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A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Highlighted words lead to other posts almost all in my blog. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. INDEX OF POSTS SEE MAY 2017 or click link above.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Proof of God from Israel

Updated 2/9/2015 ; Updated 2/27/2016 to add a link to amazing military victories. 

Essentially the proof is something like this:

The rise of the State of Israel in 1948, over 2000 years  since the Jews lost independent statehood,  is so remarkable that God must be involved. Moreover, it was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

For refutes to the above See  both Proof of God from Jewish Survival, Suffering and the Bible Predictor  and Proof of God from Prophecy 

A related argument is Israel's victory in the 1948 Arab- Israeli was due to a miracle.

Let  me preface this discussion by saying my intent is not to denigrate the brave, heroic, resourceful  Israeli soldiers, nor the sacrifices they and others made during the war of Independence. Nor should this be construed as taking sides against Israel. My only goal is to determine the degree to which we can attribute supernatural involvement in the war. 

Was Israel’s victory in the War of Independence a miracle ?

I may reply throughout history there have been occasional significant military upsets where the ‘underdog’ wins or holds out much longer than expected against overwhelming odds. Here are just three examples:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Annual 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae

 Are not those battles amazing miracles ?

{ETA 2/27/2016  Came across this list of many amazing  military victories see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_disasters }



Remarkable military events do occur in history and they do not require invoking supernatural beings for explanations. Sometimes even chance can play a role. 

Moreover, experts have provided numerous reasons for the success of Israel during the war, negating the need to cite supernatural intervention. 

"On May 14, [1948] the State of Israel was proclaimed and immediately recognized by the Soviet Union and the United States. On the following day, as the British announced the end of their mandate in Palestine, the armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq entered the country with an estimated total of 21,500 troops - no match for Israel's estimated 65,000. Within less than a month the failure of the Arab intervention became certain."
Source History of Syria and Palestine page 961 Encyclopaedia Britannica volume 17, 15th edition 1974

A different evaluation of the relative number of troops  and a more balanced view is found in the Yoev Gelber link below

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During WWII there were thousands of well trained Jewish soldiers who fought on the side of the Allies, including the British trained Jewish Brigade. Some of those soldiers assisted in the formation of Israel. 

{ Jewish Ghetto fighters from WWII also assisted Israel}

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From our great Jewish Leader Golda Meir  (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Golda_Meir)


  • We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon — no alternative. The Egyptians could run to Egypt, the Syrians into Syria. The only place we could run was into the sea, and before we did that we might as well fight.
    • As quoted in LIFE magazine (3 October 1969), p. 32

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Israel Studies An Anthology: The Israeli-Arab War of 1948
by Yoav Gelber (July 2009) found at this link http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/isdf/text/gelber.html provides a good discussion of some of the issues. Here are some excerpts

"In war, the stronger belligerent almost always wins and the Israeli War of Independence was no exception to this rule. A detailed examination of the balance of power reveals that throughout most of the war, excluding the period from the outset of the invasion on May 15 until the first truce in June 1948 the Jews were superior in personnel, equipment, logistics and organization. However, in the first month after the invasion the Arab armies enjoyed a considerable superiority in the air, artillery and light armor.

Moreover, the Jewish troops were exhausted after six months of combat and had already sustained heavy losses in manpower and equipment. By contrast, the invading Arab formations were fresh and complete. Nonetheless, even at this stage, the expeditionary forces and their local auxiliaries were quantitatively inferior to the Yishuv’s mobilized manpower. Throughout the rest of the war, the Haganah and the IDF remained stronger both qualitatively and quantitatively.

This statement deserves an explanation. As in most statistics, a comparison here is unfair. The figures on the Israeli side include the entire military to the last clerk of the Second Echelon. The Arab troops dispatched to Palestine consisted of combat and combat-support troops while their logistic infra-structures, GHQs and base depots remained behind. In a comparison of the numbers of combatants and fighting-support troops, adding the Palestinian auxiliaries to the Arab expeditions, the Israeli superiority would shrink considerably and the ratio would be close to equality."

“The Israeli narrative of “few against many” has been based on popular myth. Ben-Gurion had denied it during the war and repeated the denial long after it ended. Nonetheless, this popular narrative reflected an authentic anxiety in the Yishuv.”

