Israel's Independence Day celebrations
Israel's Independence Day celebrationsYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Rabbi Avi Berman is Executive Director, OU Israel

We find ourselves on Yom Ha'atzmaut, moments after Yom HaZikaron, a Yom HaZikaron that will probably be the most difficult Yom HaZikaron that most of the citizens of the State of Israel have ever experienced. It is extremely difficult, and we will have a hard time being joyful because just minutes prior we shed so many tears remembering all the brothers and sisters that we lost this year.

Yet, in my prayers on Yom Ha'atzmaut I will recall the long history of the Jewish people, and I will say thank you to God with the knowledge that unfortunately this is not the first year in the history of the Jewish nation that Jews have been killed for being Jews. This is not the first year that Jews have been forced to leave their homes, and this is not the first year that we have witnessed destruction.

So, I will thank God because we will all stand together and remember that we have the Israel Defense Forces, that we have a God in Heaven who shows us that even though they attack us with hundreds of missiles, some among the most advanced in the world, the Holy One, blessed be He, protects us and gives us an air force with advanced systems, and soldiers on land and sea who love the Holy Land and are ready to give up their lives in defense of it.

I will stand on Yom Ha'atzmaut and I will pray knowing that this year, more than ever, there are so many Jews around the world who understand the need for the State of Israel. Since last year, so many more Jews living in the Diaspora have come to understand that the State of Israel is crucial for the Jewish people.

I will thank God because those brothers and sisters of ours from the Diaspora, many of whom did not realize how much they were our brothers and sisters, discovered just how much they were in every way in real time. While we were being attacked, defiled and murdered they did everything to assist and help us, and they had a real impact with their connections, their contributions, and their insights.

I will thank God that the planes that fly to Israel are full to the brim, that all the missions that the OU and other organizations have brought are always filled to capacity. That every single family we visited and asked to hug, stood and hugged people they didn't know for several minutes. We were privileged to see the Jewish people standing together and praying for the success of the State of Israel and the complete redemption. I am thankful for the millions of chapters of Psalms recited and Torah learning for Am Yisrael.

I will thank God because I know that our enemies do not want us to be happy on Yom Ha'atzmaut. I will do so knowing that they committed shocking act of terrorism to try to prevent us from having a Yom Ha'atzmaut, and the Holy One, blessed be He, saved us from them. God gave us a strong army and a strong nation. He gave us a wondrous and brave generation of young men and women who are fighting fiercely, who have enabled us to celebrate this Yom Ha'atzmaut.

This year, I don't need fighter jets to do shows and fly-overs. This year, we can look within and see the bravery and heroism in the heart of each and every one of us.

We should all celebrate this Yom Ha'atzmaut to show our enemies that they will not bring us down. They will not take from us even one minute of gratitude for the State of Israel and to the people of Israel.