.