As mortal beings, it’s impossible to foresee the outcome of events where the course of history is altered in a way we never anticipated. Yet, on Yom Yerushalayim—Jerusalem Day—such an outcome is commemorated.
From sundown last night through sundown this evening, Tu B’Shevat is celebrated with tree planting and enjoying the fruit of trees. It also marks the beginning of the agricultural year for the purpose of biblical tithing.
“For Jews who have lived through the Yom Kippur War, the holiest of the High Holy days will never be the same. For us, it stands not only as a day of atonement but as day of gratitude to God for the miracle of survival.” Itzhak Brook, MD
The Balfour Declaration’s bold expression of support for a Jewish homeland issued in 1917 by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour on behalf of King George V and the government of Great Britain did not go unchallenged. The Mandate to establish a Jewish national home was virtually derailed by government officials motivated by misguided expediency rather than moral clarity.
Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”
Even before the Mandate of Palestine was granted to the British government by the League of Nations in 1920 and confirmed in 1922, it became evident that implementation of the declaration would not be as straightforward as many hoped.
The Balfour Declaration accelerated movement toward a homeland for the Jewish people and was the first recognition of Zionist aspirations by a world power.
The Zionist longing at the turn of the 20th century was more than a transient dream.
In the mid-1800s, a dream began to coalesce that changed the course of history. It emerged in Russia and spread to Eastern Europe where the most beleaguered Jewish populations of the world lived.
The rebirth of the nation in 1948 happened so abruptly, the world almost seems to have been caught by surprise. Most watching the situation unfolding in 1948 didn’t think Israel could survive the birthing process.
Over the past 100 years, more that 240 million trees have been planted in Israel. Israel is the only country in the world to have entered the 21st century with a net gain of trees. History, however, documents that not all have demonstrated love and concern for the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.