The 60th Anniversary of the Modern State of Israel/Program 2
| 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 the Hall of Independence and listen as our guests describe that historic meeting.|
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.
- Ankerberg: We begin today in Tel Aviv where we will visit Independence Hall to hear more about the events that took place 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 the center of Tel Aviv, Independence Hall. If there is 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: As we entered Independence Hall, the first thing we saw were murals on the wall reminding everyone who entered that God had made four promises to the Jewish people that every Christian should know about, and every skeptic should consider as evidence for the existence of God. First, God promised that in the last days he would gather the Jewish people from all over the world, from the different nations where they had been scattered. Second, God promised the Jewish people, he would bring them to a specific place, the land of Israel, Third, God promised the Jewish people that not only would he gather them to Israel, but he would make them into a nation. And fourth, God promised the Jewish people he would give them back their city of Jerusalem.
- Here is a clear example. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God made these three promises in 570 BC: “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; I will make them one nation in the land.’” [Ezek. 37:21, 22] All of these prophecies have come true in the last 60 years.
- DeYoung: This mural represents the peoples that have been coming from all over the world, the 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 he says, “I’ll restore their language,” a language dead for 2000 years. The Hebrew language restored to the people of Israel. [From] 108 nations of the world, the people have come here. Down here 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 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 the day of the announcement.
- 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. Golda Meir again, signing. She had two kids, and her son came all the way from New York where he was studying music.
- DeYoung: What was her position at this time?
- Dror: She was a member of the temporary Jewish council. She was very high in the Jewish agency.
- Ankerberg: And she was sent to America by Ben-Gurion.
- Dror: And she was sent by Ben-Gurion. He was about to leave himself, but she said, “You cannot leave. I will go.” And she came to America and raised…
- Ankerberg: Funds.
- Dror: …$50 million in like a few weeks. It was simply amazing.
- DeYoung: Who is this now?
- Dror: These are the guests, the VIPs, like the rabbis, the chief rabbis of Israel and other famous names. This guy was the right hand of Theodor Hertzl, a great Jewish leader who could not be here because he died so many years before. More pictures from the actual declaration. You can see Ben-Gurion holding just three simple, ordinary sheets in his hand. There was even not enough time to write it nicely on the long scroll, as you would expect from a Document of Independence. You can recognize Golda Meir here, this is when they left. Ben-Gurion’s, I guess, limousine. This is the outside of the building again. You can see people….
- Ankerberg: Who is up here? Just a…
- Dror: Well, just, you know, that audience people that came from all over the place. Something was going on here. Golda Meir leaving the place. Hours before when nobody was here and then they started to gather.
- DeYoung: Now, why was this building chosen?
- Dror: Well, this building was a wonderful history. It was the first house of Tel Aviv and the art museum of the city. But the only reason why they chose it is because of the windows. See the windows? And as you stand here you can see the windows here. This place is like a bomb shelter; thick walls, concrete walls, the up high windows, the two stories above us. They…
- DeYoung: Now, this is the famous picture.
- Dror: Exactly. They feared an aerial attack. This is why they chose to do it. And this is the… 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 besiege of 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.
- And you know, everything was done so quickly. In a matter of hours they had to arrange what was an ordinary museum into the place where Israel will be declared. They had to borrow chairs. These chairs were borrowed from café shops around the neighborhood. They borrowed the carpets. Even the microphones were taken from a tiny, well, how do you call it, a radio shop, maybe? A tiny company that gave the microphones and insisted to have their name on one of the mics.
- Ankerberg: What do the words mean on that mic?
- Dror: It means “sleel,” “sound” in English. What does it mean? It means that 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. And nobody…
- Ankerberg: Seven?
- Dror: Seven Arab armies.
- Ankerberg: Seven armies.
- Dror: Seven armies that joined the 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 Almighty God watching over his people.
- 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. 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.
- Ankerberg: One of those miracles, you’ve got a rocket launcher in the back somewhere that I saw on display that the Israelis used. But apparently it didn’t do any good.
- Dror: You are very generous when you describe it as a rocket launcher. No, it was just a water pipe…
- DeYoung: A water pipe.
- Dror: …that they somehow built to make noise. You know, nothing came out of it. It just made a lot of noise. And it was very like a psychological war against the Arabs. And we were using this kind of guns and homemade grenades and cocktail bottles because that is what we had.
- 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 are 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.
- We left Independence Hall thinking about the three promises God made to the Jewish people through the prophet Ezekiel: “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land and I will make them one nation in that land.’” [Ezek. 37:21, 22] No one can doubt that these prophecies have been fulfilled in our lifetime exactly as God said.
- Further, the absolute proof that God has restored the Jewish nation was clear not only when we visited Independence Hall, but when we visited the Knesset and with government leaders.
- We are here at covering the events for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the nation of Israel, the modern day nation. When you look at this building, what does this building stand for when you think about it?
- DeYoung: It’s a monument to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Now, this Knesset, this legislative building, the body of 120 Knesset members that make the decisions for this nation below us here, that is a restored nation operating. And this building screams across the world, “We are in the processing of fulfilling prophecy.”
- Ankerberg: Later you will hear our interviews with government leaders such as the former prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu; former speaker of the Knesset, Mr. Reuven Rivlin; and three-time Minister of Defense and ambassador to the United States, Mr. Moshe Arens. Israeli leaders constantly live with threats of war and have assembled the best military fighting force in the Middle East.
- Moshe Arens: Ahmadinejad openly threatens Israel and says Israel has to be wiped off the map. So here you have a declared enemy. Now, Iran is not a miniscule state, and the Iranians are hell-bent on getting nuclear weapons. So when somebody is talking and working towards nuclear capability, and tells you that you need to be wiped off the face of the earth, it’s a real threat.
- Ankerberg: 60 years ago the nation of Israel did not exist, but now there can be no doubt that God has restored the Jewish people into a powerful nation. But what about the fourth promise God made to the Jewish people, that he would give them back their city of Jerusalem?
- DeYoung: You know, the word Jerusalem is used 764 times in the entire Bible. And there are two passages that I am reminded of immediately. Jeremiah 31:38 where he said, “I will give you your land back, but I will give your city, your holy city, the city of Jerusalem.” The book of Psalms says in 132 that, “I have chosen Jerusalem to dwell among my people forever and ever.” You know it is interesting, too; when we were talking about Independence Hall just a moment ago, David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, said Jerusalem is the eternal undivided capital city for the Jewish people. And, of course, June 7, 1967, after almost 2000 years of a divided city, the Jewish people were able to reunite their city. It is the capital for the Jewish people and they say it is the eternal undivided capital city.
- Ankerberg: Yet even though God gave the Jewish people back their city of Jerusalem, as we will see, the Bible also predicts that the Jewish people will find themselves under attack in the last days ahead. And there will be a battle over the city of Jerusalem.
- DeYoung: John, the Bible teaches in the book of Zechariah that in the last days Jerusalem is going to become a cup of trembling. I believe what that means is that it’s going to be intoxicating to those who control the city of Jerusalem. So there is going to be a major battle for the most important city to the Jewish people and in particular the Temple Mount itself. The forces of the world are going to try to take Jerusalem away from the Jewish people. But Jerusalem is center focus. As we look out over here towards Jerusalem, it’s center focus of the world in the end times. But it is the city that God gave the Jewish people, and it is the location where he said he is going to dwell among the Jewish people forever. So a tank like this, the Merkava, which is the most advanced fighting machine in the world, used by the Israeli Defense Force, will be most likely in that battle as they fight for the protection of the Jewish people.