When modern Israel was founded in 1948, the newly-formed nation faced an uncertain future. From the moment Israel's declaration of independence was signed on May 14, the nation was beset by many troubles. War came swiftly when its angry neighbors attacked. Seventy years later, what is the condition of the nation that so many threatened to "drive into the sea?"
Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, in conjunction with another holiday memorializing the fallen soldiers of the Israeli Defense Force—and there are many to remember. Linking the two observances is a significant reminder of the debt Israelis owe to their armed forces.
Israel, having endured much, does well to remember and dedicate national holidays to the sacrifices that have paved its way to success in the modern age. How especially poignant Israelis' memories must be, since many of them personally lived through their nation's birth and survival, seeing it with their own eyes and shaping it with their own hands.
It is interesting to note that American culture, in general, has been identified by some as "forgetful" regarding its past. Sadly, such forgetfulness exacts a price.
But it would seem that a young nation like Israel, balanced on a knife's edge through much of its existence, would be even less able to afford such forgetfulness. Modern Jews do well not to take the future for granted by forgetting the horrors of the past.
But what if there were a connection between Israel and the West that much of the entire world has forgotten? And what if the Holy Bible contained the key to understanding that connection, in prophecies that many find confusing? The United States, Great Britain and Israel today are allies, sharing much in common—including their devotion to the traditions of freedom and liberty they've fought hard to achieve and protect.
But their connection runs much deeper than that.
Genesis 48 and 49 record the ancient prophetic blessings the Hebrew patriarch Jacob, whose name God changed to "Israel," pronounced on his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh: "God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked… bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth" (Genesis 48:15–16). They were to become a great nation (Manasseh) and a great company of nations (Ephraim) (v. 19), while from Judah the "scepter would never depart" (Genesis 49:10) and the Savior would come (Micah 5:2).
Hopefully the modern nation of Israel celebrates this year not only with a sense of reflection on the past, but also in a spirit of wonder concerning the overall plan and purpose God has for all of His people in the future. And it would behoove Israel to seek, as well, a more profound and passionate relationship with celebrations and observances that have been at the very root of their culture for far longer than 70 years: the holy days of the Bible.
Will we remember the role God Himself has truly played in our protection, or will we continue to forget the most important requirements for our many blessings to continue? Will we show the character spoken of in Psalm 34, and cry out to God, who will deliver us from "all our troubles"? We pray so!