November 30, 2017
Dear Friend of Israel,
Next year, we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the birth of the modern state of Israel. And on November 29, we marked the 70th anniversary of another historic event: On that date in 1947, the United Nations adopted Resolution 181, which called for the division of what was then British-controlled Palestine into two countries, one Jewish and one Arab.
The resolution was not perfect. It offered Jews just a portion of the land that they knew to be their historic, biblical inheritance. It declared that Jerusalem, the spiritual capital of the Jewish people for millennia, would be under international control.
Still, for the Jews who had come to reclaim their Holy Land, it was a precious opportunity. The resolution, at the very least, publicly recognized the need for Jewish statehood. At last, after thousands of years of dispersion, Jews could form their own sovereign nation in their biblical homeland, a nation that would live at peace with its neighbors. In this spirit, most Jewish leaders approved of the plan, and accepted the responsibility of building a free, democratic Jewish state.
Arab rulers saw it differently. They rejected the plan – and the entire notion of a Jewish state in their midst – and vowed to eliminate Israel. Sadly, this attitude of rejection and hostility still exists among some Arab leadership to this day.
And yet, despite the challenges, in nearly 70 years Israel has created a thriving state that is continually seeking peace. What a tragedy that so many of these overtures have been rejected! The Middle East is known as a region of ongoing conflict and strife. But what kind of a region could have been created if, from the beginning, Israel’s neighbors had joined with the Jewish state to pursue peace in a spirit of mutual cooperation?
It’s fitting that on this anniversary we welcomed some 200 new olim (immigrants) to the Holy Land on a Fellowship Freedom Flight from Ukraine. Aliyah (immigration to Israel) is the lifeblood of the Jewish state, and there is no better way than supporting aliyah – which The Fellowship has done for 25 years, thanks to your support – to reaffirm to the entire world that Israel is here to stay, and will continue to prosper, whatever challenges it faces.
Six months after Resolution 181’s approval – and subsequent failure – the modern state of Israel was formed, and it endures to this day. Am Yisrael Chai – the nation of Israel lives! Let us always remember this, and thank God that His protective hand is ever over His people.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President