In honor of Israeli Independence Day, senior correspondents at Yediot Ahronot, the country's largest circulation newspaper, were asked to choose who most deserved to light a torch for the nation this year. In a special article for last weekend's edition, journalist Einat Fishbein chose "Israel's human rights and social change organizations for not surrendering in the fight to shape Israel's character."
She wrote, "The Italian poet Dante told us that the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who during a time of great moral crisis remain neutral."
Fishbein continued, "Sometime in the 21st century. In a time of great moral crisis. The entire people sees and hears all the belligerence and remains neutral. Deluded laws are tabled by the Knesset. Hatred of foreigners and the other haunts the streets. Economic and security interests control every area that once belonged to the people, and the few who try to stop things getting carried away are maligned and hated."
"But those few people don't plan on giving up. They go to court and struggle for the basic rights that each person deserves - they fight for the rights of workers, new immigrants and veteran citizens – for their doctors who assist all those who need, Jew or Palestinian, refugee or IDF soldier. They work with disadvantaged communities, Ethiopian immigrants, security guards from the former Soviet Union, disabled people, the elderly, Orthodox women, Arabs, youth-at-risk, not only immediate aid but also building leadership that empowers."
"They hear calls to investigate them and their sources of funding. Outside their windows or on placards calling them traitors and haters of Israel – but they are not scared."
"They are not scared for a simple reason – they are fighting for their home – I am honored to invite the members of these organizations to light a torch for Israel's 63rd anniversary – for the glory of the State of Israel."