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Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the eighth day of Iyar, 5742, the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Leviticus 16:1-20:27. Prophetical portion, Amos 9:7-15.
Candlelighting, Friday, April 30, 8:11 p.m.
VOL. LXXXI, No. 9
Friday, April 30, 1982
MIRACULOUS ISRAEL-: 34
Israel's resumption of statehood was treated
as a miracle.
Its functioning continues as a miracle.
No other people in mankind's history had
been confronted with so many obstacles, with
obstructions that could be ruinous for the
bravest and staunchest.
At 34, as a sovereign state, Israel carries her
burdens with an amazing resistance to what-
ever obstacles may be in her path.
Difficulties that have mounted in Israel's
struggles toward the high goals of creating
modern standards amidst environmental de-
gradations had few friendships. It all began
with acclaim from many nations, except for the
neighbors and some of their allies who vowed
her destruction. Now, only the United States
retains a role of friendship and encouragement
to the embattled people. This, too, may be
among the miracles attributable to the Israel
that is fact in modern history.
The confrontations that continue to threaten
the state's very existence have many tenden-
cies. They even intruded into Jewish ranks,
endangering the unity of the Jewish people
which is the nation's strongest instrument for
continuing progress. This, too, is a miracle, that
the Jewish state functions with pride and with
courage in spite of threatening divisiveness in
her own ranks.
In a world beset by warfare and by economic
difficulties, Israel stays abreast of the most
civilized in mankind. How else is this to be
judged other than as a miracle!
* * *
Are miracles unblemised? Is there a negative
approach to the vastness of the very small state
There is! It is imbedded in the legacies of
prejudices as well as the ghostliness of historic
Millions of Moslems, so deeply attached to a
way of life that they reject the Western influ-
ences brought into the area by Jews, have de-
clared war on their cousins. There are two
civilizations at war, and while the salutations of
both are akin ; both calling for peace — Shalom
and Salaam — the craved-for peace is remote.
Only one of Isarel's neighbors, Egypt, opted
for peace and is now itself the target of the
combined enemies in Islam.
Thus, the difficulties to be considered, the
ironies that affect the life of a people battling to
The Moslems are more numerous, outnum-
bering Israelis 100 to one. They have the oil, yet
claim that it is Jewish wealth that protects Is-
rael. They dominate in the UN General Assem-
bly and exert power in the UN Security Council.
Yet they operate as if Israel were dominating
That's what Israel has to contend with. This ,is
among the realities to be considered while
greeting kinfolk on an important date, the 34th
year of sovereignty.
Despite the agony thus defined, there must be
adherence to the search for strength. While sur-
vival is a hated term — one dare not speak as if
it were endangered — it is the strived-for
strength that is vital and must be viewed as a
factor in the judgment Of the anniversary now at
* * *
Even more: there is the Jewish problem, that
of the differences in the Jewish approaches to
the Israeli position in the world. There are the
domestic controversies. The religious con-
troversies do not detract from the challenges
which confront Israelis on all steps. They are
linked with tehhe political and they are not
happy angles in the life of a people battered with
And the issues revolving around Arabs in Is-
rael, the citizens within the land and the
neighbors in administered territories, in Judea
and Samaria which the outer world insists on
calling the West Bank, are truly upsetting.
These are all matters for concern, causing
History and geography merge into an immensely definitive work
tensions, compiling media interpretations that on the major faiths, their adherents, their legacies, their traditions, in
are, at best, like daggers directed at the heart of "Atlas of the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the Holy Land" (Reader's
Israel's need to live normally.
Encyclopedic, detailed in respect to Christianity, Islam and
It has not helped the peace, and the threats to
the historically factual, the geographic, "Atlas of the Bible"
it are directed not only at Israel but also at the Judaism,
was prepared by a panel of experts. Archeologists, scholars, historians
only participant in a peace effort, Egypt.
and geographers were led in this task by the late Dr. Harry Thomas
Such are the accumulated difficulties not to
Frank, Danforth Professor of Religion and chairman of the depart-
be ignored as the hearty greetings pour out,
ment of religion at Oberlin College.
joining with Israel in observing the 34th year of
The cartographic branch of the Israel Ministry of Labor assisted
in preparing the maps which form a major portion of this volume.
