In May 1948 the nation of Israel was proclaimed, and we rejoice with them on their 50th anniversary. We could not join them in person, but as we watched the wonderful celebration on TV we rejoiced with them in that Miracle of God, who provided the 50 years for Israel. There has been much pain, toil and distress for them, but the State of Israel will survive; God will never forget Israel (Isa. 49:15).
Moses brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, ‑ which event they still commemorate unto this day. But we are told that the exodus now from among all nations will be so much more a marked manifestation of God’s favor than that from Egypt, which has been the great and marked feature of Israel’s history, but their deliverance from among the nations will indeed be a great and grand miracle of God. Thus we read: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt; but The Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north [Russia], and from all the lands whither he had driven them. And I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.” (Jer. 16:14,15) Hasn’t this been fulfilled before our very eyes?
In the past fifty years we have witnessed the return of many of the Jews to their Land of Promise, and the aliyah [immigration to Israel] continues. Since 1948 a total of 2.6 million Jews have returned to Israel. Israel’s present population consists of 4.7 million Jews and 1.2 million Arabs and other minorities. Moses led 600,000 from Egypt, not including women and children (Num. 11:21). We can rejoice with them in their festivals and rites in commemoration of this great event.
HOW PROPHECY MOVED A PRESIDENT
“The nations know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves unto the floor.” (Micah 4:12)
President Truman’s spectacular recognition of the State of Israel in 1948, has several times been referred to in this magazine as a Divine Providence in which he, perhaps unknowingly, had become a tool in the carrying out of Bible prophecy.
On the fifth anniversary of Israel’s independence on April 20, 1953, a man who knew the inside story of Mr. Truman’s amazing action five years ago, decided to make it known, for it had been agreed that it should not be told until Mr. Truman was out of office. That man was the well‑known United Nations Correspondent, also columnist for the California Jewish Voice, David Horowitz. He gave the story through the latter paper on Friday, May 1.
Mr. Horowitz is quite a student of Old Testament prophecies, particularly those relating to the latter‑day revival of Israel. He relates that he had been having frequent visits when in Washington with another student of Bible prophecy, Martin F. Smith, formerly associated with Congress. Smith was a special friend of Mr. Truman, who likewise was more or less familiar with prophecies concerning Israel. Smith and Truman often discussed world events in the light of these prophecies, Mr. Horowitz says.
During the Presidential campaign in 1948 when the United Nations under American influence had shifted its policy on the problem of Palestine from Partition to Trusteeship to the great consternation of world Jewry, Truman’s rating in the campaign had dropped to almost nil. All the polls showed Thomas Dewey far ahead. Truman was looked upon as a “dead duck.” Dewey was practically in the White House. It looked very bad for Harry Truman.
“Having met Mr. Smith again in one of the periodic luncheons during this hectic time,” says Horowitz, “the discussion turned to his friend, Mr. Truman, and we both agreed that things looked bad for him. We spoke about the Bible and prophecy as relating to the Jews returning to Palestine, and I told Smith that America’s new policy was contrary to God’s will and for that reason, Truman, as head of the nation, had found disfavor in the sight of God and man.
“Then, in a sort of wishful way, I said to Smith: ‘Possibly if Truman would heed my counsel he might still at this late hour stand a chance of re‑election. Smith, looking on seriously and taking my statement in earnest, said: ‘Tell me and I will tell the President.’
Somewhat taken aback by this sudden challenge and realizing that Smith meant business, Horowitz told him what he had in his heart: “Truman should know, first of all that no man or electorate had put him into the White House. He got it through the act of God when Franklin D. Roosevelt died an April 12, 1945, a week or so after it was revealed that Roosevelt had made certain commitments to Ibn Saud and the Arabs.
“Hence it is clear,” Horowitz continued, “that God does not want Truman to listen to every Tom, Dick and Harry, as he has up until now in matters of State and Foreign Policy. God wants him to do what he thinks is right himself.
