The return of Jews to the Land of Israel has been one of the most outstanding evidences that we are living in the last days, and it is interesting to note the reasons. Expulsion Ever since 70 AD when Titus dispersed all Jews and sent young Jews to work in the Egyptian mines, they have been hated, persecuted and slaughtered. In his “Crash Course in Jewish History” Rabbi Ken Spiro (www.aish.com) lists some countries which expelled all Jews: England (1290 AD); France (1306 and 1394); Hungary (1349 and 1360); Germany (1348 and l498); Austria (1421); Lithuania (1445 and 1495); Spain (1492); Portugal (1497).
Their return to the Land began in 1881 with the birth of the Zionist Movement which promoted a national home for the Jews after centuries of persecution and expulsion. It did not meet with the approval of Orthodox Jews of Eastern Europe who urged their people to remain in their Jewish communities. Even when German persecution began, it was suggested that the Zionists were behind it to get Jews to return to Palestine.
A study of history will show that persecution has been the main reason for the massive Jewish migration back to the Land.
Return Since 1881
Although Zionism began in 1881, the first Zionist Congress occurred in 1897 and only a trickle of Jews returned to the Land until the first major wave in the 1930s when persecution became intense in Europe. Pogroms (massacres) of Jews had taken place in Russia as early as 1743, but they were common under the Czars prior to the 1917 Russian Revolution.
By 1914 there were only 85,000 Jews in Palestine. By 1929, just 15 years later, there were 154,000. By 1945 there were 565,000. God said to Israel: “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, and an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out” (Ezek. 20:34).
It has largely been intense anti-Semitism that has driven Jews back to the Land. Following World War 2, persecution in Muslim countries increased and almost a million Jews had to flee from Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. It has been estimated that these refugees left $30 billion of assets behind as they fled, very often with only the clothes they were wearing. Only small Jewish communities remain in these lands today.
Return Since 1991
The next great surge of refugees came after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Anti-Semitism in communist countries gave Jews the incentive to escape as soon as the doors were flung open; and within one decade a million Jews came flooding into Israel. Many of these refugees were well-educated scientists, engineers and doctors. The flow is continuing today, and Israel’s Prime Minister has stated that they expect a million more to arrive. The largest number of these refugees give as their reason for returning to the Land the rising anti-Semitism which has seen synagogues torched in Moscow and Jewish leaders attacked.
A recent report from “Operation Tarshish,” on a new wave of refugees from Argentina, is interesting. We have heard much about the collapse of the Argentinian economy, of unemployment and rioting. There are 200,000 Jews in Buenos Aires, 50,000 of which are living in awful poverty.
In January 2002, the first wave of 30 families from Argentina arrived in Israel. They are learning Hebrew to speed their assimilation into their new homeland, glad to say goodbye to Argentina. Many more will follow. When told of terrorist attacks in Israel they replied, “It can’t be worse than what we experience in Argentina.”
Official statistics provided by a 2001 issue of the Jerusalem Report indicate that there are approximately 14 million Jews worldwide: 42% in North America; 37% in Israel; 9% in Europe; 12% (1.6 million) elsewhere. Not counted are the ten lost tribes scattered through Central Asia by the Assyrians in 721 BC. There is evidence that these can be traced to the Pathan tribes of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir, which number at least 15 million people.
Ezekiel 37:15-28 prophesies that the ten tribes would be reunited with Judah in the Last Days: “Surely, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and will bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land” (Ezek. 37:21-22). And Zechariah 10:1-12 also clearly states this: “I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them … Those of Ephraim … I will whistle for them and gather them … I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria.” Isaiah 49:20-21 expresses Israel’s surprise at how many “lost children” turn up in the millennial kingdom.
If the Pathans are the lost tribes, then God’s judgment on the Muslim invasion of Israel during the Tribulation will not only result in the conversion of the Jews as we know them but also in the conversion of a lot of Jewish Muslims.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Ecob, of Orange, NSW Australia, is the editor of The Herald Of Hope, a prophecy magazine. This article appeared in The Australasian Christian Digest, June 2002.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA.