[The local chat list is ablaze with a debate over celebrating Yom Ha-Atzma'ut this year. Herewith is my adrenalin filled response.]
I identify with the sadness, spiritual and emotional turmoil that Yom Ha-Atzma'ut is raising for many people. However, despite the moral and Jewish corruption that is presently in power, that is not a reason not to thank HaQadosh Barukh Hu for the establishment of the State of Israel. On the contrary, the fact that we are still here, despite the best efforts of the Left and the Arabs, is nothing short of miraculous. Furthermore, despite the best efforts of the Religious establishment and the Left (a diabolic duo, if there ever was one), the population is growing incresingly Jewish and increasingly resiliant. Considering that we're facing a global jihad to force us to convert or return to the terms of the dhimma, that too is something to celebrate.
And here I need to correct a misconception. My teacher, Rav Soloveitchik zatzal, NEVER EVER said that the establishment of the State was the start of our redemption. Indeed, in a far too rarely studied essay, he said that the religious significance of the state is based upon its being a gift from God. That's enough. The disillusionment that so many feel is based upon the, in my opinion, irresponsible theology that asserts that the State is (and must be) the start of the redemption. That turns the State, and God's actions, into an 'ahavah ha-teluyah be-davar.' You know what occurs in that event. 'Batlah Davar, Batlah ahavah.' (If anyone would like a Pdf of the article, please write to me directly and I'll be happy to send it.)
On the contrary, the Rav used to emphasize that the dynamic inherent in the various imprecations in the Torah is still operative. Eretz Yisrael, he used to say, will only flower for the Jewish People. At the same time, Eretz Yisrael will not tolerate immorality and perversion, of any kind. Sometimes, I fear that our love of the land makes us forget that little fact.
On a personal note, as the Rav also says in that article, one must differentiate between the State of Israel and the Government of Israel. They are not the same, as much as Olmert, Barak (A. and E.), HaLivni and their cronies would like to believe. We have had worse leaders. Menashe, Ahab, Zedekiah, Menelaus, Alexander Jannai, Herod etc. We survived them when we stood fast to the Torah.Hanukkah, for example, was not abolished when the Hasmoneans went over to the dark side. Why? Because the Jewish polity's future was not up to them. It's up to God. Period. Until such time as, God Forbid, He takes it away; WE must thank Him for it.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Jews of Israel are now the largest Jewish community in the world. In ten years, a majority of what remains of World Jewry will live here. The reverses of the past years ought not to signal despair.They must teach. As the Rav states in Kol Dodi Dofek: What shall the sufferer do and live with his suffering?
First, however, one MUST bless al ha-Tovah me'eyn ha-Ra'ah. When Hanukkah was ordained, the Hellenizers were still the major political and cultural power. Hazal took the initiative and set up the holiday and then spread Torah she-b'al Peh throughout the nation.
It's a charge worth celebrating.