Israel, the Promised Land

Panorama of Jerusalem, Israel

Israel is the only nation in the world that is living under the same name, speaking the same language, observing the same religion and located in the same place that they were 4000 years ago.

After a lapse of nearly 2000 years during which the Israeli people were scattered and often persecuted in the various places to which they were dispersed, the UN declared the reestablishment of the nation of Israel on May 5, 1948. The nation of Israel was ousted from their native land in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, 1878 years earlier. That UN decree brought 3.6 million Jews back to the historic land of Jews from over 90 nations in 1948, an unprecedented event.

This history is as remarkable as it is unprecedented. 

Approximately 1.2 million Jews emigrated from the former Soviet Union back to Israel. Prior to that emigration, the Soviet Union had an “Iron Curtain” keeping the people in, and the Communist Party that ruled the old USSR prohibited religion and religious observances. When the Iron Curtain “fell”, the 1.2 million Jews emigrated between 1989 and 1995, increasing the population of Israel by 20%. Today, Israel is populated with over 90 different nationalities, and 7 of 10 Israelis are 1st or 2nd generation Israelis.

When the UN reestablished the nation of Israel, the UN divided the land, giving half to the Jews and half to the Palestinians. Israel accepted that decree, but the Arabs rejected it. and the five (5) surrounding Arab nations attacked Israel almost immediately in 1948 after the nation was reestablished. The Arab nations told the Palestinians to leave for a few weeks while they “pushed Israel to the sea.” They picked up the Arabs in the area by boats before they attacked.

The Israelis were outnumbered 4 to 1 in that conflict. The Jews were not soldiers; they were everything but soldiers. They came from many different places and spoke many different languages. The Israelis had no arms, no weapons, no tanks and no military training, but somehow, the Israelis prevailed, and most of the Palestinians never returned.

The vast majority of Israelis came from fascist and non-democratic countries, but they formed a Democracy. Many Jews came from Nazi Germany with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The newly formed nation of Israel absorbed another 850,000 Jews who were expelled from Arab nations.

There are Arabs living in Israel, and the Israeli Arabs have the highest life expectancy, the lowest infant mortality and are more educated that all the Arabs in the Middle East. Arabs within Israel are willing to talk about this, but Arabs in the Palestinian territory do not have freedom of expression and are likely to be abducted, mistreated, tortured and some have even disappeared altogether for speaking out.

Meanwhile, the Arab nations are not providing any aid to Palestine. The aid all comes from the west, but it is not being used to establish a strong economy or to help the Palestinian people; it is being used to line the pockets of the leaders and to fund their efforts to “push the Jews into the sea.”

Ironically, the 720,000 Palestinians who were told to leave their homes in 1948 by the Arab leaders were never integrated back into Palestine; and the Arab League declared that no state in the Middle East will grant Palestinian refugees citizenship. The only exception today is Jordan. These Arab Muslims and Arab Muslim nations cannot vote, cannot hold free professions, cannot receive medical coverage and have no rights. They are being used as a pawn in a political war to destroy Israel. They want to force the 5.2 million Palestinians back to the land where Israel is. Palestinians have been used as pawns and dehumanized by their own Arab people.

Over the last 20 years, the PLO has received 25 times the aid the USA gave to reconstruct Europe after WWII, taking into account inflation and currency exchange rates. With those funds, Europe’s economy could have been reconstructed 25 times, but the money has disappeared, and the average Palestinian lives in abject poverty. The PLO has received all this money from the West, but they have not used it for the benefit of Palestine.

Since the Oslo Accords, giving the Palestinian Liberation Army was given control of the Palestinian people, Palestinian human rights have deteriorated. They have further deteriorated under Hamas. Arab sources report that Mahmoud Abbas has a salary of $1.34 million euros a month. That is 30 times the salary of Barack Obama and 90 times the salary of Benjamin Netanyahu, and the net worth of Abbas is over $100 million dollars.

The reality is that Israel has agreed consistently to the reestablishment of the Palestinian state over and over since 1947, but the Palestinian leadership refuses to accept Israeli sovereignty in the Middle East. Israel has offered to go back to the 1967 borders, but the Palestinian leadership wants to go back to the 1947 borders (when there was no Israel). Palestinians do not want Israelis in the Middle East. Every time Israel has agreed to give over land, that land has been become a launching pad for Arab missiles into Israel. As long as the Palestinians continue to refuse to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation, nothing will change; and any concessions to grant more land to the Palestinians will result in more places for Palestinians to attack from.

We see news report of Israeli killings and bombings of Palestinians, including women and children. The Israeli government does not sanction killings and abductions, but the government has bombed areas where rockets are being launched. The Palestinian leaders will bomb from buildings where they put women and children on the top hoping that either Israel will not bomb of those buildings, or, if they do, the deaths of the women and children will inflame the world against Israel. The Palestinian leaders are hiding behind women and children.

The Israelis take more efforts than any other nation to avoid civilian casualties. They have made tens of thousands of phone calls to Palestinians before they bombed to give them opportunity to leave the area and save themselves. No doubt there have been individual Israeli zealots who have perpetrated abductions and killings that of Palestinians, but those attacks have been condemned by the Israeli government, and perpetrators have been apprehended and prosecuted. The Palestinian leadership does not condemn similar attacks on Israelis; it celebrates and encourages them.

It is amazing to think that Israel has survived in this environment. It is tragic that the killing, violence and deplorable conditions exist, but it is important to consider the circumstances, historically and currently. The Israelis are not the cause of the problems. They are simply trying to survive, and they have survived against all odds.

In that light, it is interesting to consider what the Bible says about Israel. In Isaiah, the question is asked, “Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?” (Isaiah 66:8) The question was rhetorical for the prophet, who was urging the nation of Israel, who were held in captivity in Babylon at the time; but it was not demonstrated at that time. Yes, the nation of Israel returned to the land at that time; but it did not occur in one day. It did occur, literally, in one say in 1948.

The prophet, Jeremiah, also spoke about the return of the nation of Israel to the Promise Land: “And they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land I have given for an inheritance to your fathers.” (Jeremiah 3:18) The return of the nation of Israel from Babylon could be seen as fulfilling that prophecy. The return of 1.2 million Israelis from the Soviet Union also could be seen as fulfilling that prophecy.

Of course, the story of the Old Testament is the story of God choosing a single people and giving them a very specific land. The promise of the specific land to the nation of Israel is repeated 40 times. In Psalms 105:7-11, it is stated as an oath, a covenant and a statute (written in stone). In Genesis, the Bible says that God will bless the people who bless Israel and curse the people who curse Israel. In that sense, Israel is a kind of litmus test.

It certainly seems that God has survived and been blessed by God. The survival of Israel is against all the odds. But more than that, Israelis have thrived. There are more Israeli companies traded on NASDAQ than any nation other than the US. Israel has more agricultural output and more dairy output than any nation in the world on a per capita basis. Israelis publish more books and have more theaters and more orchestras per capita than any other nation in the world. The Israeli GDP is stronger than the GDP combined of all 22 other Middle East nations. All of this has occurred in a nation that has been attacked by surrounding nations from the year the nation was reestablished to the current time. Further, I have read elsewhere that the land was denuded and stripped by the surrounding nations before it was given to Israel in 1948 and was largely barren and lightly populated at that time.

I have not double checked all the facts and statements made in this piece. Some of them I have heard before. The facts in this piece come from Calev Myers, an attorney in Jerusalem. If anyone has time to fact check this piece, and finds authoritative sources that confirm or refute any of the facts in this article. please post the links as comments.

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