This piece was originally written by Marta Slobodyanyuk, a proud CAMERA activist at the University of Minnesota and Vice President of the CCAP group Students Supporting Israel. Marta will be participating in the CAMERA Student Leadership and Advocacy Mission to Israel this year.

Marta Slobodyanyuk
Marta Slobodyanyuk

Growing up in a world of diversity is something that we all as people must be grateful for. Some places are more diverse than others, but there is one place that has every diversification that is possible within existence. That place is Israel.

Many people take much pride within their heritage.  Israel is a country where everyone can be proud of whom he or she is.  That is always of importance in order to be able to live a fulfilled life.

Same sex rights have been overshadowed in many different countries. This is due to either religious beliefs or the disapproval of the leader of the country. Since 1988, Israel has been the only country in the Middle East that has recognized same sex rights and same sex marriage. Even before that, in 1963, only fifteen years after its independence, Israel declared that it would not enforce any laws against same sex relationships. Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was prohibited by law in 1992, and homosexuals were allowed to serve openly in the military the following year.

The fact that Israel accepts people whether they are gay, straight, Jewish, or Arab is very monumental. They have equal rights for all. Even though Israel is built off of Conservative Jewish views, it is still one of the leading countries in which people have no issue with people in regards to same sex marriage. It is a country which believes that everyone fits in, and everyone is made to feel like they are at home.

Another diverse aspect about Israel is their army. There are people in the army who have volunteered all the way from Venezuela and Uganda. Muslims, as well as Christians, volunteer in the IDF. The Jews, Arabs, Bedouin, and many others all unite together for this small country that they all call their home. This is a beautiful display of the true diversity of Israel.

Marta, second from right, holds an award that her CCAP group was presented with at the annual CAMERA gala.

With Israel’s 66th year of independence, Israel is proud to have upheld such a diverse home throughout the years. With many different ethnicities and cultures in the world, Israel has it. They are home to over millions of people of different backgrounds. They all come together to celebrate the land and home that they can be themselves in for many years to come.

This is an important example to look up to for any nation on this earth. Different people of all types of backgrounds unite for a country that has deep meaning for them. They love, support, and defend the country that we call Israel.

We as a community here on campus are carrying on the tradition of unifying people of different cultures together and ensuring diversity here.

In times like these, it is valuable and important to come together and make sure that people know what the cause is for. For the years that Israel has been its own nation, they have proclaimed, beyond many nations, that have been independent for hundreds of years.

We celebrate the birthday of a country that allows people to be people, and diversifies itself more and more by the hour, day and year. I am proud to say Happy Birthday, Israel.

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