The 60th Anniversary of the Modern State of Israel/Program 1
|By: Adnan Husseini, Benjamin Netanyahu, Moshe Arens, Major General (retired) Jacob Amidror, Lt. General Jerry Boykin, Itamar Marcus, Dr. Gabriel Barkay, Benjamin Elon, Hillel Weiss, Daniel Dayan, Abraham Rabinovich, Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2008|
|Visit historical sites and listen to participants describe Israel’s emergence as a modern state in 1948.|
Today, on The John Ankerberg Show, from Jerusalem, we will be covering The 60th Anniversary of the Modern State of Israel. Why is this nation a monument to the fulfillment of biblical prophecy? We will take you to Independence Hall where it all started in 1948 when David Ben-Gurion announced to the world the new State of Israel. What does it all mean to the Jewish people today?
- Itzik Dror: This building is a historic building, because Israel was born here. And this was one of the greatest moments in the history of our people.
- Lt. General Boykin: I think the very fact that this nation was reestablished 60 years ago, the very fact that it has gone from probably in 1948 less than a half million Jews to a country of almost six million now, is all prophecy being fulfilled. The Jews are being re-gathered to the land of Israel. Christ will eventually reign from here. I think we’re seeing prophecy in many ways being fulfilled.
- Mr. David Weilder: We are seeing in Europe today an extreme influx of extreme Islam in Scandinavia and France. And the Jews are pouring out. They are scared. And they are going to come here. And that is going to create a whole new situation in Israel. It is going to create new facts on the ground, a new reality. And b’ezrat hashem, with the help of God, we’ll see the influx of Jews, we will see the coming of Messiah, we will see the building of the temple.
But it wasn’t until the 1967 war that the Jewish people were able to reunite the city of Jerusalem and gain access to their own Temple Mount for the first time in nearly 2000 years.
- Gabriel Barkay: Now, first of all, you have to remember that the Temple Mount is the soul, heart and spirit of the Jewish people. It is the gem of Jerusalem, one of the most important sites in the history of the world, and the focus of Judeo-Christian belief.
Yet with all of their success, the Jewish people and the modern State of Israel still face threats to their existence.
- Ankerberg: Can you be partners with the Palestinians right now?
- Weilder: No.
- DeYoung: And have a peace process?
- Weilder: No, of course not.
- Ankerberg: Why not?
- Weilder: Because they want to kill us. They want to kill us and they don’t want us here. They say it again and again and again. Nonstop.
Today, the modern State of Israel stands as a monument to fulfilled biblical prophecy.
- Dror: Well, you know Ben-Gurion said once, if you know the history, the modern history of Israel, if you know the story of Israel and what happened here, and you do not believe in miracles, you are not realistic. Something is wrong with you.
My guest today and guide through Israel, is news correspondent Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, who has lived in Jerusalem since 1993. He has interviewed every Israeli prime minister over the last 15 years, as well as Jordan’s King Abdullah, and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. We invite you to join us for this special edition of the John Ankerberg Show.
- Dr. John Ankerberg: We begin today in the heart of Jerusalem on Ben Yehuda Street, where you can see evidence of the Jewish people who have come to Israel from over 108 nations of the world. Every Independence Day this is one of the main places they gather to celebrate the founding of the modern State of Israel.
- Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: John, we’re here on Ben Yehuda Street right in the middle of the New City of Jerusalem. It’s a melting pot. Out of 108 nations of the world, Jews come to live in Israel in these the last days. And on Friday afternoon they’re here on Ben Yehuda Street making their last minute purchases before Shabbat begins.
- I’ve been on this same street on Independence Day when they have the celebration. This one little pedestrian street could probably take care of about 200,000 people. I’ve seen that many out here. The celebration goes wild. They use these little shaving cream attacks. And I have been attacked. Everybody’s attacked here on Ben Yehuda Street. But what it speaks of is the independence that was established for the Jewish state after a war. Of course, the pronouncement that Israel was going to be a nation among the nations of the world took place at Independence Hall, and after that, you see the Burger King over here. That used to be the Atara Café. On the lower story of the café, you would have Haganah, the fighting force, for the young Jewish nation.
- Ankerberg: Right there.
- DeYoung: Upstairs on the second floor you would have the group of Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. They were referred to as the Underground. And though they would not work in concert together, they would communicate between each other. They did it right there at the Burger King. But this street speaks of not only the independence of the nation, but the wars of the nations as well.
- I’m reminded of one of the worst terrorist attacks ever to hit the Jewish people here in the city of Jerusalem. It happened here on Ben Yehuda Street, just up the street a moment or two ago. And the truth is that we have the police units here, and the terrorist guys, that’s the most elite unit in all of Israel…
- Ankerberg: The guys on the motorcycle.
