State of Israel proclaimed

State of Israel proclaimed


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On May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaims the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years. Ben-Gurion became Israel’s first premier.

In the distance, the rumble of guns could be heard from fighting that broke out between Jews and Arabs immediately following the British army withdrawal earlier that day. Egypt launched an air assault against Israel that evening. Despite a blackout in Tel Aviv—and the expected Arab invasion—Jews joyously celebrated the birth of their new nation, especially after word was received that the United States had recognized the Jewish state. At midnight, the State of Israel officially came into being upon termination of the British mandate in Palestine.

Modern Israel has its origins in the Zionism movement, established in the late 19th century by Jews in the Russian Empire who called for the establishment of a territorial Jewish state after enduring persecution. In 1896, Jewish-Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl published an influential political pamphlet called The Jewish State, which argued that the establishment of a Jewish state was the only way of protecting Jews from anti-Semitism. Herzl became the leader of Zionism, convening the first Zionist Congress in Switzerland in 1897. Ottoman-controlled Palestine, the original home of the Jews, was chosen as the most desirable location for a Jewish state, and Herzl unsuccessfully petitioned the Ottoman government for a charter.

After the failed Russian Revolution of 1905, growing numbers of Eastern European and Russian Jews began to immigrate to Palestine, joining the few thousand Jews who had arrived earlier. The Jewish settlers insisted on the use of Hebrew as their spoken language. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Britain took over Palestine. In 1917, Britain issued the “Balfour Declaration,” which declared its intent to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Although protested by the Arab states, the Balfour Declaration was included in the British mandate over Palestine, which was authorized by the League of Nations in 1922. Because of Arab opposition to the establishment of any Jewish state in Palestine, British rule continued throughout the 1920s and ’30s.

Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine, and Britain attempted to limit Jewish immigration as a means of appeasing the Arabs. As a result of the Holocaust in Europe, many Jews illegally entered Palestine during World War II. Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine, which they thought had betrayed the Zionist cause. At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause. Britain, unable to find a practical solution, referred the problem to the United Nations, which in November 1947 voted to partition Palestine.

The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine, although they made up less than half of Palestine’s population. The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces, but by May 14, 1948, the Jews had secured full control of their U.N.-allocated share of Palestine and also some Arab territory. On May 14, Britain withdrew with the expiration of its mandate, and the State of Israel was proclaimed. The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.

The Israelis, though less well equipped, managed to fight off the Arabs and then seize key territory, such as Galilee, the Palestinian coast, and a strip of territory connecting the coastal region to the western section of Jerusalem. In 1949, U.N.-brokered cease-fires left the State of Israel in permanent control of this conquered territory. The departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from Israel during the war left the country with a substantial Jewish majority.

During the third Arab-Israeli conflict—the Six-Day War of 1967—Israel again greatly increased its borders, capturing from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria the Old City of Jerusalem, the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. In 1979, Israel and Egypt signed a historic peace agreement in which Israel returned the Sinai in exchange for Egyptian recognition and peace. Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed a major peace accord in 1993, which envisioned the gradual implementation of Palestinian self-government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process moved slowly, however, and throughout the 21st major fighting between Israelis and Palestinians has resumed in Israel and the occupied territories.


Let's Not Forget Why the State of Israel Was Proclaimed in the First Place

During the violence Israel has been experiencing from Hamas, it's important to remember why Israel was founded in the first place. This can serve as a reminder or even inform people for the first time why we support the right for one of our greatest allies to exist and protect itself. Israel is also the only democracy in the Middle East and has the highest standard of living there, along with many other accomplishments in world rankings. This includes its success in lessening COVID rates and in vaccines.

The state of Israel was proclaimed almost 73 years ago to the day, on May 14, 1948. Claims to their homeland have existed since Biblical times. President Harry Truman acknowledged its existence that very same day. The National Archives provides some of those original documents, such as the telegram from Secretary of State George Marshall to Ambassador Douglas in London that we were acknowledging Israel, a press release on the de facto recognition, and a press release on the de jure recognition from January 31, 1949.

As Mitchell Bard of the Jewish Virtual Library, a project of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, explains:

The Jewish people base their claim to the land of Israel on at least four premises: 1) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham 2) the Jewish people settled and developed the land 3) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people and 4) the territory was captured in defensive wars.

.

Israel's international "birth certificate" was validated by the promise of the Bible uninterrupted Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward the Balfour Declaration of 1917 the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration the United Nations partition resolution of 1947 Israel's admission to the UN in 1949 the recognition of Israel by most other states and, most of all, the society created by Israel's people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

It's worth remembering what was going on in 1948, or, rather just a few years before. The proclamation occurred in the aftermath of the Holocaust, during which at least six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

After this ultimate worst form of persecution, the Jewish people needed a place to call home, where they were supposed to be free from what had been various forms of persecution and displacement throughout history.

There's plenty to say about Zionism, and the Jewish Library is quite the comprehensive resource. A page delving into the definition of Zionism reads:

The term &ldquoZionism&rdquo was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum.

Its general definition means the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel .

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Zionism has come to include the movement for the development of the State of Israel and the protection of the Jewish nation in Israel through support for the Israel Defense Forces.

From inception, Zionism advocated tangible as well as spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions - left, right, religious and secular - formed the Zionist movement and worked together toward its goals.

Disagreements in philosophy led to rifts in the Zionist movement over the years, and a number of separate forms emerged. Notably: Political Zionism Religious Zionism Socialist Zionism and Territorial Zionism.

What led to the modern state is also quite involving, in that there is a discussion to be had not only about the history of the Jewish people, but of the Ottoman Empire, British colonialism, Palestinian claims to the land, and the United Nations.

According to the ADL on the "Creation of the State of Israel":

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the British assumed control of Palestine. In November 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, announcing its intention to facilitate the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." In 1922, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate over Palestine which included, among other things, provisions calling for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, facilitating Jewish immigration and encouraging Jewish settlement on the land.

The Arabs were opposed to Jewish immigration to Palestine and stepped up their attacks against the Jews. Following an increase in Arab attacks, the British appointed a royal commission in 1936 to investigate the Palestine situation. The Peel Commission recommended the partition of the country between Arabs and Jews. The Arabs rejected the idea while the Jews accepted the principle of partition.

At the end of World War II, the British persisted in their immigration restrictions and Jewish survivors of the Holocaust were violently turned away from the shores of Palestine. The Jewish Agency and the Haganah continued to smuggle Jews into Palestine. Underground cells of Jews, most notably the Irgun and Lehi, engaged in open warfare against the British and their installations.

The British concluded that they could no longer manage Palestine and handed the issue over to the United Nations. On November 29, 1947, after much debate and discussion, the UN recommended the partition of Palestine into two states ­ one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted the UN resolution while the Arabs rejected it.

Meanwhile, since the time of the British Mandate, the Jewish community in Palestine had been forming political, social and economic institutions that governed daily life in Palestine and served as a pre-state infrastructure. Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973) served as head of the pre-state government.

The British mandate over Palestine officially terminated at midnight, May 14, 1948. Earlier in the day, at 4:00 p.m., David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the creation of the State of Israel and became its first prime minister. Longtime advocate of Zionism in Britain Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) became Israel's first president. On May 15, the United States recognized the State of Israel and the Soviet Union soon followed suit.

Speaking of the United Nations, while some may claim that Hamas is not a terrorist organization because the UN doesn't say so, the U.S. Department of State did so on October 8, 1997. The UN has also been biased against Israel for decades, including and especially the Human Rights Council.

Members of the Biden administration, and President Joe Biden himself, have repeatedly affirmed they support Israel. They have also failed to call out fellow Democratic officeholders, particularly members of "The Squad." The Biden administration has pushed for a two-state solution. It's the Palestinians, though, who will not agree to this, and they haven't from the start.

Decades later, people are even now using their platforms to express anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli sentiments. One of the worst, and most tone-deaf examples, is a political cartoon comparing an Israeli soldier to a Nazi soldier.

As the Daily Mail reported today, BBC reporter Tala Halawa, whose Twitter says she is located in "Ramallah - Palestine," tweeted a post praising Hitler:

A BBC journalist who tweeted '#HitlerWasRight' seven years ago has sparked an investigation after the post was unearthed.

Tala Halawa had claimed 'Israel is more Nazi than Hitler' and told the Israeli Defence Force to 'go to hell' in an online post dated July 20, 2014, before she was a digital reporter at the BBC.

Halawa, whose Twitter biography identifies her as located in Ramallah, Palestine, had used the hashtag '#PrayForGaza', along with '#HitlerWasRight' in the tweet.

Perhaps the least shocking thing you'll hear today is that she has locked her tweets and her LinkedIn profile, the latter of which describes her as a "Palestinian Authority."

Honest Reporting has more insight into Halawa's social media posts, including a tweet that reads, "#anti_semitism melodrama is not trending anymore you stupid #Zionists #Jersualem #capital of #Palestine."

GnasherJew has also tweeted extensively about Halawa.

And here is some more antisemitism from @TalaHalawa this time a conspiracy theory. So it is hardly an isolated occurrence. pic.twitter.com/K1j2wdYFQ3

&mdash (((GnasherJew®. #AmYisraelChai))) (@GnasherJew) May 23, 2021

Accuses &ldquothey&rdquo of doing a Holocaust every moment, while &ldquothey&rdquo are crying about it every moment. Wonder who is &ldquothey&rdquo here? She also puts some blood libel that &ldquoZionists&rdquo can&rsquot get enough of the blood. Also claims media is controlled by &ldquoZionists&rdquo. Do we have a bingo here? pic.twitter.com/XloamCp4Df

&mdash Michael Elgort . ?? (@just_whatever) May 23, 2021

That&rsquos disgusting. Don&rsquot they vet or monitor their &ldquojournalists&rdquo who represent them.

&mdash Roxane Exogamy-ist (@brigadam) May 23, 2021

The anti-Semitism is more than rhetoric, though. As Katie reported, Jews are being openly attacked in the streets by Palestinian Factions here in the United States.


1. The New State Of Israel

When Theodor Herzel announced in 1897 the purpose of the Zionist movement—“to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law”—few realized how dramatic would be the fulfillment. The Jews had dreamed for centuries of re-establishing themselves in their ancient land. Now this longing was translated into action. Few nations could point to a richer heritage as a basis for the hope of the restoration of the nation.

