Subscribe to our Newsletter

click to dowload our latest edition



Israel’s Statehood




Testimony of faith and courage


Caption Israeli Singer Hananel Edri entertains the guests at Summer Place.

Together with the Israeli people, those present experienced the traditional transition from the sober reflections of Yom Hazikaron to the joyous celebration of the Israel’s national day of independence.

The evening, which commenced with messages from Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa Arthur Lenk, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and SAZF Chairman Avrom Krengel, included performances by Israeli artists David Kilimnick, one of the country’s leading new stand-up comedian and musician Hanan’el Edri. It culminated with a lucky draw for two tickets to Israel, courtesy of El Al Israel Airlines.   

Yom Ha’atzmaut, said Lenk, was the one day in the year when all Israelis laid aside their political differences and even the most self-critical of them ceased their kvetching and carping to simply enjoy the very existence of a sovereign and thriving Jewish state.

In less than seven decades, he said, Israel’s population had grown tenfold to over eight million. Its multiple accomplishments in so many fields, particularly the technological, put it at the forefront of the world’s countries, and the enterprise and inventiveness of its citizens had earned it the enviable reputation as the “start-up nation” par excellence.

To enthusiastic applause, Lenk said that despite efforts by proponents of the morally bankrupt BDS campaign to undermine the relationship between South Africa and Israel, he had been heartened to find how many South Africans firmly supported those ties and believed that the two countries could do great things together.

Rabbi Goldstein paid tribute to the heroism of Israel’s founding fathers, who, when even many Jews were advising against declaring the country’s independence in view of the unpreparedness of its citizens to withstand the inevitable Arab invasion, had seized the moment and done so despite the risk.

This he likened to the willingness of the Jews to enter the waters of the Red Sea, even before the waters had split. Like their Biblical forebears, the Jewish leadership in 1948 had taken a decision that on the face of it was irrational but one that had been based on faith and courage, combined with the sure knowledge that without it there would be no future. 

Krengel, with reference to the observations made by Jewish author Simon Sebag-Montefiore in his acclaimed recent history of Jerusalem, stressed how wondrous and indeed unprecedented it was for a people expelled from their land to have returned after so many centuries to reclaim it.

The re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land, as well as the extraordinary success the Jewish people had had in causing that land to thrive again, would have been unimaginable back in the days when Christianity and Islam, the two dominant world powers, were battling each other for control of it.

Today, to an extent not seen since the times of David and Solomon, Jews were able to live in safety, prosperity and independence. When celebrating the miracle, however, the high price that was paid, specifically by such IDF soldiers as former South Africans Adam and Gideon Weiler who had died so that Israel could live, had always to be remembered.  


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *