The Amazing Growth of Israel

The Rapid Growth of Israel

Since the early 20th century the world has seen an amazing growth of Israel in terms of demographics, infrastructure, land restoration and technology. The Jewish population has seen a staggering 7,400 percent increase, Israel now produces 95% of its own food requirements, Israel leads the world in many areas of technology, and Israeli Jews take a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes. Why such success? What is special about Israel?

Demographics

An Ethnic Mix: At the beginning of the 19th century there were fewer than 5,000 Jews in Palestine. By the early 20th century the land of Israel (Palestine) was a mix of many peoples representing some 50 languages [1911 Encyclopedia Britannica]. The historian Richard Hartmann comments that prior to the creation of Israel in 1948 these communities were “ethnologically a chaos of all the possible human combinations”, and so did not share a common Arab identity. They included Balkans, Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, Turks, Armenians, Italians, Persians, Kurds, Germans, Afghans, Bosnians, Sudanese, Algerians, and of course, Jews. According to Professor Bernard Lewis, the land was not a “country” and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries. The Arab population, which had remained dormant for centuries, began to blossom only after the beginning of Jewish immigration and the subsequent improvements in economic conditions, infrastructure, and agricultural techniques, link.

growth of Israel

The founding of Tel Aviv in 1909. Image: Wikimedia Commons

First Signs of Growth

The history of modern Israel began in the 1880s when the first Zionist immigrants came to Palestine. They joined the small existing Jewish community, establishing agricultural settlements and some industry, restoring Hebrew as the spoken national language, and creating new economic and social institutions. It is interesting to note that Tel Aviv, now the business hub of Israel, was founded on land purchased from Bedouins, north of the existing city of Jaffa. The photo shows the 1909 auction of the first lots of land. In the period from 1922 to 1947 real net domestic product (NDP) of the Jewish sector grew at an average rate of over 13%, link.

growth of Israel

Haifa 1930. Image Wikimedia Commons

Jewish Population Growth in Palestine/Israel

The growth of Israel in terms of Jewish population is striking. In 1915 there were just 83,000 Jews living in Palestine. But by the end of 1947 it had reached 630,000 (about 35% of the total population) and by 2015 there were over 6.2 million Jews in Israel, link, link. So in just 100 years the Jewish population saw an amazing 7400% increase! By comparison, over the same period the UK population increased just 55%. We can see this as the natural growth of a young nation (but surely unique?), or as the fulfillment of prophecies in Ezekiel and Isaiah:

Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone … and bring them into their own land … (Ezek 37.21)
I will say to the north ‘Give them up! … bring My sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth’ (Isa 43.6)

Growth of Israel: Infrastructure Development

AIRPORTS: Ben Gurion International Airport was built mainly for military purposes in 1936 during the British Mandate for Palestine, and the first civilian transatlantic route (New York City to Tel Aviv) was inaugurated in 1946. Today, Ben Gurion Airport is Israel’s largest air terminal for international flights and is considered the main air gateway to the country. It has been extensively enlarged with new state-of-the art terminals. Ovda is another airport also used for international flights.

ROADS: In recent years Israel’s road network has been extensively expanded and improved to accommodate the rapid increase in traffic. The new Trans-Israel Highway (Route 6) is a multilane highway transversing Israel from north to south. It is entirely within the 1948 armistice lines (the ‘Green Line’) and bypasses heavily populated areas to provide fast access to most areas of the country. Route 6 will feed a network of highways and bypass roads, so connecting Israel’s peripheral regions to its center and boosting economic growth. Is Route 6 seen in Bible prophecy for a future Israel?

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians (Isa 19.23, NASB)

WATER SUPPLIES: The National Water Carrier (NWC) was started in 1959 and became Israel’s traditional water ‘artery’. It conveys water from Lake Galilee southwards via a system of giant pipes, open canals and tunnels. Between 2005 and 2015 Israel built five desalination plants on the Mediterranean coast, and a New National Carrier system is planned to connect these to the NWC, link. Desalinated water will flow from west to the north, east, and south. Today some 80% of domestic water in Israeli cities comes from desalinated water, link.

COMMUNICATIONS: In terms of electronic communications, Israel is connected to the world’s major commercial and financial data networks through underwater fiber-optic lines and satellite links. The country ranks high, on a per-capita basis, in telephone lines, computers, and Internet users, and it has one of the world’s highest cellular phone penetration rates.

Israel’s Modern Cities

growth of Israel

Diamond exchange complex, Ramat Gan, Israel

 

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 after Jews decided to leave their poverty infested, squalor stricken neighborhoods in a nearby town. Today, Tel Aviv is Israel’s financial and business capital with an estimated 53,000 businesses operating in the city in 2014, link. Nearby, in Ramat Gan, is the world’s largest diamond exchange and Israel’s tallest skyscraper.

Modern Haifa is Israel’s third largest city and it’s primary port. Ashdod, an old Philistine city, was reborn in 1956 and is now a bustling city full of Jewish immigrants and boasts the nation’s second largest sea port. Eilat, located at the southern tip of Israel is Israel’s premier resort town and a favourite for tourists. Nazareth has grown from an insignificant backwater during the time of Christ (Yeshua) to one of northern Israel’s largest cities. So what we see today is fulfilled prophecy:

They shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations (Isa 61.4)

Economic Growth of Israel

growth of Israel

City Gate, Israel’s tallest skyscraper. Image: Michael Yutsis [GFDL], Wikimedia Commons

The 1922 British Mandate for Palestine encouraged the establishment of some of the country’s largest factories during the 1920’s, and textile factories were established in the 1930’s. Capital and technical expertise were supplied by Jewish professionals from Europe. Israeli industry underwent rapid development during World War II, and after the war overseas aid from several sources enabled Israel to become economically self-sufficient. Israel’s strong commitment to development led to economic growth rates that exceeded 10% annually, and by the late 1960’s textiles were one of the largest industrial branches in Israel, second only to the foodstuff industry.

Rapid economic growth (nearly 10 percent per-capita) occurred in the six years following the Six Day War (1967-1973). Some attribute this to the so-called ‘occupation’ of Palestinian land from 1967, link. During these years Jewish mega-neighborhoods sprouted around Jerusalem.

The latter half of the twentieth century saw Israel’s economy suffer from war and severe inflation, only the recover due to skilled immigration and several peace processes. The early 21st century again saw an economic down-turn due to the global dot-com bubble, which bankrupted many start-up companies. Today, the main driver of Israel’s economy is the science and technology sector, and there has been an unprecedented inflow of foreign investment into Israel as companies take advantage of Israel’s skilled workforce.

Impressive Economic Statistics

Modern Israel has been described as an “economic miracle” since it has consistently had more companies listed on NASDAQ than all of Europe combined, and consistently scores as one of the top countries for patents per capita, see Venture Capital. The fastest growth rates (typically 8%) are to be found in the hi-tech sectors, which accounted for some 70% of the industrial product in 2006. In 2016 the GDP growth rate for Israel was 4.1% compared to just 1.8% for the UK [World Bank]. In the early 1990’s the total trade volume was $50 million, compared to $11.35 billion in 2017 [Times of Israel].

Israel’s Economic Outlook

Government debt as a percent of GDP is used by investors as a measure of a country’s economic health, and compared to many western countries Israel’s gross debt as a percentage of GDP is low. There has been steady improvement from 94% in 2005 to 67% in 2014. Compare this with the UK debt of 41% in 2005 increasing to 91% in 2014. It is claimed that since 2001 Israel has become a net lender nation in terms of net external debt, and that the country maintained a current account surplus in 2010!

A country’s strength depends upon its economy. So Israel aspires to become the world’s 15th largest economy by 2025 [Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen. 2017].

Technological Growth and Innovation

Since the 1990’s, Israeli industry has been benefiting the world. It started with Intel chips, Windows and laptops. Today, world class companies such as Intel, Google, Apple, Samsung, GE, Philips and Siemens have moved their R&D efforts to Israel because of the talent and ingenuity available, and because of their acquisition of Israeli startup companies. In fact, Israel now has the highest density of start-up companies in the world and ranks first in the world for total expenditure on R&D. The result is that Israeli software products are widely found in the financial and public sectors, healthcare, telecommunications, defense and manufacturing. Cyber-security is big business in Israel, and Israel’s software exports have risen from $90 million in the 1990’s to over $3.6 billion today.

Reasons for Israel’s technological success: This can be attributed, in part, to heavy R&D investment and the fact that Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world. But is there another reason? Why for instance do most Jews have relatively high intelligence? A Jewish average IQ of 115 is approximately 40% higher than the global average IQ of 79, Ashkenazi Jews, link. And why between 1901 and 2014, did Israel’s Nobel Prize winners account for 23% of all individual recipients worldwide when Israel has only 0.1% of the world population, link? Is this because of their biblical heritage?

Growth of Israel: Land Restoration and Agricultural Development

Over half of Israel’s saline soil is arid or semi-arid (only 20% is arable). So around 1900, in an effort to combat desertification, Israel’s new immigrants embarked upon an extensive program of afforestation. As a result, since 1900 some 250 million sub-tropical trees have been planted in all regions of Israel, from the Golan and Galilee in the north to the Negev in the south, link.

Israel’s agriculture has struggled against such adverse land conditions, but since Israel’s establishment in 1948, the country has almost tripled the territory used for farming, and production has multiplied 16 times, link. Today, Israel manages to produce 95% of her own food requirements. Some 40% of these crops are grown in the Negev (a desert area) by exploiting its underground supply of brackish (slightly salty) water and using Israeli advanced drip irrigation systems.

Biblical Blessings?

Although Israel is still largely secular in religious belief, has God started to bless Israel as she returns to the land God promised her? At the end of this age the God of Israel promises her a restored land:

On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation … They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate (Ezek 36.33-36)

And when Israel pleases God they will be blessed economically too:

You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow (Deut 28.12)


The Amazing Jews

Strictly speaking, today’s Jews are those who follow Judaism and who are descendants of the kingdom of Judah. But today the word ‘Jew’ is used to refer to all of the physical and spiritual descendants of Jacob/Israel; talk of the Jews and you are talking about the nation Israel.

Isn’t it amazing that the nation Israel has survived for over 3,000 years despite world-wide persecution and some 2,500 years of exile from their God-given land? When King Louis XIV of France (1643-1715) asked Blaise Pascal, the great Christian philosopher to give him proof of God, Pascal answered, ‘Why the Jews, your Majesty, the Jews!’ The fact that the Jews have survived points to their unique role in the world.

Winston Churchill once said:

Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.

The moral and religious teacher Leo Tolstoy acknowledged that there is something very special about the Jew:

What is the Jew? … What kind of unique creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed; persecuted, burned and drowned, and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish

Even the atheistic German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who famously asserted that “God is dead”, said of the Jews:

The Jews are beyond all doubt the strongest, toughest, and purest race at present living in Europe; they know how to succeed even under the worst conditions

 

The Jews: their Purpose in the World

Men might wonder and marvel at the phenomenon of the Jew, but the Bible explains Israel’s purpose – the reason for her existence – quite succinctly:

What one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land (2 Sam 7.23)

You are My witnesses … and My servant whom I have chosen (Isa 43.10)

Summarizing: The Jew and the nation of Israel is the servant of God and His chosen witness of Himself to the nations. Look at the history and future of Israel and you can find the one true God – the One who calls Himself “the God of Israel”.
the Jews

In the Millennial age, Christ will rule the earth from a new temple in Jerusalem.

The Future is Jewish

Only some 0.2% of the world’s inhabitants are Jews. Yet, despite this, the Bible says that the future of the world depends principally upon the tiny nation of Israel and that one day all Gentile nations will honour the Jews. The outworking of Bible prophecy is clear, even to those who hate Israel. In just 130 years God has gathered many of His people from out of the nations and established them in their homeland. But as of 2015, the world Jewish population was 14.2 million, of which only 6.2 million (44%) resided in Israel. What about those still dispersed amongst the nations? Prophecy implies that virtually all those dispersed among the nations will return to the Promised Land; God leaves “none of them there any longer” (Ezek 39.28). So it seems that aliyah is not yet complete. But when it is – what then?

Jews will be Respected

This current age is rapidly drawing to a close and prophecy says a ‘Millennial age’ will follow. It is a time when man sees the fulfillment of God’s plan for the world, a time when the nation Israel has been fully restored to her intended place, namely, to be His servant and witness amongst the nations, and a time when the world at last recognizes that the nation Israel is a very special people – God’s chosen people. At last, the Gentile nations will acknowledge and value the unique role of the Jew:

In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’ (Zech 8.23)

GO DEEPER

Jewish Intelligence – Top of the IQ Chart

Jewish intelligence

Nobel Prize Winners

About 22% of all Nobel prize recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2015 were Jews or people of strong Jewish ancestry. Prizes were given to Jews in such fields as Economics, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature and Peace Awards, link. This is an amazing achievement bearing in mind that Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world’s population! Looked at another way, 36% of Nobel prize winners from the United States have been Jewish, whilst Jews are just 2% of the US population! Add to this the following facts:

  • Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world
  • Israel has the highest density of start-up companies in the world
  • Israel ranks first in the world for total expenditure on R&D
  • Israel ranks first in the world in scientific publications, link

So we might ask “Are the Jews especially academically gifted?” or “Why are Jews taking a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes?” To try and answer these questions we need to look at Jewish subcultures.

Jewish Intelligence: Ashkenazi Jews

Not all religious Jews are the same! In particular, Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews represent two distinct subcultures of Judaism. According to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, about 80% of Jews worldwide are Ashkenazi Jews, link. Ashkenazic Jews are the Jews of France, Germany, and Eastern Europe and their descendants, whilst Sephardic Jews are the Jews of Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Middle East and their descendants. Most American Jews today are Ashkenazim. In Israel itself it is claimed that it is the Israeli Ashkenazi Jews that the world sees in terms of Israel’s cultural, intellectual, political, and economic activity, link.

Genetics

In 2014 the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) presented the Israeli Government with recommendations on the genetic testing for ‘Jewishness’ of potential immigrants. Molecular genetic tests can now be used to measure individuals’ whole genomes, and scientific research has begun to describe the genetic basis for a common ancestry of the whole of the Jewish population. Geneticists claim that Jews exhibit a distinctive genetic signature and as such can be defined as a ‘race’ (a people group with distinct biological traits). This is supported by genetic research from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. They suggest that the Ashkenazi bloodline branched away from other Jewish groups in Israel 2,500 years ago and that 40% of them are descended from only four Jewish mothers, link, link.

Eugenics

Eugenics is the (rather dubious) science of improving a population by controlled breeding. The eugenic hypothesis argues that Jews, and in particular, Ashkenazi Jews, have actually practiced eugenics. Judaism has had a long tradition of according high status to scholars as well as wealth which allowed those with higher intelligence to more easily reproduce and their children to survive. link.

Jewish intelligence

A typical IQ distribution
Image: DMCQ, Creative Commons

Ashkenazi Jews: Top of the IQ Chart

For whatever the reason, be it through genetics, eugenics, their prevalence in intellectually demanding fields (resulting in Nobel prizes), or a combination of all three, the fact remains that Ashkenazi Jews have high intelligence. Research shows that on many measures they are top of the IQ chart; their average IQ has been measured at 108-115. A Jewish average IQ of 115 is approximately 40% higher than the global average IQ of 79, link. By comparison, the mean IQ in the UK is 100, link. Note that this is average IQ. It turns out that Ashkenazi “visual-spatial” test scores are typically lower than the norm, which means their abilities in the other two categories, language and mathematics, are astounding, link.

Whilst there was no absolute measure, some have suggested that Albert Einstein, an Ashkenazi Jew, had an IQ around 160 or more!

Adam’s Intelligence and the Fall in Intelligence

Let’s assume that the Adam of Genesis was a real person (there is a strong argument to support this belief, link). Genesis says that all God made was ‘very good’, so that must have included Adam’s intellect. In Genesis 2.19 we read:

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man (Adam) to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name

It seems that Adam could name all the birds and beasts. Could any individual do this today? Then came the historic events of ‘The Fall’ of man and ‘The Flood’, both of which appear to have affected the longevity of man and his intelligence. We note that Pre-Flood man lived typically to 900 years whilst post-Flood, beginning with ‘Shem’ (Gen 11), man’s age progressively dropped to nearer 70 years. Why? Some claim this decline in longevity arose from a build-up of radioisotopes in the atmosphere after the Flood, link, link. Also, it is claimed that the ‘dumbing-down’ of the human brain over the past few thousand years could be due to accumulated genetic mutations, link.

On the other hand, Genesis implies that it is possible for man to have a high intellect – very high – if it is God’s Will. So why not God’s chosen people who are descendants of Adam, link?


Aliyah – Immigration of Jews to Israel

Summary

Aliyah means “going-up” (to Jerusalem). Jews see it as “going up to holiness”. In just 100 years the Jewish population of Israel has risen an amazing 7,700 percent. Why? It is a fulfillment of prophecies which say that God will take His people from all the nations and bring them back into their own land (as promised to Abraham). Today, organizations like The Jewish Agency and WZO help returning Jews get installed in Israel. All new immigrants also learn Hebrew to help them integrate into Israeli society.

Aliyah: Mass Jewish Immigration to Israel

aliyah

The Palmach, Immigration to Israel, PikiWiki.

Let’s look at the facts: the population growth of Palestine-Israel is striking. In 1915 there were just 83,000 Jews but this increased to nearly 6.5 million Jews in 2017, link, corresponding to an amazing 7700% increase! In comparison, over the same period the UK population increased just 55%. By 2017 Israel’s population stood at a record 8,680,000. This is a 10-fold increase compared to when Israel was founded in 1948.

We can see this as a pretty unusual growth of a young nation. Certainly, the amazing and unprecedented return of a people that has survived extremely violent attempts at their extinction is a baffling phenomenon unmatched in the history of mankind. But those who study Bible prophecy see this phenomenon as the fulfillment of prophecy, as in:

Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone … and bring them into their own land (Ezekiel 37.21)

Jews are coming from all over the world, from wherever they have been scattered amongst the nations. The first wave of immigration started in 1882 and particularly involved Jews from Russia and Romania. By 2008 the number of Jews living in Israel was more than any other country since the year 70 AD.

Waves of Jewish Immigration

aliyah

New immigrants to Israel, 2007. Image: Wikimedia Commons

In historical terms, aliyah is a relatively recent phenomenon. It’s as though Ezekiel’s prophecy has just been implemented after lying dormant for thousands of years! Since the end of the 19th century there have been a number of waves of immigration, often initiated by severe political and social unrest. Most of the early immigrants to Israel-Palestine were young halutzim (pioneers), who built roads and towns and commenced the draining of marshes. Their ideology contributed a great deal to the reconstruction of Israel.

aliyah

Jewish immigration after 1948. Image: Wikimedia Commons. Enlarge

The so-called “first aliyah” (1882 to 1903) was a wave of about 30,000 Zionist immigrations mostly from Eastern Europe, Russia and the Yemen. Another wave of about 40,000 Jews came between 1919 and 1923. This was triggered by the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, anti-Semitic pogroms in Eastern Europe, the British occupation of Palestine, and the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

Between 1929 and 1939 some 225,000 to 300,000 Jews arrived from Europe and Asia. This wave of immigration began as a pioneering one, but with the onset of racial persecution in Nazi Germany attained the character of a mass migration between 1933 and 1939. A major wave of immigration occurred after the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948 (see graph). So the late 1940’s and early 1950’s saw large-scale waves of immigration from Arab countries primarily from Iraq, Yemen and Libya. Some 260,000 Jews immigrated despite the necessity of leaving their property behind, link.

The Real Meaning of ‘Aliyah’

The immigration of Jews to Israel (Hebrew: Eretz) from all over the world is widely known as “aliyah”. This Hebrew word translates as “elevation”, “ascent” or “going up.” It refers to going up to Jerusalem. It is true that Jerusalem is located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains at an altitude of 760m (2,490 ft), but that is not the primary meaning here. When Jesus (Yeshua) talked about “going up to Jerusalem” (Lk 18.31) He was referring to deeper things than hill-climbing!

Jews regard aliyah as “moving up in holiness”. It refers to moving to the land given to them by God through Abraham, link, with a real purpose. Because of their ancestral connection they see this land as the most suitable place to relate to and connect to God. They see it as the primary place to lovingly engage in the observance of God’s commandments. In other words, to go there is to be elevated to a higher spiritual level. The term reflects Micah’s prophecy, when many nations will soon say:

Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD (Mic 4.2)

Aliyah and Israel’s Law of Return
Who has the Right to Settle in Israel?

On 5 July 1950, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed the Law of Return. Subject to certain security conditions, this Law gave every Jew in the world the right to go and settle in Israel as an ‘oleh’ (a person who makes aliyah: pl. olim). The Law of Return was amended in 1970 to clarify the term “Jew” and the application of the Law to family members. In particular, for the purpose of this Law, “Jew” means a person who was born of a Jewish mother (the father can be a non-Jew) or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion (see later). This Law opened up Israel to Jews from over 60 countries.

DNA Test of Jewishness: In the future the Israeli State may use genetic tests (DNA) to determine whether potential immigrants are Jewish or not. This would demand a rethinking of the Law of Return regarding the definition of Jewishness, link. See also Defining a Jew.

Citizenship: Under Israel’s Citizenship Law -1952, Israeli citizenship is granted by eligibility under the Law of Return (other routes to citizenship are possible).

Discrimination against Non-Jews?

Israel does not have laws and regulations enabling foreigners to settle in Israel, link. So critics argue that because the Law of Return favors Jews, then it is undemocratic and discriminatory. They argue that Israel should grant a similar right of return to Palestinian refugees who wish to return to their homes in Israel prior to the 1948 war. But, according to Article 5 of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, link, the territory of Palestine was exclusively assigned for the Jewish National Home. So the bestowal of a “right of return” to non-Jews or to persons without a Jewish relative is illogical and contradicts the concept of the Jewish State.

Discrimination against Messianic Jews

Today there is much discussion over the right of Messianic Jews to make aliyah under the Law of Return, link, link. To reiterate, the 1970 amendment to the Law of Return added the following clause, link:

For the purposes of this Law, ‘Jew’ means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion

In 1989 the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that Messianic Judaism constituted another religion, and that people who had become Messianic Jews were not therefore eligible for Aliyah, link. In contrast to this ruling, a poll of Israeli Jews at the time was in favour of Messianic Jews making aliyah. But as of 2015 it is claimed that this ruling still holds and that Jews who seek to make aliyah are forced to answer the question, “Have you ever been a Messianic Jew or have you ever believed in Yeshua as Messiah?”.

