Yes, It's pro-Israel. No, I'm not really apologetic. This is what people here live with.

Today is Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israeli independance day. I, for one, have very ambivalent feelings about the day. Is there any religios significance in our return to the land we lived in 2000 years ago? Even if there is, is the day that we signed a piece of paper stating our independance really the day that needs to be celebrated? At the same time, it clearly is a day to reflect on what it means to me to have a Jewish state. In any case, It's Independance day, and that means something very different to me than it does to an Israeli. I was thinking, tonight, about what the 4th of July is like in the United States, and why it is different here. I came to the following conclusions:

It's a holiday. There are firecrackers, beer, and bands playing all over. That's true in the US of A also, but I think it's a little different, because people care. As Thomas Paine said, "the tree of liberty must be refreshed, from time to time, with the blood of patriots." Everyone here knows people, not one or two, but dozens of people who died. These people live, every day, with the knowledge that a soldier they know, a brother, sister, cousin, or down the street neighbor, may be killed in the combat that occurs everyday. Or their uncle from the territories may be gunned down in a random act by some frustrated palestinian. This is life. And every single one of them knows, and doesn't act on, the fact that they could always leave for a place that's safer.

No one takes the existence of their country for granted. Whether you're a radical "Ultra-Orthodox" Jew that thinks that the state should never have been founded, and used to be part of the Neturei Karta, a secular Jew that hasn't seen the inside of a synagogue in several decades, or a member of Shinui, the anti-religious political party, you can be holding one of the torches in the yearly parade. (These are references to specific people who are going to have torches in the parade.)

At the same time, there are people that I know, all around me, that fought in 1948. they are 75 or 80 years old, and I see them in synagogue, running the local grocery store, or just sitting in front of the Kotel, when I visit.

Maybe in another 55 years the state of Israel will have an Independence day where people can get drunk, barbecue, and just talk about the weather like we do in the United States. Maybe in another 55 years, the country will only care about how the next election will turn out, and politicians will give speeches about things that are, at least comparatively, inconsequential, and people will car. Hopefully it won't take that long.