Israel: Its Role in Civilization

Israel: Its Role in Civilization

Israel: Its Role in Civilization

Israel: Its Role in Civilization

Excerpt

The new State of Israel was born at a time when the world itself was struggling to be reborn. Thus, it may be said, Israel has emerged in our contemporary world both as reality and symbol.

The reality is the establishment in 1948 of a young and dynamic democracy in Eretz Yisrael--the Third Commonwealth in the history of the Jewish people. To be sure, this commonwealth has been engaged and for some time to come will have to continue to be engaged in a heroic struggle to solve many complex human, economic, and political problems. But its eagerness to face these problems is itself an expression of the symbol Israel represents: the symbol of commitment to a role as bridgehead between Orient and Occident, antiquity and modernity, spiritual truth and technological progress.

For the world Jewish community, too, Israel is both reality and symbol. Throughout the darkest days of the Dispersion, the hope of Jews in the Restoration never waned. Most of them went to Jerusalem by way of prayer and longing; some set out as pilgrims; others went in small groups to settle. But always, wherever Jews went, they were going to Jerusalem. Modern Israel is, therefore, in every sense, the creation of the entire Jewish people of all generations.

In our era, following the torment of the great catastrophe, the new state became a house of refuge, a home for the scattered and persecuted. Yet the program of ingathering, even in its earliest stages, was directed to the spiritual realm as well. Consequently, Israel . . .

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