- DeYoung: …dealing with the terrorists. Yes. Two of them. And so it’s here on a crowded street that these terrorists, these Palestinian fundamentalist Islamic terrorists would come in trying to continue their struggle to get rid of the Jewish State of Israel.
- Ankerberg: We left Jerusalem and traveled to Tel Aviv, to Independence Hall where it all started 60 years ago when David Ben-Gurion read the Declaration of Independence of Israel on May 14, 1948 and the modern Jewish State of Israel was born.
- DeYoung: We’re in the heart of downtown Tel Aviv, which is one of the newer cities here in the State of Israel. In fact, the monument there, John, to those who built this city. They say that Jerusalem is where you worship, Haifa is where you study, Tel Aviv is where you play here in Israel.
- John, right here in these center of Tel Aviv, Independence Hall. If there’s ever a monument to the fulfillment of prophecy, this is the place, where they announced to the world the new state, the modern day state of Israel.
- Ankerberg: Jimmy, this is a very important building for Israel.
- DeYoung: It certainly is. We stepped off of modern day streets of Tel Aviv back 60 years ago to Independence Hall where it all began, the monument to the fulfillment of prophecy. Notice the prophetic passage there, Isaiah 35:1, “The desert shall bloom and blossom like the rose.” This was the view from David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel’s home. He was able to look at the desert. And then this mural represents the peoples that have been coming from the all over the world, four corners of the earth. Notice Jeremiah 31:8: “I shall gather them in from all over the world.” And then chapter 31 continues to say, “They will come into a land I am going to give them.” And in verse 23 of Jeremiah 31 it says, “I’ll restore their language, a language dead for 2000 years. The Hebrew language restored to the people of Israel. 108 nations of the world. The people have come here. Down here in is Independence Hall, where actually the announcement was made.
- Ankerberg: Going into Independence Hall, we were met by lecturer Itzik Dror who told us this building was a historic building because Israel was born here. It was one of the greatest moments in the history of the Jewish people as our leaders announced to the world the new state, the modern day State of Israel.
- Dror: This is the Hall of Independence. This is where Israel was born 60 years ago. Let me show you the stage where it all happened. You see, this is where Ben-Gurion and his government were sitting. This is his chair. And you can see the microphones and even the gavel that he used to declare independence. At 4:00 pm exactly Israel was born. Now, it was a Friday and it was very important to start on time because the Shabbat was coming in, and you do not want to desecrate a Shabbat. The Egyptians are about to blitz the city. And this is why everything must start and be finished before the Shabbat. So at 4:00 pm exactly the ceremony begins. Ben-Gurion picked up this gavel and rapped three times on the table, three raps, and it will change, to my opinion, the history of the world….
- DeYoung: Absolutely.
- Dror: …and the fate of millions of people. What happened here, to my understanding, is as if the Jews opened the Bible and added another chapter to it. This is how I see it anyhow, and how Jewish people who sat here saw it.
- Ankerberg: Itzik showed us some of the historic pictures of the event that were taken on the day of the announcement.
- Dror: These are the pictures of the leaders of Israel when they signed the Document of Independence. You can see Golda Meir shaking hands with Moshe Sharett. This is Ben-Gurion here, and more pictures of the leaders of Israel shaking hands right after the…
- Ankerberg: The declaration.
- Dror: …the declaration. Ben-Gurion signing.
- Ankerberg: The document.
- Dror: People were so moved when he signed the Document of Independence. It was really, it was a very important moment in the lives of all the people who shared this moment. You can see Ben-Gurion here, the ministers of the temporary Jewish council. Minutes before the actual declaration here, the ministers of the tiny cabinet. And more of Ben-Gurion actually reading. This is what was…
- Ankerberg: Around the world.
- Dror: Yes, reading the document. And here we can see the outside of the building. It was supposed to be as a secret. But it was not a secret. When Ben-Gurion came to the Hall half of Tel Aviv was standing outside. And you can see that it was something that brought everybody here to the streets. It was very dangerous, because the Egyptians were about to blitz the city from the air.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, in fact just a few days later they bombed it, didn’t they?
- Dror: Exactly, a few hours. You know, the Egyptians blitzed the city a few hours. One of the reasons why they declared independence in the heart of Tel Aviv in this room was because they were looking for safety. You know this room is really in a safe place.
- Ankerberg: And you were attacked by what, six different fronts?
- Dror: Well, seven Arab armies participated in different numbers.
- Ankerberg: Just a few hours after you did this?
- Dror: A few hours after Ben-Gurion actually signed the Document of Independence. This is one of the most famous pictures where you can actually see the entire temporary Jewish council sitting here. Some of the chairs are empty. You notice?
- Ankerberg: Yeah. How come?
