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The Israeli Spirit Is Unmatched Anywhere

July 8, 2024

by: Amichai Attali ~ Ynetnews

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Amidst the chaos of war, young hearts dance in celebration of Jerusalem Day.

Monday, 8 July 2024 | Last week, the conversation about emigration from Israel resurfaced. You see good, efficient, productive and caring people who simply can’t bear what’s happening here any longer. It’s understandable given what they are going through. However, it’s worth reminding them of the UN’s World Happiness Report, published in March. Astonishingly, Israel, even in the midst of war, still ranks in the second decile globally. Without the war’s impact, we’d be in the top five.

Researchers from the UN broke down the components of happiness and found that belonging, mutual responsibility, meaning and community are the most crucial elements. These feelings of belonging and community that we have here can’t be found anywhere else by those who choose to leave.

The mutual responsibility for which Israelis are known—which have reached new heights since October 7—is unmatched anywhere else.

One indicator examined is the willingness to help a stranger in need and the likelihood of receiving help if you are the one in trouble. The late Captain Elchanan Kalmanson and Shlomi Kalmanson are a definitive answer to this question.

Kalmanson went south on October 7 against every human instinct. While people worldwide flee disaster zones, Elchanan, his brother Menahem and nephew Shlomi jumped into the fire, rescuing one family after another from burning homes in Kibbutz Be’eri before Kalmanon was killed by the terrorists. This is the level of help given in times of need in Israel during this time.

The late Captain Adir Portugal is another example of why we stay here, why we will rebuild and why we will undoubtedly succeed. Portugal, a recently discharged officer from the Givati Brigade, was on a post-army trip on October 7. He moved heaven and earth to return. Because he was recently discharged, he didn’t even have a reserve unit assignment, so he joined a regular battalion and fell in combat in Gaza.

He wasn’t alone. While young men of draft age in Russia do everything possible to leave the country to avoid being forcibly sent to fight in Ukraine, countless Israelis caught abroad at the outbreak of the war returned on chartered planes to enlist. Only in Israel.

Adir, Elchanan and others like them are why we stay here. Not because we sanctify death, but because this is the human material that lives here and whom we want to be alongside. So many put everything aside, ready to sacrifice their businesses, livelihoods, family lives, vacations and holidays. They are willing to sacrifice their lives without hesitation for everyone else.

This means only one thing: We have the best people in the world here. Israel isn’t a perfect place, but no other place has such raw material for work and building. These months have taught us two main things about ourselves. On the one hand, our collective complacency led to an unprecedented disaster. On the other, we saw this pure Israeli spirit that lifts us even from such a calamity. The Israeli spirit that jumps in unconditionally, without asking questions, and does everything to lend a hand—in combat, helping evacuees, pampering soldiers, fundraising and countless other areas.

All of this compels us to take this enormous blow and turn it into rebuilding. A national vow to ourselves and our children that what was will never be again. The mission of rebuilding will be the foundation of our lives in the coming years. We will rebuild Israel as a nation of living heroes, not those revealed only after their heroic deaths in a national failure.

We need everyone for this.

Because a people with qualities found nowhere else in the world deserves to live in a country like no other. And it will happen. It must happen. We will make it happen.

Posted on July 8, 2024

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by Ynetnews on July 8, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

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