This Passover, Israel has much to be thankful for - opinion

Of course, dayenu does not mean that Israel is satisfied and sitting on its laurels. It aspires to more.

 ISRAEL, UAE AND BAHRAIN sign the Abraham Accords at the White House in 2020. Had the Heavens gifted Israel with reprieve from diplomatic ‘tsunamis,’ but not bestowed upon it the blessings of the Abraham Accords – dayenu. (photo credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)
ISRAEL, UAE AND BAHRAIN sign the Abraham Accords at the White House in 2020. Had the Heavens gifted Israel with reprieve from diplomatic ‘tsunamis,’ but not bestowed upon it the blessings of the Abraham Accords – dayenu.
(photo credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)

Had the heavens gifted Israel with a stable economy, but not granted it also a strong currency, massive foreign investment, world-leading technology companies, Nobel Prize-winning scientists, world-class medical care, innovative water desalinization solutions and natural gas riches – dayenu, that would have been enough to give thanks for.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with economic riches, but not granted it success in dealing with the coronavirus crisis (being the first country to successfully vaccinate most of its population and almost-completely reopen for business) – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with wise coronavirus leadership, but not granted it with a degree of political stability (via the Bennett-Lapid government) allowing for passage of a responsible budget for the first time in three years and some fetters on Israel’s raging political passions – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with a short (12-month) period of political stability and calm, but not granted it a respite from helter-skelter withdrawal-syndrome diplomacy – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with a break from irresponsible global diplomatic pressures for territorial withdrawals, but not granted it with a breather from BDS threats – dayenu.

 Flags are seen ahead of ''The Negev Summit'', hosted by Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the foreign ministers of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt, in Sde Boker, Israel, March 27, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN) Flags are seen ahead of ''The Negev Summit'', hosted by Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the foreign ministers of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt, in Sde Boker, Israel, March 27, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

Had the heavens gifted Israel with reprieve from diplomatic “tsunamis,” but not bestowed upon it the blessings of the Abraham Accords – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with peace treaties with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, but not granted it with warm peace though rapid acceleration of trade, scientific, cultural and tourist ties across the board, including many genuine people-to-people interactions, and the subsequent warming of cooperative interactions with the Egyptian and Jordanian governments – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with breakthrough normalization of ties with Abraham Accord countries, but not granted the IDF military basing and naval anchor rights in Bahrain – on Iran’s front doorstep! – along with critical security partnerships with other Arab countries as evidenced by the incredible summits recently in Sharm e-Sheikh and Sde Boker – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with a favorably transformed regional security architecture, but not granted it with a surge in aliyah from eastern Europe and France – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with a blessed wave of new immigrants, but not granted it with the privilege (alas) to do yeoman’s humanitarian work for Ukrainian refugees in Europe (and for so many other afflicted populaces around the world, especially in the medical and agricultural fields) – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with immigrant potential at home and humanitarian commitments abroad, but not with a resilient, creative and patriotic Israeli public, and especially with forward-looking and inspirational youth – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with a dynamic and ideologically motivated public, but not with a nation of believers that is undergoing a renaissance of Jewish identity (according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 80% of “secular” Israelis “believe in the God of Israel,” and 96% of Israelis participate in the Passover Seder) – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with a people who believe in Divine providence that has driven the arc of Jewish history and led Jews back to the Land of Israel to reestablish sovereignty in the modern State of Israel, but not led to a 10 million people strong country with the most powerful military in the Middle East (a poignant riposte to Jewish weakness in the face of Hitler’s Holocaust) – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with success, strength and self-assuredness that comes from faith, but not with a happy society with a high birth rate that enjoys a vibrant arts and culture scene, gourmet food and wine, verdant mountaintop getaway sites, and the most exciting intellectual institutions in the Jewish world – dayenu.

Had the heavens gifted Israel with energy and enthusiasm, but not with multiple Jewish organizations in the Diaspora that work hard every day (the vast majority of them) to back Israel politically and support its cultural and educational institutions – dayenu.

Of course, dayenu does not mean that Israel is satisfied and sitting on its laurels. It aspires to more.

Israel still needs more triumphs, including victory over Iranian revolutionaries, various radical Islamic enemies and Palestinian rejectionists. Israel desires region-wide peace – with the Iranians and Palestinians, too. Also, Israel aims to better integrate its Arab and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish populations, bring down the very high cost of living, and narrow income gaps. And there is much to be done to help stem Diaspora Jewish assimilation and disaffiliation.

But in grand perspective, kama maalot tovot la-Makom aleinu – see how many benefits and blessings the heavens have showered upon Israel! It enjoys a strong economy, coronavirus and political stability (at least for the past year), diplomatic and security heft, renewed aliyah, national resilience that stems from faith, and global Jewish support.

Consider how far the people of Israel and the State of Israel have come in just 75 years, look at what has been achieved, and feel the Divine warmth. Dayenu! There is more than enough to give thanks for – and more than enough to inspire confidence about Israel’s future.

The author is a senior fellow at The Kohelet Forum and in the research department of Habithonistim: Israel’s Defense and Security Forum. His diplomatic, defense, political and Jewish world columns over the past 25 years are archived at davidmweinberg.com