Israel at 70: a blessing to all the nations of the earth

May 14, 2018 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

On 14th May 1948, 70 years ago today, David Ben Gurion declared the independence of the State of Israel. In celebration of this momentous anniversary, God raised up Netta Barzilai, and lo, she won the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, though quite what Israel was doing competing in a European competition is unknown (a bit like Australia, and Armenia…). In further celebration of this momentous anniversary, President Donald Trump has decreed that the US Embassy shall be inaugurated today in  Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, as a seal of the unbreakable bond of friendship between their countries and their peoples.

“Thank you! I love my country!” cried Netta at her point of victory. “Next year in Jerusalem,” she added poignantly, with a hope that has echoed in every Jewish heart for centuries, and a prayer which has endured through millennia of weeping by the Rivers of Babylon.

Zionism is the Jewish dream of restoration, return and renewal. Israel’s rebirth 70 years ago was a joyous event. To some it represented a safe haven to be Jewish in a Jewish land without fear of persecution. To others, the sovereign hand of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob fulfilling promises from the Torah and the Prophets was clear to see. Much of the world rejoiced with them. However, not everyone was pleased. Many Arabs, including those whose own nations were formed in the same period, call Israel’s national rebirth ‘The Naqba‘ or ‘catastrophe’. The formation of a Jewish state in the region, they claimed, robbed Palestinians of their land; the Jews were portrayed as interlopers. The region’s problems were – and are – routinely blamed on Israel, and criticism goes far beyond Israel’s actions, often questioning the very legitimacy of Israel’s existence.

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