In a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams saying, “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation.” On the eve of the 66th independence day of Israel, it’s important to note that the fall of the united Kingdom of David in 930 BCE and the destruction of the first temple in 586 BCE followed by the Roman invasion of Jerusalem in 70 CE laid the second temple in Jerusalem to waste prompting a mass Jewish exodus.
For over a millennium, the nation was scattered as the lost Tribes of Israel wandered the globe and the Hebrews were pushed into cities by Christian and Muslim feudal lords who confiscated their lands and prevented them from doing agriculture. In Babylon, the Jews were held in captivity and in Europe, the Jews migrated to the cities, where they were allowed to be money traders as coins were a sin in the Middle Ages; that profession allowed Jews to create a surplus and gave rise of commodities trading. Jews were at the forefront of the birth of the modern financial system: the engine of capitalism that has subsidized innovation and propelled industrialization and enabled the Jews to move up the division of labor.
Jewish born intellectuals like Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Leo Tolstoy revolutionized our world. But it was one very handsome intellectual, Theodor Herzl who initially called for the total assimilation of Jews when he was a journalist in Paris but when he witnessed the virulent Anti-Semitism during the Dreyfus Affair, he realized that the only solution was the creation of a “The Jewish State” which he wrote in a pamphlet in 1896. Herzl’s vision transcended time and became the driving force in events that led to the creation of Israel in 1948. Without Herzl’s vision, the Jews today wouldn’t have transformed Israel from a desert to a garden.
As an Afghan born the year after the decay of my homeland began and to see the annihilation of my people continue until this day, I feel uprooted not having my nation be at peace and to have millions in the Diaspora to be fragmented and widely scattered around the globe. I’m compassionate to Herzl and the struggle of the Jewish people. I dream of the day when my own homeland will become a hegemon like Israel, unites Afghanistan and keeps the entire region under control.