Happy Birthday Israel!

Susan Michael
Good News

Happy Birthday Israel!This month marks 65 years since David Ben Gurion announced the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. After 2000 years of exile, the Jewish people had returned to their ancient homeland and re-established sovereignty.

The United States was the first nation to recognize Israel’s statehood and supported her inclusion in the international body of nations, the United Nations. Around the world, Bible-believing Christians heard in Prime Minister Ben Gurion’s announcement, and the United Nations vote, the distant voice of the Hebrew prophets who had foretold:

“In that day….they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land,” (Jeremiah 23:7-8)and, “Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born,” (Isaiah 66:8).
Not only was Israel’s birth a miracle, but so has been her survival over these 65 years. She has fought no less than seven wars and has spent a considerable portion of her budget and attention on defense. Enemies in the region vastly outnumber her, so she has had to keep a technological superiority over them.

This very challenge has actually resulted in Israel being one of the leading nations worldwide in terms of technology and innovation. So much so, that the tiny nation of Israel, born out of the ashes of the Holocaust and the dust of the desert, has one of the strongest economies today and is leading the world in the fields of science, medicine, agriculture, technology and disaster relief.

Israel is also a vibrant democracy that protects basic human rights such as freedom of speech and worship. Only under Israeli sovereignty has there been access to all holy places whether they be Jewish, Christian, or Muslim.
As we rejoice with Israel over the miracle that she is, however, we are painfully aware of very serious threats to her continued existence. First and most formidable is that of Iran. The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is threatening to annihilate Israel while he is building nuclear14 weapons capable of doing so.

Isreali Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been sounding the alarm for 15 years now and during his last visit to Washington D.C. he pleaded with the U.S. to draw a line in the sand backed by credible threats of action against Iran should they cross it.

The founders of the State of Israel knew that it was necessary for the Jewish people to be able to defend themselves so they would never again suffer a tragedy such as the Holocaust. Netanyahu takes Ahmadinejad’s threats of another Holocaust very seriously and bears the weight of responsibility for the defense of the Jewish people.

He is also very aware that a nuclear Iran is not just a threat to Israel, but to the security of the whole world. Not only would many other Middle Eastern countries begin building nuclear arsenals, but nuclear-armed terrorists would be able to hold entire nations hostage to their demands. It would also mean that the world’s oil and gas supply, even whole economies, could be held hostage by a nuclear Iran.

Iran is just one of several serious threats facing Israel’s existence. Those of us who rejoice over the miracle of Israel’s birth, survival, and contributions to the world need to understand the serious spiritual battle that is arrayed against her.

Israel’s story is a wake-up call for Christians. It is proof of the faithfulness of God and that he fulfills all of his promises. It is also a vivid illustration that the blessing of God does not necessarily mean freedom from adversity. Instead, it may mean spiritual opposition and constant struggle. But ultimately, the miracle of Israel’s survival and amazing accomplishments is an encouragement to all of us that we too can make our deserts bloom.
So Israel, we wish you a very happy 65th Birthday. And we pray that God will bless you and keep you, and make his face to shine upon you, and give you his shalom.

Susan Michael is the US Director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem www.icejusa.org

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