A Modern Day Miracle
“I will surely restore my people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them. They will plant vineyards and drink the wine from them. They will plant gardens and eat the fruit from them. I will plant the people of Israel in their own land, never again to be torn out of their land that I gave them,” says the LORD your God” (Amos 9:14,15, International Standard Version).
As the end of Israel’s period of disfavor approached (1878), God began setting the stage for bringing His people home. Palestine was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and Jews were scattered throughout the world. How was God going to bring them home at the right time, according to His promises? Following is a brief review of how God opened the gates and began the process of carrying His people home.
Some Kabbalists had calculated that Messiah would come in 1840. Thousands of Chassidim (1) Jews immigrated to the Holy Land to welcome him. In 1840 accusations of “blood libel” (2) led to what has been called “The Damascus Affair.”(3) It brought outrageous persecution to Syrian Jews, driving them to Palestine.
Jews with Financial Power
At times, the Lord’s hand moves in subtle ways. The marriage and business dealings of some very influential Jews had a profound effect on the early life of Jews in Palestine.
(1) Chassidim is a sect that observes a form of strict Orthodox Judaism.
(2) Blood libel (also blood accusation) is an accusation that Jews kidnapped and murdered the children of Christians to use their blood as part of their religious rituals during Jewish holidays. (A total fabrication. Leviticus 7:26-27 forbids eating blood.)
(3) The Damascus affair was an 1840 incident in which the accusation of ritual murder was brought against members of the Jewish community of Damascus. Eight notable Jews of Damascus, accused of murdering a Christian monk, were imprisoned and tortured. The Muslim populace of Damascus also attacked the Jewish synagogue in the suburb of Jobar, pillaged it, and destroyed the scrolls of the Law.Sir Moses Montefiore, 1st Bt, by Henry Weigall© Nat. Port. Gallery, London
Moses Montefiore, an Orthodox Jew, had a synagogue built onto his home and had a personal Shohet (4) to ensure that he would always have kosher meat. His brother-in- law was Nathan Mayer Rothschild.They were business partners in banking. Montefiore married Judith Cohen and Rothschild married Hannah Cohen, two sisters. Both men bought land in Palestine to alleviate the suffering of Jews. They donated large sums of money to promote education, health, and industry in Palestine.
Another providence can be seen in that Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England, was the next door neighbor to Montefiore for 40 years — Disraeli at 95 Park Lane and Montefiore at 99 Park Lane.
Montefiore made many trips to Palestine and took Disraeli with him on some of them. God so arranged relationships — neighbors,
brothers-in-law, business partners — who were Jewish philanthropists and Zionists. Benjamin Disraeli
4) Shohet was a person certified by a rabbi or Jewish court of law to slaughter animals for food in the man- ner prescribed by Jewish law.
In 1855 Montefiore bought 250 acres of land in Jaffa. He also purchased land outside Jerusalem’s old city for a new Jewish neighborhood. By 1881, 3300 acres had been purchased by Jews. In 1892 Edmonde de Rothschild acquired 80,000 dunams (5) in Golan for Jewish settlements. He supported 30 new Jewish towns and villages.
But the main return of the Jews came only after Christian revolts in the Balkan Peninsula beginning in 1875, the Ottoman bankruptcy in October, and the Congress of Nations at Berlin in 1878.
The Lord’s Call:
“Come Home, My People!”
Petah Tikvah (“Door of Hope”), founded in 1878 by Orthodox Jews, was the first modern Jewish agricultural settlement. The name was taken from the prophecy of Hosea. “And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope” (Hosea 2:15). In these early settlements we see the religious influence of their Jewish heritage.
The Berlin Congress of Nations was held from June 13 to July 13, 1878. It was convened to determine the legal territories of the states in the Balkan Peninsula following Russia’s military victory over the Ottoman Empire. From a worldly perspective a seemingly small benefit was that Jews were now allowed to buy land anywhere in the Ottoman Empire and live there. This included Palestine. From a divine perspective this was the opening of an important door of opportunity. Hovevei Zion, (i.e. “Lovers of Zion”) and the BILU (“House of Jacob, let us get up and go” Isaiah 2:5) movements spread across the Russian Pale,(6 )encouraging Jews to immigrate to Palestine.
