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Israel celebrates 60 years of independence

MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images At sundown tonight, Israel began celebrating its 60th anniversary. Though continuing violence in the Palestinian territories and political corruption scandals in the Knesset have left many Israelis feeling a bit cynical about the event, Israel’s 60th brithday is nonetheless a remarkable milestone for a country whose very existence has been in peril ...

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MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images

At sundown tonight, Israel began celebrating its 60th anniversary. Though continuing violence in the Palestinian territories and political corruption scandals in the Knesset have left many Israelis feeling a bit cynical about the event, Israel’s 60th brithday is nonetheless a remarkable milestone for a country whose very existence has been in peril more times than its citizens would like to recall.

Today, Israel doesn’t face the same existential threats it once did, but that doesn’t diminish the challenges and dangers it must still confront. As Israeli journalist Gershom Gorenberg writes:

At 60, Israel is neither a perfect democracy, nor a Jewish ghetto imperiled by Iranian Nazis, nor a puppet master indirectly controlling Washington. It is more democratic than its neighbors, more reliably pro-Western, and more successful economically and militarily. Nonetheless, it faces the classic dilemmas of a nation-state dealing with minorities, borders, and neighbors. In other words, it is best understood as a real place, not a country of myth.

For more on Israel’s history and uncertain future, check out Gorenberg’s cover story “Think Again: Israel” from the most recent issue of FP. You can also explore more of the country’s turbulent history in the photo essay, “Israel at 60.”

 Twitter: @joshuakeating

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