A Victory for Humanity
LET US REJOICE. Thirty years ago, 1 878 years after the destruction of the Second Temple, after the Roman conquerors had proclaimed "Judea Vanquished," our people lived to see the renewal of our independence in the Land of Israel and there is unfurl the flag of our freedom among the independent nations. It is a unique event in the annals of mankind.
In the intervening centuries, between the fall and rise of free Israel, the Jewish people were scattered, humiliated, deported; they wandered from one country to another, deprived of liberty and human dignity, violently attacked and permanently persecuted. Ultimately, in Europe, millions of our people—men, women and children—were physically annihilated.
Such was the indescribably price we paid for the exile from the land of our forefathers. But then, with the last vestige of our national and human strength, after having lost one-third of our people, our generation rose in revolt against homelessness and helplessness in an [a- JC] heroic fight of the few against the many.
With great sacrifice we won the day and regained an independent country. Thus it was that, 30 years ago, on the fourth of Iyyar, a great light dawned on our people—free Israel came into being.
The history of these past 30 years is also unique. Our State was attacked time and again. We had to fight many battles in order to maintain our independence. At the very same time there was a magnificent process of building up the country, of turning desert land into green pasture, of ingathering the exiles of our people from the four corners of the world, of the most creative work in every sphere of life.
Jerusalem has been reunited, our victorius [victorious- JC] army strengthened. Our wonderful young generation, serene and devoted, is the pride of our hearts.
It is true that, for the last 30 years we have not enjoyed a single day of peace. Last year, in the wake of ceaseless previous efforts, we embarked on the road of direct negotiations to establish peace between ourselves and our neighbours. Despite all the difficulties, we believe that this noble goal will be reached. We shall not cease in our effort to achieve the peace and the security for which we yearn.
We owe a special debt and concern for a remnant of the Jewish people in Europe, our brethren in the Soviet Union. Their return to Judaism, their plight and fight for the return to the Land of Israel is, historically, the second greatest event of our time after the renewal of our independence. We must stand by them and wage an incessant campaign for their inalienable right to reach the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
Admittedly, we have difficulties in many spheres of life. But, if we remember where we were and what we were only one generation ago in the 30's and in the 40's, and how, with our own initiative, sacrifice and effort, we changed the situation of our people fundamentally from tragedy to triumph, we have reason to believe that we shall overcome all the obstacles and guarantee the future of our children's children.
On this great anniversary, we bow our heads in humility and love as we remember our fallen heroes of the Haganah, Palmach, Irgun, Lechi, Mahal and the soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces. It is their self-sacrifice which brought us out from bondage and regained for us the dignity of independence. They will be engraved in the hearts of our people for ever.
The Jewish people in the Land of Israel and all over the world, together with men and women of goodwill in every nation, rejoice this day as we celebrate the triumph of the spirit over matter, of right over wrong, of justice over iniquity. Israel's rebirth is, indeed, a victory of humanity.