Strong Jewish Opposition: In defense of this ruling, some religious Jews claim that since Jewish followers of Yeshua are obligated to spread the gospel about Yeshua to other Jews, they are promoting worship of and allegiance to a false deity, link. In 2016 the chief rabbi of Ashdod claimed that Messianic Jews are “worse than Hitler”, whilst another rabbi called them “The Cult of the Messianic Jews”, link.

Complex Legal Situation: Given the Supreme Court ruling, making aliyah to Israel after converting from Judaism to Christianity is not straight forward. In attempting to define “who is a Jew” it has been helpful to also ask “who is not a Jew?”. If you are considering aliyah as a Messianic Jew you may like to contact legal attorneys who are familiar with such cases.

Aliyah from Yemen, Ethiopia, India and states of the former Soviet Union

aliyah

Aliyah by “Magic Carpet” (1949-1950) of Yemenite Jews. Image: wikimedia. Enlarge

Operation Magic Carpet: One of the first major projects of the first prime minister of the State of Israel, David Ben Gurion, was an incredible operation called “Operation Magic Carpet.” This occurred between June 1949 and September 1950 and brought 49,000 Yemenite Jews to the newly founded State of Israel. The returning Jews were airlifted to Israel by British and American transport planes that made some 380 flights. It was a secret operation that was not made public until several months after it was over.

Operation Moses (1984): Another covert operation – this time the evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan during a civil war that caused a famine. Sudan secretly allowed Israel to begin transporting refugees, until word leaked out and the operation was suspended for fear of hostile reaction from Arab states. By mid-1984 some 8,000 Jews had been flown from Khartoum [Sudan] to Europe and from there to Israel.

Operation Solomon (1991): Later, mass immigration included Jews from Ethiopia and Russia. About 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel in the “Operation Solomon” air-lift in 1991, and about 100,000 Jews came to Israel from the countries of the former Soviet Union, link. More recently, a tribe called the Bnei Menashe in India has maintained their Jewish roots and believe they belong to the lost 10 tribes. In 2014 some 7,000 returned to their ancient homeland.

Aliyah Continues….

This short video encourages, uplifts and inspires people to visit God’s land and people, Israel. It may also encourage some to make aliyah to Israel and make a new life there.

Between 1989 and 2010, more than 1 million Jews from the former Soviet Union (FSU) made their home in Israel, but there are still many to aliyah. In 2013 the estimated Jewish Population of the FSU totaled 1.71 million, of which there were 600,000 in Russia itself, link. As of 2015, there were still 1.4 million Jews in Europe despite a sharp decline over recent decades, link, and in 2013 there were still over 4 million practicing Jews in the US, link.

Today, Zionist organizations like The Jewish Agency and WZO continue to oversee aliyah, immigration, settlement and education. This is Israel’s official network of organizations that help returning Jews get installed in Israel. In 2015 over 30,000 olim immigrated to Israel using the Jewish Agency services.

When will Aliyah End?

As of 2017, the world Jewish population was 14.3 million, of which nearly 6.5 million (44%) resided in Israel, link. Of those outside Israel, some 5.4 million live in the USA, over 0.4 million live in France, nearly 0.4 million live in Canada and nearly 0.3 million live in the UK (Jewish DataBank, 2013). So, according to prophecy, significant aliyah can be expected from the western nations in the foreseeable future. Looked at simplistically, prophecy indicates that virtually all these Jews will emigrate to Israel. In the context of Israel’s restoration, God says:

I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their own land, and left none of them there any longer (Ezek 39.28 emphasis added)

Hebrew helps the Integration of Immigrants

Today, Israel is home to Jews from nearly 100 countries, each with their own culture and language. So how could such a diverse population be quickly integrated into one nation, especially since many olim come to Israel without a knowledge of Hebrew?

The answer lies in the national language. Since the declaration of the Jewish State of Israel in 1948, Hebrew has been an official language of Israel. In 1916, only some 40% of the Jewish population spoke Hebrew, but today Hebrew is spoken by some 90% of those who who arrived before 1989, link, link. It is used throughout society, in schools, universities, commerce, government and the media. In fact, the restoration of biblical Hebrew to a modern day spoken language is a unique historical phenomenon, link – a modern miracle.

So the rapid integration of diverse cultures is achieved by requesting that all new immigrants learn Hebrew. The is achieved through absorption centers and by following intensive Hebrew Language Programs run by The Jewish Agency, like Ulpan, link. Ulpan is designed to teach adult immigrants the basic language skills of conversation, writing and comprehension, with the objective of helping new citizens to be integrated as quickly and as easily as possible into the social, cultural and economic life of their new country.

New immigrants and returning citizens of Israel from all over the world can find support (such as career counselling and free legal aid) from organizations like KeepOlim.