The History Of Israel In The Old Testament

The history of Israel began more than thirty-five hundred years ago, when, according to the early chapters of Genesis, the divine call was extended to Abraham to leave his ancient land of Ur and proceed to a land that God would show him. After some delay, Abraham finally entered the land, and there the promised son Isaac was born.

Though God miraculously fulfilled the promise of a son in Isaac, Abraham himself never possessed the Promised Land but lived as a pilgrim and stranger. Rich in earthly goods, Abraham never fulfilled his hope of a homeland in his lifetime. His son Isaac shared a similar fate. Under Jacob, Isaac’s son, the people of Israel forsook the Promised Land entirely and at the invitation of Joseph set up their homes in Egypt where they lived for hundreds of years. It was not until their very existence was threatened in Egypt by a hostile king that the day finally came for Israel’s possession of the land. With Moses as their appointed leader, they began their momentous migration, one of the largest ever undertaken by any nation. After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, they finally completed their pilgrimage from Egypt to the land promised Abraham.

The book of Joshua records the conquest of Palestine and its partial occupation. The nation Israel, however, was doomed to generations of oppression and moral declension. They periodically were oppressed by Gentile nations about them with occasional cycles of spiritual and political revival, led by judges whom God raised up. The political anarchy which characterized the period of the judges was succeeded by the reign of the kings, beginning with Saul, and was followed by the glory and political power of the kingdoms under David and Solomon. Under Solomon, Israel reached its highest point of prestige, wealth, and splendor, and much of the land which God promised Abraham temporarily came under the sway of Solomon.

Again, however, moral deterioration attacked from within. Because of Solomon’s disregard of the law against marriage to the heathen, many of his wives were pagans who did not share his faith in God. His children, therefore, were raised by their pagan mothers and they were trained to worship idols instead of the God of Israel. The resulting judgment of God upon Israel was manifested in the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The ten tribes, united to form the Kingdom of Israel, persisted in complete apostasy from God, and idol worship became the national religion. In 721 B.C. the ten tribes were carried off into captivity by the Assyrians. The Kingdom of Judah, including the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, continued for a little more than another century until they too were taken captive by Babylonia. For a generation, the land of Israel was denuded of the descendants of Abraham.

The book of Ezra records the restoration of Israel which followed the captivities. In keeping with the promise given to Jeremiah that the captivity would continue for only seventy years (Jeremiah 29:10), the first expedition of the children of Israel, led by Zerubbabel, began their trek to their homeland. The book of Ezra records their early steps in restoring the land and building the temple. Nehemiah completes the picture with the building of the walls and the restoration of the city of Jerusalem itself. Once again Israel was in their ancient land, re-established as a nation.

The history of Israel from that point on was not without its serious problems. First, the warriors of Macedon under Alexander the Great swept over Palestine. Then they were subject to the rule of the Seleucian monarchs and later were controlled by Syrians. One of the sad chapters in Israel’s history was the Maccabean revolt which occurred in 167 B.C. and which resulted in severe persecution of the people of Israel. In 63 B.C. Pompey established Roman control and from then on the land of Palestine, the homeland of Israel, was under Roman control for centuries. It was in this period that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. During Christ’s lifetime on earth, Israel was under the heel of Rome and Christ Himself was sent to the cross on the basis of Roman authority.

The History Of Israel Since Christ

The subsequent history of Israel was most unhappy. In A.9. 70, Titus, the Roman general, ordered Jerusalem and its beautiful temple destroyed, and a quarter of a million Jews perished. The remaining Jews continued to revolt and finally in A.9. 135 the desolation of Judea was ordered. Almost a thousand towns and villages were left in ashes and fifty fortresses razed to the ground. The people of Israel, except for a few scattered families who remained, were dispersed to the four winds.

From A.D. 135 to modern times, the nation Israel made their homes all over the world. In the eighth century the Abbasid Arabs took possession of Israel’s ancient land. For a brief period the Frankish crusaders were established in Palestine only to be defeated by Saladin in 1187. The Ottoman Turks assumed power in 1517 and the land of Palestine continued as part of the Ottoman Empire until Turkey was defeated in World War I. The conquering of Palestine by General Allenby in 1917 and the British occupation of Palestine proved to be a dramatic turning point in the history of Israel.

The Return Of Israel To The Land

Before control of Palestine was wrested from the Turks, the Zionist movement had already begun. As early as 1871 some efforts were made by the Jews to re-establish themselves in a small way, but in the entire area there was not one Jewish village and only the more learned were familiar with the Hebrew tongue. In 1881 modern Zionist resettlement began in earnest. At that time only 25,000 Jews lived in the entire area. The Zionist idea as stated in “The Basle Programme” was adopted by the first Zionist congress called by Theodor Herzl in 1897. Its published aim was to reclaim the land of Palestine as the home for Jewish people. By the outbreak of World War I, the number of Jews had swelled to 80,000.

The Zionist movement was, given impetus during World War I when British Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour instituted the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917, in which he stated: “His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…“This declaration, though welcomed by the Jews, was opposed by the Arabs and little came of it. Meanwhile a British mandate given over the land of Palestine by the League of Nations became effective, but through a desire of the British to maintain friendship with the Arab nations, no progress was allowed in establishing a homeland for Israel.

