Vol: 43 Issue: 28 Thursday, April 28, 2005
“In accordance with our plan a letter from Weitzman to Truman had been sent on May 13 asking him to recognize the new state. The expected infant was still nameless, since the Zionist leaders were still, characteristically, arguing over the name (should it be “Judea,” “Zion,” what about “Israel”?). Weitzman, for the first time in history, was asking for a nameless state to be recognized.” – (“Personal Witness” Abba Eban, p. 144)
“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” (Ezekiel 37:21-22)
Abba Eban was Israel’s first representative to the United Nations, even before there was a state of Israel. Prior to declaring statehood, Eban was the Jewish Relief Agency’s official representative.
Eban served in the twin capacity of Israeli Ambassador to the UN and Israeli Ambassador to the US, before becoming Israel’s foreign minister.
Abba Eban was present for every major event in the life of the modern Jewish State from its inception until he left the Knesset in 1988.
Eban was known for his blunt honesty and no-nonsense attitude, having once told the UN General Assembly; “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”
He had a way of putting things into perspective unmatched by his contemporaries. Speaking of the 1967 Six-Days’ War, Eban quipped; “I think that this is the first war in history that on the morrow the victors sued for peace and the vanquished called for unconditional surrender.”
Eban recounts that the Soviet Union, initially, enthusiastically supported the establishment of a Jewish State, while the United States very nearly withheld recognition, which would have doomed Israel to stillbirth.
President Truman, a crusty mid-Westerner with no particular love for the Jews, fought a pitched battle with Secretary of State George C Marshall, who told Truman in blunt terms;
“They don’t deserve a state, they have stolen that country. If you give this recognition, Mr. President, I may not vote for you in the next election.”
In the end, Truman decided, against the expressed and united opinion of his cabinet, to send a cable to Tel Aviv, assuring David Ben-Gurion of the US intention to recognize the new Jewish state. On May 14, Joseph Cohn, Chaim Weitzman s personal secretary, was dispatched to Washington to inform Truman that the name of the state he was about to recognize would be ‘Israel’.
As it grew apparent that the new Jewish state was looking westward to America, instead of east toward Moscow for its principle political alliances, the Soviets soured on the new state and turned instead to support Israel’s Arab enemies.
Among the punitive policies adopted by the Kremlin was a complete ban on emigration by Soviet-bloc Jews to the Jewish state.
From our perspective on the timeline, the restoration of Israel, and the events leading up to that restoration, are a matter of history.
There is no need to interpret or spiritualize or allegorize the events of Israel’s rebirth — there are plenty of personal witnesses besides Abba Eban’s.
Israel very nearly became a Soviet client state because of institutionalized anti-Semitism at the highest levels of the US government that threatened to derail recognition of Israel’s existence.
The subsequent friendship that developed between the new Jewish state and the United States resulted in a Soviet moratorium on Jewish emigration that lasted until the late 1980’s.
And, until the 11th hour, nobody, including the Jews, even knew what the name of the new Jewish state would be.
There are those who would argue that all Bible prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70 with the destruction of the Jewish Temple and the dispersal of the Jews.
What appears to be the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in this generation, the argument goes, is the consequence of misreading or misinterpreting the Scriptures.
That argument is belied by recent history, and, despite efforts to revise history, there are still too many personal witnesses who were there.
For example, the prophet Ezekiel wrote, sometime around the year 536 BC, that the Jews of the ‘latter years’ would be restored to their original homeland and would be known as the nation of Israel.
One hundred and sixty-six years before, Sargon II of Assyria besieged and divided Israel and Judea, capturing the Kingdom of Israel. Sargon II followed the practice of removing the nobles from a conquered land and settling them elsewhere. As a consequence, the nation of ‘Israel’ ceased to exist and its people became known to history as the ‘ten lost tribes’ of Israel.
When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judea and settled Judean nobility in Babylon during Ezekiel’s lifetime, there was no reason to expect the Jews to escape the same fate as their Israelite cousins 166 years earlier.
But Ezekiel, under Divine inspiration, not only predicted the restoration of a Jewish State, he confidently predicted it would bear the name of a nation that had not existed for generations!
Even Israel’s Founding Fathers, like David Ben-Gurion and Abba Eban didn’t know what the new Jewish state would call itself — but Ezekiel knew the answer 2,500 years before — and said so, in writing.
The Soviet moratorium against Jewish emigration to the Holy Land meant that most Jewish migr s came from the Arab states to the east of Israel and those from the Western alliance countries.
Jews from the north (Moscow is due north of Jerusalem) and the Jews from the South (Africa) languished in their host countries, essentially as political prisoners of the Soviet system.
The prophet Isaiah, who lived at about the time of the destruction of the Northern Kingdom, prophesied:
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;” (Isaiah 43:4-5)
As noted, we are looking backward to Israel’s restoration as history. The Bible’s prophets were looking forward, thousands of years into the future.
Looking back, we can see that Israel’s ‘seed from the east’ began flocking to the Holy Land following the defeat of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1917.
Israel’s relationship with the West prompted the mass emigration of Jews from America. The Holocaust spurred a mass emigration of Jews from Western Europe.
It took the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall to make the Soviets to the north ‘give up’. Egyptian Jews weren’t free to emigrate until after the 1977 Camp David Accords.
And it wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that places like Ethiopia, and Libya lifted their ban on Jewish emigration. Yemeni Jews were transferred enmasse, some 56,000 of them, during what Israel called “Operation Flying Carpet.” (“to the south, keep not back”).
In the past decade, members of what were believed to be one of the ‘Lost Tribes’ — the tribe of Dan — have turned up in Ethiopia.
Genetic testing has also determined that the men of the African Lemba tribe, a black, Bantu-speaking people, share the unique “Y” chromosome of the Cohanin, the Jewish priestly class descended from Aaron.
The Pathans of Afghanistan are believed by some to be descended from one of the Lost Tribes.
And the Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic Jews, Shlomo Amar recently determined that the Bnei Menashe community in India’s north-east is descended from the Lost Tribes and has formally declared them to be Jews. Many have since emigrated to Israel, and about 8,000 more are getting ready to do the same.
“And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be NO MORE TWO NATIONS, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” (Ezekiel 37:22)
It is no Scriptural sleight-of-hand trick, or a manipulation or misinterpretation of the Bible. The restoration of Israel — viewed from our vantage point as personal witnesses to recent history — is an EXACT match to the Bible’s description of how, when and where that restoration would take place.
The only difference is that of perspective. To the Bible prophets, it was future, whereas to we who are alive and remain in this generation, it is history past.
“And He spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”
“Verily I say unto you, This generation SHALL NOT PASS AWAY, till ALL be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:29-32)