Israel celebrated the 63rd anniversary of its independence on May 10. As usual, the occasion was marked by celebrations, remembrances and official greetings from Israel’s allies. But this year’s commemorations had a special significance, for they took place in the midst of extraordinary unrest in the Middle East.
The so-called Arab Spring has brought enormous change to the region, and nobody knows how street protests, state violence, demands for democratic reforms and outright civil war will play out over the short and long terms. But one thing is certain, now more than ever: Israel remains the region’s only stable democracy. The Israelis continue to stand with the United States in the war on terrorists who continue to plot against both nations and their allies.
Washington and Jerusalem will not, and probably should not, see eye to eye on every regional issue. But ultimately, the bonds formed over the past 63 years should never be allowed to fray. The United States stands for universal values of liberty and democracy. Israeli, alone in its very rough neighborhood, continues to exemplify those values.
The fates of both nations, in war and in peace, remain intertwined. That’s something to remember as Israelis and their friends here recall the astonishing events of the spring of 1948.