(5) A dunam was a unit of land area used in the Ottoman Empire and represented the amount of land that could be ploughed in a day. It is equivalent to approximately three acres. The unit is still in use in many areas previously under Ottoman influence.
(6) The Pale of Settlement was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was restricted. It includes much of present day Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, and parts of western Russia.
In 1881 Czar Alexander II of Russia was assassinated and the Jews were blamed. As a result, major anti-Jewish pogroms swept across Russia. During the first Aliyah, 1881-1901, an estimated 15,000 to 25,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine, establishing 28 colonies. Again, the hand of the Lord can be seen in opening yet another door of immigration.
The Hebrew language was revived. In 1881, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda moved to Jerusalem, working 18 hours a day on his Complete Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Hebrew. All 17 volumes were published in 1959 by his son.
In 1896 Herzl published “The Jewish State.” The First Zionist Congress convened in 1897.
The Balfour Declaration and the Politics Surrounding It
In 1914 the Gentile lease of power ended and they would have to leave the Holy Land. In 1917, the title deed was temporarily transferred from the Ottoman Empire to Britain.
Orchestrating the Gentiles’ Departure
The vast Ottoman Empire had spanned three continents, including Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, an area of 7.6 million square miles. Now that empire was crumbling. The rise of nationalism and socialism swept through many territories within the Ottoman Empire. Even the Young Turks revolted against the Sultan and established constitutional reforms between 1839 and 1876, bringing freedom of belief and equality of all citizens before the law. The Young Turk Revolution (July 3, 1908) restored the 1876 constitution, marking the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
Lord Arthur James Balfour and Chaim Weizmann
It is commonly known that Weizmann, a biochemist, synthesized acetone for use in manufacturing munitions. This may have been another subtle providence of God as it paved the way for the Balfour Declaration. Weizmann’s development aided Great Britain in winning the First World War. The importance of his contribution gave Weizmann favor in the British Government and provided him access to senior Cabinet members, to whom he represented his Zionist aspirations.
Through Weizmann’s influence, Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration in support of Weizmann’s Zionist objectives for a Jewish homeland. What is not as commonly known was the Weizmann-Balfour relationship.
Chaim Weizmann, one of the zealous “Lovers of Zion,” grew up in the Russian Pale. Later, Weizmann moved to England. Out of curiosity Balfour requested a 15 minute audience with Weizmann. Their meeting lasted over an hour and Balfour became a Christian Zionist. On his deathbed, Balfour allowed only his immediate family and his friend Chaim Weizmann to see him. They were friends to the end.
God’s hand arranged their meeting at just the right time to accomplish the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917. England gained a protectorate over Palestine.
Five days later, on November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution erupted and sealed the Jewish population within Russia. But the Russian Revolution came five days too late to prevent the Balfour Declaration. The Gentile dominion of Palestine crumbled with all its ruling houses of splendor, but the Balfour Declaration lit the Star of David in Palestine.
Weizmann considered that the issuance of the Balfour Declaration was the greatest single achievement of the pre-1948 Zionists. He believed that the Balfour Declaration and the legislation that followed, such as the Churchill White Paper (June 3, 1922) and the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, all represented a breathtaking accomplishment for the Zionist movement.
World War One and the Birth of Israel
With the death of over 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians, World War One was one of the deadliest wars ever fought. In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles formally ended the war. Major political changes and revolutions resulted. Four imperial powers ceased to exist — the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires. The Ottoman Empire as an imperial monarchy officially ended with the Treaty of Lausanne on July 24, 1923. It was succeeded by the Republic of Turkey.
Forty new countries were created from the former territories of the Ottoman Empire. The Arabs gained sovereignty over 22 states encompassing over 5.4 million square miles. The Jews received less than 1% of this territory in Palestine. Their land was reduced a further 77% when the West Bank was given to the Arab Emirate of Transjordan. In 1922 the League of Nations gave Britain a Mandate to prepare the remaining 23% of Palestine for a Jewish National Home. Then in 1923 the Golan Heights was ceded to the French through the League’s Mandate for Syria.
