After 2,550 Years…
JEWS ARE A NATION AGAIN!
by Herbert W. Armstrong
Here are the real facts back of the strange dilemma in Palestine, exclusive in The Plain Truth, from private interviews with chief leaders of both Arabs and Zionist Jews.
UPDATE ON THE ISRAEL-ARAB QUESTION
The Plain Truth is always ahead of its time! Over thirty years ago, The Plain Truth published this article which explained the basic reasons for the current Middle East strife. It was captioned “Jews Are a Nation Again,” with personal interviews with the two chief spokesmen for each of the opposing factions. The article is reproduced here from the June 1948 issue.
The Jews once again a NATION of their own in Palestine, after 2,550 years! What does it all mean? What’s back of this world-shaking event? Is this the prophesied regathering of Israel back to the Holy Land?
The new nation was born in turmoil, and WAR between it and surrounding Arab nations flared out immediately.
The new nation is a REPUBLIC, its president is in America, and it calls itself, officially, “ISRAEL”!
This is not the prophesied great coming exodus of Israel back to Palestine, but man-made blundering and CONFUSION!
This is not the restoration of Israel and of PEACE in the Holy Land, but strife, misunderstanding, bloodshed in open battle! But WHY? Why do the Arabs so desperately fight against this new “Israel”? Why do the Jews with such fanatical fervor sacrifice lives and money for it? What is prophesied, and what does this have to do with it?
To bring you the true answers—the PLAIN TRUTH behind the news you read in newspapers and hear in newscasts—I went to San Francisco to interview the man in charge of Palestine relations for the Arabs, Sheik Hafiz Wabba, and later to London for another interview with him. I went to New York for a three-hour interview with Itzhak J. Karpman, executive director of the World Confederation of General Zionists. And the amazing, almost unbelievable truth from prophecy we bring you direct from the Bible.
Why the Arabs Fight
My first interview with the sheik from Arabia was at the San Francisco Conference in 1945. The interview was arranged two days in advance. At the appointed hour I was ushered into his office in the Fairmont Hotel. I found him attired, not in the flowing robes in which the Arabian delegation had so intrigued San Franciscans, but in an ordinary American business suit.
He received me very cordially, and spoke good English. With Prince Faisal, he was the leader of the Arab delegation, and the man in charge of Palestine relations for the Saudi Arabian government.
“Why do the Arabs oppose the Jews in returning to Palestine?” I asked.
“We do not oppose the presence of Jews in Palestine,” he corrected me. “We only oppose further and unlimited immigration of Jews into Palestine.”
“But the Jews claim Palestine as their Holy Land,” I said. “They believe Almighty God promised that land to Abraham, and that they are the children of Abraham, and therefore that Palestine belongs to them by divine right. Now I understand the Arabs are also the children of Abraham, descended through Ishmael. Do you believe that, and claim the right to possess Palestine on those grounds?”
“We are the children of Abram,” he replied, pronouncing it “Uhbrahm,” with the accent on the last syllable, “and we are descended through Ishmael, yes, and Ishmael was the firstborn son of Abram and therefore the rightful birthright holder and heir to the land promised Abram. But,” and he emphasized the point, “we do not present our claim to Palestine, or oppose further and unlimited Jewish immigration, on those grounds.”
Then he explained the Arab position—and he gave me an UNANSWERABLE ARGUMENT—yet the Zionist director in New York later gave me a sizzling answer to the unanswerable argument! “Let me put it this way,” the sheik continued. “How long have you Americans been here in California—when did your first white men come here?”
“Only some three or four hundred years ago,” I replied.
“Exactly! And you have only been established as a government here a much shorter time than that. Now you are still at war against Japan. [This was in the spring of 1945.] A considerable number of Japanese had immigrated into California before the war and established homes here. You did not object or fight against this limited Japanese immigration and residence here, just as we did not, for a long time, against the Jews’ immigration into Palestine. But now suppose the Japanese wanted to increase their immigration into California until there would be more Japanese than Americans here, and then they also demanded that you let them take over the State of California and set up a new Japanese NATION here on your soil. Tell me, would you oppose that? Would you call out your armed forces to fight against it?”
There was only one answer to that! Of course the United States would fight to prevent it, with all the power and resources of the nation, if need be!
“Would you think you were right in doing so?” he asked.
