OU Celebrates 53rd Anniversary of Israel’s Independence

Posted on April 24, 2001 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest mainstream Orthodox Jewish organization, today marks this eve of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, for those who gave their lives for the achievement of Israel’s independence, and Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. Together with the people of Israel, we pause to remember those sons and daughters who sacrificed everything so that the Jewish people could be free in their own homeland. Freedom and independence for Israel was not handed to us on a silver platter. Every inch was gained only through the bravery of many soldiers, boys and girls and men and women, who fell fighting for the reborn state of Israel. We join with Israel on this Yom Hazikaron in a day of collective remembrance and recognize the debt that we owe.

On Yom Ha’atzmaut, we celebrate the fact that so much has been achieved by the people of Israel in fifty-three years, a short period of time that has seen so many great accomplishments.

We celebrate the miracles that we have had the merit to witness in our time, namely the ingathering of the exiles, the immigration of Jews who were locked behind the Iron Curtain and of those from Ethiopia who many thought were lost to Jewish history. They have all found a home in Eretz Yisrael, together with the immigrants who have come from so many countries all over the world. We celebrate the fact that Israel is today a Jewish state and a democracy, a free country whose citizens flourish in a modern society, determined to thrive and progress in spite of the many difficulties faced in this tumultuous time.

As Israel continues to face terrorist attacks each day, we realize more than ever that so much is at stake for Jewish survival. We do not stand idly by when our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael are the victims of bus bombings and drive-by shootings. We continue to express our solidarity through our ongoing visits in identification with Acheinu kol beit yisrael and to encourage Aliyah. We continue to recognize our primary obligation to be active on behalf of the safety and security of the state of Israel, to strongly advocate our nation’s support of our only reliable and democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel. We pledge to strengthen our efforts to fight the attempts of Israel’s enemies to acquire weapons of mass destruction as Iran, Iraq, and Syria develop these weapons at an alarming rate, with Israel as their target. We’ll continue the battle for the release of Israeli soldiers missing in action, our missing sons, whose families have so cruelly been denied any information as to their conditions or whereabouts. We will continue to defend the right of Israel to choose its own capital, Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish people, a right that is denied only Israel and no other nation in the world.

The Jewish people, born in the land of Israel, have preserved their unbroken physical presence for thousands of years in Eretz Yisrael. By the establishment of the State of Israel fifty-three years ago, Jewish independence was restored in our modern times to our joy and wonderment. We thank God today for the privilege of witnessing this miracle in our day and pray that He will bless Israel and the Jewish people with peace.