“Moreover,” he said, “the problem of Palestine is not exclusively a Jewish one. American Christian voters, nurtured on Hebrew tradition as based on the Bible, have always connected the Jew with the Holy Land. When they read in their daily papers that Truman was wavering on this matter, permitting the State Department to play politics not in the interest of the people of the Book, they lost their faith in him. They saw a weak man who changed his mind with every wind.
“Therefore,” Horowitz continued, “unless your friend, Truman, realizes these facts and rectifies the wrong done the Jews, he will fall history and lose. But in order to convince the American people, he will have to do something courageous in the matter of the Jews and Palestine.”
Mr. Smith listened intently we are told and promised he would go to Truman and present the matter to him. A week later in a New York Times dispatch in reporting Mr. Truman’s weekly press conference, Truman was quoted among other things as having said: “I don’t care what happens to my own political career personally, I am going to do what I think is right.”
During this press conference reporters met a new Truman From that point on Truman became the “unpredictable” President. He began to act on his own, and his rating in the eyes of the public rose higher and higher. And then, a little later on May 14, 1948, Truman did the unpredictable. He electrified the world by recognizing the State of Israel to the dejection of Israel’s enemies. The General Assembly of the U.N, went into a tantrum. It was as if the world had turned over. Not even the American delegation there under Warren Austin had known about Truman’s intended act. The then Secretary of the State, General Marshall, had been in the White House that same morning and Truman did not even tell him what he was planning to do that same evening.
Thus, Harry Truman fulfilled the message given to him by Martin F. Smith becoming a modern Cyrus.
When Horowitz met Mr. Smith later he told him that soon after the previous meeting he had contacted Truman and told him every word. Truman, upon hearing, became “pale white like a ghost.”
“I have seen Mr. Truman many times and in many moods,” Smith said, “but never did I see him so dead earnest and serious as at the close of our meeting this time.”
“In parting” Smith continued, “Mr. Truman gave me such a handshake as to indicate that he was indeed intent on shaking the world.” (Prophecy Monthly, July 1953)
THE DIVINE CALCULUS
After a gap of nearly two thousand years, the 50‑year‑old Third Commonwealth of Israel is now an entrenched fact of contemporary history, backed up by some six million citizens, nuclear arms, a vibrant democracy and an active world Jewry.
It’s a good time to take stock. And indeed, hundreds of foreign journalists from around the world are here to do just that.
Unfortunately, the international press reviews of this jubilee anniversary seem to miss the spiritual, meta‑historic significance of Israel’s achievement.
The New York Times and others have conducted thoroughly researched and expertly documented surveys of contemporary Israel. These features tend to calculate a balance sheet of our successes and failures – in defense, economy, democracy and peace‑making and pose poignant questions about Israel’s identity and society in the future.
But while it’s valid to apply temporal yardsticks of measurement to Israel at 50, such evaluations miss the deeper challenge: to fathom the processes at work behind the curtain of current affairs; to understand the resurgence of Israel in the grand historical terms; to discern the mystic movement ‑ the Divine drama if you will ‑ that is playing out.
It cannot be otherwise. There is nothing global, or even massive, about the State of Israel in political terms. This is a small piece country. We Israelis are but a tiny fraction of the human family. In the sweep of history, there have been greater battles, bigger construction and irrigation projects, larger population transfers and immigrations and more eminently impressive displays of might.
No, the establishment, survival and advancement of Israel is more than a political or secular event in Jewish, or indeed a global, consciousness. Israel stands as vindication of the spirit; as a validation of the tenaciousness of faith; as proof of humanity’s power to overcome.
HISTORY KNOWS no parallel to the prophecies of the Bible, which foretold of exile, of the break‑up of a people ‑into a thousand pieces across the world ‑ yet who were destined not to assimilate, but to return.
