ISRAEL’S 70 SPARKLING YEARS;
The land of the Bible, yet with nanotechnology.
The great inventions of cherry tomatoes, the USB stick, and GPS.
The ‘start-up’ nation, the innovative leader of Hi-Tech and Science.
The only Free Democracy in the entire Middle East.
The most advanced and technological culture, it surrounded by enemies though.
ISRAEL’S INDEPENDENCE, WHICH OVERCAME THE GREATEST ODDS AND REWROTE HISTORY
“In Israel, to be a realist, you must believe in miracles,” said David Ben Gurion. He was right, because in an instant, 2000 years of exile came to an end, and Israel is celebrating the most legendary comeback story in human history.
FALLING OF JERUSALEM AND BEING SCATTERED TO ALL NATIONS (IN AD 70)
Luke 21:20 ~ 24
“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near…. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
According to this prophecy, in AD 70, the fortieth year after Jesus’ baptism, Israel’s darkest hour came. The armies of Rome invaded Israel and its cities were pillaged. Jerusalem was sacked and burned. The great temple of God was nailed to a heap of rubble. The Jews rebelled and fought valiantly for their freedom, but the rebellion was crushed and the Jewish people found themselves homeless, helpless and lost for centuries upon centuries. It was the end of the promised land. The long and bitter Jewish exile reached the darkest time in human history.
“THE DIASPORA”, THE PERIOD OF 1,900 YEARS OF WANDERING
ANTI-SEMITISM ENCOURAGED BY ALL SOCIETIES, EVEN SHAKESPEARE, AND MARTIN LUTHER.
Anti-semitism is the oldest and most universal intense irrational hatred in the world. Because pogroms, crusades, the inquisition, Muslim oppression, nation after nation, religion after religion all the persecution they faced were always transcended. European Jews in the Middle Ages formed various guilds. The rumors spread that Jews have horns and tails that killed Christian children. Jews had to live in segregated ghettos and wear special clothing. Along the way, the Catholic church was even teaching the Jewish people were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ. They massacred Jewish communities.
In 1346, the black death spread. In five years, the disease wreaked havoc in Europe, killing almost half of its population. Christians blamed Jews for causing the plague, accusing them of poisoning wells to spread the disease. Probably one reason why Jews seemed to be a scapegoat was that they were not dying from the plague as much as Christians. Because Jews were generally isolated in ghettos away from Christians during this time and because they were better about cleaning themselves and washing dead bodies before burial due to their religious custom.
Still, tens of thousands of Jews were burned alive. In 1543, Martin Luther, who gets credit for starting the Protestant Reformation, wrote a pamphlet called “on the Jews and their lies.” in it, he encouraged the killing of Jews. By this time, the Catholic church did not allow European Jews to own lands. The church also didn’t let Christians loan money for profit, Jews could. So they often turned to money lending to build up wealth. Due to the fact that nearly every moneylender happened to be Jewish, this ended up creating a stereotype that Jews were greedy. In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s Shylock character, a money lender who extracts a pound of flesh from a debtor who defaulted, had a lasting influence on the depiction of the Jewish businessman and was used as a propaganda device by the Nazis.
“POGROMS” A RUSSIAN TERM MEANING “DEVASTATION”
The Jews living in western Europe were living a relatively secure life of affluence and were socially accepted in comparison to their impoverished brethren in eastern Europe. Especially when compared to those living in Russia. The vast majority of Jews perhaps 95% were living in dire poverty. It was not uncommon for them to have one pair of shoes. At most in a Jewish family, the children would take turns wearing those shoes when they had to go out in the mud and snow during Russian winter. After the communists took over in 1917, Jews quickly became the targets of attacks called “Pogroms”. More than 500 Jewish communities in Ukraine were wiped out and around 60,000 Jews were killed. The world was shocked.
HOW DID THE JEWISH PEOPLE STAY JEWISH WHEN THEY WERE SCATTERED ALL ACROSS THE WORLD?
