Israel has been a close ally of the United States for many years. The support that the United States has provided Israel economically, militarily, and politically has helped the young nation establish itself in the turbulent Middle East, defending itself despite outnumbered odds.
According to the 2018 Congressional Research Service, to-date the US has provided more than $134.7 billion in military and economic assistance to Israel, whose GDP has gone from a record low of $2.60 Billion (USD) in 1962 to a projected GDP of $361 billion (USD) in 2018. Today, Israel is a pioneer in desert land restoration, as well as a key player in agricultural exports. Israel is by far the world leader in water recycling, and the birthplace of the surface drip irrigation emitter.
Recognition of Jerusalem
“…Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel… they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.”—Ezekiel 37:21
Recently, the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; the city was formerly contested between Israel and its neighbor, Palestine, each claiming the city as its capital. As the U.S. plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem from Israel’s commercial capital, Tel Aviv (where other countries who do not yet recognize Jerusalem as the official capital currently house their embassies), tensions are expected to rise between Israel and Palestine, as well as their respective allies.
Thankfully, our friends in Israel are in good hands, as the U.S. is expected to continue to provide funds and resources for military support. Currently, the U.S. Congress is considering a proposal to provide $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Israel and $500 million in missile defense aid in 2019.
Even on their own, the Israelis have proven themselves against incredible odds during conflicts such as the legendary Six-Day War where Israel swiftly defeated Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and an alliance of other nations who had mobilized against them in the summer of 1967. By targeting and destroying enemy planes and vehicles in a preemptive strike, Israel effectively disarmed the Egyptian air force, giving them a significant advantage in the hard-fought victories that followed. After the Israelis were able to capture Jerusalem, the enemy was on its heels.
Following a succession of other conflicts and tense relations with their neighbors, the Israelis declared Jerusalem as the official capital in 1980. But the United Nations declared the claim invalid and a violation of international law.
Even today, the official recognition status of the city remains contested among UN members, which makes the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital controversial, but hopefully not grounds for more violence.
The Power of Peace
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”—Matthew 5:9
Objectively, Israel has become a force to be reckoned with in the Middle East, backed by the most powerful military in the world. With an arsenal of state-of-the-art military technology provided by the United States, any sovereign nation would think twice before mobilizing against Israel. That said, the most effective anti-war tool at Israel’s disposal so far has not been weapons, but diplomacy.
With the help of the United States, Israel has managed to normalize relations with Egypt and Jordan—formerly bitter enemies. Since the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty was signed in 1994, for example, both countries have remained on relatively good terms and have profited from sharing resources; giving Israeli farmers in the Negev Desert more access to water, creating thousands of jobs for Jordanians, and curbing water shortages for both countries.
While no country can claim an immaculate history, Israel can take pride in its progression. Israel was founded with the intent of creating an exemplary nation of good character, and today the world beholds a healthy democracy that has not succumbed to an oppressive religious state or dictatorial regime. Israel is a land of hope and opportunity, much like the United States, where people seek refuge from oppression, freedom from religious persecution, and the chance to start a new life.
The Blooming Desert
As Israel develops, the region flourishes around it, most notably the blooming desert. Transforming the wasteland has yielded an agricultural economy that sustained the Israeli economy through its early years. Today, although Israel’s agricultural economy is healthy, the country does not depend on it in the same way. Israel’s recent economic success is owed to a variety of industries, such as pharmaceuticals and natural gas, all which contribute to a healthy and diverse economy.
That said, history may be repeating itself as developing the desert for agriculture is becoming a foundation for more growth and economic opportunity, and also through the fulfillment of biblical prophecies.
“…the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice…”—Isaiah 35:1-2
The Evangelical Christian community has been integral in the development of Israel. Our role in the fight has really not been a fight at all… though we always have our hands dirty—dirty with the soil from planting so many olive trees!
My Olive Tree: The Unofficial Ambassadors
My Olive Tree is an American-based group that has partnered directly with the Israeli Defense Forces, the City of Jerusalem, Israeli kibbutzim, and even with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (when he was then the Finance Minister of Israel), to plant and sustain olive trees throughout the Negev Desert.
Our mission is to fortify the alliance between Evangelicals and the people of Israel in order to conquer an inhuman enemy: the uninhabitable wasteland of the Negev Desert region. Working together, we will restore the desert as envisioned by many biblical passages.
Every tree that we plant helps to improve the quality of the soil by allowing it to retain moisture and nutrients. By cultivating the soil, we are cultivating a new era of agriculture, which will, in turn, cultivate population growth and even more economic success for Israel.
You can help My Olive Tree and the United States support Israel by sponsoring an olive tree.
In doing so, you can be guaranteed that the value of your contribution is something that money could never buy. The true wealth of Israel and the produce of our partnership is the good that we do for the world… the peace that we make with our neighbors… and the tangible transformative restoration of the Negev Desert that we foster together.
The true gift your contribution bestowed upon Israel is nothing more or less than the glory of God itself!