Birth of a nation – 70 years ago

70 years ago on 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was re-established after nearly 2000 years.

A minority of Jewish people had been working towards this for years, although many scorned the idea. In 1925, the Daily Mail sent its War Correspondent G Ward Price to comment on the efforts of the Jewish settlers. My father kept a cutting of his report, entitled “The Palestine Folly”. It was withering: here are some extracts:

“Palestine ceased to be a Jewish country in the year AD 71 when the Emperor Titus sacked Jerusalem.  It has since been & is now an Arab land

“Palestine is solely an agricultural country: the Jews are not agriculturalists. They crowd to the towns, trying to carry on the industries to which they were used in their Central European homes.

“Palestine will not become a self-supporting community by means of Jews taking in each others` washing or selling each other toffee & jam.  If the Jew, like the native Arab, could make his living from the soil, the idea of rebuilding the kingdom of Israel might not be so fantastic.  But town-bred immigrants from German & Polish ghettoes cannot be made into farmers

“Palestine is little more than a Jewish almshouse and shows no sign of ever becoming self-supporting”.

That was the assessment of an intelligent, experienced, Cambridge-educated journalist, using his natural abilities but failing to see only 23 years ahead. (G Ward Price, Daily Mail Jan 29 1925)

75 years before Mr Price`s visit, an English doctor summarised what he learned from the Bible about the same subject:

“There is then (to be) a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation (the Return of Christ)  .  .  .  the colonisation of Palestine will be on purely political principles: and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus  .  .  .  They will emigrate thither as agriculturalists and traders, in the hope of  .  .  .   getting rich in silver and gold by commerce with India, and in cattle and goods by their industry at home under the efficient protection of the British power”. (John Thomas, “Elpis Israel” 1848)

The difference between John Thomas and George Price was that one followed his human observations while the other believed the Bible. We know which assessment came true. As a teenager in 1948, this fulfilment of Bible prophecy `before my eyes`, convinced me to be baptised and become a follower of Christ.

So as expected by many Bible students, Israel was re-established, most “Jewish colonists” did not believe in Jesus, and Britain did much to make the Return possible (although with some big inconsistencies). The Bible was right ! Our interest is solely Biblical, these events reassure us that Jesus will indeed return in the not-distant future. Meanwhile we do not support the Israeli State (or any other State) politically.

See e.g. Psalm 83; Isaiah ch 60; Jeremiah ch 30; Ezekiel chs 38 & 39; Zechariah chs 12 & 14, Luke ch 21

John Woodall

Birth of a nation – 70 years ago

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