JERUSALEM – Is Israel a success when it turns 70? While the Israelis commemorate this milestone this week, satisfaction and a grim rest share the stage.
It has a standard of living that competes with Western Europe, without the natural resources. It can boast of its modest size with scientific achievements and military and technological clout. It controls most of the biblical Israel and, despite widespread criticism of its policies towards the Palestinians, has maintained good diplomatic relations with most parts of the world.
But it is also a country that is tired after decades of conflict with the Palestinians. It is divided by religious, ethnic and economic divisions. She is still seeking recognition in a region that has not fully reconciled with the presence of a Jewish state.
Their founding provides it as a "light for the nations," but is still regularly charged with war crimes by Palestinians, millions of whom have been controlled for decades without voting rights.
The great peace hopes of the 1
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite having won three elections since 2009, is vilified by many and faces corruption scandals in Israel at 70:
GROWTH AND ECONOMIC INEQUALITY
Driven by a vibrant high-tech sector Israel's per capita GDP of nearly $ 40,000 ranks with Italy and South Korea and is within reach of Britain and France.
But it also suffers from one of the highest degrees of inequality in the developed world, and poverty is especially prevalent among its Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews.
These two sectors, accounting for almost a third of the population and growing, risk hauling the rest of the economy.
Pounding over his weight
For a country of nearly 9 million, Israel has had a surprising success. It has eight living Nobel laureates among its citizens and has helped give the world instant messaging, Intel chips and intelligent, autonomous vehicles. High-tech units in the military have made Israel a global cybersecurity center.
It is in a small club of nations that they have launched a satellite and it is widely believed that it belongs to an even smaller group of nuclear weapons, although the government will not confirm it. Israel has one of the strongest air forces in the world.
It has won European basketball championships and song contests, and hit shows such as "Homeland," "In Treatment," and "Fauda" are Israeli creations. Last year's blockbuster "Wonder Woman" – a woman's most successful live action movie – starred in Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
Forging a National Identity
Despite decades of development, Israel is still working to forge a national identity
More than a century ago, Zionists in Europe saw Jews as a nation, not just a religion. The persecution in Europe, culminating in the Holocaust, sent European Jews to the Holy Land.
Soon after Israel's founding in 1948, immigrants from countries such as Morocco, Yemen, Iraq and Iran joined them.
These Middle Eastern or Mizrahi Jews had little to do with their European counterparts. They were poorer, more religious and often victims of discrimination. Three generations of integration and mixed marriage have blurred the differences, but gaps remain.
Coming from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia has made Israel even more diverse, yet the various communities often remain alone.
The whole arrangement may seem to be an insult to the founding idea of the Jews as a nation – and yet it is a rare achievement that they have all been forged into a Hebrew-speaking population with considerable national pride.
Nevertheless, there is antipathy along cultural lines: many Europeans, who are still claimed to make up perhaps half of the Jews in Israel, can not stand the popular Arabic "Mizrahi music" that had previously been suppressed; The Moroccan-born Minister of Culture Miri Regev once bragged that she did not read Chekhov.
Meanwhile, nationalist lawmakers are pushing laws that would define Israel as the Jewish national state. So far, these initiatives have faltered under the criticism that they would discriminate against the Arab minority of about one-fifth of citizens.
DISCUSSES ON JEWISHISM
After 70 years, the place of Judaism in the Jewish state is unclear.
Most Israelis are either secular or slightly religious. But the devout ultra-Orthodox, about 10 percent of the population, exert a disproportionate influence because right-wing coalitions could never muster a majority without them.
They used their political power to close much of the country on Saturdays, the Jewish day of rest; Obtained exemption from compulsory military service; and obtained a monopoly on the monitoring of rituals such as weddings and funerals. Their strict rules have upset the secular majority, but attempts to change often lead to violent protests.
Religion has also influenced relations with US Jews – the largest Jewish community outside Israel and an important base of support. The Israeli orthodox establishment has repeatedly tried to prevent break-ins made by the liberal Jewish currents in the US. Last year, it blocked plans to allow egalitarian prayer on Jerusalem's western wall.
Such movements have created a feeling that liberal American Jews are undesirable. They were also disappointed by Israeli policy towards the Palestinians. American Jews tend to be liberal and support the Democratic Party, while Netanyahu has close ties with President Donald Trump.
RELATIONS WITH THE ARAB WORLD
After Israel declared independence, its Arab neighbors attacked. And even after the 1967 Middle East War, when Israel conquered parts of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, the Arab world refused to engage.
This began with the 1979 Peace Agreement with Egypt, the first Israel with an Arab country. Jordan followed in 1994 after Israel signed a temporary peace agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Meanwhile, Netanyahu strengthened its relations with countries such as India, China and Russia.
He often boasts covert relations with temperate Arab countries – presumably Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that share Israel's concerns about Iran. Saudi Arabia now allows flights between Israel and India to use its airspace. But without a solution to the Palestinian question, formal relationships remain elusive.
The euphoria that accompanied the Transitional Peace Conventions in the mid-nineties was short-lived.
The sites established an autonomous "Palestinian Authority" "With limited powers on islands of the territory, but never able to conclude a final agreement because of the profound differences of opinion and the repeated violence that killed thousands." Israel's relations with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank are bad, its relations with militant Hamas leaders in Gaza, who had expropriated the area from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, are hostile.
Israel has serious allegations of high civilian casualties in Gaza – most recently with the death of over Israel and Hamas have fought three wars, Hamas, which has dedicated itself to the destruction of Israel, has repeatedly fired rockets at Israel, with Israel accusing its leaders of using civilians as cover for attacks.  19659043] Despite the Autonomiev Israeli settlement in the West Bank has effectively controlled over 2.5 million Palestinians without voting rights, while expanding Jewish settlements in the same area. This has caused international condemnation and comparisons with apartheid in South Africa.
For years it seemed as if Israel would agree with a Palestinian state next door to preserve its status as a democracy with a Jewish majority. But after failed talks, Israel's current hardliner government is resisting the idea of negotiation. Opponents consider this a suicidal way.
If things continue like this, a fateful decision awaits: give Palestinians citizenship in a single state and end the status of Israel as a country with a Jewish majority; or maintain a two-tier system, with a disenfranchised Palestinian population that could no longer credibly claim to be a democracy.
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