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Israeli press on 60th anniversary

Israeli Air Force Fuga aircraft during training for upcoming festivities

In the run-up to celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel on 14 May, the country's press has been discussing the legacy of those decades, and the way ahead.

Much of the debate focuses on Israel's relationship with its Arab minority, the Palestinians and its Arab neighbours, and especially on whether it should continue its traditional emphasis on security and military strength

Commentators also offer differing views on the extent to which Israel should be a "Jewish state", as well as on the role religion should play in public life.

EX-FOREIGN MINISTER SHLOMO BEN-AMI IN YEDIOT AHARONOT

Israel was born in war and since then it has been living by the sword... The biggest challenge facing it today is the need to radically change its strategy... The Jews have not survived all the genocidal atrocities only in order to entrench themselves behind the walls of their beliefs... They survived in order to shape an answer to what seemed for a long time as an unsolvable problem: to make the Jewish state legitimate in the eyes of those who feel they are its victims.

AMOS GILBOA IN MA'ARIV

The biggest challenge facing the State of Israel, 60 years after its foundation, is to get our Arab neighbours to accept the idea of Israel as state of the Jewish people, a Jewish state... What the establishment of the state symbolises is a new reality in which the Jewish people were given the ability to defend themselves... In the 60th year for its existence, it was immensely important that the state's leadership would not hesitate to say: We will cut off the hand of whoever tries to threaten to destroy the state of the Jewish people.

GERSHON BASKIN IN THE JERUSALEM POST

If we do not find a way to relinquish our control over the Palestinians in the next year or two, then in 10 or 20 years from now we will be celebrating the independence of... a very different state. It will not be a Jewish state. It will not be a state where the Jewish people are a majority. So on this Independence Day I wish wholeheartedly to all of my Palestinian friends: "I hope that you too will soon be able to celebrate your independence!"

ZUHAYR INDRAWUS IN YEDIOT AHARONOT

For generations, Israel's governments have treated the Palestinians as outcasts. I have grown old and still hear hollow statements by the country's leaders about their intention to grant Israel's Arabs equality. But none of them had the intention of implementing the declarations. We demand that the State of Israel becomes to a state of all its citizens; otherwise the conflict between us will deepen and leads us, regrettably, to a destination that neither the Jews nor the Arabs want.

CAROLINE GLICK IN JERUSALEM POST

Israel's 60th Independence Day is an excuse for the international media to weigh in against the state of the Jewish people... Israel's success is a testament to the enduring ingenuity and strength of the Jewish people as moral actors. The longevity of anti-Zionism is a testament to the fact that no matter what Israel's accomplishments, there will always be those who fail to see them.

YISRAEL VALLMAN IN YEDIOT AHARONOT

For 60 years, Israel has been lugging around its religious systems like a camel its hump. It left them in the hands of the religious parties and slammed the door behind them: let them be buried there. What it forgot is that those systems touch upon all spheres of its life: birth, marriage, divorce, death.

RABBI MEIR PORUSH, MP, IN HA'ARETZ

In the 60th year of the existence of the State of Israel we cannot break free from the oppressive feeling that this is the only country in the Western World in which an organised battle is being waged against Israel's religion; in which Jewish cultural assets are openly vilified; in which burning hatred is nurtured against those who observe the commandments of the Torah. The educational system works without a stable orientation of Jewish identity.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.


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