What Zionism and Israel’s Reestablishment Mean to Me

June 15, 2018

3 min read

By Yotam Eliach

I have been truly fortunate to be born and live at a time in Jewish History where I get to realize the dreams of close to 100 generations of Jews; namely the Return to Zion, for which Jews have prayed, for 19 centuries. To me that is remarkable on a religious and a historical level. There are prayers I get to recite daily (some three times a day) that speak of the return of the Jewish people from all four corners of the Earth to the land of Israel, that speak of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, that speak of a new light shining on Zion, that to past generations were aspirations for the future, that for me are affirmations of my present!

The simplest way for me to share what the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty has meant to the Jewish people from my perspective is by telling a story that involves relying on a principal from science fiction, namely time travel.

Imagine that time travel was possible. If it were I would set my time machine to transport me back in time to the following dates and places: Southern Europe during the years 1095 – 1099 when the Crusaders were on their way to the Holy Land and killed tens of thousands of Jews. Spain, the summer of 1492 when after centuries of Jews living in the country and at times being fully integrated into the country’s life; all are expelled. Parts of Ukraine (In the Jewish Super Ghetto known as the Pale of Settlement.) during the years 1882 – 1903 when horrible violent riots were taking place in Jewish towns – pogroms – that were either sanctioned by the Russian Government or ignored by it. Finally, from September 1, 1939 – May 9, 1945 in all the countries of Europe and North Africa where the Nazis were exterminating Jews, in what we now call the Shoah – Holocaust.

Being that I have been privileged to have been to Israel well over 50 times and in total having spent over 5 very intense years in the country. I would bring with me a photo album of pictures I have taken during my travels as well as aerial photographs of Israel. At each one of the above mentioned stops I would tell the Jews around me that I am from their future, and I would describe in detail what the sovereign re-established Jewish state looks like and how many, and what types of Jews live there.

I would show them photographs of the country, and its people. I would describe what the Kotel Plaza (Western Wall) looks like, and what it’s like on Friday nights when thousands of different types of Jews come there to pray. What it looks like on Sukkot when thousands come to be blessed by the Kohanim (Priestly Caste), and what it looks like when soldiers from the IDF are sworn in there. I would tell them about the Knesset, the Israeli Flag and the Menorah which is the emblem of the Jewish state.

I would tell them about the IDF, and a little about what it has accomplished since 1948. I would show them my own swearing in ceremony when I received my Tanach and M16. I would tell them about the millions of Jews in Israel who come from well over 150 countries, and how they have all returned to the land of their forefathers. I would tell them about the many accomplishments of the Jewish state in science, technology, medicine, and its archeological finds, that link the Jewish present to the Jewish past.

They would see pictures of the green fields of the Hula Valley, and the forests that surround Jerusalem, and of some of the thousands of synagogues and yeshivot in Israel. I can guarantee that at each one of these historical stops the Jews I would be speaking to and showing pictures would begin to weep with joy, and probably would just want to touch me since I would be representing something holy and unbelievable to them. I would not be surprised is some of them would probably ask me to describe the Mashiach (Messiah) since surely in their minds he has arrived. I would smile and tell them that we are still waiting for him, but that our present is the future that they have all been dreaming of. The re-established State of Israel with all the problems that running a sovereign state entails, is nothing less than the embodiment of a 2000-year-old dream!

In my book Judaism Zionism and the Land of Israel, I take the reader on the journey that began with the Patriarch Abraham until the present. My hope is that when you complete the book you will have an attachment to the re-established State of Israel that is religious, emotional and cerebral.

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