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The Nation of Israel

State of Israel  - established in 1948

Jerusalem returns to Jewish control - in 1967

Four thousand years ago, in Genesis, God told Abraham, "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you." Mount Moriah - now the Temple Mount in Jerusalem - is where Jewish and Christian tradition holds that Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac. Isaac's son Jacob was renamed Israel by God, and given the promise of the land of Canaan (now Israel) and a covenant that he and his descendants would be "God's people."

Israel became a nation in 1312 B.C., and since then Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital. In 586 B.C., the first Jewish temple (on today's Temple Mount) was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon. In 70 A.D., it was the Roman Empire's turn to conquer Israel and destroy the second Jewish Temple, slaughtering or driving out much of the Jewish population.

The Romans called the land Palestine for the Philistines, as a humiliation to the Jews who had defeated the Philistines centuries earlier. Many Jews left because conditions of life were made unbearable, yet thousands stayed and rebelled for centuries to rebuild a Jewish nation in this Holy Land.

Over the next 1,878 years - the diaspora - various peoples, religions and empires, including Christian crusaders, the Ottomans and, briefly, the British marched through Jerusalem. None was interested in building a nation there.

Included in these "invaders" were the Arabs. In 636 A.D., Arab marauders came to the land and uprooted many Jews, but they did not form an Arab nation, certainly not a "Palestinian" nation.

The name "Palestine" is mentioned four times in the Bible, not once in the Koran. The name "Jerusalem" is mentioned 767 times in the Bible, not once in the Koran.

No nation, other than ancient Israel and the reborn nation of Israel in 1948 has ever reigned as a sovereign national entity in the land of Canaan.

Modern Israel is a miracle. This tiny nation is the fourth-greatest military power in the world.

In November 1947, the U.N. General Assembly voted to partition the British mandate of Palestine into two territories that were envisioned as future states - one predominantly Jewish, the other Arab. Six months later, on May 14, 1948, hours before the British withdrew, the state of Israel was proclaimed and immediately recognized by the United States and the Soviet Union.

At that moment 54 years ago, the Palestinians had a state, or a territory designated for a creation of their state. If reason had governed, two small nations might have thrived as neighbors at peace. But it was not to be.

On May 15, one day after Israel's declaration of statehood, the Arab regimes of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria set their armies in motion with the stridently declared objective of driving the Jews into the sea. History shows they failed.

The Arabs had 250 million people; Israel, 3 million. The Arabs had 1.5 million square miles of territory; Israel, 7,500 square miles.

The Arabs failed again in 1956 at Suez and, even more decisively, in the Six Day War of 1967, which ended in humiliation, especially for Egypt, whose soldiers threw down their weapons and fled on foot back across the Sinai, with some 10,000 perishing in the retreat.

The final failure was in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which began with an Egyptian and Syrian attack on Oct. 6, the Hebrew Day of Atonement and the 10th day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

After four wars and tens of thousands of Arab and Israeli deaths, the Arab states had enough. In a series of historic blunders, they ensured the Palestinians' continued statelessness. Having spent lives and treasures to no point, Egypt and Jordan agreed to peace.

The Israelis did not take any land from the Palestinians, but won it in battle from the Arab nations after being attacked, so there are no "occupied territories." Through those 25 years of confrontation and 28 troubled years since, no Arab country except Jordan has allowed Palestinians to immigrate in significant numbers, extended rights of citizenship or committed resources to relieving the misery in the refugee camps.

About 2 million Palestinian refugees have lived in camps in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt since 1948, and about 1 million live in the West Bank and Gaza. If the oil-rich Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority have such compassion for the refugees, why do they leave them in camps?

Israel has absorbed 2 million Jews from the Soviet Union and the Arab nations, at great expense, yet there are no Jewish refugee camps.

The Palestinians are just an excuse for the Arabs, a means to have a surrogate guerrilla army within Israel. Generations of young, born in the camps, have no profession but violence, no ambition but martyrdom, no creed but rage.

So today, Palestinian youths strap explosives to their bodies and blow themselves to eternity, somehow imagining it will help secure for their people the state they could have had in 1948, except for the tragic miscalculations of their Arab brethren. The virulent hatred is flamed by militant Muslims, who have declared a holy war of terror against Israel - and the United States for supporting Israel.

Without us, they would again try to drive the Jews into the sea, and if Israel could be destroyed the United States would no longer be the enemy.

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