In 1939, during the early portion of World War II, the British government issued a white paper which set forth the conditions for establishing an independent Arab state in Palestine. By that time, 400,000 Jews were in the country. The restrictions on Jewish immigration, however, were severe, and future immigration was subject to Arab consent. Only a small part of the land could be sold to the Jews.

During World War II, however, due to the world-wide sympathy aroused for the people of Israel because of the slaughter of six million Jews under Nazi domination, the feeling became widespread that Israel should have a homeland to which its refugees could come and establish themselves. An Arab league was formed in 1945 to oppose further Jewish expansion. After World War II the British government turned Palestine over to the United Nations and under the direction of this body a partition of Palestine was recommended with the division into a Jewish state and an Arab state. By 1948 Jewish population had risen to 650,000.

The Establishment Of The New State Of Israel

On May 14, 1948, as the British withdrew control, Israel proclaimed itself an independent state within the boundaries set up by the United Nations. Before the day passed, however, Israel was attacked by Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, and open warfare broke out. Though both sides suffered heavily, a series of truces began. The first was on June 11 and was followed by a renewal of hostilities which ended in a final truce on July 17. On January 7, 1949, a general armistice was arranged in which Israel was allowed to retain the additional land secured during the hostilities. Israel itself was admitted to the United Nations. In the years that followed no adequate solution was found for the many difficulties attending a permanent peace. The Arab nations refused to recognize Israel and denied it the right of existence. Israel on her part adopted an unrealistic approach to the refugee problem which continued to be an open sore.

Since 1949, the nation Israel has made rapid strides until today it is well established. Though surrounded by enemies, Israel rests in its security of superior arms and effective military organization. Of significance is the unassailable fact, that for the first time since A.D. 70, the nation Israel is independent and self-sustaining, and is recognized as a political state.

The restoration of Israel to its ancient land and its establishment as a political government is almost without parallel in the history of the world. Never before has an ancient people, scattered for so many centuries, been able to return to their ancient land and re-establish themselves with such success and such swift progress as is witnessed in the new state of Israel.

Political And Military Growth Of Israel

Of special significance is the fact that Israel is a recognized political state. In its original declaration on May 14, 1948, provision was made for the establishment of an ordered government in the form of a democratic parliamentary republic. The principal legislative body in Israel is the knesset, from a Hebrew word which means “assembly.” The knesset meets in Jerusalem, which is the capitol of Israel, and temporarily occupies quarters adapted for this purpose. A government center is planned on an elevation which will face Mount Herzl where the founder of the Zionist movement is buried. The knesset has power to make and amend laws, and its approval is necessary before a government can take office. A new government must be formed at such times as the knesset votes no confidence in the existing government. Of its 120 members, the great majority are of Jewish background, but a few Arabs are included.

The constitution of Israel provides that any citizen over twenty-one may be elected, and each citizen over eighteen, without respect to sex, race, or religion, is entitled to vote for members of the knesset. Though most matters of law are handled by civil courts divided into three main categories—namely, magistrate courts, district courts, and the supreme court—a series of special courts corresponding to the religion of respective citizens have been established in regard to marriage, divorce, and similar matters. A Jew therefore is referred to the rabbinical courts, Moslems to the Moslem court, and Christians to the Christian court. All of the religious courts are under the control of the Ministry of Religion. The internal government of Israel allows considerable freedom to minority groups, and provides a proper legal basis for this enterprising nation to grow.

One of the important factors of Israel’s progress has been its highly efficient army. Formed under great difficulty during the early days of the state of Israel when they were being attacked by enemies on all sides, through heroic efforts, it was able to give a good account of itself and actually enlarge the area of Israel by some fifty per cent in the resulting hostilities. The army is called in Hebrew Tsahal, representing the initials of the defense army in Israel known in Hebrew as the Tseva Hagana Leisrael. Included in its organization are forces equipped to fight on land, sea, and air. The army has been trained by experienced officers from Europe and America and several military academies and a staff college have been created.

The corps of the army consists of volunteers who are supplemented by reserves. Men on reaching the age of eighteen serve for two and one half years. They are eligible for service until they are forty-five. Single women are also given two years of training. A system has been devised by which reservists are settled in border areas and Israel is reputed to have the fastest mobilization system of any nation in the world. Along with the development of the army itself has been the creation of an arms industry which has enabled Israel not only to supply its own forces, but to export in large quantities arms of various kinds, including one of the best automatic weapons available today.

Humanly speaking, it is because of the efficiency of their army that Israel has enjoyed peace since the armistice of 1949 and was able to overrun the Gaza Strip in the hostilities which broke out in October, 1956. Though the nations which surround Israel number some thirty million and conceivably could overwhelm the small nation, the army of Israel is more than a match for all of its enemies combined. Because of this, the nation Israel today is in a high state of confidence coupled with alertness.

Development Of Agriculture And Industry

Probably the most astounding aspect of the restoration of Israel is the rapid reclamation of the eroded land and wasted resources which for centuries have characterized the area which Israel now occupies. Travelers who visit Syria and Jordan first before coming to Israel are immediately impressed with the dramatic difference. Everywhere there is evidence of astounding progress in Israel.

