Israel's 60th anniversary

WASHINGTON -- Israel turns 60 on Thursday (May 8). American's Jewish community looks at the Jewish homeland in a variety of ways, from celebration to caution, and through eyes both secular and religious.

Six prominent American Jews weigh in on Israel's milestone, and what the world's only Jewish state can expect in the 21st century. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Is Israel in a better situation today then when it was founded?

A: In many respects, we are in a much better place. Israel was established with 600,000 Jews, now there are well over 5 million. If Israel is a reality, it's a thriving reality, it's rooted in the soil. On the other hand, we thought there would be peace by now.

America and Israel have been strong allies for 60 years. That is rooted, primarily, in a moral case. Geopolitical realities are never irrelevant, but America is a religious country (and) it responds to moral arguments.

Israel is a struggling democracy. I am one of those people who remain confident that as long as the state of Israel remains committed to those values, the United States will remain a good and powerful ally.