What Israel Means to Me: Opher Aviran

What Israel Means to Me: Opher Aviran

Here’s what the business consultant and former Israeli consul general to the Southeast has to say as we celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday.

(From left) Gov. Nathan Deal, Sandra Deal, Talyah Aviran, Opher Aviran and Rabbi Peter Berg
(From left) Gov. Nathan Deal, Sandra Deal, Talyah Aviran, Opher Aviran and Rabbi Peter Berg

Israel — my birthplace, my country and the centerpiece of the Jewish people — has always been a great source of pride. My five-year posting in Atlanta as the consul general of Israel to the Southeast was the pinnacle of my 33 years of diplomatic service. In that position, I fulfilled my dreams and lived out my values. It is often said that diplomacy is all about relationships, and my family and I were fortunate to give and receive so much from the community.

Israel, the state of the Jewish people, must continue to be a humane society and a beacon of tolerance for Jews and non-Jews alike and for all forms of Jewish expression. We cannot and should not expect moral and material support from the committed American Jewry without respecting its diversity.

Opher Aviran

Israel, the Start-Up Nation, should first preserve its Jewish-universal values, then become a striving nation militarily, economically and academically. We endured hardship before and after independence in 1948, and we cannot forget our core values.

We should be proud of our great achievements in 70 years, but not become arrogant. We should embrace minorities and combat incitement and divisiveness. These scourges have taken hold in Israel, and we should express zero tolerance to them, in much the same way we demand that others show no tolerance for anti-Semitism.

Let us all pray and make every possible effort to make our grandchildren proud of us and of the nation we love.

See all the reflections on Israel’s meaning on this special anniversary.

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