This Thursday, Israel celebrates its 67th Yom HaAtzmaut, or Independence Day. Writing at Israel Hayom, Nadav Shragai says that the generation that reestablished the Jewish people in their historic and biblical homeland deserve admiration and gratitude:
I never thanked my grandfather for packing up his meager belongings and coming to Israel in 1924, not to find a place safe from persecution, but simply because he knew that the Jewish people belonged in Israel.
It was not the obvious choice then, and it is not the obvious choice now. He and his ilk were part of the minority of the last few generations who came to the historic homeland not because of persecution and pogroms, but simply because they felt committed to their Jewish genes, to the historical, religious and national baggage that ties them to this place.
Their courage was perhaps different from that of the warriors on the battlefields, but it was no less magnificent. They deserve this belated thanks. Not, God forbid, as a way to diminish those who did come here out of distress and fear. We owe them thanks for our continued existence, for my parents’ generation, my own generation and that of my children, as it is doubtful that we would have survived the horrors of the Holocaust in Europe had they stayed.
They deserve our gratitude for the understanding that they instilled in us that, even before this land became a safe haven for the refugees of the pogroms and the Holocaust, it was our destination; that while we might be here today thanks to our strength, we were here before thanks to the strength of our right; that security, which is today the central subject of discussion when it comes to Israel, is meant to allow us to realize our right to live here (in security, of course)…
And indeed, the land we came to, the land in which we re-established Jewish sovereignty, is above all our motherland.