In the generations following the destruction, the Jewish sages laid the foundation for one of the most glorious periods in Jewish history. The social, legal, and education systems they developed made it so every Jewish community was able to survive anywhere they were/went. In every society in which they lived just played an important role in contributing to science, culture and the economy. Often they were persecuted or expelled because of their beliefs. However, even in difficult times, they clung to their culture and tradition. Also, Jewish status is passed down through the mother. Maintaining their tradition of matrilineal descent and heritage throughout the thousands of years in exile resulted in a common genetic imprint across the different diasporas.
ZIONISM, THE LONGING TO RETURN TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL WITH BELIEVING THE PROPHECY
In the 19th century, many Jews like Theodor Herzl argued that the only way to escape persecution, discrimination, and genocide was to create a Jewish state specifically in Palestine, an area where historically Jews lived and the location of ancient Israel. The movement was called “Zionism”. The Zionist movement dreamed of a Jewish homeland. But how to build a nation?. A technikon was needed to generate the skills.
1912- Cornerstone of a nation
1923- Albert Einstein embraced the dream
1924- Technion opened doors to build a nation.
Little by little, Jews from all over the world began to make their way to the land of Israel. They came with a burning desire to live in the land of their forefathers. It was this very Biblical prophecy that kept the Jewish together as one people for a long time about 1,900 years of exile. The scripture planted in them a prophetic dream of the return to their lost-father-land that became the driving force, which brought them back from the grave.
Jer. 30:3-7 For hehold, the days are coming,
says the Lord, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord.
‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers
,and thay shall possess it.’…
THE HOLOCAUST- THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE
Long ago, when Jacob the forefather of Israel returned to his homeland, he wrestled with God in great fear and agony all that night. Likewise, there’s probably the most famous and horrifying prophecy for Jews, who were preparing to return to their ancient homeland.
Jer. 30:3-7 … Can a man bear children?
Then why do I see every strong man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor,
every face turned deathly pale?
How awful that day will be!
No other will be like it.
It will be a time of trouble for Jacob,
but he will be saved out of it.
While the Jews were engaged in building the foundations of a new country, other people in a different part of the world united around a peculiar idea. This idea led its followers to commit the most horrendous crime against humanity in the following years. During Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror, at that time in Germany, antisemitism seemed to be everywhere. The Holocaust, the extermination of Jews in Europe progressed persecution in trial and eventually carried out a systematic annihilation of six million Jews with the brutality that the modern world had never seen or even imagined. Most of them were in extermination camps and concentration camps. The world was shocked to find out about the Holocaust and fortunately, antisemitism declined after World War 2.
A NATION WHOSE SURVIVAL WAS THREATENED SINCE ITS FOUNDING.
Nobody knew that Israel would become independent. However, the prophecy was fulfilled with pinpoint accuracy. (Jer.50:4-6)
On November 29,1947, the general assembly of the United Nations voted with a 3/2 majority to partition western Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Arabs rejected it. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, stated: “I declare a holy war, my Moslem brothers!” “Murder the Jews! Murder them all!”
ON MAY 14, 1948, IN TEL AVIV
Two carpenters worked through the night to build a small stage. The entire budget for the event was just two hundred dollars, so organizers borrowed hundreds of chairs from nearby cafes. Local stores lent them microphones and carpets. A borrowed portrait of Theodor Herzl was placed at the front of the room, and two blue and white flags were hung on either side of his portrait. The stage was set. One hour before the ceremony, council members rushed home to change their clothes. At 4:00 pm, the Zionist leaders gathered in Tel Aviv’s art museum and the orchestra played “Hatikvah”. As the music died down, David Ben-Gurion read the declaration aloud.
“The land of Israel was the best place of the Jewish people. Here they first attained statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance. Thus, we hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state, to be called ‘Israel’”.
