Israel At Sixty
Many reading these words were alive on May 14, 1948, when David Ben-Gurion began to read the text declaring the establishment of the State of Israel (see p. 51). Those who knew of the fierce opposition by the leaders of countries surrounding Israel probably expected this new nation to last but a few days. Yet because of the providences of God and the commitment of the early settlers in the land, Israel has not only survived, it has thrived.
Today more than six million Israelis living in an area roughly the size of the state of New Jersey, enjoy a vibrant economy generating a per-capita Gross Domestic Product of $28,800 (2007 estimate).1 Israel’s impact on global affairs continues to be far greater than their small size would suggest. Certainly God has blessed them as he said he would in Numbers 6:27.
Sixty years have now passed since Israel proclaimed itself an autonomous state. This special issue looks at the history of the Jews and the nation of Israel, beginning with the faithful founding fathers, progressing through the exodus from Egypt, the appointment by God of their first kings, then their captivity under a succession of world empires. At the time of Christ the religious leaders cooperated with the Roman authorities because it was to their advantage to do so, an arrangement that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. Worldwide persecution of Jews followed during the period called the “Dark Ages.” Finally in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries hope sprung up for a regathering of Jews to a land of their own, a hope that was realized in 1948. The final article in this issue looks at what we can reasonably expect to happen in the near future based on Bible prophecies.
There is so much to say on this subject that we took the unprecedented step of adding twenty pages to our usual length. We trust you will enjoy this overview of the significant events associated with God’s “chosen people” (Deuteronomy 7:6).