This is the saga of a metaphysical union spanning centuries between a people, their God, and a land, defying all odds. This is the celebration of a nation who, at the moment of ultimate nadir, of devastating Holocaust, rose from the ashes, armed with little more than conviction and a historical consciousness that promised renewal, to stake claim to the ancestry. This is redemption, Providential consolation.
“In this generation of ideological confusion, of erratic thought, in the press and rush of civilization, haunted by doubt, fear and spiritual inadequacy, the still small voice of Israel reborn has a significance overreaching the criterion of material capacity, extending beyond the boundaries of geographical dimension and the gradation of international status,” wrote the late Yaacov Herzog.
“Israel represents a vindication of faith and prayer through the ages; it is a symbol of revival, a message of hope, indeed a lasting evidence of the integrity of the spirit.”
Listen to Chaim Weizman at the 22nd Zionist Congress in 1946: “...[We] stand today six hundred thousand strong, with steady vision and unwavering courage, drawing sustenance, spiritual and material, from a grudging and neglected soil ... testimony to the irresistible force which drives our people to become free men and women once again on the land of our forefathers.” Or to put it another way, as did Theodore Herzl: “If you will it, it is no dream.”
THIS BELIEF in the power of human will, animated by ancient faith, explains much about Israel, even today.
It explains why we sometimes stubbornly refuse to recognize the rational calculations of diplomatic cost and benefit ‑ calculations politely impressed on us by well‑meaning allies. It explains why those who consider history only in terms of national politics and international relations underestimate or misjudge us. They fail to understand that Israel is guided by an astral calculus that is not always perceptible, a reckoning that blurs the lines between imagination and reality, between the possible and the feasible.
The other day, I explained it this way to a friend of mine who is a foreign correspondent. It’s not just the Jewish people that have returned here, I said. God is returning too, bit by bit. “The Lord thy God will turn thy captivity... and gather thee from all the nations.” (Deut. 30:3)
I wonder whether the journalists and bystanders here to put us, at 50, on the couch, can factor this analysis into their reportage.
And can we Israelis remind ourselves of this prophetic perspective long enough to allow for true celebration? (By David Weinberg, The Jerusalem Post, April 26, 1998)
ISRAEL’S 50TH, MARK TWAIN AND THE JEWS
Israel’s 50th brings back memories of this writer’s pioneering days in the old Palestine under the harsh British Mandate in the years 1924‑1925, at which time I witnessed the opening of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus and heard Lord Balfour hail the Jews’ return to their ancient land.
The prophetic event took place on April 25, 1925. Israel’s 50th birthday coincides with its half century presence at the UN as one of the most active and progressive members. The reborn nation was admitted in 1949.
These were the real pioneering days in Judea, Samaria, the Galil and Negev. As a chalutz from America, I spent three and a half years in the Mikveh Israel Agricultural Compound and in Ramat Gan.
In light of the fact that great pressures are being put on Israel by the U.S. and other Western States to give in to the PLO to cede additional land, endangering its security, and in the face of outright acts of anti‑Semitism in many parts of the world, including the UN (as this column has pointed out on several occasions), I am moved at this time to refer to the famous American Mark Twain who, a century ago, delivered the most significant declaration on the Jews and on the issue of anti‑Semitism.
