By Stan Goodenough - Jerusalem NewsWire - May 2, 2006
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. (Isaiah 66:8 NKJV)
Fifty-eight years ago **Tuesday night, in a single day that fulfilled millennia-old biblical prophecy; the Jewish national home was reborn.
As Jews across the land and around the world held their breath, David Ben Gurion stood in a hall on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard to declare “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel to be known as the State of Israel.”
Independence was restored to the Jewish people just over 2000 years after they had lost it to the Roman Empire in 63 BC (BCE).
The day in 1948 was a multi-miracle milestone:
* It marked the precise, 100 percent accurate fulfillment of what Jewish prophets had foretold thousands of years before.
* It verified that the Jews had indeed survived as a nation through two millennia of worldwide dispersion and persecution that culminated in the Holocaust.
* It marked the return of the remnant of that nation to the same land, cities and towns from which Rome had driven it 1,818 years before.
* It marked the successful defeat, by a mere few hundred thousand people, of the mighty British Empire which, after initially opening the way for the Jews to have their homeland back, tried everything in its power to frustrate and prevent the establishment of the Jewish state.
* It saw the instantaneous appearance – and wide (if not universal) international recognition – of a completely resurrected historic state, with its own original language, a government, military power, national infrastructure and state institutions.
In the 58 years since that momentous day, Israel has grown and thrived against often-insurmountable odds.
The 800,006 people who inhabited the land in 1948 have multiplied to the 7,026,000 citizens of Israel today.
Of these, 5,333,000 are Jews and 1,387,000 are Arabs. The balance are made up of immigrants and their children who have not been registered as Jews by the Interior Ministry.
Since Independence Day 2005, the population increased by some 159,000 people, with 138,000 babies being born and some 21,000 new immigrants arriving in the land.
A quarter of the population (1,786,000) live in these Israel’s five large cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon L’Tzion and Ashdod.
Israel’s rural population is 572,000, about eight percent the total. Less than two percent of Israelis live on kibbutzim (cooperative farms) today compared to six percent in 1948.
Israel has thrived despite:
* Being born in war and being forced to wage four more wars while massively outnumbered
* Enduring an unrelenting terrorism campaign that continues to this day
* Insidious and effective trade boycotts
* Suffering enormous doses of hostility from the world’s press
* Weathering tens of resolutions of condemnation from the United Nations
* Experiencing numerous other expressions and forms of antisemitism “disguised” as anti-Zionism.
In May 2006, "Am Yisrael Chai!" (The nation of Israel lives!)
* The Jewish Year.
** Iyar 5, 5708 on the Jewish calendar; coincided with May 14, 1948 on the Gentile calendar