On May 14, 1948, the last of the British Mandate forces left the country. David Ben-Gurion then read the Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv. That very night, five Arab nations declared war on Israel. Months earlier, on November 29, 1947, the UN had decided to divide the land into two countries, one for the Jews, the other for the Arabs. The city of Jerusalem was to be a separate entity under UN administration. Resolution 181 was accepted by the Jews, but rejected by the Arabs. And the rest is history.
Suddenly, Jews from all corners of the earth returned to their homeland. Back in the hands of its rightful tenants, the land is flourishing and the Hebrew language is fully resurrected. This frustrates Israel’s enemies. In the shadow of the Jews’ 2,000-year blood-drenched exile, Israel is somehow reborn.
“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children.” Thus the Prophet Isaiah (66:8) described already 2,700 years ago Israel’s miraculous rebirth in our days. Verse 10 continues by admonishing: “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her.”
In April 2023, Israel will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its modern independence. It will be a joyous time, and we would love nothing more than to celebrate with you, our dear readers, right here in the Holy Land. We are also working on an anniversary issue, and we are inviting you to help us make it as special as possible. Any ideas or requests regarding what you’d like to see covered in that anniversary issue can be submitted to our office. In the meantime, we will continue to share unique tidbits from the last 75 years in the intervening issues.
Aliyah means ascending. Today, this is the term used for Jewish immigration to Israel. But aliyah actually comes from the Bible. It was in this way that Jews referred to their annual pilgrimage to the Temple. One had to ascend to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount on their high hills (800 meters, or 2,600 feet above sea level) to celebrate the feasts of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. From 1948 to 1951, some 700,000 Jews–mainly from Poland, Romania, Egypt, Iraq and Yemen–migrated to Israel. To this day, the stream of Jews making aliyah from all corners of the world has not ceased.
In the early pioneer years, young people worked the desolate soil, which soon returned to a fertile state. Throughout the country, communal settlements known as kibbutzim and moshavim were established to restore the land. (Creative Commons)
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