“.... Israel’s military superiority was still insufficient to explain the final outcomes of the war. Ultimately, the enormous Jewish advantage laid in the social, organizational and technical infrastructure behind the troops and the successful transformation and application of these factors in the military sphere.”

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A History of Modern Israel Colin Shindler 2008

Beginning Page 44 Israel feared annihilation if they failed. Arab Invading force - 22000 to 28000 troops + several thousand irregulars. Israel -fielded 27000 to 30000 troops plus a home guard of 6000 and 2000-3000 Irgun.  Arabs had overwhelming superiority of aircraft and heavy weaponry. 

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A History of Israel - Sachar 1996

P 317 -  By May 12 - Israel mobilized 30000, not much smaller than Arabs.   Arabs have superior fire power plus an air force. But Jews have better military experience and are dedicated. Israel has other military advantages. For example - Israel’s  Yigael Yadin who had expert knowledge of the terrain. The Jews were excellent street fighters.  Arabs also had other advantages as well. 
The book explains the overall poor training, or poor motivation, or poor morale of most of the Arab armies. 

Page 325  June 11, 1948  - truce. By this date Israel has been fighting a bit under 4 weeks since the start of the entrance of the Arab armies into the war, and during this truce many new recruits, fighter planes, bombers, armaments and more come into Israel.

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Under Fire Israels 20 year Struggle for Survival 1968  Donald Robinson Editor

Beginning Page 91 How Israel won the War of Independence 1948-1949 by George Herald

Egyptians - brave but poorly trained.

To avoid being bombed to death Israel had underground shelters including at least one with an underground hospital. [I recall reading another source that Israel had  safe munitions factories, some antitank and some anti aircraft weapons.] 

Israelis- obstinate courage, surprise commando raids. Had made better use of psychological tactics such as bluffing and propaganda.

 Israelis - a long tradition of self defense and military leaders and trainers since at least 1907.

During the siege of Jerusalem  Fritzel developed a superior range  mortar, perhaps the longest range available. Brigadier Dori - “God knows whether we would have won the war if Fritzel had not developed the superior mortar”. 

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Mordechai Bar-On an  Israeli Company commander says Israelis victory as a divine miracle is a false image. He goes on to explain why. (Beginning Page 37 Making Israel 2007 - Edited by Benny Morris). 

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Avi Shlaim - “The final outcome of the wars was thus not a miracle but a faithful reflection of the underlying Arab-Israeli military balance.”  (Beginning Page 134 Making Israel 2007 - Edited by Benny Morris). 

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To summarize some history I have read, and reasons I have read for Israel’s success. 

Israel initially had a big disadvantage - virtually a non existent air force and lack of big fire power, (the Israelis had some anti aircraft weapons and anti tank weapons.)  The Arabs had superior air force and fire power, had some geographic strengths such as controlling key arteries. There was probably British Hostility towards Israel.  Initially, Israel was at risk of losing the war against the combined armies of the Arabs.

 What are some of the factors playing a role in Israel’s victory - Maybe the  Fritzel, determination not to be driven into the sea, fighting ability they had developed since early 1900's, external and internal help from WWII and ghetto veterans, superior propaganda and bluffing, ability to get significant human reinforcements - planes- arms, taking calculated but risky operations, shorter communication lines, united politically and militarily.  The Arabs were mostly poorly trained, poorly motivated, (lacked military experience ?) , had longer communication and land supply lines, were not coordinated, were not united, had poor military intelligence of the Jewish fighting forces, and had conflicting interests (this is still true today). 

The Orthodox Jewish claim that Yahweh is fighting on behalf of Israel, is no different than the claims of other ancient peoples claiming their own god(s) fight on behalf of their own side. For example the Mesha Stele - Moab's god  Kemosh fights on Moab's behalf  against  Israel. 

From the book Ancient Israel in the Sinai by Hoffmeier 2005 
Beginning on Page 79 "The Egyptians wrote history and understood events in the light of divine planning and intervention.";  "Several studies have been made of Mesopotamian Literature to show there was a relationship between history and divine involvement in human affairs."}

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