One of the first problems which beset Israel was to reclaim the land strewn with rocks and seemingly hopeless as far as vegetation was concerned. By prodigious toil, often on the part of immigrants who had little knowledge of agriculture before, the land was cleared, terraced, and cultivated. In Israel, as in surrounding countries, the scarcity of water is a principal problem. Huge projects provided water for irrigation, not only for the northern portion of the nation, but also for the reclamation of the Negiv, the southern desert which forms a major portion of Israel’s territory.

Travelers through Israel are introduced to field after field of cultivated crops on land that was hopelessly eroded just a few years before. By 1961, eighty million trees had been planted, and the continuing program eventually will make a major contribution in conserving water and providing timber. Orange trees have been planted in abundance, as well as other citrus fruits, and oranges have become a major export of the new nation. Crops such as cotton, sugar cane, grapes, peanuts, and sisal have become major productions, just a few years ago eggs were closely rationed. By 1961 Israel was exporting almost a million eggs a day.

Though hampered somewhat by failure to conclude peace agreements with Arab nations which share the water available, by making the most of its own opportunities, Israel is building a gigantic irrigation system, drawing water from the Yarkon as well as from the Jordan and sending it south to the Negiv. Thousands of acres are being restored to fertility, and it is estimated that the reclaimed land, will permit another one million immigrants during the next decade. Not only have desert lands been reclaimed, but one of the spectacular achievements was the draining of the swampland of the Valley of Esdraelon, the elimination of the mosquito menace, and the restoration of this broad area to cultivation, which has proved to be one of the most fertile areas in all Israel.

Progress in agriculture and reclamation of the land has been matched to some extent by establishment of industries. Textiles have now become an important part of Israel’s production. The cutting of diamonds imported for this purpose, the manufacture of military weapons and arms, and the exploitation of the measureless chemical wealth of the Dead Sea are major factors of Israel’s economy. Some oil has already been discovered as well as gas. One by one problems that beset Israel at the beginning are being solved.

The expanding economy has also furnished a basis for construction of fabulous new cities. The new city of Jerusalem, the capitol of Israel, has been beautifully constructed of stone with lovely streets and parks and by 1961 had attained a population of 160,000. Tel Aviv, the largest of the cities in Israel, has a population nearing 400,000, and offers every convenience of a modern city. Next to Tel Aviv is Haifa, with a population of 175,000. The growth of the cities has kept up with the growth in population which has almost tripled since 1948, reaching over two million in 1960.

Educational System And Revival Of Biblical Hebrew

One of the impressive sights in Israel is the spectacular rise of its educational system. Not only are new elementary schools built throughout the country to take care of the expanding population, but the Hebrew university with an enrollment in 1959-60 of seven thousand is one of the finest in the Middle East. In addition the Israel Institute of Technology has some twenty-five hundred students with training in various aspects of modern science. In the entire educational system Biblical Hebrew is used as the spoken and written language and has restored this ancient language to popular usage in Israel. New terms are being coined to meet modern situations. The revival of Hebrew inevitably ties the people of Israel to their ancient Scriptures in a way that otherwise would have been impossible.

The revival of Hebrew has also paved the way for a renewal of Biblical studies. Unlike American universities which neglect the Bible, the Old Testament is taught in public schools, including the universities, and is considered essential to any true education. Some four hundred study groups have been formed by the Israel Bible Study Association with a membership approaching twenty thousand. The reading of the Old Testament is popular, though often attended by little theological discernment. Even the New Testament is read as religious literature, though not considered on a par with the Old Testament by orthodox Jews. To some extent the new interest in the Bible has created an increased interest in the Jewish religion as such.

Religious Life Of Israel

It is to be expected with the rebirth of the nation and its renewed interest in the Bible that attendance at the synagogue has taken on new life in Israel. Visitors normally will find the synagogue crowded, though meeting in new and spacious buildings. It soon becomes evident, however, that the religious life of Israel is to some extent one of outer form. The religious exercises are devoted primarily to revival of their traditions, their reassurance of the general providence of God, and the application to some extent of moral standards. For Israel their religion is one of works rather than of faith, and their redemption is to be achieved by their own efforts.

The religious life of Israel is directed by some 430 rabbis who actively carry on their duties. It is to these leaders that Israel turns for direction. As a result of the revival of Judaism, the Sabbath is strictly enforced and everyone observes it, even those who never attend the synagogue. The religious life of Israel is largely in the hands of the orthodox, though the majority of ordinary Jews in Israel do not necessarily follow their leaders. The revival of interest, therefore, in the Jewish faith and the religious activities which characterize it, to some extent is an expression of patriotism and enthusiasm for the progress of the state rather than for theological or spiritual reasons. Nevertheless, the movement is a phenomenon without parallel in the modern history of Israel and is doing much to revive their ancient faith. The land of Israel which historically has been the cradle of Judaism, Christianity, and the Moslem faith is once again witnessing a revival of that which held sway for centuries.

