Yom Yerushalayim was last month on May 23 in Israel. Otherwise known as “Jerusalem Day,” it is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem, which happened following the Six-Day war. Because of the differences between the Jewish calendar and the Gregorian calendar, we mark the observance of Jerusalem Day in May (this year), but June 5-10 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day war. I can’t believe that it has been that long, and I remember it like it was yesterday. We, the American Jewish community, were sure that this was the end of Israel, and yet, much like our dreidel proclaims at Chanukkah, “a great miracle happened there!”
Many people debate about whether Israel has any historical right to the land that they are in. Some make a biblical argument based on God’s promises to Abraham, others refute that and base their refutation on theological arguments and spiritualize Israel as only the Church and the promised land as “heaven.” (Certainly Paul, uses Israel to refer to the Church, but also to the land and to the ethnic people…see Romans 9-11.) Still others refute such a right because they see Israel as an oppressive government that has displaced an indigenous people, the “Palestinians.” No matter what, Israel is a lightening rod that draws a lot of opinion, anger and attention.
While this is not an excursus on Israel, I just have to say that regardless of all the opinion out there, there is a modern, historic foundation to Israel’s right to the land that is hard to refute. It started on November 29, 1947 when the United Nations adopted a partition plan for Palestine following the British withdrawal from the region in 1948. Effectively, the United Nations gave the area a “two-state solution” that we hear so much about today. Israel and Palestine were created and the Jewish Agency for Palestine accepted the plan, despite the fact that the newly created Israel would have “indefensible” borders. But the nations that surrounded Israel, Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq and Syria, along with the newly created “Palestinians,” rejected the plan and attacked Israel. Anyone who believes a two-state solution would bring peace to the Middle East just needs to study history!
A dear friend of mine was an American military observer in Israel during the Six-Day war. I remember him saying that the Israeli victory was nothing short of miraculous, that with God there is no such thing as “indefensible” borders, and clearly God is not done with His Jewish people. These observations are also hard to refute. Thank you for helping us share the Gospel here and in Israel!