By: Asher Zelig Fried
I am Israel. I am the homeland, an everlasting heritage to the nation of Israel.
I am the Nation. I am the fathers who first settled this land 4000 years ago. I am the tribes who inherited this land, and who returned from bondage to repossess this land. I am every Jewish soul that stood with Moses at Sinai, and accepted the everlasting covenant. I am the Judges and the Prophets, and I am the great kings of Israel, David and Solomon who ruled this land in its greatest glory.
I am the ancient Israelites, who lived on this land for a thousand years. Though carried off to a distant land, my eyes never veered from Zion. “By the rivers of Babylon we wept as we remembered Zion.” And again I returned, and resettled this land, and rebuilt Jerusalem and the holy Temple.
I am the warriors that fought with Joshua to subdue this land. I am the warriors that fought with David to defend this land. I am the Macabees that fought with Judah to free this land, and I am the heroes of the Israel Defense Force, that today protects this land.
I am the precious few, the pious that never left this land. I am the Sages that preserved the holiness of this land. I am the Pioneers that dared reclaim this land. I am a Sabra and I am a Settler. I am from Russia, and I am from America. I am from Africa and I am from Australia. I am Ashkanazi and I am Sephardi. I am Taimani and I am Buchari, and now together Yisraeli, bound by souls forever Yehudi.
I am the exiled of 2000 years, the remnant returned, joined at last, a multitude of millions. Dispersed among the nations, persecuted and murdered, my Jewish heart never stopped longing for Jerusalem. And now, as if in a dream, in a miracle hardly recognized, Zion has been reborn.
I am the state of Israel. Attacked at birth, raised in fire, I have known only war all of my days. I extended my hand in peace to all who sojourned here, and they responded with hatred and terror. I extended my hand in peace to the nations that surround me, and they responded with war, and a vow to destroy me. With sacrifices unbearable, I prevailed in battle, and yet again in each generation. And today I pray, as I pray every day, that “He grant might unto His nation, and bless His nation with peace.”
I am Israel, a modern day marvel. I made the desert bloom. I make seawater sweet. I am a scientific wonder. I am a miracle of medical breakthroughs. I am a treasure of biological research. I am world-class in technological innovation. I am an entrepreneurial tour-de-force, challenging dominance in every industry. I am the most literate and the most highly educated society on earth. And yet I have never known a day of peace.
I am Israel, the destiny. I am the dream of millennia come true. I am a light unto the nations. I am the world’s moral standard. I am religions’ focal point. I am Jerusalem, both the old and the new. I am Jewish sovereignty, from Jordan to the Great Sea, and from the hills of Lebanon to the beaches of Eilat. I am Israel the promised land. I am Israel the homeland. I am Israel the eternal Jewish land. I am Israel.