Political And Prophetic Significance Of The New State Of Israel

The significance of the new state of Israel is bound up with the growing importance of the Middle East in international affairs. The land of Israel is located geographically in the hub of three major continents. Because of this strategic location, it is involved in the economic life of the world. Any major nation seeking to dominate the world would need to conquer this portion. Its military value is also obvious, for the Middle East is not only a channel of world commerce but is the gateway to the immense reserves in oil and chemicals found in that portion of the world. It is inevitable that any future world conflict would engulf this portion of the world as a primary objective. It is especially significant that from a Biblical standpoint the Middle East remains a center of interest. World events which are yet to unfold will find this area also its major theater. It is for this reason that students of the Bible, whether Jews or Christians, find the development of the new state of Israel one of the most important and significant events of the twentieth century.

The repossession of a portion of their ancient land by the new state of Israel is especially striking because of the promise given by God to Abraham of perpetual title to the land between Egypt and the Euphrates. As recorded in Genesis 15:18 the covenant of God with Abraham included the promise: “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” This promise was subsequently repeated in Genesis 17:8 in these words: “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession and I will be their God.” Consideration will be given to these passages in later discussion, but their mention at this time demonstrates the great significance of the reoccupation of this area by the new state of Israel.

In the subsequent history of Israel neither Abraham nor his immediate posterity were able to possess the land and, as stated earlier, only at the time of the Exodus was the land ever actually possessed. Of great importance are the Scriptures which describe the dispersion of Israel in the captivities of Babylon and Assyria and the later scattering of Israel resulting from the persecution of the Romans. This will be followed by Israel’s ultimate regathering. A study of some of the great promises relating to this future restoration of Israel to the land will be examined in detail later. The revival of Israel after these many centuries of dispersion introduces the major questions relating to the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and whether the creation of the new state of Israel is indeed a confirmation of Israel’s continuance as a nation.

The return of Israel and the organization of the new state of Israel is especially significant in the light of prophecies to be examined concerning Israel’s future time of trouble when Israel is pictured in the land, as for instance in Matthew 24:15-26. The predictions of the grand climax of the nation’s history, given in Daniel 9:26, 27, when Israel is described as making a covenant with the future world ruler, is of special importance in the light of their renewed presence in their ancient land. Of the many peculiar phenomena which characterize the present generation, few events can claim equal significance as far as Biblical prophecy is concerned with that of the return of Israel to their land. It constitutes a preparation for the end of the age, the setting for the coming of the Lord for His church, and the fulfillment of Israel’s prophetic destiny.


State of Israel proclaimed, Seinfeld airs final episode: Today in history (photos)

Today is Saturday, May 14, the 135th day of 2016. There are 231 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 14, 1948, according to the current-era calendar, the independent state of Israel was proclaimed in Tel Aviv.

In 1643, Louis XIV became King of France at age four upon the death of his father, Louis XIII.

In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner inoculated 8-year-old James Phipps against smallpox by using cowpox matter.

In 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the Louisiana Territory as well as the Pacific Northwest left camp near present-day Hartford, Illinois.

In 1900, the Olympic games opened in Paris as part of the 1900 World's Fair.

In 1925, the Virginia Woolf novel "Mrs Dalloway" was first published in England and the United States.

In 1936, British Field Marshal Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby, died in London at age 75.

In 1940, the Netherlands surrendered to invading German forces during World War II.

In 1955, representatives from eight Communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, signed the Warsaw Pact in Poland. (The Pact was dissolved in 1991.)

In 1961, Freedom Riders were attacked by violent mobs in Anniston and Birmingham, Alabama.

In 1973, the United States launched Skylab 1, its first manned space station. (Skylab 1 remained in orbit for six years before burning up during re-entry in 1979.) The National Right to Life Committee was incorporated.

In 1988, 27 people, mostly teens, were killed when their church bus collided with a pickup truck going the wrong direction on a highway near Carrollton, Kentucky. (Truck driver Larry Mahoney served 9 1/2 years in prison for manslaughter.)

In 1998, singer-actor Frank Sinatra died at a Los Angeles hospital at age 82. The hit sitcom "Seinfeld" aired its final episode after nine years on NBC.

Ten years ago: Mexico's President Vicente (vih-SEN'-tay) Fox telephoned President George W. Bush to express concern about what he called the possibility of a "militarized" U.S.-Mexican border, a day before Bush's planned Oval Office speech on immigration. Rene Preval (reh-NAY' preh-VAHL') was sworn in as Haiti's president for the second time in a decade. Former U.S. poet laureate Stanley Kunitz died in New York at age 100. Aras Baskauskas (AH'-rahs bush-KOW'-kis), a 24-year-old yoga instructor from Santa Monica, California, won "Survivor: Panama, Exile Island," the 12th edition of the CBS reality show.

Five years ago: At New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund and potential candidate for president of France, was removed from a Paris-bound plane and charged with sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid, Nafissatou Diallo (na-fee-SAH'-too dee-AH'-loh). (Strauss-Kahn later resigned the charges against him were eventually dropped.)

