May 2023 marks an important historical milestone. 75 years ago, in May 1948, the modern nation of Israel was born. After having been scattered virtually around the world, Jews from around the earth were able to return to their homeland and create the modern state of Israel.
Much of the land they came to was a wasteland, but through God's help, and irrigation and advanced technology, they have been able to see "streams in the deserts."
Susan Michael is the U.S. Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. She said of this important milestone: "Israel has not just survived for 75 years. She's thriving. And there are so many things that we can celebrate at this time."
I interviewed Susan Michael for a radio and a television segment recently. She told me, "When Israel was founded May 14th, 1948, the next day she was attacked by five Arab armies. Now, you have to understand, Israel had no army, no defense forces, very few weapons, ill-trained people …. How they defeated five invading armies, there's no other explanation for it, but a miracle of God."
She added, "And then in 1967, another major moment, [Israel was] attacked by all the same countries again, and the victory was so resounding that she almost doubled in size. How can you explain this? Except that God was at work for her and defending her."
75 years ago, the United States became the first nation to acknowledge the establishment of Israel.
Historically, Jews have done well overall in the United States. On August 14, 1790, President George Washington wrote the oldest synagogue in America (in Newport, RI): "May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants, while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig-tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid."
Washington was citing his favorite Bible verse, Micah 4:4. To Washington, this was a metaphor for what America could and should be: Everyone can enjoy peace and safety under their own "vine and fig tree" with none to "make them afraid."
It is fitting, therefore, that the United States and Israel have enjoyed overall good relations. Dr. Richard Land, president emeritus of Southern Evangelical Seminary, observes, "America and Israel have a deep affinity because we're the only two countries in the world that were founded on the Ten Commandments."
Despite Israel's astonishing achievement as a global high-tech leader, despite her success as the Middle East's one-and-only democracy, we find today that many young Americans are not supportive of Israel.
In fact, 89% of American Jews say that anti-Semitism is a problem in the U.S. today.
There is a big push against Israel called BDS, which means, "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions." The BDS movement is trying to strangle Israel financially. This movement seems to be gaining traction on many college campuses, where the left has a virtual monopoly.
Dennis Prager makes an interesting observation about the push to destroy Israel. He said, "Nobody gives a hoot if you criticize Israel. If you support those who wish to destroy it, that's different…. There are a million hatreds in the world, but there's only one exterminationist hatred, and that's anti-Semitism. Anti-Semites don't dislike Jews. I wish that was all they did, you could live with this. You can't live with people who want to exterminate you."
In light of America's overall history of officially honoring religious freedom for the Jews, Susan Michael notes, "I cannot believe that my country has this rise of anti-Semitism that we see taking place. But it does. And so it's very important that we let the Jewish people know that we are with them, that we support them, that we're praying for them, and that we stand with Israel. It's a great comfort to them at this time."
One of the great benefits of the modern state of Israel is that Christians are able to go there and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ Himself. It is terrific. It helps one to see firsthand the places where most of the great events took place in the Bible.
"The 75th anniversary of Israel as a state is a tremendous milestone," notes Rev. Erwin Lutzer, Pastor Emeritus, Moody Church, in a recent television interview for D. James Kennedy Ministries.
He concludes, "And we should rejoice in the fact that there is, in the Middle East, a country that believes in democracy, and that, of course stands in contrast to all the countries around it. And so we congratulate them on this special time and hope that Israel continues to exist. We, of course, know that America is friends with Israel; and we pray for their continued blessing and existence."
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