“Well,” he explained, “the Arabs have lived in, and had possession of Palestine, for thousands of years. Our homes are there. We didn’t object to a few Jews coming into our land. We know they have brought us many benefits. They have brought with them money, energy, industry. Our people have benefited by the additional prosperity and other advantages they have brought us. That we welcomed, as long as they were a beneficial minority in our midst. But now Jewish immigration has been increasing at such a rate that soon there will be more Jews than Arabs. Now the Jews want to take our land away from us and make it their own NATION! That land has belonged to us many times longer than California has belonged to Americans. You say you would oppose and fight against Japanese immigration flooding California with more Japanese than Americans, taking your fair state away from you and turning it into a new Japanese nation. Well, that is exactly why we oppose further Jewish immigration and will fight to the last man against the Jews setting up a NATION on our land!”
There is his “UNANSWERABLE ARGUMENT”!
Can you answer it? Of course, in due time, when God Himself steps in to take rule away from men and to rule the earth by divine fiat through Christ as King of kings, it will be different. But, from the standpoint of the present time and the present world, I had no answer! “But,” I questioned “His Excellency” further, “what about the pitiful condition of hundreds of thousands of persecuted homeless Jews driven out of Europe by Hitler? Can you deny these poor refugees a home in what they consider as their own ancient homeland?”
“Why should the Arabs be called upon to bear all the burden of sheltering homeless Jews?” he asked in reply. “Why do America and Britain expect US to accept them when you yourselves refuse them? You could absorb them and they would only be a small and unnoticed addition to your famous ‘melting pot.’ But every other nation on earth turns these homeless Jews away from its borders and then expects the Arabs to take them all into Palestine, where they would then outnumber Arabs and take our country away from us! Is that right? Is that international justice?”
In London, late February 1947, Mrs. Armstrong and I were specially invited by the Arabian plenipotentiary to a royal reception in honor of the crown prince Emir Saud, eldest son of King Ibn Saud. After we and the other guests had been formally presented to “His Royal Highness,” I had a few words once again in private with Sheik Hafiz Wabba.
“If only Great Britain, America, and all the other nations would quit interfering and stirring up all this emotional feeling in favor of more and more Jews going to Palestine until they drive our people out, we would have no troubles at all in Palestine. The fires of trouble are being fanned by the interference of other nations and their sentimental and unthinking emotion about Jews becoming a nation in Palestine. Stop all this propaganda and interference by so many nations not directly concerned, and the Arabs and the Jews will get along all right together in Palestine.”
And there, again, he put his finger directly on the source of the trouble: so many nations not personally concerned burdening themselves with Palestine!
Do you know the prophesied fate of these nations who interfere in a quarrel not their own?
Listen! “The burden of the word of the Eternal for Israel, saith the Eternal…. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah [the Jews] and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people [all nations]: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zech. 12:1-3).
The Jews’ Answer to the Sheik
But what is the Jewish view on this question? Have they an answer to Sheik Hafiz Wabba’s “unanswerable” argument?
In New York, returning from Europe, I spent nearly an entire afternoon in conference at the American office of the World Confederation of General Zionists with Itzhak (Isaac) J. Karpman, executive director of the World Confederation.
A young Jewish Palestine labor leader, Hapoel Hatzair, had just arrived in New York from Palestine, and he sat in on our chat for about an hour.
I told Mr. Karpman what the Arabian minister had told me—the Arab’s “unanswerable” argument. And did he have an answer? He had a sizzling answer!
“First, let me state a few census figures,” he said, “so you’ll have the exact relative populations in mind. According to the 1944 official Palestine census, there are 1,750,000 total population in Palestine. [Now over two million.] Of these, 1,100,000 are Moslems, mostly Arabs; 530,000 are Jews; 140,000 are Christians; 15,000 miscellaneous.”
(Actually, today, 1948, there are about 1,300,000 Arabs and 710,000 Jews in all Palestine. In the new Jewish nation called “ISRAEL,” roughly half of Palestine, there are about 600,000 Jews and only 395,000 Arabs. In the city of Jerusalem today are approximately 100,000 Jews and 100,000 Arabs.)
“All right,” said Isaac Karpman, “let’s take the Arabian minister’s example—California—and see if the circumstances are the same.
“Conditions are altogether different. Today, the real life in Palestine is JEWISH! The real life in California is American, not Japanese. In Palestine today industry, banking, insurance, commerce is 90 percent Jewish! Only 10 percent Arab! Agriculture in Palestine—40 percent Jewish! Jews pay 87 percent of the income tax in Palestine. How much do the Japanese pay in California?