Following are some highlights of that revealing declaration: “Some months ago I published a magazine article descriptive of a remarkable scene in the Imperial Parliament in Vienna. Since then I have received from Jews in America several letters of inquiry. They were difficult letters to answer, for, they were not very definite. But at last, I received a definite one. It is from a lawyer, and he really asks the questions which the other writers probably believed they were asking. By help of this text I will do the best I can to publicly answer this correspondent, and also the others ‑ at the same time apologizing for having failed to reply privately. The lawyer’s letter reads as follows:
“‘I have read ‑ ‘Stirring Times in Austria., One point in particular is [of] vital import to not a few thousand people, including myself, being a point about which I have often to address a question to some disinterested person. The show of military force in the Austrian Parliaments, which precipitated the riots, was not introduced by any Jew. No Jew was a member of that body. No Jewish question was ever involved in the ‘Ausgletch’ or in the language proposition. No Jew was insulting anybody. In short, no Jew was doing any mischief toward anybody whatsoever. In fact, the Jews were the only ones of the 19 different races in Austria which did not have a party ‑ they are absolutely non‑participants. Yet in your article you say that in the rioting that followed, all classes of people were unanimous only on one thing ‑ in being against the Jews. Now will you kindly tell me why, in your judgement, the Jews have thus ever been, and are even now, in these days of supposed intelligence, the butt of baseless, vicious animosities? I dare say that for centuries there has been no more quiet, undisturbing, and well‑be‑having citizens, as a class, than the same Jew. It seems to me that ignorance and fanaticism cannot account for these horrible and unjust persecutions.
“Tell me, therefore, from your vantage point of cold view, what in your mind is the cause. Can American Jews do anything to correct it either in America or abroad? Will it ever come to an end? Will a Jew be permitted to live honestly, decently, and peaceably like the rest of mankind? What has become of the golden rule?
Mark Twain replies, “I will begin by saying that if I thought myself prejudiced against the Jew, I should hold it fairest to leave this subject to a person not crippled in that way. But I think I have no such prejudice. A few years ago a Jew, observed to me that there was no uncourteous reference to his people in my books, and asked me how it happened. It happened because the disposition was lacking. I am quite sure that (bar one) I have no race prejudices, and I think ‑I have no color prejudices or caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being ‑ that‑is enough for me; he can’t be any worse...”
The noted Mark Twain, in his declaration, which was published in Harper’s Magazine in September 1898, came to this significant conclusion:
“If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all ages, and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it.
“The Egyptians, the Babylonians, and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sounds of splendor, then faded to dream stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed, and made vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in the twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?” (By David Horowitz, At the UN, The Jewish Press, May 8, 1998)
THE ISRAELI ECONOMY ‑ WHAT’S AHEAD AFTER ISRAEL ‑50
Jews, worldwide, have much to celebrate on Israel’s 50th anniversary. During the nation’s half century, the Israelis have created a homeland for Jews, built a society based on democratic principles; absorbed many cultures and have developed diplomatic relations with 150 nations. These accomplishments merit a “Well done, Israelis!” But the people of Israel deserve our additional congratulations for having created an economic miracle that is highly respected and envied throughout the world. They have produced a remarkably high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $98.4 billion in 1997, with a GDP growth during the past five years averaging 6 percent.
A major contributing factor to this formidable achievement has been the rapid expansion of the electronics industry. The revenue from this sector alone reached $7.2 billion in 1997 ‑ a stunning increase of 11 percent over the previous year. And 80 percent of the country’s electronics production was sold outside of Israel.
Israel, in fact, has become a second Silicon valley, attracting hundreds of American companies. Many of the world’s largest computer concerns, including Microsoft, IBM, Digital, Hewlett Packard, National Semiconductor and Motorola have located facilities in the country and become parts of “Israel ‑ the In‑Place for Innovation.” There is every reason to predict that the nation will continue increasing its high‑tech exports to Europe and the United States.
Currently, there are 2,000 start‑up companies operating facilities in Israel. They are active in a variety of innovative high‑tech areas, including voice and handwriting recognition, Internet video and voice transfer, smart cards, data security, push technology, bandwidth expansion, medical diagnostic equipment and design gear for the semiconductor industry, to mention only a few.
Here are a few of my predictions for the Israeli economy in the “post ‑ 50 era:
There probably will be a lessening of activity in Israel’s low‑tech industries because of high‑labor costs. To compensate for this loss, many companies operating factories in Israel will subcontract part of their production to Jordan, Egypt and, eventually. the West Bank and Gaza assuming peace will come to the area.
