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Anniversary straight talk: Israel wasn’t ‘created’ 70 years ago

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

On the Western calendar, May 14 marks the birthday of modern Israel but no one should make the mistake of saying Israel was “created” on that day in 1948. The use of such words promotes the false idea that the United Nations abruptly and arbitrarily authorized a Jewish nation to make up for the horrors of the Holocaust by sheltering refugees from the slaughter.

Actually, Jewish pioneers began building new farms and cities, universities, political parties and a formidable self-defense force, a full century before official independence. By that time, 600,000 Jews already lived in Israel and in the next decade, some 70 percent of arriving Jewish refugees fled Muslim lands in the Middle East, not death camps of Europe.

No, Israel wasn’t suddenly “created” by outside forces any more than America instantly came into being in 1776. In both cases, generations of toil and sacrifice produced dynamic new societies long before international recognition.

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