Lists of the greatest sports, musical and political comebacks in history are nowadays just a mouse-click away. Personalities who have achieved great things are branded onto our collective memory as unforgettable, people such as the boxer Cassius Clay, who in 1967 became a draft dodger and had to give up his promising career, but then three years later made a magnificent comeback as Muhammad Ali. He became world champion, and his fights against top opponents went down as the greatest in boxing history.
We want to break the mold here a little and apply this striking term–comeback–to an entire nation. There is no other nation in all of world history that has experienced a comeback quite like Israel’s. After just under 2,000 years of dispersion and exile, after almost 150 years of painstakingly re-gathering their strength, they returned to their ancient homeland. From 140 countries they streamed back into the Holy Land, and there they founded the State of Israel in 1948, so that they could once again live as a sovereign and independent nation in the land of their forefathers....
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