by: Ilse Posselt, BFP News Correspondent
“In Israel, to be a realist you must believe in miracles,” David Ben-Gurion said. The nation’s first prime minister was right—Israel is no ordinary country. Yet, even in a land where biblical prophecies are being fulfilled, 2017 was extraordinary. This year, Israel celebrated a group of milestone anniversaries that marked significant beacons in the nation’s history.
On 2 November 1917, British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur James Balfour, penned an official letter giving Britain’s approval for the establishment a Jewish state. The communiqué was hardly a page long, yet it helped change the course of history.
The Balfour Declaration offered the first official international recognition for the Jewish people’s claim to their Promised Land. It is still considered the most important document in the establishment of the State of Israel and one of the cornerstones for the return of an exiled people to their ancient homeland.
On 29 November 1947, the UN adopted a proposal for the future of the Promised Land once the British Mandate expired. The plan entailed that the land be carved up and portions allocated to both the Jewish and Arab populations.
Seventy years ago, 33 member states approved the UN Partition Plan of Palestine, and the Jewish people obtained international backing to re-establish a state on parts of the Land which God pledged in an everlasting covenant to their forefathers.
Hours before the British Mandate expired, on 14 May 1948, the Jewish People’s Council approved a proclamation, declaring “the establishment of a Jewish state… to be known as the State of Israel.” Prophecy had been fulfilled. Israel was reborn.
This year, Jerusalem and those who love her rejoiced in the City of Gold’s special jubilee celebrations, marking 50 years since her reunification. While Israel won the War of Independence in 1948, the invading Jordanian forces laid siege to half of Jerusalem. For 19 years, the eastern half of the city—with the Old City, Temple Mount and Western Wall—fell under Jordanian occupation.
Then, in 1967, on the third day of the Six Day War, Israeli forces broke through the Old City walls and a joyous shout ushered in another era of promise fulfilled: “The Temple Mount is in our hands!”
For the first time in nearly 2,000 years, the whole of Jerusalem was reunited. The City of Gold, with its echoes of Jewish patriarchs, prophets and kings, and its memory—and promise—of a place chosen specifically by the Almighty for His presence to rest, was once again in the hands of her rightful owners.
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