[Editor’s note: The piece below is to mark Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, and Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day – a somber day followed by a day of great celebration held every year in late April or early May on the day (in the Hebrew calendar) which, in 1948, Israel declared its independence. This year, Yom Hazikaron will be commemorated from the evening of Monday, April 24th, and Yom Haatzmaut will be celebrated from the evening of Tuesday, April 25 to the evening of Wednesday, April 26.]
These last days, when I draped myself in the heavy mourning cloak; when my horizon was thickened with the dark memories of my fallen warriors, darkened with my children’s burning tears, my flowerbed was covered with multicolored buds and red roses like my soldiers’ blood, I felt the pain possessing me and never allowing me a moment of respite. All my bones shook, cracked under the heavy load of my past, and groaned under my mothers’, my orphans’, and my fathers’ pain.
We, the people of Israel, never cease mourning our children.
I, ISRAEL, am continually on the verge of despair. Threatened by so many haters, cowards; because you see, I scare them with my brain, my wisdom, and my lights that radiate and illuminate the vast world and the universe.
I, the tiny ISRAEL, am my enemy’s nightmare. They cannot keep up with the tremendous weight of my bible, my understanding, my vision, my science, my love for my people, my admiration for their strength, their greatness, their uniqueness, their affection, their simplicity, their complexity, and their failures, as well.
My children are giants in their discoveries and resounding achievements in all fields. They are titans when they are called to defend their lives and those of their brothers, but above all, they remain so human that they do not neglect any part of the extraordinary divine creation.
My children’s strength lies in their power to eradicate their pain, overcome it, and substitute it with the gift of life’s ineffable joy. Like Phoenix, they rise from their ashes to wonderfully cheer their tribute to their Creator, their gift to life.
Blessed by God himself, I, ISRAEL, am eternal.
Therese Zrihen-Dvir is an Israeli-Canadian citizen who was born in Morocco and now lives in Israel. She has published over 20 books in 3 languages – French, English and Hebrew – and she speaks five languages.