“Now let me tell you what Hadassah has accomplished! Hadassah is the women’s Zionist organization of America, with 220,000 members. Since 1920 they have been caring for the health and hospitalization needs in Palestine. They maintain in Palestine a large organization of social workers and spend four million dollars a year in bringing about better health and sanitation conditions in Palestine. Now there are more than three hundred million Arabs—only about a million of them are in Palestine. But because of the charitable work of this Jewish women’s organization, the highest birth rate and lowest death rate of Arabs in the world are in Palestine. These conditions are terrible in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and other Arab nations.”
How Jews Feel About Palestine
“If a Jew feels he is a Jew,” continued the Zionist executive director, “if he is connected with Jewish people, he feels a connection with Palestine. All Jewish life, through all the history of the Jewish people, has centered around Jerusalem and Palestine.
“All Jewish education has instilled in Jewish people a definite connection with Palestine. From childhood all Jewish boys and girls have been taught of the glory of the Jewish people in ancient Palestine. The glory of God is inseparably interwoven with the glory of Palestine. Palestine is the center of Jewish education, of Jewish religion, of Jewish culture, of Jewish family life—it is the very heart of the Jew! It means his life! To separate our people from Palestine would be to tear our hearts out!
“The basic Jewish law, of family life, of social relationships, of religious life, is laid down by the Sanhedrin, inseparably connected with Palestine. For many centuries our people have been dispersed, driven from nation to nation, scattered all over the world, with no national home or nation of our own. But through all these centuries the Jews have felt they were exiled and driven cruelly from their home— PALESTINE! All these centuries Palestine has been, in their hearts, their HOME from which they were temporarily driven. It is the only national home and center of the Jews! But Palestine has never been the national home, or center, of the Arabs, but just a small part of their territory—just a place where a small part of them have settled and lived.
“Mr. Wabba’s California illustration is not a fair comparison at all!” And Mr. Karpman waxed almost vehement. “The Japanese have their ancient home in Japan. If such an absurd event should happen as for them to ask for California for a new Japanese nation, such demand would have no basis whatever. But we have every basis for demanding Palestine for our home! Or, I suppose he might say the Indians might demand California back as their national home. The Indians were there before the white man. But the Indians had never developed California; the Jews did, and are now, developing Palestine. Arabs never did, and are not now, developing Palestine! California never was the center of Indian life, religion, and industry, or any semblance of national life. There is no comparison whatever!”
52 Nations Gave Jews Right To Settle in Palestine
“Now, do the Jews have any real right to be in Palestine today? The Arabian sheik doesn’t want to base his claims on the Bible, because he must know God rejected Ishmael and gave the land to the descendants of Isaac. But aside from the Bible claim, let us look at our rights in Palestine based only on the authority of modern nations and conditions as of today. Palestine was opened to Jews after 52 nations [the League of Nations] decided they had a right to go there and create a Jewish national home in Palestine. And these nations based this right on the Bible, on Jewish history, Jewish life, etc. Fifty-two nations gave us that right!
“In 1922 there were only 85,000 Jews in Palestine. As a result of the Balfour Declaration and mandate from 52 nations, we brought in 600,000 Jews. But at the same time, 600,000 more Arabs also came into Palestine, so they would still outnumber us—so actually the Jews brought 600,000 Arabs into Palestine! Neither the Japanese nor the Indians ever brought 600,000 of their people into California! Now the rate of Arab immigration into Palestine—from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Yemen, etc.—is greatly increased.
“Transjordan is four times as large as Palestine. In 1922, it had 300,000 population. It is about the same today—just a vast desert. But the Jews have brought 600,000 Jews and 600,000 Arabs into Palestine. They have brought PROSPERITY and progressive LIFE into Palestine—ample employment, the highest standard of living, good health, removal of swamps and malaria which killed so many Arabs before we went back there. We brought all these benefits and blessings to Arabs as well as to Jews.