The British Mandate
In June of 1922, the British obtained a mandate from the League of Nations in order to keep their control over the region. The objective of the mandate system was to administer parts of the Ottoman Empire “until such time as they are able to stand alone.”
During the British Mandate, the Arabs and Jews in Palestine fought against each other and against the governing British authorities. This developed into the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, followed by the Civil War of 1947-1948, and then the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The 1949 cease-fire agreement partitioned the former Palestine Mandate between the new state of Israel, the West Bank annexed by the Kingdom of Jordan, and the Arab All-Palestine Govern- ment in the Gaza Strip under Egypt.
World War One was also a turning point for world Jewry. In Germany and in Eastern Europe hostility towards Jews increased. German Jews were considered traitors. Russian Jews were suspected of collaboration with the enemy and 600,000 were banished from Russia. Jews were blamed for the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 with the Jewish leader Karl Marx and four of its seven member cabinet being Jewish (Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Sverdlov). As a result, approximately 100,000 Jews were killed by Ukrainians, Poles, and Russians. During World War One Jewish migration dwindled, but once the war ended, hundreds of thousands of Jews began leaving Europe again.
The Effects of World War Two on the Birth of Israel
World War Two became the deadliest conflict in human history, involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The war was marked by mass deaths of civilians through genocide, massacres, mass-bombings, disease, starvation, and the Holocaust. Bombing industrial and population centers included the use of two nuclear bombs over Japan, resulting in over 60 million total fatalities.
World War Two began on September 1, 1939, with Germany’s invasion of Poland and resulting declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom. From late 1939 to early 1941, Germany conquered much of continental Europe and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan.
“I will bring them back into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks” (Jeremiah 16:15,16).
“Fishing” describes the Zionist movement as it gathered Jews to their homeland. “Hunting” describes the persecuting forces that drove Jews home. Zionism emerged in the late 19th century in central and Eastern Europe as a national revival movement, born as a result of continued anti-Semitism in Europe. Theodor Herzl is considered the founder of the Zionist movement. In his 1896 book Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), he envisioned the founding of a future independent Jewish state during the 20th century. Most leaders of the movement associated the main goal with creating the desired state in Palestine. Zionism grew rapidly and became the dominant force in Jewish politics with the destruction of Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe where these alternative movements were rooted.
The word Holocaust comes from the Greek, holos, “whole” and kaustos, “burnt.” It is also known as the Shoah, from Hebrew, meaning “The Catastrophe.” It was a diabolical attempt to destroy Jews and thwart God’s plan. Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany established some 20,000 labor, death, and concentration camps. (7)An estimated 10 million people died at the sites, a majority of them being Jews.(8)
Israel’s War of Independence
The rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948 was a miracle of epic proportions. On May 14, 1948, the day the last British forces left from Haifa, the Jewish People’s Council(9) proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. Born out of the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel was just one day old when it was attacked by the combined armies of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, vowing they would “push the Jews into the sea.”
(7) jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/how- manycamps.html
(8) jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/cclist. html
(9) The Jewish People’s Council was the main national institution of the Jewish community within the British Mandate of Palestine.
Note the striking similarity to the prophetic words of Psalm 83:4 where the enemies of Israel prophetically say, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.”
The Egyptians alone had 40,000 soldiers, 135 tanks, heavy guns, and an air force of over 60 planes. And yet, against all odds, Israel survived and was victorious. Though Israel did not have a standing army, they did have some military capability through their guerilla groups which had opposed the British, and also through the Jewish Brigade.
These were Jewish soldiers who had fought for Britain in World War Two and had gained military training and experience through this. They formed the nucleus of what became Israel’s military. The Lord certainly overruled these events as Israel was able to overcome such overwhelming odds.
By the time the war ended in 1949, Israel had gained parts of the West Bank and northern Palestine, land which the UN had reserved for the Palestinian Arabs. Jordan had acquired the rest of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while Egypt held the Gaza Strip, lands which had also been reserved for the Palestinian Arabs.
The 1956 War
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about … all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:2,3).
