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Focus on Israel
"Lest We Forget"

by John & Lorraine Broughton

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Editor’s Note: These friends we met in Jerusalem several years ago. They are loyal friends to Israel and have a radio program called "Focus on Israel". They also have written several good booklets. You may write them at: 1601 N Rhododendron Dr, Florence, OR 97439.

"And what one nation in the earth is like...Israel....?" (II Samuel 7:23).

We’re going to take you back to Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Israel is commemorating 50 years of modern statehood. No modern nation in the history of mankind has been born out of such enormous suffering. And certainly no nation has surpassed Israel in the continuing struggle to survive against such insurmountable odds.

The holocaust of World War II plunged the Jewish people into the depths of national despair. Six million dead left a pall of uncertainty upon the face of the world’s Jewish people. That Adolf Hitler could practice such unbelievable barbarism, in the 20th century and take a civilized nation with him was beyond comprehension.

At the same time, the horror of the holocaust brought a sense of urgency to the need for a Jewish homeland. Jews, and a few friends in the international community, dared to believe that it was time to take the leap toward creating a Jewish state envisioned by Theodor Herzl and early Zionists. Hopefully, it would be a place where Jewish children could sleep in peace, free from the smell of crematoriums and the cries of the dying.

With the dawn of May 15, 1948, came the realization of what the Jewish people had dreamed of for centuries. The State of Israel was miraculously reborn! But - there were clouds on the horizon, and the tiny nation, fresh from the horrors of the holocaust, had very little time for celebration. The birth of Israel was accompanied by the thunder of guns. It’s enemies in the Arab world were set on annihilating the young state and driving the Jews into the sea. But Israel was not alone in preparing for the first in a succession of wars. Fortunately, there were true friends of Israel, many of whom were Christians, ready to do everything in their power to aid the Jewish people themselves to fight for the right to live in the land of their fathers - a land given to them by The Almighty himself!

An exceptionally good friend of Israel was Orde Wingate, a Christian who did more than just agree that a homeland for the Jewish people was a good idea. The young British officer put his Zionism into practice by teaching immigrants how to defend themselves against their enemies.

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Orde Wingate who said, "I count it as my privilege to help you fight your battle."

Then Secretary of State, American General George Marshall, wanted to delay the announcing of Israel statehood. David Ben-Gurion, who later became Israel’s first Prime Minister said, "Marshall could not know what we knew - what we felt in our very bones; that this was our historic hour; if we did not live up to it, through fear or weakness of spirit, it might be generations or even centuries before our people were given another historic opportunity - if indeed we would be alive as a national group."

As we all know, Israel did not delay in announcing statehood, but Ben-Gurion’s resolve was soon tested. With nothing at their backs but the sea, remnants of Jewish people, many of them survivors from the furnaces of the holocaust, entered another trial by fire! In a place where Jews had been put to death on the floors of ancient arenas, a new generation fought for their lives. There was no turning back. Egyptians, Syrians, Iraqis, the Transjordanian Arab Legion and the Arab Liberation Army fuse their forces and swept into Israel, intending to put the infant nation to death. For nearly a month, the battle raged over the length and breadth of the land. Jewish forces (initially with a tank, fighter plane or field gun) suffered heavy casualties, but they held! On June 11th, in response to an initiative by the United Nations, a truce was called.

When the truce expired on July 9th and the fighting resumed, the Arabs experienced a rude awakening. During the truce, the Jewish forces had managed some incredible feats in securing and transporting vital military supplied into the country. The day before the truce expired, Egyptian troops renewed their attacks on the southern front. The Israelis were ready for them. Strong fortifications and mobile commando units met them head on. Within 10 days, the Egyptians were defeated and found much of their military equipment in Jewish hands!!

And so began the history of the modern State of Israel 50 years ago.