For israel, this summer marks the 50th anniversary (June 10, 2017) of the end of the Six-Day War and the beginning of the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
And that historical marker quickly follows another one: the 69th anniversary of Israel’s statehood, commemorated by Israelis as Yom Ha’Atzma’ut (May 1 and 2).
Yom Ha’Atzma’ut is usually translated as “Israeli Independence Day.” That English word means “not hanging on.” But the Hebrew would be more accurately translated as “Day for Standing on One’s Own Feet, Day of Affirming One’s Own Essence” (Etzem, the linguistic root of “atzma’ut,” means “bone, skeleton, internal essential structure.”)
From that deeper perspective, the 50th anniversary of the Occupation casts a deep pall of doubt upon the 69th birthday of the State. Has Israel really been independently “standing on...