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Saturday, January 15, 2011

How Israel Came To Be

Nadene Goldfoot

Jews had moved from Germany up to Russia and the surrounding areas in their wanderings after 70 AD when Jerusalem fell to the Roman soldiers. Russia had confined them to live in one area called the "Pale of Russia". You had to be a special person to get documents that allowed you into Russia proper for any business. Pograms were going on all the time. Look at the movie "Fiddler on the Roof" for one example. Very often they were worse than what was portrayed in that movie. Read "Golda" by Peggy Mann and see what happened to Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel. By 1896, Theodor Herzl, a Jewish reporter in Austria-Hungary, wrote that because of the growing antisemitism that he was witnessing, he proposed an establishment of a Jewish State. He gave birth to Zionism.

Along came World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany. Great Britain wound up with the British Mandate for Palestine. Chaim Weizmann, Jewish chemist, had done much to increase the odds that Britain and her allies would win the war with his invention of acetone. He had been working on making synthetic rubber in 1904, but ten years later was working on gunpowder for Winston Churchill. "After the war, when British Prime Minister Lloyd George asked what honors Weizmann might want for his considerable contributions, Weizmann answered, "There is only one thing I want. A national home for my people." Lord Balfour then gave Weizmann 15 minutes to explain why that national homeland should be Palestine. Weizmann was an eloquent spokesman and convincingly stated his case. The result was the Balfour Declaration, which affirmed Britain's commitment to the establishment of a Jewish homeland."

Because of this and the Zionists' presentation of their need for their own state, Lord Balfour and his committee issued on November 2, 1917, a formal letter called the Balfour Declaration saying that they viewed favorably the establishment in Palestine of a "national home for the Jewish people. After seeing that the Jews rejected settling in Uganda, which was what Balfour suggested for a homeland, he went along with their desire to return to their original homeland. "The British would do their best to help them achieve this object. They wouldn't do anything to "prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities (Arabs) in Palestine. This was from the foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour to Baron Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community. It was for the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. This spoke for the British Cabinet after an agreement made on October 31, 1917. They also said it was a sign of "sympathy with the Jewish Zionist aspirations."

Eventually in 1947 after the World War II, Great Britain turned its Mandate over to the United Nations who then partitioned the land into two states, one Arab and one Jewish. The rest of the history is well known. The Arabs refused their piece but the Jews accepted theirs. May 14, 1948 was when Israel declared its birth and a war broke out between Arabs and Jews immediately with at least 5 Arab states attacking her.

Jews were attacked before the announcement and then of course after the announcement, big time. We had Jews who had just landed on shore who had survived the holocaust who were immediately pressed into service to fight for Israel. Women were even helping to fight. And the miracle of all miracles is that Israelis survived the humungous odds against her. The book, Exodus by James Mitchener gives you background of survivors getting to Israel.

In the meantime the Jews who had not migrated to Europe had remained in the Middle East only to be treated shabbily as Dminnis, or 2 and 3rd class citizens. It can be debated as to which group was living better and safer or not.

It took a great need and much planning to finally be granted the small piece of land that was finally named Israel. Jews had been suffering much persecution, a lot of attacks, and 2nd or 3rd class citizenship in their host countries. It was only in the very late 1800's and early 1900's that Jews came to the United States in large immigration numbers.

We know what happened to the Jews who remained in Europe that didn't migrate to America. The Holocaust took 6 million lives. Millions of Jewish families have no descendents to carry on their names. Families were completely wiped out. Today we have about 6 million Jews in the States and 6 million Jews in Israel and a handful scattered in other parts of the world.

Long ago in ancient days, Moses planned cities of refuge to be set up. Today we have one little Jewish State that is again a refuge for us in case we need it. Let's not lose it.

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