Israel turns 74: No dream is out of reach for the Jewish state

Seventy-four years after realizing Theodor Herzl’s dream of a Jewish state, Israel is still a country of dreamers, working toward a hopeful future.

 Astronaut Eytan Stibbe (photo credit: Chris Gunn for Axiom Space)
Astronaut Eytan Stibbe
(photo credit: Chris Gunn for Axiom Space)

This past year has been like a roller-coaster ride. We’ve experienced everything from another wave of COVID-19 (hopefully the last) to a wave of lone-wolf terror (let’s pray that’s over, too). But there have also been upbeat moments, such as the Negev Summit, convened by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Sde Boker (the home of Israel’s first premier, David Ben-Gurion) and the successful journey of Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe to the International Space Station (with a blue-and-white flag embroidered on his uniform).

Israel has achieved an enormous amount in the past year, from establishing a field hospital in Ukraine (the first country to do so) to boosting economic growth at home (Moody’s recently raised Israel’s economic outlook from stable to positive, affirming the country’s credit rating at A1.) It is no coincidence that Israel was ranked the world’s ninth happiest country in the recent World Happiness Report (its highest ranking to date).

No one represents Israel better than President Isaac Herzog, who granted Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz and President’s Residence reporter Greer Fay Cashman his first interview with The Jerusalem Post since taking office. From diplomatic shuttles abroad with his wife, Michal, to hosting a wide range of foreign and local guests at the President’s Residence, Herzog has shone his presidential light wherever he goes. It is for this reason that we honor him on the cover of this holiday magazine.

Also featured is US Ambassador Tom Nides, who talks to diplomatic correspondent Lahav Harkov, in his first interview with The Jerusalem Post since arriving in the country last year. Military correspondent Anna Ahronheim talks to Lt.-Col. A, the Druze commander of the Southern Command’s Fire Center, reporters Zachy Hennessey and Noa Amouyal profile Israeli hi-tech innovators, and Zvi Koenigsberg discusses his role in uncovering the Ebal Amulet, the oldest Israelite text ever found.

In his introductory essay to the magazine, Herb Keinon hits the nail on the head when he writes, “Unlike people, who when they reach the age of 74 are pretty much who they are going to be, Israel, at that ripe old age, is still in the process of becoming, still defining itself, still hashing out issues of identity.”

 The Negev Summit. (credit: JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/REUTERS) The Negev Summit. (credit: JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/REUTERS)

Yes, the coalition is shaky, gaps between rich and poor remain wide, and we have our share of social problems and challenges, both at home and abroad. But we also have a lot to be proud of. As we celebrate Israel’s 74th birthday, let’s count our many blessings, stand together as one nation and exhibit a collective attitude of gratitude.

Asked what his message to the people of Israel is, Stibbe paid tribute to his former IAF commander and friend, Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who was killed in the 2003 Columbia crash, and declared, “No dream is out of reach.”

Seventy-four years after realizing Theodor Herzl’s dream of a Jewish state, Israel is still a country of dreamers, working toward a hopeful future.