My friend just came back from a scientific conference in Austria where she met other scientists, from places like Saudi Arabia and South Africa, who were shocked to discover that she, a Muslim Arab, was living and working with Jews in Israel.
Sixty-five years ago the State of Israel was born. Yom Ha'atzmaut commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. The root letters of the word atzmaut can be translated as "essence." This poem is my attempt to share and celebrate a small slice of Israel's essence.