By the summer of 1948, armistice agreements had been negotiated between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. However, Egypt maintained a belligerent attitude towards Israel, eventually closing the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping. In 1955, President Gamal Adbel Nasser of Egypt began importing arms from the Soviet Union in preparation for war with Israel. The escalation continued with the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran. Less than two weeks later Egypt signed an agreement with Syria and Jordan, placing Nasser in command of all three armies.
The continued blockade of the Suez Canal and Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, combined with increased terrorist attacks prompted Israel to attack Egypt on October 29, 1956. Israeli forces routed the Egyptians, capturing virtually the entire Sinai Peninsula. The operation took only 100 hours. Israel also gained the Gaza Strip and Sharm al-Sheikh along the Red Sea. U.S. pressure resulted in an Israeli withdrawal from the areas it conquered without obtaining any concessions from the Egyptians. This sowed the seeds of the 1967 war.
The Six-Day War
Egypt: “Our aim is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel.” — President Nasser of Egypt, November 18, 1965
The Israelis had withdrawn from Sinai after the 1956 War based on guarantees that a UN peacekeeping force would be stationed there to prevent terrorist raids on Israel. The cease-fire also provided that the Straits of Tiran, a waterway connecting the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea, would be an international waterway.
The Straits of Tiran were Israel’s only southern outlet from the port at Eilat.
On May 17th, 1967, Nasser demanded an immediate withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping troops from the Sinai. Secretary General U Thant complied in less than 24 hours without informing the Israelis until Egyptian forces had already re-entered the Sinai.
To Israel’s south, Nasser deployed over 100,000 troops in the Sinai, including 950 tanks and over 1000 pieces of artillery. On May 23rd, Nasser announced a blockade of the Straights of Tiran.
To Israel’s north, Syria massed 75,000 troops, as well as artillery and armor on the Golan Heights.
To Israel’s east, Jordan signed a mutual defense pact with Egypt and the UAR and moved 55,000 troops and 300 tanks to the bor- der. At Jordan’s invitation the Iraqi army sent 100 tanks, two squadrons of fighter aircraft, and an infantry division to join in the fighting.
Israeli troops were outnumbered by more than two to one, and in tanks and combat aircraft by more than three to one. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Israelis had no choice but to aim for a quick and decisive victory. Little help was coming from the United States, which was bogged down in Vietnam. A prolonged blockage would strangle the Israeli economy so they had to act.
On the morning of June 5th, 1967, Israel launched Operation Focus. Israeli planes took the Egyptians completely by surprise with most Egyptian planes still on the ground. They accomplished this primarily by coming over the Mediterranean Sea. The Israelis attacked in successive waves destroying 338 Egyptian aircraft. Egyptian radar and SAM (surface to air) missile bases were also destroyed. The Israelis lost only 19 planes.
The victory in the air was so devastating that at first no one in Europe believed it. They continued to cite the Egyptian propaganda reports that 70 Israeli planes had been downed.
Intense fighting with Syria and Jordan in the north followed, resulting in the destruction of Jordan’s entire air force and 2/3 of Syria’s air force. False claims of victory by the Arabs resulted in the Russians being slow to go to the UN to pressure for a cease-fire, allowing Israel more time to turn their forces from Egypt and route the Jordanians and Syrians.
On June 11 a cease-fire was signed. More than 20,000 Arab forces had been killed while less than 1000 Israeli’s lost their lives. The result of the Arab’s ambition to destroy Israel was that Israel now controlled the Gaza Strip, the entire Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. The area under Israeli control tripled as a result of the war, significantly contributing to the country’s defensibility. The Lord’s hand is not short when it comes to defending His people.
The Finger of God
IDF Chief of Operations Major General Ezer Weizman was asked by the father of a fallen pilot how he explains the fact that for three straight hours, Israeli Air Force planes flew from one Egyptian airstrip to another destroying the enemy planes, yet the Egyptians did not radio ahead to inform their own forces of the oncoming Israeli attack.
Ezer Weizman, who later served as President of the State of Israel, was silent. He then lifted his head and exclaimed, “the finger of God.”
All the events that have led up to the rebirth of Israel can be explained from a natural standpoint. God and the promises that He has made to Israel we can see them in their true light. They are a direct fulfillment of God’s purpose of creating a nation that He will use in blessing all the families of the earth. These events truly are modern day miracles.