Editorial - Israel A Nation of Immigrants

by Joseph Hunting

3,500 years ago the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob intervened in the affairs of mankind when He fulfilled a promise made with Abraham hundreds of years earlier that He would liberate his descendants from bondage and bring them into the land He had promised him and his seed for an everlasting possession.

Israel 's deliverance from bondage was accompanied by a series of miracles still commemorated today by the observance of the Passover. Israel's forty-year journey through the wilderness also began and ended with the miraculous parting of the Red Sea and the River Jordan.

Israel 's chequered history for the next fifteen hundred years is recorded in the Bible. Following the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the survivors, secular history has taken over with the record of Israel being persecuted and dispersed to the uttermost corners of the earth.

As in Egypt so long ago when Israel's plight was hopeless, so another miracle occurred in 1948 when the infant state of Israel was reborn on the very soil God had promised to Abraham. And again, another series of miracles assured Israel's survival against implacable enemies bent on the nation's destruction.

In the midst of a world that is in a state of upheaval and when oppressive regimes have toppled like ninepins, God has again remembered the promise He made through Isaiah 2,700 years ago regarding Israel's exiles. "Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honoured and I have loved you; therefore will I give men for you, and people for your life.

"Fear not, for I am with you: I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west: I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth" (43:4-6).

In Bible times God often involved Israel in the performance of His miraculous acts. I believe we are privileged to witness the modern miracle that is unfolding before our eyes that may yet surpass the grandeur of the original exodus from Egypt so long ago.

A Nation of Immigrants

What is a pile of suitcases, trunks, cartons, back-packs etc. dong in the middle of the Israel Museum exhibition hall? It's an exhibit prepared by the curator of baggage items of new immigrants to Israel from the turn of the century to the present day, from such far-flung countries as Afghanistan, Poland, Finland and Ethiopia.

This exhibit gives a museological illustration to the fact that the country was, and still is, a nation of immigrants, symbolizing the age-old verse: "In each generation every person must regard himself as though he, personally, were brought out of Egypt."