It’s been ‘spring’ in Israel for many decades

The Arab Spring didn’t exactly bloom gloriously in the one Middle East country that has known the fruits of liberty since its inception in 1948.

Israel has enjoyed the fruits of spring, or whatever you want to call it, since it came into being shortly after World War II, when Jews fled Europe to their ancestral homeland on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s been a struggle, to be sure.

In recent times, though, as Israel’s Arab neighbors have gone through much upheaval and bloodshed, the one democratic state in the region has continued to flourish.

PBS is going to focus its attention on Israel beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday with a special, “Israel: Facing the Future.” It airs on Panhandle PBS.

The Arab Spring has seen changes in government in Egypt, where the so-called “spring” began to blossom. Change also occurred in Libya with the bloody takeover of Moammar Gadhafi’s government — and the dictator’s execution by victorious rebel forces. Change has swept over Tunisia and Yemen.

And in Syria, which borders Israel, rebels are locked in a civil war with forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, with no end in sight.

How has Israel fared during all of this? As it always has fared, given that it exists in a geopolitical neighborhood full of nations that at one time or another have been dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Uneasy peace exists between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Lebanon is another matter, as that country is run by Hezbollah, a terrorist organization bent on the demise of Israel. And, we have Gaza, between Egypt and Israel, which is governed by Hamas, another terrorist outfit that occasionally fires rockets into Israeli neighborhoods. Israel has gone to all-out war three times since its founding, in 1956, 1967 and 1973. It’s been fighting skirmishes in Gaza, the Golan Heights, along is border with Lebanon and the West Bank intermittently throughout.

Israel’s future seems secure, based on what I’ve witnessed first hand there. It’s a military powerhouse and a technological giant. Its people are resolute and committed to defending their nation at all costs.

The Arab Spring has produced sweeping change throughout the region. Israel must face that change with continued resolve and determination.

PBS will tell us Tuesday night how Israel is coping with the tumult that surrounds it.


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