At the moment, the ancient Bible prophecies were fulfilled. 2,000 years of Jewish prayers were answered and a miracle of survival and achievement had just begun. Outside of the museum, hundreds of people danced while others wept. Everyone was cheering in the streets. It was a big thing, dancing in the streets. However, the Jews’ leaders knew independence meant instant war; as they had expected, the celebration was short-lived. The very next day, armies of five Arab nations invaded the newborn state. No one would expect a victory for Israel but history was rather different. The small Jewish community withstood with five regular Arab equipped with European weaponry. And the end of the war, the small new state emerged victorious as an independent nation in its homeland for the first time in 2,000 years. Jewish diplomat Abba Eban later recalled that Israel knew the taste of birth, and the fear of death in the same moment, all at the same time.
ISRAEL AT 70; AN ANCIENT NATION A GREAT FUTURE
Cherry tomatoes, the USB, the iron dome missile defense, most smartphone’s apps are just some of the many products we rely on day by day, that were invented in Israel. From high tech to agriculture, and defense to medicine, Israel’s innovation has far exceeded the country’s small size. With a violent birth and difficult adolescence, Israel accomplished this miracle by betting on technologies and research. All in all, in its short lifetime, 12 Israelis have won the Nobel Prize across four different categories: peace, literature, economics, and chemistry. Although Israel has transformed itself from a barren, desolate, and non-productive land into a superpower economic nation, it’s pretty difficult to talk about it without having to refer to wars, religion, and various political conflicts because it is a very controversial country as well.
INDOMITABLE ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES
In Israel, military service is mandatory for every citizen(except the ultra-orthodox Jews and Palestinians). Both men and women, rich and poor, start from the bottom. Israel’s army is the most successful. They have won wars against countries 10 times bigger than themselves. For example, during the 6 days war, Israel confronted a coalition that included Egypt, Syria, Jordan. Put together, they summed up to more than 130 million people, and sent over 240,000 solders; twice as many as the Israeli army did. Defying all doubts, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) wiped out their enemies in just 6 days.
THE SPIRIT OF MASADA
Today, Masada stands as a symbol of Jewish determination to be free. 2,000 years ago, the desert fortress Masada witnessed the tragic end of the first Jewish war against the Romans. Men, women, and children committed suicide on top of the mountain of Masada rather than be captured by the Romans, they killed everyone except for a few women and children. The Romans saw this once they overtook the fortress, they found everyone dead except for a handful of woman, and children who had hidden themselves in a cave. At this historic site, Israeli Defense Forces swear an oath: ‘Masada shall never fall again’.
A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY WHERE PEOPLE BELIEVE IN ” DOING IT ANOTHER WAY”
While they were away, the land became desolate. It was barren and full of rocks. Every empire within the past 2,000 years tried to settle the land of Israel including the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and British, whom all failed. When the Jews returned to the land of Israel, the land started to flourish again. It blossomed just like the people, blood rushing to its cheeks and color returning its eyes. The fruit had a vibrancy of color, like it hadn’t it thousands of years. They spent their whole lives irrigating and digging as an oasis out of this dessert. Against incredible odds, they carved new lives out of the wilderness and built a new nation on its ancient foundations
The Jewish people are the only ancient people alive today. The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Jebusites, and the Canaanites are long gone. No one has suffered as they suffered and no one has been as persecuted as they have. You can search far and wide and still not discover a people who have been completely uprooted from -and then returned to – their homeland yet the Israelis have done it twice. It’s unbelievable. What makes this all the more astonishing is that the prophecy, which is written in the Bible, told us all this was going to take place before it came to be. The Bible propheied beforehand the Jews would be scattered in two times and return to their home in two times. First from ancient Babylon and then from every nation across the world. We are living in a day when we have witnessed the prophecies coming to fulfill. Seventy years after Israel’s incredible independence causes us to question: Why is God taking care of the history and success of the natural Israelis? Why are we talking about the independence of this ancient nation? Why?