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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Cheshvan 3, 5766, 11/5/2005

      An Independence Day Message

      Flag As Israel celebrates the 57th year of its independence, it would be easy to look around and start to wonder what all the excitement is about.

      Talk of withdrawal from parts of the Land of Israel, the ongoing assault on Jewish and national symbols, and the weakness of our politicians is enough to drive even the most committed optimist to moments of despair.

      But a Jew is not permitted to succumb to despair, so here is a brief, but inspiring story well worth repeating:

      The Ponevezher Rav was approached by someone a little more than 30 years ago who wanted to know what the esteemed rabbi thought about the situation in the State of Israel. "Rabbi, please tell me - is the cup half full or is it half empty?"

      To which the Rav answered: "The important thing to remember is that there is a glass at all. Whether it is half-full or half-empty matters far less."

      The point of the story is clear - we often get so caught up in the daily turn of events here in Israel, that we lose sight of the larger miracle - namely, that the Jewish people have a State.

      It may not be perfect, and we all have a lot of work to do to make it so, but on this day especially, we should all look heavenward and declare: "Thank G-d for the State of Israel."