One year ago: President Barack Obama, at a Camp David summit, assured Arab allies they were safe from the threat of an empowered Iran, pledging an "ironclad commitment" to the Sunni governments of the Persian Gulf. B.B. King, 89, the "King of the Blues," died in Las Vegas. Award-winning poet Franz Wright, 62, died in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Today's Birthdays: Opera singer Patrice Munsel is 91. Photo-realist artist Richard Estes is 84. Actress Sian Phillips is 83. Former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., is 74. Movie producer George Lucas is 72. Actress Meg Foster is 68. Movie director Robert Zemeckis is 65. Rock singer David Byrne is 64. Actor Tim Roth is 55. Rock singer Ian Astbury (The Cult) is 54. Rock musician C.C. (aka Cecil) DeVille is 54. Actor Danny Huston is 54. Rock musician Mike Inez (Alice In Chains) is 50. Fabrice Morvan (ex-Milli Vanilli) is 50. Rhythm-and-blues singer Raphael Saadiq is 50. Actress Cate Blanchett is 47. Singer Danny Wood (New Kids on the Block) is 47. Movie writer-director Sofia Coppola (KOH'-pah-lah) is 45. Actor Gabriel Mann is 44. Singer Natalie Appleton (All Saints) is 43. Singer Shanice is 43. Actress Carla Jimenez is 42. Rock musician Henry Garza (Los Lonely Boys) is 38. Alt-country musician-singer Ketch Secor is 38. Rock singer-musician Dan Auerbach is 37. Rock musician Mike Retondo (Plain White T's) is 35. Actress Lina Esco is 34. Actress Amber Tamblyn is 33. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is 32. Actress Miranda Cosgrove is 23.

Thought for Today: "Silence cannot hide anything -- which is more than you can say for words." -- From the play "The Ghost Sonata" by Swedish author-playwright August Strindberg (born 1849, died this date in 1912).


Jewish Homeland: Conflict

•Later during World War I in 1917, the Zionists convinced the British to issue the Balfour Declaration that would facilitate Britain to establish a ‘Jewish Homeland’ in Palestine. After succeeding in getting the endorsement of declaration from the League of Nations, the British got the mandate of Palestine.

•The local Arabs however, resented a Jewish state. With the fall of the Ottomans, Arabs saw this as an opportunity to revive the old Arab empire. The British government failed to bring the Zionists and Arabs on the same page and thus began the Arab Revolt of 1936-39.

•In 1920, the Haganah came into being as a branch of the Jewish Agency, the organization that played a huge role in bringing Jews to Israel.

•The 1930s witnessed the Great Depression and the Jews fleeing Nazi-dominated Europe during World War II. The British government, therefore, proposed the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, which was rejected by the Arabs. Hence, the British in 1939 restricted the movement of Jewish to gain the support of Arab against Italy and Germany.

•In Britain, the then Prime Minister Clement Attlee in lieu of the growing violence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine decided to terminate the British Mandate over Palestine. But with the termination came the pressure by the Zionists and significantly from then-President Harry Truman in the US.

•Truman asked Attlee to allow the remnant of Jews in Germany to come to Palestine while the Arabs opposed the immigration. Amidst the growing tension, the British turned towards the newly formed United Nations (UN).


Creation of the State of Israel

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the British assumed control of Palestine. In November 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, announcing its intention to facilitate the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." In 1922, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate over Palestine which included, among other things, provisions calling for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, facilitating Jewish immigration and encouraging Jewish settlement on the land.

The Arabs were opposed to Jewish immigration to Palestine and stepped up their attacks against the Jews. Following an increase in Arab attacks, the British appointed a royal commission in 1936 to investigate the Palestine situation. The Peel Commission recommended the partition of the country between Arabs and Jews. The Arabs rejected the idea while the Jews accepted the principle of partition.

At the end of World War II, the British persisted in their immigration restrictions and Jewish survivors of the Holocaust were violently turned away from the shores of Palestine. The Jewish Agency and the Haganah continued to smuggle Jews into Palestine. Underground cells of Jews, most notably the Irgun and Lehi, engaged in open warfare against the British and their installations.

The British concluded that they could no longer manage Palestine and handed the issue over to the United Nations. On November 29, 1947, after much debate and discussion, the UN recommended the partition of Palestine into two states ­ one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted the UN resolution while the Arabs rejected it.

Meanwhile, since the time of the British Mandate, the Jewish community in Palestine had been forming political, social and economic institutions that governed daily life in Palestine and served as a pre-state infrastructure. Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973) served as head of the pre-state government.

The British mandate over Palestine officially terminated at midnight, May 14, 1948. Earlier in the day, at 4:00 p.m., David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the creation of the State of Israel and became its first prime minister. Longtime advocate of Zionism in Britain Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) became Israel's first president. On May 15, the United States recognized the State of Israel and the Soviet Union soon followed suit.

The fledgling State of Israel was faced with many challenges. While fighting a war of survival with the Arab states who immediately invaded the new nation, Israel had to also absorb the shiploads of immigrants coming in daily to the Jewish homeland. Many were penniless refugees from Europe broken in body and in spirit. They needed immediate health and social services in addition to acculturation to their new home.


On This Day in History: State of Israel Proclaimed

On May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years.

In an afternoon ceremony at the Tel Aviv Art Museum, Ben-Gurion pronounced the words “We hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel,” prompting applause and tears from the crowd gathered at the museum. Ben-Gurion became Israel’s first premier.