Help from Christian Groups

Several Christian organizations are helping Jews return to their homeland. One such group is Ebenezer Operation Exodus. This UK-based international, interdenominational Christian organization has helped organize transport by sea and air to Israel for more than 140,000 Jewish people sponsored by The Jewish Agency. Many of these came from the Former Soviet Union.

operation-exodus-large

A Jerusalem-based Christian organization, Bridges for Peace, runs Project Rescue and Project Tikvah. Project Rescue helps the poorest Jews prepare to immigrate to Israel, and Project Tikvah helps sustain those who cannot go, the elderly and the sick. Help is in the form of passport costs, visas, ground transportation and lodging. The work started in Russia and regions of the Former Soviet Union.

Aliyah is Prophecy being Fulfilled

Just as a father leads his little child, so God is leading His people back to Israel. For a time rebellious Israel was forsaken by God and they were scattered (like dry bones) amongst the nations. But Ezekiel the prophet saw a valley of dry bones that became alive as God brought His people back to their own land.

In these last days God is reaching out to His people and wants to blot out their sin and unite them with Himself. He is calling His people out from the nations, back into their own land, the land of Canaan. Jews call this ingathering or mass immigration back to their own land ‘aliyah’ or ‘ascent’. It has been underway now for over 100 years, drawing in over 8 million people. The Gentile nations cannot help but see an amazing thing: a nation restored almost overnight. It is a very clear sign that the God of Israel is working in the world! Today, Israel is back in their homeland and is once more becoming an increasing witness of God to the nations:

He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:12)


Israel – what the Bible says

Facts about Israel in the Bible

Read an unbiased view of Israel – straight from the Bible!

Israel in the Bible

The university world has opposing views on Israel. The political world has opposing views on Israel. Who is correct? Where is the truth? Do they ever study Israel in the Bible?

Let’s extract from the Bible some important facts about Israel, both the nation and the land. And let’s present the biblical text without any particular prophetic interpretation. Simply let the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth interpret the texts to our hearts. Taken together, the Spirit will interpret the texts to reveal the big picture and the truth about Israel.

 

    Israel in the Bible

  • 1: A Covenant: God made an unconditional and everlasting covenant with Abram (Abraham). It was to make his descendants a great nation. More importantly, through Abraham God would bless all the families of the earth (Gen 12.2,3 Gen 17.7)
  • 2: A Land: Under the same covenant God promised Abraham’s descendants “all the land of Canaan” (Gen 17.8)
  • 3: Line of Descent: This covenant was established with Abraham’s son Isaac and not with Ishmael (Gen 17.21 Gen 26.1-5)
  • 4: Israel Appears: God renamed Jacob (Isaac’s son) as “Israel”. Jacob and his descendants inherited the covenant promises given to Abraham – a great nation and their own land (Gen 35.11-12)
  • 5: A Special People: God made the nation of Israel His very own people (for ever). This was to make a name for Himself in the world (2 Sam 7.23-26, Isa 43.1). God chose Israel to be His witnesses and servant (Isa 43.10)
  • 6: A Conditional Promise: God promised Israel that if she kept the Mosaic covenant (the Law), then out of all the nations she would be His ‘treasured possession’ (Deut 5.2-3, Deut 6.16-18, Exod 19.5-8)
  • 7: Israel Scattered: God warned Israel that if she failed to keep His commandments and statutes (the Law) then she would not receive His blessings. Instead, the people of Israel would be scattered amongst all the nations (Deut 28.15-68). This happened (the “diaspora”).
  • 8: God’s Compassion: Whilst in this ‘scattered state’ (Ja 1.1), the disobedient tribes of Israel reflect upon, and return to, God’s commandments. Then God will have compassion upon them and gather them from all the nations where they were scattered (Deut 30.1-3)
  • Israel in the Bible

    Israel’s past and future borders by Emmanuelm [CC-BY-3.0], Wikimedia Commons. Enlarge

