No country has as much legitimacy to exist as the Jewish State of Israel.
It's legal reason for being is well known but deserves repeated expression.
Can you think of any other nation whose roots go back three thousand years?
Pause here and make yourself a list. You'll probably come up with Egypt, China. Greece came later. Any more?
How about the Jewish nation of Israel?
I am sure I don't have to point to the Bible as a historial document of Jewish nationhood. It is filled with heroic and tragic personalities and events, each recorded for posterity.
So we have a biblical and historically proven record of nationhood going back thousands of years.
Don't doubt that they are but tales and fantasies echoing down the ages. Come travel the land and see for yourself the physical evidence that proves the authenticity of the words.
Israel was first forged into a unified nation some three thousand years ago when King David united the twelve tribes from the city of Jerusalem.
Since King David established the city as the capital of the Jewish state circa 1000 BCE, it has served as the symbol and most profound expression of the Jewish people's identity as a nation.
For a thousand years Jerusalem was the seat of Jewish sovereignty, the household site of kings, the location of its legislative councils and courts. In exile, the Jewish nation came to be identified with the city that had been the site of its ancient capital. Jews, wherever they were, prayed for its restoration
Conquest, oppression, massacre, rape, slavery, exile, reduced the population to an anonymous minimum but the dream of re-establishment never died. Those few who remained prayed for a renewal of Judaism in the land. From distant Babylon enslaved Jews wept.
"By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. (137, 1-2).
"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither, let my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy." (137, 5-7).
"Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!" (147, 12)
It is important to note that these psalms were written more than five hundred years before Christ.
The Jewish bond to Jerusalem was never broken. For three milennia, Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish faith, retaining its symbolic value throughout the generations.
The centrality of Jerusalem to Judaism is so strong that even secular Jews express their devotion and attachment to the city and cannot conceive of a modern State of Israel without it.
Although Jerusalem appears in the Hebrew Bible 669 times, it is not mentioned in the Pentateuch. Instead when referring to Jerusalem, the term "the place that God will choose" is used. Maimonides cites various reasons why this is so, the first being that if the nations of the world had learned that this place was destined to become the centre of the highest religious ideals they would have occupied it to prevent the Jews from ever controlling it.
Ancient decrees echo to us down the ages:
"The builder of Jerusalem is God, the outcast of Israel he will gather in...Praise God O Jerusalem, laud your God O Zion." (Psalms 147:2-12)
The Land of Israel sits at the centre of the world and Jerusalem sits at the centre of the Land of Israel .
From the day Jerusalem was destroyed, God has no joy, until He rebuilds Jerusalem and returns Israel to it — Yalkut Shimoni Lamentations 1009
In antiquity, the Jewish religion revolved around the Temple in Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin, which governed the nation, was located in the Temple precincts. The Temple service was at the heart of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur proceedings. The Temple was central to the Three pilgrim festivals, namely Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, when all Jews were incumbent to gather in Jerusalem. Every seven years all Jews were required to assemble at the Temple for the Hakhel reading. The forty-nine day Counting of the Omer recalls the Omer offering which was offered at the Temple every day between Passover and Shavuot. The eight-day festival of Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple after its desecration by Antiochus IV. A number of fast days including the Ninth of Av, the Tenth of Tevet and the Seventeenth of Tammuz, all recall the destruction of the Temple.
At the conclusion of the Yom Kippur service and the Passover Seder the words "Next Year in Jerusalem" are recited.
For centuries, when a Jew anywhere in the world prays he prays in the direction of Jerusalem.
For centuries, when a Jew marries the groom breaks a glass to remind him, in his hour of greatest happiness, of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and he utters the prayer "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning." (Psalms 137:5).
For Jews, 'Next Year in Jerusalem!' is more than an abstract prayer. It is a personal command to return to the ancient Land of Israel.