In the distance, the rumble of guns could be heard from fighting that broke out between Jews and Arabs immediately following the British army withdrawal earlier that day. Egypt launched an air assault against Israel that evening.

The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.

The Israelis, though less well equipped, managed to fight off the Arabs and then seize key territory, such as Galilee, the Palestinian coast, and a strip of territory connecting the coastal region to the western section of Jerusalem. In 1949, U.N.-brokered cease-fires left the State of Israel in permanent control of this conquered territory.

During the third Arab-Israeli conflict–the Six-Day War of 1967–Israel again greatly increased its borders, capturing from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria the Old City of Jerusalem, the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

In 1979, Israel and Egypt signed an historic peace agreement in which Israel returned the Sinai in exchange for Egyptian recognition and peace. Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed a major peace accord in 1993, which envisioned the gradual implementation of Palestinian self-government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


'IT WAS IRAN': Israel Says TEHRAN Behind Gaza Mortar Barrage

Israeli officials publicly blamed Iran for the recent mortar attack on southern Israel Wednesday, saying Tehran was the “culprit” behind the barrage that included 180 Iranian-manufactured shells.

According to the Jerusalem Post, IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis confirmed the mortar shells were produced inside the Islamic Republic and smuggled into the region by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

“Despite Israel’s intelligence superiority over terror groups, as well a blockade imposed both by the IDF and Egypt, Hamas and other terror groups in the Strip have restocked their supply of weapons in the four years since the last round of fighting between Israel and Hamas,” writes the Post.

“The mass-produced Iranian mortar shells used in Tuesday’s salvos were also used by Islamic Jihad in an attack in January and in a barrage 12 mortar shells fired toward an army outpost in November,” adds the author.

The revelation raises new questions over Iran’s influence in the region as the United States urges western allies and other nations to help clampdown on Tehran’s nuclear program.


May 14, 1948 | Israel Declares Independence

Rudi Weissenstein/Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, pronounces the Declaration of the State of Israel at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on May 14, 1948. Above him is a portrait of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism.
Historic Headlines

Learn about key events in history and their connections to today.

On May 14, 1948, the independent state of Israel was proclaimed as British rule in Palestine came to an end.

The May 15 New York Times reported, “The declaration of the new state by David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the National Council and the first Premier of reborn Israel, was delivered during a simple and solemn ceremony at 4 p.m., and new life was instilled into his people, but from without there was the rumbling of guns, a flashback to other declarations of independence that had not been easily achieved.”

After World War II and the Holocaust, in which six million European Jews were killed, the United Nations moved to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish sections. The United Nations adopted the partition plan in November 1947. This plan outraged Arabs, and sparked a civil war in Palestine. The Palestinian Arabs had greater numbers, but the Israelis were better armed and organized, and were able to overcome the Arabs. During this time, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs chose to or were forced to evacuate their homes.

The violence caused the United States to withdraw its support for partition. However, when Israel declared its independence, the United States immediately recognized the new state. The Times wrote, “In one of the most hopeful periods of their troubled history the Jewish people here gave a sigh of relief and took a new hold on life when they learned that the greatest national power had accepted them into the international fraternity.”

The armies of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria invaded almost immediately after the May 14 declaration of nationhood and the withdrawal of British troops, sparking the Arab-Israeli War. Israeli forces defeated the coalition by the end of the year and, via 1949 armistice agreements, Israel expanded its borders beyond those established by the original United Nations partition plan. In 1967, after the Six-Day War, the country took effective control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.

The political borders of Israel have continued to change over the course of its statehood due to military and diplomatic developments. Today, the country borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, the Gaza Strip and Egypt in the southwest.

Connect to Today:

In a report on Israel’s 64th independence celebration in April 2012, Ethan Bronner wrote in The Times: “The paradox that is Israel — wealthy, dynamic and safe, yet mistrusted, condemned and nervous — was on full display … Commentators on the left and the right stuck to their scripts, with the left asserting that the country’s treatment of the Palestinians and its regional saber rattling have made it isolated and stagnant, and the right glorifying Israel’s accomplishments: high-tech innovations, long life expectancies and democracy.”

In an interview, President Shimon Peres praised the strength of the military for the nation’s creation and survival, but also “warned about Israel’s direction, saying that without peace with the Palestinians, its economic prowess and future would be imperiled.”

President Peres’s remarks may have been a reference to the government’s decision to retroactively legalize settlements in the West Bank, a move that drew international condemnation as the country began its Independence Day celebrations.

What do you think it will take to achieve lasting peace in Israel? Why? In general, what recourse or resolutions do you think there should be for countries in which different “nations,” or groups of people who share a common identity, are unable to agree on the terms of the “state,” or defined political territory?


Soils

The coastal plain is covered mainly by alluvial soils. Parts of the arid northern Negev, where soil development would not be expected, have windblown loess soils because of proximity to the coastal plain. The soils of Galilee change from calcareous rock in the coastal plain, to Cenomanian and Turonian limestone (deposited from about 99 to 89 million years ago) in Upper Galilee, and to Eocene formations (those dating from about 55 to 35 million years ago) in the lower part of the region. Rock salt and gypsum are abundant in the Great Rift Valley. The southern Negev is mainly sandstone rock with veins of granite.


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