In celebration of Israel's 53rd birthday, we present our readers' "Top 53 Reasons We Love Israel." (not in order of priority)
- It is a holy land, a gift from the Almighty!
- Israel is the only place that is my true home. Everywhere else is just temporary.
- Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken are Kosher!!!
- The heightened sense of holiness that you feel with every step you take while you are in Israel.
- The beauty of the Land of Israel from the deserts of the Negev to the mountains and valleys of the Galil and the Golan; from the coastal plains to the hills of Jerusalem the geography of Israel is incredibly diverse. And the beauty of Jerusalem especially the sun shining on the Jerusalem stone.
- It's the only place in the world where the seas, sand, wind, sky, rain, hills, desert speak to you in Psalms. The clouds and crevices in the rocks look like Hebrew letters. The Land speaks the words of Hashem.
- Israel is the only place where a Jew doesn't have to take off school or work in order to keep Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the other holidays.
- The history, the grandeur of the past can be seen everywhere you turn; and, at the same time, you realize that you are a part of the history that is unfolding before your very eyes.
- Israel is the place where we can fully be Jews, and walk proudly in the streets without fear of being discriminated.
- Ben Yehuda Street Where better to go when you want to feel like you're in both Israel and the US? A great mix of both cultures, with new experiences awaiting you with every turn you take.
- It's the only place in the world you can get a decent Krembo.
- The freedom to talk to God wherever and whenever without being thought of as crazy.
- In no other place in the world are there garbage men with their Tzitzit hanging out.
- I felt God's presence in Israel all around me, especially in Jerusalem. Miracles occur daily.
- You don't have to travel long distances to see every topographical region. The desert, the Mediterranean, the mountains, Lake Kinneret, the Dead Sea. Everything exists in Israel, more beautifully than any place else in the world.
- The Kotel, the Western Wall.
- The soldiers.
- The vast majority feel deeply others' pain and joy. There is a unique sense of being part of a single community, which leads most people to feel together, whether it is a time of sadness or happiness.
- Meeting others from all over yet having the same common denominator our faith.
- December 25 is a completely ordinary day: people just going about their business. And December is a completely ordinary month. Xmas could come and go and you might not even notice it.
- Living in the States I sometimes feel like I don't belong, but in Israel I felt a sense of belonging and with other people sharing the same religion and culture. Being in Israel is being home. There is a great degree of comfort being in the land that God gave to us.
- Under Jewish rule, Israel is a free nation. It is significant to many religions and under Jewish rule all are free to visit and view the sites most dear to them. This would not be true under any other form of government and the history books reveal this to be true.
- Despite the recent violence, I felt safer in Israel than I do at my home in the United States, and I would not hesitate to come back with my children. I could walk the streets at night without fear, despite being unable to read or speak the language, which is something I would never do at home.
- The pages of the Bible come to life here, making it all so very real.
- Unlike New York or any other place in the world, I actually CARE what happens in Israel. Any person who dies, or is hurt, or was saved, is my brother or sister. I feel their happiness and pain as if they're part of my own body, or my own family.
- Falafel makes me happy!
- The diversity of the people not only do they represent so many different religions (and sects within these religions), but they come from all over the world, speak more languages than I can count, and yet all have an incredible love for the Land.
- The only foreign country you can visit, and feel totally at home.
- Israel proves that anything is possible in this world.
- That you don't have to think twice about wearing a kippa to work.
- Every stone has its individual history, and it's a land full of beauty and prosperity.
- In Israel, I am not an observer of Jewish destiny in a strange country. Here, we are creating Jewish destiny.
- It's the place where God's presence can be felt more intensely than anywhere on earth.
- Israel is the embodiment of every Jew's hopes and dreams come true. It is God's very promise to us come true, our Homeland.
- I love the beauty and the everchanging scenery that surrounds you.
- The amazingly delicious food produce that is the best in the world (even the fresh stuff from California, where I current reside, pales in comparison); other ethnic treats include melawach, jachnun, kubaneh, shwarma, and falafel.
- I love the hustle and the bustle of the people, their language and emotional manner.
- I am astounded by the growth and dynamics of its technological advances. Israel is one of the most vibrant countries in the world that is a leader in medicine, science, agriculture and in blending the past with the present and the future.
- Everyone talks on the buses.
- The State of Israel, its people and the Jewish people around the world are the ultimate survivors in a world filled with Jew hatred. No group of people in the history of mankind have faced Inquisitors, ghettos, pogroms, the Holocaust, quota systems, and various restrictions, etc. Despite every attempt to eradicate the Jewish people and the State of Israel, our people have survived and made extraordinary contributions to mankind.
- It keeps me constantly connected to my Judaism and "my people"! I have recently returned from a brief visit to Israel, and I love it even more now than before.
- It's the land where God has placed His name.
- I was most amazed at the profusion of flowers growing amid rocks, and green grass in what once was desert.
- I love the people of Israel's diversity, resilience, humanity and ingenuity.
- Dancing in the streets of Jerusalem during Sukkot.
- Middle Eastern hospitality the people are so kind and generous.
- The ability to keep dozens of Mitzvot that you can't do anywhere else.
- Every taxi driver is a political pundit.
- The weddings burst with joy and everyone is invited.
- The whole country is cleaning for Passover and I can smell it in the air.
- The topography allows me to sun on the beach of Eilat in the morning, and ski on Mount Hermon the same evening.
- When I visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, I realize no other people in the world has such deep roots.
- Only 53 reasons? With 5 million Jews, there are 5 million things I love about Israel!