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Religion

Power or providence?

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So, Israel is 74 years old. Well, actually we’re 3 000 years old, but whether it’s our modern state or our ancient people, the incredible truth is equally startling. We’re here! And we continue to survive every attempt to destroy our people and our spirit.

Isn’t it miraculous? How else could we have possibly survived all the attempts to drive us into the sea? In 1948, before our astonishing victory in six short days in 1967, and in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, or even in the first Gulf War in 1991 when Saddam Hussein fired 39 Scud missiles on Israel.

I was part of a South African Zionist Federation solidarity mission to Israel then, and I stood on the rubble of a Jewish house completely destroyed by one Scud missile. Thank G-d, no one was home! And there were another 38 such miracles. And the war against the Jews continues unabated, with terror attacks a tragic daily occurrence in Israel today. If Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, or others had half the chance, we’d all be dead and buried, G-d forbid. Thank G-d indeed for all His miracles.

But our survival also bears testimony to the indomitable Jewish spirit. Israel is tiny but tenacious, small but super heroic. We’re punching way above our weight in the military, cyberspace, technology, medicine, agriculture, artificial intelligence, and more.

Jews are less than 0.2% of the world’s population and yet we have won more than 22% of Nobel Prizes! Of course, we burst with pride at that phenomenal achievement, but that’s a number so shocking that it’s almost embarrassing!

And there are more Jews studying Torah in Israel today than at any time in our history.

How is it that the mightiest empires of history have declined and disappeared to be remembered only in museums or history books while the numerically insignificant Jews are still here and flourishing?

I’ll answer a serious question with a light-hearted anecdote.

Moshe Dayan was driving on the highway and got pulled over for speeding. The traffic officer took one look and, naturally, recognised the famous offender. But he said, “I’m going to give you a ticket Mr Dayan because you, of all people, should be setting a better example for our drivers.”

Whereupon Dayan responded. “Look, you see I have only one eye. Do you want me to look at the road or the speedometer?”

The Jewish people have never looked at the speedometer. Mathematically, scientifically, logically, we shouldn’t exist. We have endured Holocausts, and according to countless surveys over the years, we should have been extinct ages ago. But we believe in a divine providence and in the miraculous. We spurn surveys and reject all the scientific research that tells us to lay down and die. We believe we have a mission here on earth, and we will continue to do our very best to fulfil it.

Please G-d, we won’t become arrogant in our success but humbled by the Almighty’s ever-watchful eye protecting us and spurring us on to new and greater achievements, physically and spiritually.

Happy Birthday Israel!

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