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Israel@75: Time to Celebrate?

April 26 (5 Iyar) 2023 marks 75 years since the birth of the State of Israel. Israelis and Diaspora Jews will celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) as the culmination of a 2,000 year-old Jewish dream. Palestinians will mourn the Nakba (Catastrophe) that ended their way of life. Neither will mark the day with much hope for national unity or peaceful coexistence.

This significant anniversary comes at a time when Israel is experiencing unprecedented internal divisions between religious and secular, Right and Left, belief in democracy and attachment to nationalism. It comes as the occupation remains unresolved and the possibility of two states seems increasingly remote.
In this special issue Plus61J Media explores the successes and the challenges of contemporary Israel. We honour what has been built and we face honestly where Israel is failing.

We celebrate freedom achieved but we condemn shrinking civil rights and attacks on democracy. We rejoice in the release of Jews from thousands of years of oppression, but we are angered by the oppression of Palestinians. We cheer Israel’s many achievements, but we worry about its political, social, and environmental sustainability.

We are grateful for the hope fulfilled in the creation of the State, but we hope and believe we can build a better Israel.  

PEOPLE OF ISRAEL

What should we celebrate? Israelis answer

HILA GVIR photographed Israelis from diverse parts of the society and asked them what Israel should celebrate on its 75th anniversary.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

MARTIN INDYK: ‘Israel is in trouble’

The former US Ambassador to Israel seems deeply pessimistic but he tells MICHAEL VISONTAY that he hopes Israel’s popular uprising can translate into a political movement that will steer Israel back to democracy.

CONFRONTING THE PAST

Reckoning with the conflicting myths of 1948

The meta-narratives of entitlement, enmity and victimhood have prevented Israel from confronting the complex truths of the War of Independence, writes JEREMIE BRACKA.

FACING THE FUTURE

Israel 2048: a ticking Haredi time bomb

Today Haredim make up 13% of the population. By 2048, that number will have almost doubled, an increase that will change the socio-political character of the state. COLIN SHINDLER ask whether Israel can survive its demographic trajectory.

CREATIVITY

10 landmarks of Israeli culture

From soaring poetic visions to cheesy Eurovision winners to hit television shows, SHAHAR BURLA selects the literature, music, film, and art that encapsulate Israel’s unique culture.

MINORITY VOICES

From their perspective: Palestinian citizens of Israel

Palestinians are one fifth of Israeli citizens, but their perspectives are often ignored or denigrated. PLUS61J MEDIA produced this 12-minute film to listen to their voices.

DIASPORA

One-way relationship between Israel and the diaspora needs to be revisited

Philanthropy and political support cannot be the only building blocks. Israel has a responsibility to relate to Jews around the world as partners in a joint venture, writes ELAN EZRACHI. 

PEACEBUILDING

Celebrating the Israelis who believe in hope

Peacebuilding and civil society organisations are quietly building better environments, healthier social institutions, and even some positive relationships with Israel’s neighbours, writes MICHAEL CHAITOW. IMMIGRATION

IMMIGRATION

Australian Olim: a strong sense of belonging but frustrated with politics

ITTAY FLESCHER asks 13 Australians who have gone to live in Israel what they love and hate about their adopted home, and what they hope for the country as it marks its 75th birthday.

EXPATRIATES

‘Ausraelis’ balance a love affair with two countries

SHAHAR BURLA asks Israelis who immigrated to Australia what drew them here and how they feel about the country they left for a new life downunder.

REFLECTION

My father, my country

REUVEN FLESCHER was one of the first children born in Israel. His son ITTAY FLESCHER reflects on what his father would have thought of the State whose life mirrored his own.