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A Nation of Miracles

Chapter 1

A Half–Century of Miracles

The new born state of Israel was 50 years old in 1998. What a 50 years! To start with—the rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948 was a miracle of history (Ezek.37:1-11; Luke 21:29,30). Never before has a nation been destroyed, its people dispersed to the ends of the earth, and then, nearly two thousand years later, re-gathered to their homeland and re-established as a nation.

When Israel declared itself an independent state on May 14, 1948, still another miracle occurred. The armies of seven Arab nations marched on the newborn State, boasting that they would "push the Jews into the sea." Outnumbered 100 to 1, Israel not only repelled the invaders but acquired more of Palestine than was granted in the UN partition plan. Yigael Yadin, Israel’s commander of operations in that war, had a terse explanation of Israel’s victory. "It was a miracle!"

Five Examples of Miracles

A Syrian column of 200 armored vehicles—including 45 tanks—attacked Degania, the oldest kibbutz in Israel. What a psychological blow this defeat would be! Without artillery, Jewish forces were helpless to block the Syrian advance. Until then the only heavy weapons available in all Israel were four howitzers of the type used by the French army in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Two of these ancient fieldpieces were promptly dismantled and rushed to Degania. The local commander, Lieutenant Colonel Moshe Dayan, had them reassembled at the very moment the first Syrian tanks rumbled through the kibbutz perimeter, and they scored a hit on the advance tank. Had the Syrians known that these two obsolete weapons represented half the arsenal of fieldguns in all Israel, they would have pressed the attack. Instead, the armored vehicles swung around in their tracks and clattered back up the mountain road.

At Safed, near the Sea of Galilee a small unit of Israeli defenders were holding off thousand Arabs. A sudden tropical storm broke loose. The Israelis in desperation took their remaining gasoline, poured it over 50 empty drums, set them afire and rolled them down the hill. The flaming barrels flying down the slopes, the rumble of hollow barrels striking rocks—together with the tropical storm—created such an illusion that the bewildered Arabs imagining some sort of secret weapon took to their heel and fled.

In December 1948, the Egyptians were harassing Israeli settlements in the Negev while advanced columns were moving north. Yadin used the Bible for strategy. It mentioned an ancient road forgotten for centuries, which ran almost directly to Mushrafa, the Egyptians’ central garrison. Heavy boulders were pushed aside with bulldozers. Soldiers in armored vehicles, jeeps and supply trucks sped under cover of darkness along the ancient road and surprised the Egyptians. Taking this garrison destroyed the Egyptian defense system and ended the war 14 days later.

To liberate the airport at Lydda the tactics of Gideon were employed. Seven thousand Arab troops were ready to attack. Sixteen Israelis dressed as Arabs infiltrated into the city of Lydda. Like Gideon’s band of 300 they made such a commotion during the night that the Arabs, totally confused, fired upon each other. Finally the majority fled back across the border.

The Syrian Army had regrouped east of the Galilee. A Jewish column of 24 homemade armored trucks and cars, on the way to relieve a besieged Kibbutz, took the wrong road and crossed the border into Lebanon. Before they discovered their mistake, they ran head-on into a column of supplies for the Syrian Army in Galilee—dozens of trucks of ammunition, a string of light artillery and 20 new armored cars. The Israelis fired point blank at the first truck—a tanker loaded with gasoline. It exploded and set on fire the following truckload of hand grenades. Rapid repeating explosions were heard for miles around. Terrified, the Syrians abandoned their cargo. The Israelis scarcely had enough men to drive the captured supply train back into Galilee. Finally they reached the beleaguered Kibbutz, only to learn that the Arab besiegers heard rumors that the Jewish army had invaded Lebanon, therefore, the Arabs fled Israel.

The victory of the 1948 War was a big miracle composed of a series of little miracles. Why? Over 2500 years ago the prophet Isaiah made a remarkable prophecy concerning Israel regathered back in her land. "They that war against thee shall be as nothing and as a thing of nought…for I will help thee." (41:12,13).

The Bible Helped Build Israel

The miracles continued. Trees, fruits and vegetables grow over what was once shifting sandy wastes or malaria swamps. New industries fringe historic cities. Highways and pipelines stretch across a energetic nation that had slept for centuries.

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s dynamic first Prime Minister, was an ardent student of the Bible as an accurate history of Israel and its land. He dispatched engineers, horticulturists, botanists, etc., with the Bible in one hand and research tools in the other. Miracles happened!

Following Bible clues, copper and iron mines were established. One mining engineer, Abraham Dor observed that at the richest veins of copper —"we come upon the slag and furnaces of ancient Israel. We often get the feeling that someone has just left." Deuteronomy 8:7-9 was often framed on the walls of mining offices:

For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills thou mayest dig copper.

Reclaiming the Wasteland

Barren land transformed to the fertility of ancient Israel is a miracle predicted in Scripture (Amos 9:14-15; Ezek. 36:34-35). It was long assumed that most of Palestine was wasteland, irreclaimable for agriculture. But archaeologists discovered the presence of more than 70 ancient settlement sites in one 65-mile stretch of the Jordan Valley alone, each with its own well for water. Lot, over 3,000 years ago, was not exaggerating when he "lifted up his eyes, and he saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, even as the garden of the Lord" (Gen.13:10).

New agricultural settlements—from Dan to Beersheba—have risen beside ancient sites reidentified by Biblical archaeologists. Concrete pumping stations were set over ancient springs or wells. A well from Abraham’s day, now supplies water for residents on the outskirts of Beersheba.

One of the basic necessities in that arid country is reforestation. Ever since Jews began returning, they have been planting forests, naming them in honor of such leaders and friends of Israel as Chaim Weizmann, Lord Balfour, George V and scores of others.

The Bible has helped them decide what kind of trees to plant and where to plant them. Debating whether a certain barren hillside would be a suitable location for Israel’s immense "Forest of Martyrs," Israelis found the answer in Joshua, which proved that a forest had existed there. "Knowing that trees grow more easily where trees have flourished before," explained Professor Zohary of Hebrew University, "we rely on the Good Book."

"The first tree Abraham put in the soil of Beersheba was a tamarisk," said Israel’s outstanding authority on reforestation, Dr. Joseph Weitz. "Following his lead, we put out two million in the same area. Abraham was right. The tamarisk is one of the few trees we have found that thrives in the south where yearly rainfall is less than six inches."

The writer personally knew the Boyko Family who pioneered in developing Biblical principles of agriculture that helped the Aravah and the Negev blossom as a rose. The Bible made Israel the agricultural giant it is today exporting its products worldwide. It took another miracle to make this possible. In Bible times there were two copious rainy seasons in Palestine—the "early and the latter rain." But for the past many centuries the "early rain" has been minimal while the "latter rain" and dew have disappeared completely. Since 1878, the "latter rain" is falling again. The precipitation of both has spiraled over the decades just as predicted in Joel 2:23,24.

The Miracle of Immigration

Jews from the four points of the compass heard the call to come home (Isa. 43:5,6). Israel’s Declaration of Independence stated that Israel "will be open to the immigration of Jews from all countries of their dispersion."

Even as war still raged and the little State faced possible destruction or bankruptcy, the newcomers poured in. During the first three years of statehood, the average reached 18,000 a month and in some months the figure exceeded 30,000. Between May 15, 1948, and June 30, 1953, the Jewish population of the country doubled. By the end of 1956, Israel’s population had nearly tripled, reaching 1,667,000. Imagine the economic shock of absorption!

Jews kept pouring into Israel over the decades. In 1984 - 1985 and again in 1991 harrowing airlifts brought Ethiopian Jews from utter despair to a Land of hope. Finally, the long-expected prophetic fulfillment of Jews from Russia began in 1991. By 1998 over 800,000 have returned from the former Soviet Republics (CIS) and they are still coming. Over a million are expected. Israel’s population increased from 650,000 in 1948 to nearly 6,000,000 in 1998. The miracle of absorption continues.

The Miracle of the ’67 War

The Arabs boasted that they would destroy Israel. However, in six days Israel overran the combined forces of Syria, Jordan, Egypt and took the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the West Bank (Samaria and Judea), and the Sinai—one of the greatest military feats in history. To many Orthodox Jews worldwide, especially in the United States, it was a wake-up call from God. Thousands poured into Israel and settled in Samaria and Judea to stake Israel’s eternal claim to the so-called West Bank—the heartland of Israel. They are certain the Messianic Age is near at hand. As Biblical Zionists, they oppose any give-away of land in the peace process.

A Hi-Tech Leader

Ezekiel 38:12, 13 predicts that Israel will become an economic envy of the nations. The immigration of Russian Jews is literally paying off. This year has witnessed an explosion in both hi-tech developments and the number of contracts Israeli hi-tech companies have signed with manufacturers worldwide. Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "The failure of Soviet communism to capitalize on the outstanding R & D skills of the Russian Jews was a stroke of good fortune for Israel. We now have the highest per capita of scientists in the world. This has put Israel on the cutting edge of technology." The New York Stock Exchange lists more hi-tech companies from Israel than any other nation… Ezekiel also predicts the sanctification of God’s name when Israel’s enemies would threaten His people (38:16-23).

50 Year Anniversary

Actually Israel’s miracles began in 1878 with the regathering of the Jewish people to their Land. Ironically the PLO also celebrated its own 50-year anniversary from 1948. The Palestinians have several names for their anniversary. One is "50 years of catastrophe!" Two people claim the one land is theirs. Who is right? Who are the Palestinians?