  • 9: Israel’s Restoration: God will bring the people of Israel back to their own land (Ezek 37.21). This is not for Israel’s sake, but for the sake of God’s holy name (Ezek 36.16-24). It will be like a “marriage restoration”, and Israel will be brought to Zion (Hos 2.14-16, Jer 3.14)
  • 10: Israel’s Borders: Israel’s future borders are clearly defined in prophecy, the eastern boundary running along the Jordan. These borders are almost identical to the borders of ancient Israel given to Moses (Ezek 47.13-20, Num 34.1-12)
  • 11: Israel a Sign: Israel then becomes “a banner (signal, flag) for the nations” (Isa 11.12). Israel’s return will be evident to all and nations will recognize the hand of the God of Israel (Ezek 36.23)
  • 12: Land Blessed: Canaan, the land promised to Abraham, will prosper and be blessed. Desolate land becomes “like Eden” (Joel 2.21-27, Isa 51.3, Ezek 36.35). Zion will be beautiful and glorious (Isa 60.13)
  • 13: Israel – a Persecuted People: As foretold in the Abrahamic Covenant, Israel would be a blessing to the world (through salvation in Christ). But, because Israel ‘gave birth’ to Christ, she is in a continuous spiritual war with demonic forces trying to destroy her (Rev 12.13,17)
  • 14: Israel’s End-time Suffering: Regathered Israel goes through great suffering (Jacob’s trouble, Jer 30.7) but a remnant is saved (Zech 13.9) as God pours His Spirit upon them. At this time Israel recognizes Christ as her true Messiah (Mat 24.22, Zech 12.10-14, Joel 2.28-32)
  • 15: Israel’s Messiah: Israel’s end-time recognition of Christ as her Messiah is like the natural branches of an olive tree being grafted back into their own olive tree. Israel’s blindness is removed and her sins forgiven. Jew and Gentile will be “one flock” in Christ (Rom 11.24-27, Heb 8.8-12, Jn 10.16)
  • 16: Israel’s King: Christ returns “with all His saints” (1 Thes 3.13, Jude 14) to Zion and reigns from Jerusalem as ruler and King over all the nations (governments) of earth (Isa 2.1-4, Isa 9.6, Zech 8.3,14.9, Mat 5.35 ). Jesus is ‘the truth’ (Jn 14.6) and Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth (Zech 8.3)
  • 17: Peace on Earth: The Saints reign with Christ for 1000 years and the earth will be at peace. Jews will be revered and nations will go up from year to year to worship Christ in Jerusalem (Zech 8.20-23, Zech 14.16, Isa 11.6-9, Isa 66.18-23, Rev 20.4-6)
  • 18: Jews and non-Jews: In the future, non-Jews (strangers) living in Israel will be treated just like native-born Israelites (Ezek 47.22,23)
  • 19: The New Jerusalem: In a figurative sense, the twelve tribes of Israel, and the twelve apostles, are associated with the gates and walls respectively of the New Jerusalem on the future new earth. The implication is that the New Jerusalem is filled with the elect of God from all eras. And the distinct roles of Israel and the Church in God’s redemptive plan is retained into eternity (Rev 21.9-27, 2 Pet 3.7-13, Mat 19.28, Isa 65.17)
  • 20: Israel Forever: Just as the new heavens and the new earth remain forever, so the people and name of Israel will remain forever (Isa 66.22)

 

Test these Biblical Statements

The truth behind some of these biblical texts can be verified from history, or by observation of today’s world:

1: The world has already been blessed through Abraham. Jesus was also a Jew and came to reconcile mankind to God.

2: The twelve tribes of Israel went out of Egypt to live in Canaan.

5: The nation Israel has already been a strong witness for God. Recall how God showed His might through Pharaoh and the Exodus, and through the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses.

7: God honoured His word when He said that He would scatter Israel if they failed to follow His commandments. From 70 AD onwards the 12 tribes of Israel were scattered throughout the nations.

8 and 9: God is bringing His scattered people back to the land promised to them through Abraham. The Jewish population of Palestine has increase by over 7,400 percent since 1900.

11: Although Israel has only some 8.5 million people (2018) and is only the size of Wales, it is clear that Israel is now a major player on the world stage.

12: The land of Israel is already being replenished and blessed. Since 1900 almost 250 million sub-tropical trees have been planted in all regions of Israel, and today more than 40 percent of the country’s vegetables and field crops are grown in the Negev desert.

13: Jews have been persecuted worldwide. Russian Pogroms in the 19th century and the Holocaust are prime examples. Arab aggression against the Jews was seen in the 1948, 1967, 1973 wars.

14: Today it is not hard to see how Israel could suffer in the future. The UN does not support Israel. And Russia supports Iran which supports her proxy Hamas whose Charter aims to eliminate Israel.

15: Today, the vast majority of Jews are still looking for their ‘Moshiach’ (Messiah) and they refuse to acknowledge Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah.

 

Other biblical statements await future verification. But clearly, there is already strong verification of fundamental biblical statements on Israel. So if we are searching for the truth about Israel we need to read about Israel in the Bible. Doing this with an open mind gives a balanced view of the nation and land of Israel and helps to explain current events.

 

Given the 20 key biblical statements, try to answer these questions:
  • Does the nation of Israel have a future and purpose under God, or has she been abandoned by God and ‘replaced’ by the church (as in Replacement Theology)?
  • Today, is Israel returning to her own land (as promised to her under the Abrahamic Covenant) or has she unlawfully occupied Palestinian land (as maintained by the UN)?
GO DEEPER