In what Middle East country do Arabs enjoy the greatest civil rights and political freedom? Algeria? Libya? Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Lebanon? Syria? The Palestinian Authority, either in its main branch or in Hamastan? Well, at least we’re getting warm. The answer of course is Israel. It is a fact that captures much of the sickness of the unrelenting worldwide campaign against Israel. We have proclaimed ourselves proud friends of Israel since planting our site in the blogosphere and we salute the country today on its sixtieth anniversary.
Israel is a beacon of freedom and humanity in the world’s toughest neighborhood. In every area of modern life the country boasts a genius that on a per capita basis must be unrivaled. Among the many articles and posts worthy of consideration regarding Israel’s anniversary are those by Bret Stephens on “Israel’s sixty-year test,” Michael Oren on Israel as “America’s best friend,” Alan Dershowitz finding Israel “So deserving of praise,” Andrew Bostom on “Israel at 60,” and Steve Felder and Robert Sklaroff on “Israel at 60 — give or take a few thousand years.”
JOHN adds: As the site’s resident Gentile, let me add that thirteen or so years ago, my wife and I spent two wonderful weeks in Israel, courtesy of a friend and client for whom I had the good fortune to win a hotly-contested case in the federal court here in Minneapolis. It was one of a handful of experiences that can, without hyperbole, be described as life-changing. Like most Americans, I’d always been pro-Israel, but spending some time there, and on the West Bank, strengthened immeasurably my appreciation of the Israelis’ accomplishments and of the challenges they face.
We toured Jewish, Christian and Islamic holy sites; had a submachine gun pointed at us by a Palestinian guard on Temple Mount; boated on the Sea of Galilee; explored archaeological digs from one end of the country to the other; hung out in old Jerusalem; partied in Tel Aviv, one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities; and picked up off the ground mosaic tiles and pottery shards that dated from the eras of King David and Jesus.
So: Happy birthday, Israel! May there be many more.
PAUL adds: In addition to the birthday pieces Scott links to, David Hazony’s somewhat sobering reflections are worth a look.