Yom Ha’atzmaut—Israel’s Independence Day—falls on the fifth day of the Hebrew month Iyar. It commemorates the declaration and establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar 5708).
“The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.” —David Ben-Gurion
This year is especially significant because it is Israel’s 70th anniversary. Culture Minister Miri Rege planned celebrations that would feature 70 hours of fun activities, including:
- An International Bible Quiz
- The largest fireworks display in Israel’s history
- A 70 kilometer (43.5 miles) long party stretching from Tiberias to Eilat
Many Israelis celebrate Independence Day with their families at cookouts, or at public festivals with song and dance. They wear blue and white, Israel’s colors, and can usually expect to see a phenomenal airshow. This year they even witnessed Avner Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, win the International Bible Quiz!
The Biblical Significance of 70
- In ancient times, Israelis were held in captivity in Babylon for 70
- The number 7 symbolizes completion, as well as protection in biblical numerology. Today Israel is well protected by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), as well as the United States military forces, a long-time ally.
- The number 10 means perfection and alignment. This year, the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and plans to move its embassy there on May 14th. This move lines up perfectly, just as biblical prophecy foretold.
The US has sided with Israel, will you help the Israelis plant their roots?
The United States recent decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem in recognition of Israel’s capital has sparked celebration in Israel, but also recent international controversy.
Previously, Israel and Palestine have shared the city and most foreign embassies in Israel have been headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel’s second-largest city. This two-state solution was implemented by the United Nations shortly after World War II and has created constant conflict and turmoil for the people of both Israel and Palestine ever since.
There is a strong case to be made in favor of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite the disapproval of the United Nations. Many believe that this is a critical step towards ending the two-state solution and the end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all.
The Jews have been fleeing exile and persecution for thousands of years. Now that they have reclaimed their homeland, and negotiated and fought to keep it, they will not be moved again.
Before Israel became an independent nation, Jerusalem was under control of the British, who had captured the city while fighting the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Disputes over the city, water, and other resources were once decided by the Ottoman empire, who did not favor the Jewish minority.
The Jewish population in Palestine grew throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries as Jews fled persecution from Eastern Europe, and they became crucial allies of the British to defeat the Ottomans. Under British control, the Jews gained recognition, and their population continued to grow, mainly as thousands fled and escaped the Holocaust.
Eventually, the British and the United Nations abandoned their plans to intervene with tensions between Jews and their Arab neighbors, leaving the outnumbered Jews to fend for themselves.
In 1948, David Ben-Gurion declared Israel an independent nation, sparking the first Arab-Israeli war. Seventy years later, after many wars, skirmishes, terrorist attacks, and peace treaties, Israel still has yet to enjoy true peace.
Unfortunately, many still believe the Jews have no right to exist in their homeland; many who still wish to send them away or destroy them.
We, as Christians, must stand together and not allow this to happen. We must all come together, as children of God, to protect all who live in Jerusalem.
“For you are all sons of God… There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”—Galatians 3:26-28
The presence of Jews in Israel does not call for the exclusion of Christians and Arabs who also live throughout Jerusalem and Israel. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a recent speech;
“Israel’s success didn’t happen overnight. Men and women from every walk of life—young and old, Jew, Christian, Muslim, religious and secular…—have worked hard to build our nation.”
In fact, more than one-fourth of Israel’s population is not Jewish, and approximately one-fifth of Israeli citizens are Arab. Because Israel is a democracy, all Israeli citizens, including Israeli-Arabs, have rights and representation in the government, including the right to serve on the Israeli Knesset and to wear hijabs.
As citizens of Israel, religious and secular Jews, Christians, and Arabs may all serve side-by-side in the IDF to protect their homeland in the name of peace and democracy. The men and women who serve in the IDF work countless hours, day and night, in order to shield civilians from enemy attacks and terrorism, especially on the border territories.
With 70 years of war under its belt, the IDF is one of the most battle-tested militaries in the world—well-equipped with some of the best military technology developed in partnership with the United States.
Standing With Israel and the IDF
My Olive Tree has been blessed with unique opportunities to partner with the IDF directly. In recent years, we had developed and partnered with them in a unique project called the Peace Grove which was a message and response to terrorism from Israel and its closest allies in the Evangelical community.
Near the border of Gaza, we planted a grove of olive trees on an IDF army base over the infamous tunnels of terror, where enemies of Israel had used a network of underground tunnels to kidnap, torture, and attack Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Israel’s enemies had hoped that the supporters of My Olive Tree would be afraid. They had hoped that they would deter us from helping Israel build a peaceful nation, expanding democracy, and fulfilling the prophecies of the Bible. They dared us to respond… and My Olive Tree supporters responded as we would not cower in fear…
We took the fight into the light. The tunnels of terror were beneath us as we fearlessly planted olive trees above them. This was a powerful response, a declaration of courage and solidarity for all the people of Israel who are building a democracy and better world for all.
Our response to terrorism and hatred is love, life, and peace. When we are given tools of war, we make tools for farming, as the Bible foretold:
“For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem…
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.”
We have made it clear that we will not abandon Israel in their quest to restore their land and spread democracy!
Help us say Mazel Tov (congratulations) to Israel for 70 years by sponsoring an olive tree in their honor! Help us turn tools of destruction into tools of cultivation by sponsoring an olive tree today… and have a very Happy Yom Ha’atzmaut!