This week's In the News discusses the 50th anniversary of the foundation of Israel. The eight resources discussed offer commentary, analysis, and textual sources from a variety of viewpoints and affiliations. On April 30, 1998 (May 14 by the Western calendar) Israelis began celebrating the 50th anniversary of their nation. From 600,000 Jews in 1948 struggling to create a new economic and political entity in a harsh environmental, political, and military environment, Israel has become a prosperous and powerful nation of almost six million. German post-war reparations, generous US aid, and most of all hard work by it citizens has given Israel a standard of living equal or even superior to some European countries. This story of success and prosperity against tremendous odds is truly one of the most remarkable achievements by any nation in this century. However, conflict, tension, and security concerns remain a fact of life in Israel. Many of Israel's neighbors, even after 50 years, are yet to be reconciled to its very existence. Palestinians, who describe the creation of Israel as al naqba, "the catastrophe," were largely sealed off in Gaza and the West Bank during the festivities, and the peace process has seemed close to defunct for months. Tensions have also arisen within the Jewish community itself, especially between Orthodox Jews and secular Israelis. Despite these difficulties and the problems they pose for Israel's future, the nation rightly deserves a period of celebration and introspection on its achievements of the past 50 years.
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