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For the Freedom of Zion

Can a Nation be born at once?
 
Who has heard such a thing? Who has  seen such things? Is a land born in one day? Is a nation brought forth at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
 
One would imagine this to be a news headline or part of a great speech of one of Israel's Prime Ministers during an Independence Day celebration. But these words were spoken a couple of millennia ago by the prophet Isaiah (66:8).
 
After 1,878 years in exile, it had taken 32 minutes for the Jewish nation to be declared reborn. 
 
"With trust in the Rock of Israel, we set our hand to this declaration, at this session of the Provisional State Council, on the soil of the homeland, in the city of Tel Aviv, on this Sabbath eve, the fifth of Iyar, 5708, the 14 of May, 1948." Ben Gurion declared during an official gathering at the Tel Aviv Museum. 
 
But as with all major (and minor) decisions in Israel the declaration was preceded with fiery debate. There was strong opposition from Zionist leaders in the US who lobbied for postponement of the declaration.  Yet David Ben-Gurion sensed that it was now or never and pushed for statehood as Britain was about to withdraw their presence after 28 years of control under the British Mandate.
 
Even when council procedures were protested Ben-Gurion replied: "There isn't time for meetings in the emergency crisis." 
 
At the stroke of midnight Israel officially came into existence. Eleven minutes later, the United States, under the leadership of President Harry Truman, became the first country to recognize the establishment of the State of Israel. Other nations followed suit. 
 
At 5:25 a.m. the next day, May 15, 1948, the first Egyptian bombs fell on Tel Aviv.  Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan joined in the attack. The War of Independence had begun.
 
The Roots of Independence…
But the fight for freedom didn't start on May 15th, 1948; it already began when Israel was subjected to Roman rule. During the great revolt (66-70CE) Jews rebelled against the Roman occupation of their homeland, known then as Judea. Remains of the revolt were found in the City of David excavations in the form of ancient coins. As a sign of rebellion Jews took already existing Roman coins and reminted a new impression on it calling for "The Freedom of Zion". The freedom coins were produced in silver and bronze. Striking so-called freedom coins was as serious a transgression by the Jews than the revolt itself as the minting of coins was an imperial privilege. Reminting existing Roman coins was taking the revolt to another level altogether.
 
But the resistance did not prevail. During the summer of 70 CE the Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem.  A few weeks later the Temple was taken and burned.
Jerusalem was razed to the ground.
 
The Romans deliberately spared no effort in wiping out her identity by renaming Jerusalem, and calling her Aelia Capitolina instead - even the foundations of the new city were intentionally set almost perpendicular to that of the remaining foundations of the Holy City.  They also changed the name of the entire region, calling it by a new name, Palestine.
 
Although a small Jewish presence remained through the years, the Jewish people were separated from their Land. The hope for independence and Jewish sovereignty had to wait and endure for a more opportune time compelling the Jewish People to stay connected with Jerusalem and the Land of Israel through their prayers and customs during the dark times of exile. 
 
And so after 2000 years of exile, 1948 heralded in a new dispensation - a nation was born in a day. It was a watershed moment in history that challenged millennia old paradigms. Prophesies of exiles returning, the desert starting to bloom under the hands of its returning people -  prophecies that were thought pass their expiration date, suddenly started to come alive again, being fulfilled in fast succession.  It was a game changer that influenced modern day history; a small little nation has been reintroduced to the world stage and has impacted the word in a very big way.
 
 
 
 
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