Wesselhoft leads recognition of Israel’s 62nd birthday

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 27-Apr-2010

State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, a south Oklahoma City Republican, has led early efforts to recognize America’s special relationship with Israel. Among other steps, he has sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 48, praising Israel and expressing state support for Israel to exist within secure and defensible borders.

Emanuel Synagogue, north of MidTown’s Crown Heights Neighborhood, hosted this year’s Yom Ha’Zikaron community remembrance. Organizers combined solemn honors for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism with a joyful celebration of the 62nd Birthday of the modern state of Israel.

At the event, Dr. Eli Reshef, an Oklahoma City physician and veteran of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) shared poignant reflections on his combat experiences and the importance of the Jewish homeland to all people.

At the remembrance, held on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, Sherry Barton, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City, welcomed guests. Rep. Wesselhoft was thanked for his work on the resolution.

Dr. Reshef reflected, “Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli day of remembrance, is observed just before Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s independence day, to remind us to first somberly commemorate and humbly thank the 22,684 departed, who paid a terrible price so that we can marvel at and benefit from the Israel miracle.”

Dr. Reshef also read H.C.R. 1048. Wesselhoft secured co-sponsorship of every House member for the measure, which passed that chamber in mid-April. State Sen. Tom Adelson of Tulsa, a Democrat, is sponsor of the resolution in the Senate.

Wesselhoft’s resolution recognizes that Israel “was the birthplace of the Jewish people,” where “their spiritual, religious and national identify was formed” as ancient Israel “created a culture of national and universal independence.”

One “whereas” clause in HCR 1048 recognized “the Jewish people have been a persecuted people from the ancient time of Moses, culminating in the twentieth century Nazi Holocaust which engulfed millions of Jews in Europe, and proving anew the urgency of the reestablishment of the Jewish state.” Wesselfhoft’s measure recalled the necessity modern Israel has faced “to defend herself and her right to exist since her founding” on May 14, 1948.

“Israel is the only democratic state” in the Middle East region, the resolution continued, “and this year marks the sixty-second anniversary of the founding of this nation.” The Legislature placed itself in support of the right of Israel to “life in freedom, free of terrorism” within safe and secure borders.

H.C.R. 1048 also commended “Israel for her contribution to humankind, particular in the fields of science and medicine.” The resolution called upon “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to continue to bless Israel.”