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Israel celebrated her 70th birthday on April 19, with 70 hours of non-stop celebrations on the beaches, in the parks, in the squares and in the stadiums with live entertainment, festivities – and special prayers at the wall. A highlight was 300 drones in the sky over Jerusalem forming patterns such as the Israeli flag, the Jerusalem skyline, a Star of David, a dove and an olive tree. Amidst the threats of war on the northern and southern borders, the people still came out to enjoy the occasion.

David Ben-Gurion said, ‘In Israel, in order to be a realist you have to believe in miracles.’ Israel is a miracle – firstly of preservation. The Jewish people have survived, against all odds, scattered throughout the world for 2,000 years. No other nation still exists after being exiled for so long. Once back in the land they faced immediate annihilation by six surrounding nations bent on their destruction. Not once, but in eight wars, two Palestinian intifadas and other armed conflicts since 1948, they have prevailed over their neighbours and gained, not lost, land. Even now, the surrounding nations seek to ‘cast the Jews into the sea’ to save face for Allah. But the God of Israel, before whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess, continues to stand by His Word, His covenant, His land and His people to give them the victory, and unfold His purposes.

The nation is also a miracle of development and economy. Not only have the people returned but they have transformed deserts and swamps into productive agricultural land, rebuilt the biblical cities, restored the Hebrew language and built one of the most resilient and successful economies in the world – all in 70 years.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the world was knocking at Israel’s door and everyone wanted three things – technology, technology and technology! With few natural resources (until the recent gas discoveries), Israel has built the nation on its human resources of innovation. It has invested extensively in research and ideas to foster the hi-tech industries, both at a government and company level. They offer loans as venture capital to start-up companies, a practice that has high risk, but if 3-4 out of 20 of the ventures succeed, it pays for itself. The hi-tech industry spans the health, agriculture, water, automotive, environment, aerospace and financial sectors. There are 320 research and development centres run by Apple, Google, IBM, Samsung, Intel, Amazon and Microsoft in Israel. Forty-five percent of Israel’s exports are hi-tech, including 7% of the global total of cyber-security technology. Israel has successfully created water from air and leads the world in solar energy. By law, every house must have a solar panel.

Israel’s economy has grown consistently for the last 15 years. In 2018, it is forecast to have 3.4% economic growth, unemployment of just over 4%, zero inflation and a 2% population growth. It has by far the highest fertility rate of the all OECD countries – 3.11 per woman.

We thank God for these positive signs of His blessings. Happy 70th birthday, Israel.

Israel turns 70