As Israel celebrates its 60th birthday, the world should recognize the enormous gifts the Jewish state has given the world. Israel has exported more lifesaving medical technology to the far-flung corners of the earth than any nation of comparable size. It has done more to protect the environment, to promote literature, music, the arts and sciences, to spread agricultural advances and to fight terrorism within the rule of law.
Israel has created a legal system that is the envy of the world, with a Supreme Court that is open to all with few, if any, restrictions on its jurisdiction. As America's most liberal Supreme Court Justice William Brennan observed when he visited Israel in 1988:
"It may well be Israel, not the United States, that provides the best hope for building a jurisprudence that can protect civil liberties against the demands of national security. For it is Israel that has been facing real and serious threats to its security for the last 40 years and seems destined to continue facing such threats in the foreseeable future. The struggle to establish civil liberties against the backdrop of these security threats, while difficult, promises to build bulwarks of liberty that can endure the fears and frenzy of sudden danger - bulwarks to help guarantee that a nation fighting for its survival does not sacrifice those national values that make the fight worthwhile."
Yet despite these disproportionate contributions to the world, Israel has proportionally more enemies than any nation on earth. Moreover, the intensity of the enmity directed against the Mideast's only democracy is unexplainable on any rational basis.
It is remarkable indeed that a democratic nation born in response to a decision of the United Nations should still not be accepted by so many nations, groups and individuals. No other United Nations member is threatened with physical annihilation by other member states so openly and without rebuke from the general assembly or security counsel.
No other nation has been subjected to so many threats of boycott, divestiture, and delegitimation than the Jewish state. No other nation with such high standards of morality has ever been regarded as so immoral by so many members of the media, academia, and the intellectual elite.
Israel's enemies have learned how to take advantage of its high standards of morality. They understand what Golda Meir meant when she said to the terrorists: "We can perhaps forgive you for killing our children but we cannot forgive you for making us kill your children." Islamic extremist leaders who preach the culture of death are indeed trying to make you kill their children, because they know that every time you accidentally do, they win as big a victory as when they deliberately kill one of your children. That is why they fire their rockets from densely-populated areas knowing that you have no choice but to try to destroy their launching pads and knowing that in the process you may kill some innocent people. It is a win-win situation for them and a lose-lose situation for you.
I agree with the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin when he said that Israel should try to make peace as if there were no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there were no peace process. No nation can be expected to endure repeated and systematic attacks against its civilian population, even when those attacks come from civilian areas. No nation can make peace with terrorists who seek not compromise, but total defeat of their enemy.
Israel's continuing efforts to fight terrorists within the rule of law and within the reasonable constraints of human rights and civil liberties may be among Israel's most enduring contributions to the civilized world. Israel's fight is our fight. Israel's struggles are our struggles. Israel's victory over terrorism will be our victory - a victory that will benefit the entire world.
So let the entire free world join Israel in its celebration of sixty years of nationhood, since no nation in the world has contributed more per capita to the general welfare of the people of this planet than Israel.
Happy Birthday to Israel - may she go from strength to strength and from success to success, and may she finally experience the kind of peace and legitimacy she has sought since her creation on the ashes of the Holocaust 60 years ago.