As we come to the end of the 62nd year of independence for the modern State of Israel, today (Rememberance Day) is a chance for us to remember the 22,682 Israeli heroes who have died fighting to create and defend this wonderful country.
I made aliyah after the age I was required to serve in the IDF and I do not know what it is like to service or to see a friend in action (and I hpe I never will). I have a huge gratitude for every soldier who has served in the Israeli armed forces working to defend our State of Israel. Sadly, this appears to be a duty which will not go away in the near future.
However, defending Israel from enemy attack is not the only action that defenders of Israel currently have to carry out. Sadly we are also living in a world in which the deligitimisation of Israel's right to exist is become an equally important duty to defend. Over the past ten years like thousands of other Jewish people and supporters of Israel around the world, I have strived to defend Israel and this is something that we have to continue to do and to not give up in what is another battle that we must not lose.
Just this week the British Advertising Standards Agency ruled that the Western Wall can not be used in Israeli tourism adverts, as they say this misleads the public about what is in Israel. This is just lunacy. Ask any person around the world about it's number one tourist site and the Western Wall will be virtually everybody's answer. However, the Advertising Standards Agency have fallen into the trap that this part of Israel is on occupied territory, and accept the Arab argument that there is no Jewish historical heritage in Jerusalem. This despite the Western Wall and the Temple which it is a part of, has been part of the Land of Israel for over two thousand years, but was occupied by Jordan for nineteen sad years from 1948 to 1967. This is just the latest fight in the battle to defend and save Israel.
However, within Israel we have also had the shocking news, this past week which shames the memory of our fallen soldiers. It was reported this week that the officials and politicians including the two former Mayors of Jerusalem have allegedly been involved a bribery scandal to approve a planning application for the Holyland development. As someone who was a politician in London who decided on planning applications for developments I understood that when I made decisions I had to make these based on what was best for local people and the local area. The public trust politicians to make the right decisions and when they receive money to support a development they should feel ashamed. I hope as the investigation continues the alleged guilty officials and politicians admit they were wrong and apologise for these disgraceful actions. Our brave soldiers have given their lives for this country and when politicians and government officials brake the law for their own gain, they should hang their heads in shame.
I hope as we enter Israel's 63rd year, we are able to experience the start of the beginning of peace, where Israel just like every country in the world is rightly accepted and that our leaders show the decency that we the public expect of them.