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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Israel: The oasis many overlook

Published: March 4, 2011
Section: Opinions

Many people do not realize how much Israel contributes to the world and our everyday lives. Since the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, a conflict that has rocked the Middle East since modern Israel’s inception, there has been growing ignorance as to how Israel plays a direct role in the world’s routines.

With Israel Peace Week taking control, I would like to respond with the very daunting task of conveying that very inner beauty of Israel to many–but it shouldn’t be that hard.

Why? Although she is a baby (the State is merely 61 years old, relatively young in statehood) Israel does so much.

Take social justice for example, a cornerstone cherished by the Brandeis community. Israel is currently the only democracy in the Middle East, a right that many people from neighboring countries are right now, as I am typing, fighting aggressively to procure.

This right is usurped from millions of people belonging to fundamentalist-Islamist regimes, such as the tyrannical regime in Libya, where hundreds of citizens are dying for this highly desired mode of government.

And when you bring up human rights, there is just no comparison. Israel is the bastion of human rights in the Middle East, providing gender equality since its birth in 1948.

In fact, its Prime Minister Golda Meir was the third female prime minister in the world. Gay rights and anti-discrimination laws are also a top priority in Israel; the Jewish state is the first and only country in the Middle East to protect against discrimination against homosexuals.

Contrary to popular belief, Israeli-Arabs are given equal opportunities provided by Israeli society. Currently, 12 of the 120 members of the Israeli parliamentary system are Arab. There is a Christian Arab sitting on Israel’s Supreme Court. There are even high-ranking Arab officers in the Israeli army, including Major Generals.

So don’t even think of telling me that Arabs are “ethnically cleansed” or “purged” from Israeli life.

Furthermore, Israel is a leader when it comes to science and technology. According to the Council of Higher Education (a non-profit, independent organization), Israel ranks fourth in scientific development.

In fact, Israel reigns supreme when it comes to research and development (R&D) in its relationship to its GDP.

Your Intel Core Duo chip was first produced in Israel; many drugs and pharmaceuticals originate from the state (and it’s no wonder, because Israel contains the largest pharmaceutical company, Tevah); that flash drive in your hand-that was invented in Israel. The Jewish State has made its contribution to the world of science.

Now don’t get me wrong–Israel makes mistakes. Sometimes big mistakes. My point is definitely not to stop the legitimate criticism that Israel receives. When it’s deserved, it’s OK.

But when invalid condemnation and incessant demonization becomes a daily part of dialogue regarding the Jewish state–that’s when we cross the line.

I’m here to say that there are many things that we can celebrate about Israel, and a multiplicity of contributions that Israel has bestowed upon the world.

So let’s take a minute to celebrate the good things that Israel has produced. .