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Friday, September 20, 2019

Certainly there is much to be concerned about, especially with the escalation in terrorist hostilities emanating from Iran through its Gazan terrorist proxies.

But it’s Israel’s 71st anniversary.

The glass is absolutely more than half full. So as you celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, remember that after just 71 years:

  • Israel’s population is now over 9 million, with 74% Jewish and 21% Muslim or Christian Arab.
  • Jerusalem is Israel’s most populous city, with 883,000 residents, followed by Tel Aviv’s 439,000 and Haifa’s 280,000.
  • The most common family name in Israel? Cohen (one in 50 families).
  • Since 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh has helped over 50,000 Jews make aliyah.

After just 71 years:

  • Israel ranks second in the world for scientific research.
  • More than 350 multinational corporations have R&D centers in Israel.
  • Israel’s expenditures on R&D are the highest in the world.
  • Every year, about 1,400 startups are founded in Israel.

After just 71 years:

  • The average life expectancy for a woman is 84.6; 80.7 for a man.
  • 88.6% of Israelis are happy with their lives.
  • 85% say they feel safe walking alone in the dark.

After just 71 years:

  • Israel has gone from 2% coverage in trees to 8.5%.
  • In 2018, Israel welcomed 4.1 million tourists through Ben Gurion Airport.
  • The Israel Hotel Association has grown to 370 members encompassing 54,864 hotel rooms.
  • Israel recycles 87% of its wastewater for agriculture, more than any other country.
  • 20% of Israel’s domestic water consumption is provided by seawater desalination.

After just 71 years:

  • 12 Israelis have won Nobel prizes.
  • Israel has the world’s largest per capita number of engineers and scientists.
  • Israel ranks third in the world for percentage of people with higher education.
  • Israel’s literacy rate is 97.8 percent.
  • Israel has 66 institutions of higher education.

After just 71 years:

  • Israel has 230 museums.
  • 21 Israeli residents are listed on Forbes 2019 World Billionaires list.
  • More vegans and vegetarians in Israel per capita than any other world country.
  • Israel has won nine Olympic medals.

There is so much more we could write here.

Our enemies can seek to destroy what Israel has accomplished in, historically speaking, a rather short period of time. It is not about occupation. It is about jealousy and missed historic opportunities. If the enemies of Israel would have spent the past 71 years building societies and infrastructure, perhaps they’d be celebrating academic achievement instead of rocket fire and terrorism.

Beyond that, we hope that your Yom HaZikaron observance was meaningful. Enjoy Israel’s Independence today and every day.

And here’s looking forward with optimism and productivity to the years ahead.