On Jerusalem Day, 55 years after Israel’s great victory in the Six-Day War and with it the liberation of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, the State of Israel and the people of Israel won again.
Israel defeated its enemies: terrorist organizations and their supporters, critics inside and outside the country, those who try to question our sovereignty and boycott us, those who try to destroy us from near and far, those who still dream, in vain, that we will someday be defeated.
We won because we overcame our own fear. We did not capitulate, we did not stutter, we did not change the route of the annual Flag Parade. Israelis came in droves from all over the country, our country, and climbed the Temple Mount in record numbers, with our flags raised proudly, because we believed in ourselves and our right, our strength and our justice.
This year was the opposite of last year, and that is the big difference. When we stood proudly and did not back down, no one dared to attack.
Many of our neighbors have seen our strength and resilience, and realized that it is better to cooperate than fight with us.
This is a major victory, because it had an extraordinary symbol. The flags of Israel proudly hoisted on the Temple Mount are a message of power and faith to the whole world, to Diaspora Jewry, to the Christian world and of course to the Muslim world, to both partners and enemies.
Our allies want to see us as strong, because otherwise they have less justification to cooperate with us. Our enemies must see us as strong, otherwise they will continue to fight us.
The violence against us will end only if our enemies fear us, if they recognize and accept that we have won and there is no point in continuing to fight us.
There is no more symbolic and proper place to convey this message than on the Temple Mount, precisely because it is important to both our partners and our enemies. The Mount is where they want to see us fold.
The Mount is where the struggle is most painful and therefore the most decisive. That is why Hamas wants to defeat us there, and why it is precisely there that we dare not lose.
Some will say that what occurred on Jerusalem Day was not a victory. Do not listen to them.
Some will say it was a small victory. Even so, small victories can combine to make great victories, and great victories are based on our faith.
All our technological and military power, and the support of the United States, are not what led to victories in our wars, but spirit, commitment, faith in the justice of our cause and the knowledge that we have no other choice.
Do not worry about criticism. It is irrelevant. It always will be. No matter what our answer to it may be.
Some of the criticism is insincere. It is the result of domestic and local political struggles, as well as an organized attempt to put pressure on us from the outside. It is not going away.
But we have nothing to be ashamed of. We are a democratic country and attentive to different voices. We are ready and able to listen to criticism. We make mistakes and try to correct them. We argue amongst ourselves, and that is an important part of who we are.
Part of our power is to withstand and ignore unfair and unjust criticism. Our best answer is victory, and on Jerusalem Day we provided a perfect answer.
It should teach us a lesson for the future. Only an Israeli victory will make the world stop pressuring us and put an end to over 100 years of violent Palestinian rejection of Jewish sovereignty.
There is still a long way to go, but we will win. On Jerusalem Day, we reminded ourselves that we can win.
Happy Victory Day!
Alex Selsky is a member of the Board of Directors of the Middle East Forum Israel, which runs the Israel Victory Project.