When I was less than 10 years old in May 1967, my parents and I watched mobs on our little black-and-white TV — 100,000 people or more — on the streets of Cairo, chanting and screaming wildly, “Death to the Jews.”
I had never seen my mother afraid before. She said, “It’s happening all over again.” When the news broke of the start of the Six-Day War, the only news was from Arab sources. They said Tel Aviv was in flames. Arab armies were advancing on all fronts. For three days, we were worried sick. My dad helped organize the purchase of an ambulance from our working-poor neighborhood, while I went door to door collecting money. If Jews were going to make a stand, the line would be Israel.
The Six-Day War’s outcome was a miracle to me. I was certain G-d had intervened to save us, as he often did in the Hebrew Bible. I never felt prouder to be a Jew.
Today, I feel just as proud and just as protective of our holy land. It’s a country of contradictions, yes, but also of daily miracles. Cancer cures, water technology, computer chips, cellphones, agricultural leadership and of course Iron Dome (whose protection I witnessed firsthand) all happen there. Many of these inventions and discoveries are improving lives across the world.
I go to Israel often, and each time I discover something new, something amazing. And all this is accomplished despite Israel’s nearly unlimited resources devoted to its defense while compromising little of its democratic underpinnings.
To me, Israel means history, our history. It means birthright, our birthright. It means family, our family. Israel is a light unto the nations, and I take pride in her many accomplishments.