- Dror: Some of the chairs,… because members, some of the members of the temporary council could not make it. They were just caught behind enemy lines in the besieged Jerusalem. And this is the Document of Independence. We can see a very good copy of it right here. But this is a beautiful picture of the actual document with the red wax seal with the Star of David on it, and 37 signatures of the members of the temporary Jewish government. You can recognize Ben-Gurion’s signature here and Golda Meir. They signed the document according to the first name of the family name. And this is how 37 people signed the document.
- Even in the darkest hours of Israel, and now let me tell you, it was the happiest hour of our nation, it was the darkest hour of our nation. Seven Arab armies invaded Israel, that joined a war that was already waged.
- Ankerberg: How soon after the declaration?
- Dror: A few hours, a few hours. The morning of, the Shabbat morning, we already saw seven Arab armies marching.
- Ankerberg: Right here in Tel Aviv, you had bombs.
- Dror: Well, some, the Egyptians blitzed the city and you have like seven Arab armies in the range of 40 miles from this point.
- DeYoung: 40 miles from here.
- Dror: 40 miles from here. It is all over in a way. British officers wrote home, “That’s it; it’s a matter of hours and the Jews will be thrown into the sea.” General George Marshall commented, well, the Secretary of State, he commented, “The old man (talking about Ben-Gurion), the old man lost it. He is leading his people into a complete annihilation.” It is simply impossible. We are talking about a tiny army.
- DeYoung: Now, as I understand it, Ben-Gurion had been encouraged not to make the announcement.
- Dror: Well, especially by the Americans.
- DeYoung: Yes.
- Dror: They could not even start to imagine how it is possible that the so few with sticks in their hands can win this. You have to understand, the Jewish army was, well…
- Ankerberg: It didn’t exist.
- Dror: …a joke! We had two Piper Cubs as an Air Force, you know. And like 40,000 people sharing 10,000 rifles. The top generals of the Israeli army were people like Yitzhak Rabin. You remember Yitzhak Rabin, the guy that was assassinated, our Prime Minister…
- DeYoung: The former Prime Minister.
- Dror: …in 1990. Very good. And the guy was 23 when he became a top general. So if your top generals are 23, what is the age of your troops? And this was the Jewish army, and we faced seven modern Arab armies. And you know what, you can Google it from here to Japan, read all the books in the world, and I know you guys, you know so much, but I cannot provide a clear explanation to how exactly we survived this war.
- DeYoung: Except the Almighty God watching over his people.
- Dror: Well, you know Ben-Gurion said once, if you know the history, the modern story of Israel, if you know the story of Israel and what happened here, and you do not believe in miracles, you are not realistic. Something is wrong with you. And he was not a man of miracles, Ben-Gurion, although he knew the Bible by heart. There are some things that you cannot use the logic to explain, like the War of Independence in Israel. The ceremony started at 4:00. By 4:32 it was all over; 32 minutes that changed the world.
- I had a group here from West Point, young cadets from West Point. And they asked me, they said, “We do not understand this. Your top generals were kids, what was the age of your troops?” And I said, “Whoever could hold a rifle, if the age of 13 or 80.” You know, we do whatever we can. You cannot explain how one tiny village 40 miles from here stopped the entire Egyptian army from advancing to Tel Aviv. You cannot explain it. Maybe if you tour Israel and you go there and you see the scars on the wall and you meet the people who fought that war, maybe they can provide you an answer.
- Ankerberg: After our friend had left, Jimmy and I took time to think about what we had learned. Well, Jimmy, we’re actually in the room where history was made. And you look at these chairs with the names of people on it, and all the folks that were at this desk. They literally were risking their lives to be in this room. But when I see this room, I see more. You know, we are here for the anniversary of Israel, the founding, the 60th anniversary.
- DeYoung: That’s the modern day state.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, and I am just saying that this is where it started. But all of this is a historical example, if you want, of prophecy being fulfilled in our generation, okay? I remember reading scholars that talked about maybe this would happen in the future according to the Scripture, but they couldn’t envision how it would happen. And when you hear these miraculous stories of how this little country came into being and were attacked from seven different Arab states at the same time. I mean, it’s incredible. And it is. It shows that God was at work right in this room.
- DeYoung: You know, the Bible in so many different locations, 17 Old Testament books on prophecy, the book of Revelation in the New Testament, all dealing with how God would find the Jewish people wherever he had scattered them, to the four corners of the earth. We saw the quote from Jeremiah 31. He said, “I will bring the people back.” And here is the benchmark of Bible prophecy in the process of being fulfilled. It is a monument to Bible prophecy. Ezekiel talks about the fact, “I will gather the people in,” bones coming together; “I will put flesh on the people,” that’s the restoration of the Jewish state after 2000 years. And then, “I will bring them to me.” God will bring the Jewish people to him. But this was a step in the process of all of that coming together. I don’t know about you, I’m a pretty emotional guy standing in a place like this.