“There is room in Palestine for all homeless Jews of the earth—and without any harm to Arabs. And no other country will accept these homeless people! The condition of those refugee Jews is tragic—yes, one of the world’s greatest tragedies—and Palestine is the only solution! Remember, 52 nations opened it up to us! No other nation will open its doors to us! It will not injure the Arabs, nor even alter the proportion of population, since every Jew also brings another Arab into Palestine! And every Jew also improves living conditions for that additional Arab who moves in to keep him outnumbered! We are benefiting, not harming, the Arabs! Now where else are our tragically homeless people to go? The United States will not take in these Jews. In South America, Brazil receives 7,000 Italians, but no Jews—they don’t want us! Jews can’t demand that other countries take in our people, but Jews do have a right to demand that Palestine, which 52 nations said Jews have a right to enter, should receive us. Remember, the condition of these homeless Jews is pitiful— yet, as soon as they are admitted to Palestine they become part of the busy, industrious national life there, and become useful, energetic, productive citizens. They are no longer a pitiful burden to anybody—they are now a great HELP even to the Arabs!”
What Arabs and Jews Did in World War
“Prior to World War I, there was no independent Arab nation! All Arab peoples were under Turkey!” The Zionist leader was far from finished! “After World War I the Arabs got independence—Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc. They are still just deserts—and just backward, undeveloped people—but they were made independent! They didn’t contribute anything to the war—but they got independence!
“The Jews participated, in the war in the U.S., British, and other armies and played an important part—there was a special Jewish Legion in World War I—and yet all our people got out of it was the right, by 52 nations, to have a national home in Palestine!
“Now look at World War II. A million and a half Jews participated in Allied armies. The Palestinian Jewish Brigade fought in the desert, and in Italy against Rommel. It was help supplied by Palestine Jews which actually turned the tide of the entire war in the Allies’ favor at El Alamein. One of our greatest war correspondents wrote a book about Jewish participation, called Our Forgotten Ally. Yes, America and Britain seem to have forgotten their Jewish ally! But now what did the Arabs do? Arab leaders brought the Nazis into Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The British had to force Egypt to change its government from pro-Nazi to King Faruk. No Arab country declared war, or entered the war, against the Nazis until three months before V-E Day—and then only to get a place in the United Nations!
“Arab leaders from Palestine, Iraq and Syria flew to the side of Hitler in 1941-42 and worked with him and helped him slaughter Jews! The British have brought back to Cairo the Arab Nazi leaders who worked with Hitler in Berlin through the war—but not one of them has been so much as tried!
“Six million Jews were slaughtered in Europe! My family was all killed …”
“… and so was mine,” interjected Hapoel Hatzair.
“Only one and a quarter million of these European Jews remain alive, and now today everybody is worried about how to feed the Nazis and care for the poor defeated Germans—but these Jews are still homeless, and no nation will admit them! Fifty-two nations gave them the right to enter Palestine, but the Arabs fight us, and the Arabs have oil, and so Britain and America listen to Arabs!
“After this last World War, the Arabs got additional new independent nations out of it—Iraq [formerly British], Syria and Lebanon [formerly French], and Transjordan [previously under the British and French]—all given independence—and what for? As a reward for helping Nazis during the war!” The Zionist leader was a little bitter now.
“But what do the Jews get out of it for helping the Allies defeat Germany? When we have these homeless survivors from Hitler’s race-hatred slaughter in their present pitiful plight, we get the door to our homeland slammed in our faces! After 25 years of the mandate from 52 nations which said it is the Jews’ right to go back to Palestine, that mandate is exercised by the British fighting against any Jews who try to go there—sending these Jews to Cyprus and detention camps, placing them as prisoners behind barbed wires!
“The Arabs won six seats in the United Nations. The Jews won nothing for their help in the war. We have no representative—no voice nor approach—in the United Nations councils. Yet they sit in judgment over our fate in Palestine and give us not one voice!
“Palestine,” Itzhak J. Karpman concluded, “is not an independent Arab nation at all, but has been under mandate to Great Britain. In this mandate, those 52 nations promised the Arabs nothing—they promised the Jews a home—and we have not been getting it!”
And thus the Zionist leader gave answer to my friend, Sheik Hafiz Wabba!
What Has Happened?
And now what has happened? On May 15th the British mandate ended. After 25 hopeless years of trying to keep peace in the Holy Land, the British gave up.
The same day the Jews in Palestine declared themselves a nation! They set up a republic. They called it “ISRAEL.”
Twenty minutes after this nation came into existence, President Truman in Washington—still May 14th, Washington time—having switched around from one policy after another on Palestine and having just abandoned the U.S. partition plan for Palestine—dramatically announced United States recognition of the new Jewish nation called “ISRAEL.” It seems the reason for the hurry was to take this action ahead of Soviet Russia, who thus was forced to follow the United States lead!
