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Israel – 75 and counting, but what’s next

(L to R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at event for outstanding soldiers as part of Israel's 75th Independence Day celebrations, at the President's residence in Jerusalem, April 26, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM – Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures. (Psalm 90:10)

The modern state of Israel has reached the average length of days prescribed by the Psalmist for humans and yet the nation endures in years and with ever-increasing strength. This despite, or perhaps because of, the numerous attempts to eradicate it from the region and enemies who have tried without success to exterminate the Jewish people.

In a land of miracles, the survival and prospering of the Jewish state may be among the most miraculous of all.

In 1948, the land was anything but appealing from a geological perspective. It was a dry, dusty and unappealing place except for Zionists whose vision never wavered. The planting of Eucalyptus trees began a series of developments that has transformed this tiny place into what Scripture metaphorically calls a land of “milk and honey.”

What will happen in the next 75 years is anyone’s guess. While the Abraham Accords, the series of joint normalization statements between Israel and the Arab states establishing diplomatic relations after many years, was a miraculous development of its own, Iran remains a major threat to Israel’s existence as its development of a deliverable nuclear weapon moves ever-closer.

Appearing on “Face the Nation,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck an optimistic tone: “…everybody sees things above the surface, they don’t see things below the surface. And the prime minister of Israel sees a lot of things below the surface. And I’m telling you now something that I said 10 years ago in the UN, I said, look, we’re going to move into things you haven’t seen in my lifetime. And that is Arab states will recognize that Israel is not their enemy, but their friend, even an indispensable friend, and we’re going to have peace treaties and people pooh-poohed it.”

Referencing the Abraham Accords, Netanyahu continued: “I’m telling you now with this (Israeli government) coalition, things that I see under the surface that we are going to have, because of this view, this interest that Arab countries have to partner with Israel, I think you’re going to be surprised and maybe sooner than you think.”

There is still a strong anti-Netanyahu coalition here, but that is nothing new. The Israeli left as well as Democratic administrations and liberal Jews in the U.S. have been trying to depose “Bibi” before and during his two previous terms as prime minister. The latest effort includes charges of corruption he has denied and which sound trivial compared to more consequential matters.

Netanyahu has contributed to the strength and success of Israel perhaps more than any prime minister since Menachem Begin, who signed a peace treaty with Egypt and won the Nobel Peace Prize in tandem with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

While Israel’s survival is not dependent on Netanyahu’s political survival, his proclamation of the truth when it comes to the country’s adversaries has been and will continue to be essential for years to come.

In 1948, President Harry Truman became the first world leader to officially recognize modern Israel when he issued this statement: “This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof. The United States recognizes the provision government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel.”

The return to the land has always been in the hearts of Jewish people everywhere. It is beautifully expressed in another biblical passage: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalm 137: 5-6)

Happy Anniversary to America’s closest ally in the Middle East. May she long endure.

Copyright 2023 Tribune Content Agency. Used with permission.

Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book “A Watchman in the Night: What I’ve Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America” (HumanixBooks).

Cal Thomas is an American syndicated columnist, author and radio commentator.

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