This article was originally posted on Lay of the Land.
This past week Israel celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut, our 72 Independence Day!
Usually this day is celebrated with fireworks, concerts, ceremonies, and parties. People gather on the beaches, in the forests and in the parks.
Not so this year. Covid-19 put the kibosh on all of that. Israelis were relegated to celebrating indoors, in their own homes, under strict lockdown conditions.
What still did happen though; and what happens every year; is that the municipality starts putting up Israeli flags along the streets, on street poles and lamps. They hang blue and white bunting across intersections. This takes place across cities and towns country wide and is very festive!
Families also decorate their balconies, gardens, and cars with flags. The whole country is proudly blue and white!
A week or so before Yom Ha’atzmaut, I came across a post on Facebook written by someone who was upset that the municipality was, in his opinion, ‘wasting’ money that could have been used towards medical care, equipment and such, because they were putting up these flags.
That comment bugged me. Even now, a week after Yom Ha’atzmaut has come and gone, it’s still bugging me.
I totally understand that our medical needs are huge, that our medical front liners need PPE equipment and that we need more ventilators and that saving lives is the most important thing we can do.
But…I also feel that celebrating our independence, our homeland and our freedom is just as important. Perhaps this is even more so in these troubled and uncertain times.
Seeing those flags made me smile. Seeing those flags made my heart feel lighter. It made me feel connected to people, my fellow citizens, when I had spent almost an entire month in my home with no personal contact with anyone outside of my immediate family.
Those flags gave me hope.
It was an affirmation. We are Israel! We are Israelis – and we can overcome anything that is thrown our way.
So, random Facebook man, I vehemently disagree!
Those flags are not a waste of money. Not at all. They are – Joy, Love and Hope. And they are a promise.
We WILL make it through this.
We WILL survive.
It’s what we do.