In a few weeks, the celebrations to mark Israel's 60th anniversary will begin in earnest. Some of the events, including a landmark visit by the German chancellor and half of her cabinet, have already taken place. First, as is customary, the country will come to a stop, remembering the thousands killed in Israel's many wars. The next day, May 8, the country will mark six decades since the founding of the first Jewish state in two thousand years, a state that many thought would not last past its infancy.
The very fact that Israel still exists despite active efforts to destroy it by its neighbors is little short of a miracle. The minuscule country has achieved incredibly feats, many of which have benefited the entire world. But answering the question of whether Israel at 60 is a true success story requires looking at a wider, less clearly cut picture.
In many ways, Israel has achieved more than anyone ever dreamed. The country has become a hub of science, technology, and the arts. To the uninterested, Israel conjures images of war and intractable conflict, but that view ignores the thriving and extraordinarily diverse society the country has developed on the shores of the Mediterranean, in the sometimes aching heart of the Middle East.