Israel’s 65th Birthday: A Time to Reflect and Feel Proud

Although established in 1948 to be the only Jewish State in the world, Israel’s population of about 7.5 million is less than 80% Jewish. It makes it to the world’s news headlines quite often because of its volatile borders, but the magnitude of positive social change that is taking place in this small state (it can fit into New Jersey with room to spare) is even more newsworthy.

Israel is indeed, a “Start-up Nation.” Science and technology is one of the country's most developed sectors. The percentage of Israelis engaged in scientific and technological inquiry, and the amount spent on research and development in relation to gross domestic product is among the highest in the world. Israeli scientists have contributed to the advancement of agriculture, computer sciences, electronics, genetics, medicine, optics, solar energy and various fields of engineering. It is a nation of innovators, and naturally, that innovative streak is evident in the work to build a more socially just, and pluralistic society. In partnership with foundations, Israeli philanthropists, government, and our grantees, it is work that the Federation has been at the forefront of for 25 years.

The recent elections in Israel demonstrated that the desire for a more accepting society is not a minority position. During President Obama’s visit on the Eve of Pesach he observed that the story of Passover is a story about “finding freedom in your own land.” At its core, that is what so many Israelis on the ground are working for. The freedom to live in a just and welcoming society - one that provides the opportunity for everyone to earn a good living, receive a quality education, practice Judaism in a way that is meaningful for them. Our grantmaking in Israel supports organizations that are working toward these goals.

As we approach Yom HaZikaron (Israel's Day of Remembrance) and Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day), and the 65th birthday of the Jewish state, it is a time to reflect and feel proud. Proud of the significant work we are doing in Israel, and the strong connections between Bay Area Jews and our homeland. It is incredible what this small, young country has achieved in its 65 short years of existence, and what it can achieve in the next 65 years.

Learn more about the work Federation does in Israel, contact Sigalit Rubinson, Israel and Global Program Officer, at 415.512.6429.
Categories: Holidays, Israel, Overseas


April 11, 2013


The Federation