The Spirit of Israel
By Justin Amler
The world can be a sad place, full of misery and suffering and hatred. It darkens the sun and thickens the air, at times making it hard to even breathe. As we witness increasing terrorist attacks across the world, it’s easy to fall into a quagmire of despair, where we want to believe in a better future, and yet upon the horizon we see only bleakness.
And yet despite all the sadness and the sorrow and the misery, hope is a virtue that lies in abundance for all us. There is a spirit of positivity that lies within the Jewish people, one that will not allow us to give into the darkness that wants to suffocate our light. There is a spirit of defiance that lives within us that causes us to fight for something, believing always that a brighter future lies ahead.
When you look at Israel on a map, it can be hard to believe how it even survives surrounded by so many countries who would dearly wish to wipe it away and look at it like a stain on their existence, but Israel is hardly a stain – it’s a part of the fabric of the Middle East. However, the map alone doesn’t really tell you the whole story.
For we have the spirit of Israel within us – a spirit that is powered by thousands of years of history, and driven by thousands of years of belief, and energized by thousands of years of accomplishments.
That spirit has kept us alive far beyond the life expectancy of any people. It has outlived our mortal bodies and shone brighter than any reasonable person could ever hope to expect.
Now, I could tell you about the Balfour declaration in which Britain promised a Jewish homeland, and I could tell you about the San Remo Conference that granted exclusive national rights to the Jewish people. I could argue about history pages and documentation, but Israel survives today not because of promises by government officials or declarations or even international resolutions.
Israel did not begin in a small hall in Dizengoff House in Tel Aviv in the year 1948. It began a long time before that when a promise was made to a shepherd from an invisible God. With that, the spirit of Israel was born.
While the land of Israel is a critical part of the Jewish people, it’s never been solely about land, but about the spirit of the people from that land, for the spirit of Israel is not just found in Israel itself. It is found throughout the world. It’s found in Haiti where Israel helped recover and heal victims of the devastating Earthquake. It’s found on the borders of Syria, where victims of that brutal war are cared for and healed. It’s found in Kashmir where it helped earthquake victims or storm victims in the Philippines or food aid to those in need in the Congo.
Before Israel ever became a modern day state, the spirit of Israel had already always existed in its people, dispersed to every corner of the world.
Some people say that Israel would never get formed today, but Israel doesn’t owe its independence to the United Nations or the Balfour Declaration or any governmental instrument of the modern era. Israel was a country that was always meant to be. History was able to make sure that happened and no tidal wave of devastation was ever going to prevent that. Its continued survival is due to its people that never gave up and will never give in.
There is a symbiotic relationship between Israel and Jews, a sense of magic and a sense of mystery and a sense of intrigue that fills the air around us, binds and connects us across thousands of miles of sea and land and rock and desert and forests. Across hills and mountains and across time itself.
The spirit of Israel flows strongly in the Jews of the world, and while there are some who seem to have lost it, the spirit itself remains undiminished.
Our enemies often try to tear us down, deny our existence, work to end our small little state, but the people of Israel continue to defy the odds of history. And I don’t just mean the citizens of Israel, I mean the Children of Israel itself, scattered among the nations of the world, but always connected, like an invisible umbilical cord, to our homeland.
Israel is alive because the spirit of Israel is alive and although we may not all live in Israel, a little bit of Israel lives in all of us.
Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based columnist who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia and is currently working in the Information Technology industry. He is a regular contributor to international publications, including the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel. Justin is also a valued Israel Forever blogger, writing about his connection to the Jewish state. You can reach Justin on Twitter, Facebook & Google+.