"What is your forecast for Israel in another 75 years?" Jewish children kids in New York asked me, as I gave an interview for their school newspaper.
Before I answered the question, I told them, "I have a different question for you - What was written in 1940, during the Holocaust, that responded to the question of what will be of Israel in another 75 years? And what was written in 1948?"
Most of the world was pessimistic then. The international community and media were not vouching for the bold and innovative Zionist enterprise to build a state. Hence, on rational terms, Israel was not supposed to survive, nevertheless, prosper. And here we are today, smirking at those who so confidently answered this question 75 years back.
Now, looking onward, the most reliable forecast for the Jewish nation is the one that predicts unexpected things. The Jewish people have constantly broken the rules, for the better and for the worst. There is no case study to compare to a nation that lost a third of its population all at once - six million people, amongst them 1.5 million children.
There was no way to predict that a nation that was dispersed across the world for centuries could manage to stay loyal to its identity and its land, and then rise from the ashes after 2,000 years.
We simply let ourselves get carried away by day-to-day nuisances and inner tensions, instead of zooming out to see the bigger picture - the number of all the fallen soldiers and victims of terror whom we commemorate on Memorial Day amounts to the number of deaths per month in Auschwitz.
We are moving forward, and therefore, it's realistic to predict that the Israeli nation will continue to fulfill all the hopeful prophecies bestowed upon it. Many of the wonderful chapters in the Bible, written about 2,500 years ago, seemed completely unfounded for ages. Nonetheless, they were read for years in Yemen, Morocco, Poland, and Russia.
"Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with a cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there,” reads the verse Zecharia 8:4-5. This has become a reality, right in the playground near my house.
"When I gather in the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they have been scattered ... they shall dwell upon it securely, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards and dwell securely,״ says Ezekiel (“Yechezkel”). The map of Israel today is indeed filled with settlements, cities, and kibbutzim.
We have a lot to learn from the bible, and its anticipations for the Land of Israel - signing more and more peace treaties, being a global peace center, devoting itself to helping those in need, acting as a place that everyone looks up to (because of its technology, educational institutes, and problem-solving capabilities). Above all, the start-up nation will go on to teach the world of spiritual startups as well, those of religion and holiness and morals.
But this also depends on you guys, I told the American children. It depends on the amount of kids like you guys that ask themselves questions like this one, and care about what their nation will look like in 75 years.
The concerning narrative of the Jewish nation is not sourced here, in our thriving democracy (maybe a bit too much so), but rather there. With you guys. It's the rapid disappearance, assimilation, alienation, indifference. Millions of our brothers do not ask themselves these questions at all. Try to find Jews like yourselves around you and connect them to the story. If we can do that, we can make all our dreams a reality within less than 75 years.
Arab Israelis - a ticking time bomb
If they were Jews, that's what would really cloud the 75th Independence celebrations. But they are Arabs. We raise a lot of problems onto the agenda and most of them become inflated. But there is one problem we sweep under the rug.
It's fun to argue amongst Jews, to protest, to conduct a debate about who will speak and where, and to marginalize the following numbers: this week, another Arab-Israeli was killed, this time it was a 30-year-old man.
Since the beginning of 2023, meaning throughout the last three and a half months, 53 Arab citizens fell victim to rampant crime. Do the simple math and realize that this adds up to about one death every two days.
We would never agree to such bloodshed if it was Jews on the line. We don't really mind paying the price with Arab lives. I'm embarrassed to say that I only discovered the facts because my Jewish friend was near one of these murder scenes in Lod.
We all have a lot to say about the secular, the religious or Haredi sectors, and we do so loudly and bluntly. These are all just simple nuisances in comparison to the ticking time bomb in front of us - the Arab sector. Recently, when the police commissioner commented on the matter, he was accused of making racist remarks. And so, our solution was to avoid talking about it - racism nonetheless.
Anything that comes up on the news - anything at all - draws more public attention than the murder of 53 Arab Israelis. Just the same, the show goes on.