Israel is first and foremost home — the place my grandparents came to 100 years ago and the birthplace of my parents, myself and my children.

Israel for me is sweet childhood memories, a special vibe on the streets during the holidays. It’s memories of growing up on Mount Carmel, spending summertime at the beach, serving in the Israel Defense Forces, and later moving to Tel Aviv, where I studied, fell in love and started a family of my own.

Tali Barel

David Ben-Gurion once said that to be realistic in a country like Israel, one must believe in miracles. Israel, for me, is indeed a miracle, a source of patriotism and pride. A country I taught my children to cherish and to never take its existence for granted. A country that, despite its lack of resources, developed a thriving economy, with countless achievements in technology, water, transportation, defense and medicine.

A country where, despite its social diversity, almost everyone serves in the IDF and actually sees it as a privilege. A country that, despite its security challenges and the hostility of most surrounding countries, has developed a vibrant democracy and has successfully exported progress to the world.

Israel for me is the center of the universe, a part of my DNA, a place where I can go at any time, feel part of it and know that part of it feels mine.

See all the reflections on Israel’s meaning on this special anniversary.