More American high‑tech companies will complete their downsizing programs by opening factories in Israel, to take advantage of Israel’s unique incentives, including the country’s high‑quality engineers and scientists. Israel’s electronics industry today employs a work force of 43,000, 60 percent of whom are engineers and technicians. Compared to other countries, Israel’s ratio of scientist and engineers to the overall population makes it Number One in the world, by a wide margin. Israel has 145 of these technical workers for every 10,000 employees.
Many American corporations will expand their “contracting out” programs to Israel. one reason is the shortage of high‑tech personnel in the U.S. For a growing number of companies, Israel is the ideal place to conduct research and development and create software because of the availability and inventiveness of Israeli scientists, engineers and technicians. Furthermore, the Israeli government provides between 50 and 60 percent of the cost of R & D projects.
Stock markets dealing in Israeli stocks will continue to expand in Israel and the United States. At this time, stocks of 75 Israeli companies, carrying a value of $17.9 billion, are listed on Wall Street exchanges and 659 companies are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. There has been a rapid expansion of venture capital companies opening in Israel. In 1997, 50 such firms invested $1 billion in Israeli companies, a sure sign of confidence in the future of Israeli enterprises.
The bottom line is that the Israeli economy is well posed to move into the next century ‑ provided, that a peace agreement is signed and adhered to by Israel and the Palestinians. High tech is the engine that will continue to drive Israel’s economic machine. Hanan Achsaf, President of Motorola (Israel), noted recently that if Israel’s industrial growth, per employee productivity and export volume continue to increase at the current rate, revenues of Israel’s high‑tech industry alone will soar from $7.2 billion to $20‑25 billion by the year 2005. This would constitute a giant leap into Israel’s “post‑50” era ‑ one that Israel’s founders could not have imagined in their wildest dreams. (By Elmer L. Winter, Chairman, Committee For Economic Growth Of Israel, The Jewish Press, May 1, 1998)
THE CHOSEN SEED OF ABRAHAM
The key of the situation is given us in the Bible, and nowhere else. The relationship of Jewish people and the land of Palestine and the Bible, rightly understood, constitute a proof that there is a God: that He has a great and wonderful Plan or method by which He is dealing with mankind; that His Plan is connected with the Jewish nation, and that the Bible is the record of that Plan. But here we must remember the truthfulness of the poet’s expression:
“God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.”
It is a mistake to suppose that the Bible was written for the world or intended to be understood by the world. Its own testimony is to the contrary of this ‑‑ that the Divine purposes are intended to be concealed from mankind in general and to be understood only by those who come into heart harmony with the Divine intention, and who from this standpoint “search the Scriptures.” It should not surprise us, therefore, that our Jewish friends have not comprehended clearly the Scriptures, which they so reverently And painstakingly preserved from Moses until Christ. And may we not truthfully say that the same lack of understanding very generally prevails, even amongst Christians? Is not the fact that comparatively few of the Lord’s people have been privileged to comprehend the length and breadth and height and depth of the Divine Plan, fully in agreement with the Scriptural declaration that such knowledge has been intended throughout the Age only for a very small minority? “The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him [and His Word] and he will show them his covenant.” (Psa. 25:14)
The Scriptures seem to indicate, however, that the time is at hand when “The mystery of God shall be finished,” and when the understanding of the Divine Plan may be comprehended by increasing numbers, and amongst these the reverential Jews. Indeed, the Jew should be specially attracted by the outlines of the Divine Plan set forth in the prophecies of his own Scriptures. They explain the experiences of Israel while still in God’s favor, and the experiences of the past eighteen centuries of their disfavor, and show how both of these will work together eventually for the blessing of Israel and through Israel for the blessing of the Gentiles.
