Hashem will grant strength to His nation. Hashem will bless His people with peace. Psalms (29:11)
The Gemara teaches that in the End of Days G-d will bless Israel with open miracles. The past half a decade has been one. This miracle is so obvious it’s pretty hard to see.
The past five years have witnessed every part of the world shaken to its core, except for Israel. For the previous 60 years it was just the opposite. The Arabs enjoyed trillions of dollars of newfound oil money. America and Europe became the military and economic superpowers of the world. Even Russia recovered from its Soviet collapse to reassert itself as an economic upstart. Asia has transformed itself from an agrarian economy to the superpower in waiting.
Israel always struggled just to keep its head straight.
America has been hit with tumultuous storms, knocking out power to millions of homes in the Washington area, followed by an unprecedented heat wave that has broken thousands of weather records nationwide. Their economy has been devastated by a financial collapse, trillion dollar annual budget deficits, and the creation of tens of trillions of dollars by its central bank.
Europe is on the brink. The Union itself is being held together by a thread. Both Spain and Greece have unemployment rates over 20%. Already hundreds of billions of Euros have been created to save these two countries, with trillions more on the way. Bailouts for the endangered nations will not be enough. Soon Portugal, Ireland, and even Italy and France will need to be rescued. Islamic terror is a constant threat as the 10% of Europe which is now Muslim is estimated to balloon to well over 30% over the next 50 years.
The Arab world is in complete chaos. The Arab Spring has already claimed the lives of over 50,000 people. Millions live in total anarchy. Governments are rising and falling by the month as countries scramble to hold together what is left of normal living.
Even Asia is on shaky ground. As Chinese growth rates slow down, that nation’s government is deeply concerned about how it will be able to continue to find employment for the hundreds of millions of new entrants to the urban work force. These job seekers, if not able to earn a living, will be where the next revolution could start.
The only country unaffected by the current upheavals has been the Jewish State. This is an open miracle from Hashem.
Israel not only survived the crisis of 2008, it kept growing. Israel was able to balance its annual budget more than once after the crisis. It was the first developed nation to raise interest rates after the global shock, signaling a return to economic expansion. Israel’s unemployment rate has been the lowest in its history at 4.9%. The Israeli stock market has risen over the past ten years more than any stock market on earth. The housing market is still comparable to the way it was in America during the middle of the last decade. Where debt ratings agencies have lowered their ratings for American and European debt, the quality of Israeli bonds has been elevated by Standard and Poor’s.
Our social justice movements have resulted in zero casualties. Our political situation has become more stable. Where American, European, and Arab leaders are entering and leaving office with unprecedented frequency, Israel started this crisis with a Prime Minister who lost the popular election in 2009, and now commands a majority of 75% of the Israeli Parliament. He is widely perceived as a shoo-in for the 2013 elections, providing Israel with an even greater internal stability for the next six years.
Physically, financially, and politically Israel has become the safest place on earth. For the first time since King Solomon, Israel has more prospects than any other nation in the world.
It’s up to us to thank Hashem for making Israel the oasis of calm. It’s up to us to acknowledge the many messages He is sending to His children:
One, now is the time to come home. Nobody can tell you that Israel is too dangerous to visit, volunteer for, study at, or live in. There is a civil war going on in our northeast border, a revolution occurring on the western front, a terrorist state run by Iran directly to the north, an attempt by the world to arbitrarily give away half our country to proven enemies, and a very unstable Kingdom to our east yet still we are safe and sound. Hashem truly has His eyes upon the Land from the first day of the year to the last (Devarim 11:12). The fact that we have not been engulfed by Arab rage is another open miracle.
Two, all of the tribulations Israel has had to bear in the past are now coming to light. The constant state of emergency that has existed over the past six decades has created a people not only able to handle adversity, but capable of prospering under such a heavy circumstance. Current events have rendered every nation just like Israel. As a result, Israel has become the world leader because she is the expert in dealing with this type of environment.
We are now discovering why Hashem sent so many tribulations to His children for so long. He was preparing us for these times. We are taught to always have faith that everything that happens comes directly from Hashem and that it is all for our benefit. The open miracles of the past five years have been clear proof. Events that seemed incomprehensible to us have been revealed to have a logical Divine purpose to them. We just needed to be steadfast and patient.
We must ask ourselves: when difficult times befall each and every one of us, what personal redemption is Hashem preparing for us? As Israel continues to stare down the challenges she faces, what Redemption is Hashem getting ready for?
* * *
Dovber Halevi is the author of Sex, Religion, and the Middle East, a book about personal holiness and happiness. He lives in Israel with his wife and three children.