Sixty-five years ago today, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. This historic move gave further legitimacy to the reestablishment of the Jewish state, one that has not only been a refuge, but a place of development, vibrancy and hope. As we mark this occasion, I'm reminded of a poignant piece written by Gil Troy (author of the new book Moynihan's Moment) years ago, "Why I Am I Zionist." The whole piece is worth a read, and can be found here, but the last passage is particularly eloquent:
I am a Zionist because I am an idealist, and just as a century ago, the notion of a strong, independent, viable, sovereign Jewish state was an impossible dream - yet absolutely worth fighting for -- so, too, today, the notion of a strong, independent, viable, sovereign Jewish state living in true peace and harmony with its neighbors appears to be an impossible dream -- yet absolutely worth striving for. I am a Zionist because I am a romantic, and the vision of the Jews rebuilding their homeland, reclaiming the desert, renewing themselves, was one of the greatest stories of the twentieth century, just as the vision of the Jews maintaining their homeland, reconciling with the Arab world, renewing themselves, and serving as a light to others, a model nation state, could be one of the greatest stories of the twenty-first century. Yes, it sounds far-fetched today. But, as Theodore Herzl, the father of modern Zionism said in an idle boast that has become a cliche: "If you will it, it is no dream."
Let's mark thisday as one that gave hope to a community, and that the next 65 years brings peace, prosperity, and further fulfillment of the Zionist dream.