haass155_Amir LevyGetty Images_israelflag Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israel at 75

Israel, nearly strangled at birth in May 1948, is approaching fundamental choices about its identity. If it wants to remain a democratic state, it cannot forever rule over five million Palestinians and deny them citizenship and the rights that go with it.

NEW YORK – Religion and miracles often go hand in hand, so it should come as little surprise that the Jewish State, which just marked its 75th birthday, is something of a miracle. In some ways, Israel’s very existence is miraculous, as the newborn state only narrowly avoided being strangled in the crib by the much larger armies of its Arab neighbors, which invaded in May 1948.

Since then, Israel has weathered many more wars, along with a host of lesser attacks. But the larger story is that Israel has not only survived but thrived.

Today, it is a country of nearly 10 million people. It is a democracy in a part of the world dominated by authoritarian regimes. Despite not having any natural resources to speak of, its economy, boasting a world-class technology sector, is booming. Annual GDP per capita is around $55,000, putting it among the world’s top 20 countries, ahead of Canada, Japan, and much of Europe.