By dawn, May 15th, just a few hours after the “Jewish state of ISRAEL” had been proclaimed, Arab air forces began dropping bombs on Tel Aviv, and the armies of Arab nations began marching on Jerusalem. Thus, while Jews in America prayed for PEACE in Palestine, the proclamation of the “Jewish nation of ISRAEL” was the signal for WAR between that nation and surrounding Arab nations. There was no ushering in of PEACE!
And the Almighty says, prophetically: “All [nations] that burden themselves with it [Jerusalem]” in the day “when they shall be in the siege … against Jerusalem”—as the Arab nations are now—”SHALL BE CUT IN PIECES.”
The British have been burdening themselves with it for 25 years. The United States has been meddling, interfering, burdening itself with it. So has Soviet Russia and nearly every nation on earth. The United Nations has been burdening itself with it. God says “they shall be cut in pieces “!
Not Prophesied Regathering
In God’s own due time the Jews are to be released from their persecutions, their harrowing trials, and be reestablished within Palestine IN PEACE! But this is not that prophesied regathering of Israel!
This is merely a blundering human effort to do for themselves, before the time, what they will have to wait for God to do for them.
And this present movement, setting up a nation of Jews and calling it “ISRAEL,” can only lead to more bloodshed and more troubles!
In the first place, the new nation that has declared itself in Palestine is not Israel at all—it is only a part of JUDAH!
When the great prophesied exodus occurs, it will be Israel and Judah together. And they will not do it in their own defiant, embittered power and strength; they will be taken back, by Christ after His coming, from a condition of slavery and from the land of their enemies (see Ezek. 39:25-27). At that time they will take captive their captors and rule over those who had been ruling over them (Isa. 14:1-3—see especially Moffatt translation; Jer. 30:16; 31:11). It will be a greater exodus than the typical one under Moses—this one will be under CHRIST at His return! (Jer. 23:7-8.) They will go back to Palestine weeping, confessing their sins, loathing themselves for having ignored and transgressed against God, seeking the MESSIAH whom they have rejected (Jer. 50:4-5; Ezek. 20:34-43). They will then be converted, changed from sinners into Spirit-filled people living by God’s laws (Jer. 50:19-20; Ezek. 36:24-28).
The Jews in Palestine, and this new nation, fulfill NONE of those prophecies!
But what a strange dilemma!
The Jews Are Not Israel!
Most people today do not seem to know that the Jews are not Israel, but only a part of Judah. The first place in the Bible where the word “Jews” occurs, the Jews are at war against ISRAEL (II Kings 16:6).
Four whole books of the Bible are devoted to showing the historic difference between the two nations Israel and Judah. There were twelve tribes of Israel, originally. But after Solomon died, the nation ISRAEL rejected her king, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, and made Jeroboam, of the tribe of Ephraim, king. Then the one tribe of Judah split off from the nation Israel and formed a NEW NATION of their own (just as they are trying to do again today), in order to retain Rehoboam as king. This new nation was called the kingdom of JUDAH. The tribe of Benjamin and a large portion of Levi then joined Judah, leaving the TEN TRIBES in the nation ISRAEL.
Palestine belongs, by divine grant, to Abraham and his descendants. But God rejected Ishmael, the father of the Arabs, from the promise. It passed on, instead, through ISAAC. God also rejected Isaac’s eldest son ESAU, after he had undervalued the birthright and sold it to Jacob for a bowl of red soup. The TURKS are the children of Esau, and so they, too, have always felt Palestine belonged to them. But it was given to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
But then how was it passed on down? The dying Jacob passed the birthright, and possession of Palestine, on through the tribes of EPHRAIM and MANASSEH, sons of Joseph (Gen. 48:4-5, 15-16). He named HIS NAME (Israel) ON THEM—Ephraim and Manasseh. It is their descendants today, the American and British peoples, therefore, who are truly the national ISRAEL. The Jews come from Judah, and belonged to the nation JUDAH, not the nation ISRAEL!
For a complete exposition and understanding of our national identity as the true nation ISRAEL, the reader is referred to our special booklet [The United States and Britain In Prophecy] *.) sent free upon request.
But what a muddle! The Arabs believe Palestine should be theirs because they are descended from Ishmael. The Turks want it because they come from ESAU. The Jews want it because they come from Jacob, but through JUDAH! What a hot firebrand it is! It may yet set the whole world on fire!
*originally offered was an older edition of Mr. Armstrong’s book called “The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy”.