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Friday, September 05, 2003

Out of the Ashes

The Jerusalem Post reports that yesterday, three Israeli Air Force jets flew over Auschwitz to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. The article quotes the leader of the fly-over as explaining, "We pilots of the Air Force, flying in the skies above the camp of horrors, arose from the ashes of the millions of victims and shoulder their silent cries, salute their courage and promise to be the shield of the Jewish people and its nation Israel."

I think this unique commemoration is a perfect visualization of how much we have accomplished over the last 60 years. Zionism started long before the Holocaust, and traditional longing for Zion is as old as the hurban. But it was after the Holocaust that the State of Israel became a reality, because it was the turning point between the long era of the downtrodden, exiled Jew, and the Jew who is ready to return to his land and rebuild. The process of rebuilding ourselves as a strong nation is still going on, and is a very difficult process. Our national mentality is still far from what it was in the time of King Solomon, when national pride was at a height, and we were building the first Temple.

But the last 2,000 years were the aberration, not the norm. We are meant to be a strong nation in our land, and we have come so far for this goal since the Holocaust that it is hard to imagine how recent the Holocaust was. Hopefully being strong won't always mean fighting wars, but it will always mean being willing to do so to defend ourselves and our land.


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