* * *
There is an introductory comment to the "Atlas" that has special
Chronicling events and achievements, in the merit. It commences with:
"The narrow land bridge between Asia and Africa — historic
story of Israel and the Zionist ideal that brought
a region divided between Israel and its Arab
it into being, world Jewry has good cause to be neighbors -- today
is among the most important geographic areas on earth.
proud of the spiritual-cultural accom- A link between the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, it
became the highway for conquering armies, a pawn in the power
The universities in Israel continue to gain struggle waged for centuries, even millennia, by the great empires
high-ranking roles in the academic world as a
that rose and fell in the Near East. And today it is almost daily in
result of the contributions that are made to sci- newspaper headlines as rival nations assert their claims to the area.
"The true significance of this ancient land, of course, lies outside
ence and literature, Israel's technology having
any geographical or political considerations. For this is the Holy Land
reached a stage that matches the most creative.
— birthplace of both Judaism and Christianity, sacred also to the
It is this rather than the military which gains
followers of Muhammad. To a devout reader of the Bible, it is as
acclaim under most tragic conditions that is
familiar as his own neighborhood. He has stood with Abraham at the
especially to Israel's credit.
oak of Moreh and heard the Lord promise, 'To your descendants I will
At the same time, the Israeli nation has
give this land.' With Moses he had climbed Mount Nebo, to be shown
raised the standards of the tens of thousands `a good land, a lang od brooks of water, of fountains and springs,
who have been settled from underdeveloped flowing forth in valleys and hills . .
"He has marched with Joshua as he 'defeated the whole land, the
countries, thus giving the country the status of
hill country and the Hegev and the lowland and the slopes . . .' He has
rescuer of the oppressed and provider of a haven
followed Jesus along the shores of the Sea of Galilee as he gathered his
for excapees from persecution.
`fishers of men' and accompanied him on his last, fateful journey into
* * *
With the cheers to the celebrant of 34 years of Jerusalem."
Commencing with "Digging Up the Past," the volume carri on
revived statehood go Many obligations. The Is-
historic analyses, profusely illustrated, providing the mai.
raelis will contend with their own. They must
make an atlas a genuine treasure.
avoid internal rifts. Politiczation of the basic
Kings and judges, invasions and endless conflicts, the ancient,
obligations to act unitedly in the nation's de- "-the events of the Middle Ages, the present — all are part of the history
fense must develop, must be adhered to.
that is also specified as geography.
rt is the Jewish Diaspora that has a very defi-
If it were not for any other reason than the inclusion of a 32-page
nite duty. It, especially, with emphasis on gazeteer, the "Atlas of the Bible" would merit particular considera-
tion. It is defined in part:
American Jewry, must stand firmly for justice,
"The_gazetteer . . . is an alphabetical guide to places in the bibli-
for kinship with Israel, never abandoning the
aim of upholding the hands of the battlers for cal world. The names of villages, towns, and cities mentioned in the
Revised Standard Version of the Bible and in the Apocrypha are
life and for justice.
listed. There are also entries for places that figured prominently in
In that process, there is the specific duty of the history of the Jewish people and in the rise of Christianity but
retaining the friendship with the United States,
which are not named in the Bible — for example, Machaerus in the
of keeping this nation on the side of an embat- Transjordan, where, according to the historian JOsephus, John the
tled people that stands alone and needs a friend. Baptist was put to death."
The U.S. is that friend. With the Jewish citizens
The seriousness with which the religious backgrounds are
and their Christian supporters they are the treated in this volume is commendable. It is a volume whose contents
bulwark of strength for Israel. So must it re- will, indeed, serve as a guide for all faiths. It will be valued as a
main as Israel is greeted on an important natal treasure for all who seek information about the Holy Land and the
faithful of three major religious denominations.
`Atlas of Bible' Enriches
Studies of the Holy Land