Yom Ha'atzmaut 5776: Joyful or Disappointed?
Those who say that Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) is a time for joy, praise of G-d and gratitude are right. But those who point out the process of retreat and loss of sovereignty in Israel are right, as well.
If you compare our situation today to the situation of the Jewish Nation just a few years prior to the establishment of the State of Israel – you will jump for joy at our present condition. Despite all our mistakes, in a truly miraculous manner, Israel is growing and developing against all odds. How can we not thank our Father in Heaven for all the love and kindness that He has showered upon us since we have returned to our Homeland? But how are we supposed to feel when we see our country regressing to its former, pre-State status?
We celebrate every child’s birthday – even if he is ill. The parents are grateful for the child and hope that he will grow and develop. And what if the child is in danger, G-d forbid? And what if he is in the hands of someone who is incapable of safeguarding his existence?
We must always be thankful. And we must always rejoice in G-d’s gifts to us. But it is a different type of joy. It is no longer the elation of the Six Day War or the settlement days of Gush Emunim. After Gush Katif and Amonah, after all the failures against Hizbulla and Hamas, after Iran’s great victory and worst of all – as we lose our hold on our holy Temple Mount; after we have understood that the State of Israel is being led by people who are incapable of infusing it with vision, rendering them incapable of safeguarding its existence – after all of this, our joy at our independence is diluted with worry and a heavy sense of responsibility.
The process of the Return to Zion is not necessarily deterministic. Those who said that there would be no expulsion from Gush Katif because that was determined in Heaven, made a grave error. We did not understand that in Yamit and then it flew in our faces again in Gush Katif. The visionless leadership did implement an expulsion from our Land and nobody is promising us that this is the end of the process. True, we all know how the final scene of the movie is supposed to play out. Israel’s redemption will not suddenly melt away. But will the scenes leading up to the grand finale be joyous or horrific? That depends on us.
The progress that Zehut has made since last Independence Day is immense, way beyond our expectations of a political party’s first year. We must prepare ourselves for the challenges that await us, never removing our focus from our goal. We must build the tools with which to lead Israel.
Let us pray that by next Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel will be celebrating with the leadership of Zehut.
It all depends on us.