Editorial - The Turning Point

by Joseph H Hunting

Every time I hear some news commentator describe either Israel or Mr. Shamir as being intransigent I get a warm feeling inside me because it means that Israel is no longer being pushed round by Presidents, politicians or governments wishing to impose their plans for a Palestinian peace program at the expense of Israel's ultimate survival.

Although the Herods reigned as kings, they were merely puppets of the occupying Roman rule over Judea. The revolt against Roman rule began in 66 A.D. and ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. The dispersion which followed is one of the saddest sagas in the annals of human suffering and misery that spanned nearly nineteen centuries of Jewish history, almost half of the nation's entire life-span.

The only way to try and comprehend the enormity of the suffering endured during those long centuries is to read and ponder the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy. Nowhere in Jewish history is there a more accurate description of the prolonged agony endured by this people which reached its ghastly climax in the Holocaust. The suffering of slavery in Egypt, the dispersion of the ten northern tribes, the Babylonian captivity, Haman's tyranny, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Pogroms, plus all the humiliation and hatred endured for centuries culminated in that most terrible crime against humanity perpetrated by the Nazis.

It is as though when the anguished cry of Europe's Jewry reached up to heaven history repeated itself back to the time when the slavery in Egypt became unbearable and the cry of the Hebrews rose up to the heavens and a new nation emerged, liberated and free. The smashed Nazi war machine, like Pharaoh's chariots would never again afflict God's people. And out of the smouldering ruins of the Holocaust and the horrors of World War II the tiny state of Israel was born in a day on May 14th 1948. It was as though God had said, "Enough is enough!"

That momentous day was the turning-point in Israel's long and chequered history. Like baying hounds bent upon the destruction of their prey the surrounding Arab nations swept over Israel's borders intent upon the total and speedy destruction of the infant state on the 15th of May. Israel had no well-equipped army, no navy and no airforce. But something had happened that neither the world nor the Arabs understood. This was to be the turning-point.

For nineteen centuries the Jews, scattered like chaff among the nations, had been buffeted, downtrodden and persecuted at will. The invading Arab armies, navies and airforces expected little or no opposition and predicted that the state of Israel would be eliminated in less the fourteen days. What they didn't know was the God of Israel had long ago decreed that one day He would "CAUSE THEM TO RETURN TO THE LAND THAT I GAVE TO THEIR FATHERS AND THEY SHALL POSSESS IT" (Jeremiah 30:3), and again Ezekiel prophesying of Israel's return to its ancient homeland said, "THEY LIVED, AND STOOD UPON THEIR FEET AN EXCEEDING GREAT ARMY" (37:10). Indeed!!

Not only did the world witness the miracle of Israel's survival in 1948, but it saw it again in 1956, and again in 1967 and again in 1973, plus its survival in 43 years of constant terrorist attacks across its borders. Indeed, May 14th 1948 was the turning-point in Israel's history, and for forty-three years the world has witnessed Isaiah's prophecy being literally fulfilled, "no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper" (54:17).