David Ben-Gurion famously once said, “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.”

How appropriate that during the holiday of Passover, when we celebrate the miracle of the Exodus from ancient Egypt and the birth of a Jewish nation, we reflect on the modern day miracle called Israel.

One hundred years ago, the idea of a state for the Jewish people still revolved around its establishment in such unlikely places as Argentina and Uganda. Ultimately it would dawn on most Jews that the only true location for a Jewish state could be in the land with a deep historical connection to the Jewish people.

And thus continued the miracles, visible to the naked eye, there for all those who wanted to see. The 1948 victory over five Arab armies was nothing short of a miracle, as were the victories over Arab enemies in 1956, 1967 and 1973.

As a result of these defensive wars, citizens will find tragedy everywhere but miracles abound in far greater number.

The fact that so many fighters returned home from war was a miracle. That so many people have lived to talk about a terrorist attack they witnessed is also a miracle.

Israel’s ability to flourish in an unforgiving desert amidst unsympathetic neighbors deserves attention. No other nation faces existential threats the way Israel does and yet the country continues to grow and produce.

Nations around the globe turn to this tiny country for advice in agriculture, medicine, science, defense, education and technology.

Israel hosts an incredible and varied array of Torah institutions that cater to Jews from all types of affiliations.

Not too long ago, in Europe, when it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to live as a Jew, few could have predicted that such an opportunity to freely study Torah and live openly as a Jew, as Israelis do today, would come to fruition so soon.

There’s something for every type of Jew here.

REGARDLESS OF daily miracles, Jews must continue to fight against the real and present dangers that threaten the nation as a people. Intermarriage, for one, clearly plays a central role in the reason so many Jewish youth are leaving the fold.

Assimilation is widespread and poses a great threat to future Jewish generations.

For some, or many, Jewish pride has worn off and the desire to immerse in the woes of others while directing blame at the Jewish state is misguided. “Liberal-minded” Jews seem to feel the need to apologize to the world for their very existence and for the presence of Jews in Israel.

Self-hating Jews often use their Jewish status as a springboard for their misguided ideas, and their voices pose a threat since they lend support to anti-Semites everywhere.

Their unrealistic worldview offers little advantage to a Jewish nation still struggling for survival against nations who refuse to recognize its legitimacy.

In contrast, so many people have reawakened their Jewish spark, further identifying with the concept of what it is to be Jewish. Is it not miraculous that 3,000 years after the Jewish people received the Torah, its laws and commandments are still observed? So many other great nations have risen and fallen throughout the course of history, but the Jewish nation survives.

Today, the Jewish people are living a modern miracle in a state incomprehensibly conceived under trying conditions.

Jews in Israel face an onslaught of anti-Semitism, especially from Europe, where Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns aim to strangle Jewish businesses.

Israel absorbs a constant barrage of missiles from Gaza yet receives a thick wall of silence from the international community.

Europeans, and even the US today, attempt to pressure Israel diplomatically and politically.

With its military, diplomatic, political and economic fronts constantly under attack, it is incredible that Israel continues to be a global leader in the arts, medicine and technology. It is equally astonishing that Jews continue to discover their roots and come here to further their Jewish education.

This small nation has made and continues to make a tremendous difference, and it is nothing short of miraculous.

It is true: to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.

Passover 5772: Click for JPost special features

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