THE DIVINE PROMISE TO ABRAHAM’S SEED
As the very foundation of Israel’s every hope, the mainspring of that people’s courage, the motive power of their energy, their perseverance and their pride,, has been the Divine promise made to Abraham, their illustrious ancestor, “the friend of God.” To Abraham, after certain tests of character ‑ obedience, loyalty, and faith ‑ God made A Promise, which constitutes the hope, both of Israel and the Gentiles. It reads, “In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 22:18) Abraham’s son Isaac was indicated by the Lord to be the channel through which this blessing should proceed. Later on, Isaac’s son, Jacob, was indicated as a further channel. At Jacob’s death the Divine blessing passed, by Divine direction, not to a single one of his posterity, but to them all as a whole nation.
Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which signifies a prince influential with God ‑in Divine Favor. This name Israel, indicative of so much of honor and Divine favor, was subsequently applied to the whole nation of Jacob’s descendants, who became known as Israelites, or Children of Israel. It was understood by that nation that they were the seed, the posterity mentioned in the promise made to Abraham ‑ in whom “all the families of the earth should be blessed.” They correctly understood that this would signify a great exaltation for their little nation. They had full confidence in that great Promise, because the Lord had secured it to them in a most remarkable manner ‑ He made oath to it. Since He could swear by none greater than Himself, He said, “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; therefore, I will greatly bless thee and I will exceedingly multiply thy Seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand upon the seashores... and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Gen. 22:16‑18)
This hope in God ‑ that they were His chosen people whom He would use as the channel of Divine favor to all nations ‑ has ever been the mainspring of Jewish courage and pride. Not all Jews have inordinate self‑conceit as the basis for success. Some of them are fearful and some deficient in self‑esteem; but they are nerved by the conviction that God was especially interested in them, and the hope that He will yet fulfill to them His Oath‑Bound Covenant. A faith so persistent (for thirty‑eight centuries) must surely be pleasing to God, and must challenge the admiration even of their enemies. Christian Bible students well know that much of the Bible consists of Israel’s past history and prophecies of their coming glory. The past eighteen centuries have been merely a parenthesis in which spiritual Israel has been in process of selection from every nation., The speedy return of Israel to God’s favor marks another onward step in the Divine Plan of the Ages. According to the Scriptures, their coming uplift to Divine favor marks the Millennial epoch of blessings so long promised by God through the Hebrew prophets and attested also by our Lord and His apostles, mark the words of Peter ‑ “Times of Refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Jesus Christ, whom the heavens must retain until the Times of Restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began!” (Acts 3:19‑21) Jewish Restitution is the first item of the many blessings then to be poured upon mankind by a gracious Creator.
It is our hope that not merely our Hebrew friends will be interested in the various Scriptural prophecies, but also Christian Bible students and non‑professors. The coming blessings will be abundant to the blessing of all mankind, but the Jew first, for “God hath not cast away his people whom he foreknew”; “For the gifts and calling of God he never repents of.” (Romans 11:2,29,32)
(By C. T. Russell, Overland Monthly, pages 65,66)
It was a pleasure to note that many Christian organizations gave Israel comfort and support in many ways, especially joining with Israel in rejoicing over their 50th anniversary. We also appreciate the Bible Student Groups who gave beautiful tributes to Israel on their 50th anniversary in many of their magazines. Bible Students who emanate from Brother Russell have every reason to rejoice with Israel knowing that Bible prophecy as he taught it is being fulfilled. Brother Russell spent a great deal of time in “blessing and comforting Israel,” with God’s promises to His chosen people. He went to Israel more than once, but also went to other countries with his comforting message to the Jews. He told them Jerusalem would not only be the capital of Israel but would be the capital of the whole world: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall rise upon thee. And the Gentiles [all people] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” (Isa. 60:1‑5) We have endeavored to follow Brother Russell’s example and give Israel a prominent place in our publications. We also support Emek Ha Shalom because Hermann and Josef have worked for many years doing so much for Israel, without any help, either financial or physical labor. They have done it on their own. Fortunately some of the Bible students have now gone to their aid, both financially and with labor, for which we are most appreciative.