- Ankerberg: This is a terrific spot. Not only that, but they have a little video that they show or an audio that they play of the actual announcement in Hebrew. And we watched Jewish people in this room before we set up here, and when they came to playing the anthem at the end of his speech, they all stood in silence. I’m telling you, buddy, that got to me.
- DeYoung: You almost lose it.
- Ankerberg: Oh brother!!
- DeYoung: Well, what a great opportunity to realize what happened here. All of the process towards that period of time when Jesus Christ comes back. This was one of those benchmarks along the way. What a thrill to be here.
- Ankerberg: Later, on the Mount of Olives, we talked about where the founding of the State of Israel fits into biblical prophecy. In examining the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, why was that of such huge importance on the biblical timeline of prophecy?
- DeYoung: John, actually that is simply one chapter of the entire history of the Jewish people and a nation. You would have to go back 4000 years ago when God picked a Gentile actually, Abraham of the Chaldees. He comes over the Fertile Crescent here what was then known as Canaan, takes him to a place called Hebron. And there the Lord Jesus Christ in the pre-incarnate appearance gives a promise to him that he would father a nation, that he would have a land.
- Ankerberg: In Genesis 17 God appeared to Abraham and said, “I am God Almighty… I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendents after you, for the generations to come,… The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendents after you; and I will be their God.” [Gen. 17:1-7]
- DeYoung: That was the Abrahamic covenant. That was the beginning with Abraham establishing the first Jewish community 4000 years ago there in Hebron. And then as you trace the history with Isaac and Jacob, and the going into the Egyptian bondage for some 400 years, the bringing of the children of Israel back into the land under the leadership of Joshua. You see another dispersion when you come to the time of the Babylonian Empire when Nebuchadnezzar destroys the temple, devastates the city and takes the Jews into exile. They come back about 70 years later, as Jeremiah said they would.
- You come then to the time of Jesus Christ when the Roman Empire was in control of all of this property. Jesus Christ came, he lived, he died, he was buried, he resurrected, he went back to heaven. And the Jews, about 40 years after Jesus departed here, were dispersed to the four corners of the earth as Moses in Deuteronomy 28 said they would be. They were dispersed to four corners of the entire earth. It had never happened that way. They went to Egypt in the first exodus, then came plagues, brought them back into the land. And then they went to the Babylonian captivity and they came back into the land under the leadership of the Persian King Cyrus.
- But the third time they were dispersed to the world it was a 2000 year period of time. And the prophet Ezekiel here in the 37th chapter of the book of Ezekiel talks about a time, and on a relief there on the Menorah just in front of the Knesset, they have a picture of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones. That’s the prophecy here in Ezekiel 37. The bones coming together, the flesh coming on the bones, and these flesh-covered bones standing up like a mighty army with the breath of life breathed into them.
- The truth is, back in chapter 34 of the book of Ezekiel the Lord says, “I will find My people wherever they have been scattered. I will search them out; I will then gather them and bring them into the land. I will establish them in this land, actually the land of their forefathers, I will feed them like a good shepherd feeds his flock.” The truth be known, this text right here says 18 times, God speaking, he says, “I will.” I tell you the truth, if God says something one time to me, I believe it, that settles it. He says it 18 times, he means he is going to do that.
- And then interestingly, the 36th chapter of the book of Ezekiel is talking about the land. And, in fact, he tells the prophet Ezekiel, “Preach to the land.” And 35 times in the 36th chapter of the book of Ezekiel he talks about the land: plant them on the land, bring men and animals on the land, let them prosper on the land, make it blossom like a rose. A very interesting verse here in 36:22, it says, “I do not this for Israel’s sake, I do not this for Judah’s sake.” But then the Lord says, “I do it for my holy name’s sake.” When he could swear by nothing greater, he swore by his name. And in the last days he would reach into the world, he would gather them in and bring them into the land.
- That leading up to chapter 37 and verse 7 it says, the bones will come together. Well, if you are not sure of what the bones are, this is apocalyptic literature. That is the Lord using symbols to communicate an absolute truth. So what’s the bones talking about? Verse 11 says, “Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.” He is talking about these people that have been scattered across the world and like bones in a dry valley they would be gathered together, coming together. Then he said, “I will cover these bones that have been connected with flesh.” [Ezekiel 37:6] Well, that is the restoration of a Jewish state.
- A few moments ago we were at Independence Hall. May 14, 1948 the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, stood there and announced to the world they had been restored as a nation. For the first time in the history of the world were the people scattered for 2000 years regathered and restored as a nation.