(April 17, 2019 / Mida)
While Israel is a small country, its history and dreams rival those of global powers. Just two days after Israeli spacecraft “Beresheet” crash into the surface of the moon, SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn announced the launch of “Beresheet 2.”
“We started something and we need to finish it,” he said. ”We’ll put our flag on the moon.”
In a nutshell, this statement encapsulates the core of Israel’s DNA. Modern Israel owes its existence to persistent trial and error, combined with the daringly creative thinking that has consistently turned daunting disadvantages into powerful advantages. In short, big dreams fueled by an unstoppable desire to succeed have turned what was a tiny, vulnerable and threatened Jewish state in 1948 into today’s vibrant technological and economic powerhouse. The “Beresheet” project proves that as far as Israel is concerned, the sky is not the limit.
Only three world powers have successfully put spacecraft on the moon: the United States, Soviet Russia and China. Before crashing, Israel’s first moon lander succeeded in sending back a “selfie” with the moon’s surface visible in the background. Tiny Israel, which measures a mere 500 kilometers from north to south, succeeded in sending a spacecraft 384,400 kilometers to the moon. This achievement would be impressive for any country. However, for tiny and threatened Israel to almost land a rocket on the moon, while still facing multiple daunting challenges on earth, is nothing less than spectacular. The spacecraft embodies Israel’s spirit and perseverance.
“Beresheet” is certainly a fitting name for the Jewish state’s first spacecraft. It is the first word in the Hebrew Bible, and its meaning can be translated as “in the beginning.” In an era where the modern world is increasingly losing its identity and purpose, the Jewish nation of Israel continues to proudly embrace its past while confidently facing the future. In an era where political correctness and demands for uniformity are killing creative thought, Israel dares to think and act differently from the mainstream. In an increasingly conventional world, Israel’s strength is rooted in its unconventional spirit.
Through hard work and intelligence, Japan, South Korea and Singapore were transformed into highly advanced and successful societies. While still being an emerging market, China is projected to eventually overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy. While these Asian powers overtook the West in productivity, they still lag behind in terms of innovation. Israel stands out as the only true innovation society established in the post-1945 era.
Much of Israel’s success is rooted in its unique approach to failure. In much of Asia, failure is considered shameful—something to be avoided at all costs. By contrast, failure in Israel is seen as a natural component of life and a valuable opportunity to learn for the future. Kahn articulated this unique Israeli mindset after the failed moon landing: “This is also a good lesson for the youth. I said that if you fail, you need to get up and try again, and this is an example I have to give them.”
Israeli chutzpah and ability to think out of the box turned a dry Jewish state into the world’s leading water-technology power. It transformed a formerly powerless Jewish people into a nation with a fighting force second to none. It transformed a land with few natural resources into one of the world’s leading centers for technological innovation.
However, when it comes to politics and confronting her enemies, the “Startup Nation” is still surprisingly rigid. Albert Einstein reportedly defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” A quarter of a century after the failed Oslo “peace process,” Israeli leftists and their international counterparts still insist that Israel should appease an enemy that demands the destruction of the Jewish state. Israeli appeasement has only pushed genuine peace even further into the future.
Led by the increasingly hostile European Union, much of the world community insists that Israel must choose between a two-state or a one-state solution. However, these “solutions” are detached from reality. Israel’s enemies have repeatedly prioritized the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state over the establishment of the 22nd Arab state.
At the same time, the overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews embrace Israel as a democratic Jewish nation-state. It is not a coincidence that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won re-election on April 9. While Netanyahu is unpopular among Western self-appointed liberals, he successfully brings the unconventional Israeli mindset to the political arena. Netanyahu embraces content over empty labels like “two states.”
He eloquently summarized the solution to the conflict between Israel and her immediate Arab neighbors: “Palestinians have all the powers to govern themselves and none of the powers to threaten us.”
Israel must turn its military victories into a political victory that forces its enemies to give up their dream of destroying the Jewish state. Like the Israeli moon project, it is a work in progress that will eventually be realized through Israel’s unique spirit and perseverance.