May 14, 1948, almost seventy years ago, was the rebirth of Israel. The conditions surrounding Israel’s re-birth was anything but simple. In fact, it was hard. Israel’s journey from her early beginnings to the present has been fraught with great suffering. It is a tribute to the indomitable will and spirit of the Jewish people that they persisted in their valiant struggle to re-gather again in the land of their birth.

In ancient days, a noble and just Persian king, Cyrus the Great, rescued tens of thousands of Jewish people from captivity in a foreign land and empowered them to return home and rebuild their sacred temple. By his action of freeing an entire people from captivity and restoring their rightful dignity and place in history, Cyrus the Great, the author of the first code of Human Rights, cemented a bond of friendship between the Jews and the Persians.

Next year in Jerusalem was the wish of diaspora Jews, dispersed from their homeland yet acknowledging their spiritual and historical home to Israel, specifically, Jerusalem. Psalm 137 referred to as the well-known lament of the Babylonian Jews who wept ‘by the rivers of Babylon’ and declared, ‘If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.” The perennial prayer, “Next Year in Jerusalem” has finally been answered.

We, the spiritual children of Cyrus the Great commend President Trump’s foresight and courage to declare that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital. And, we pray that Israel succeeds in taking the steps necessary for making the New Jerusalem a place of hope and lasting safety for the Jewish people as well as people of all religions and for those with no religion at all.

Israel is a sovereign state but hardly safe. She is surrounded by nations and peoples who are bent on her destruction. It is tragic that her neighbors and she have not been able to find an equitable way of living side-by-side with mutual respect and in peace. I earnestly hope that ways can be found for a peaceful resolution to this destructive impasse.

Today, Israel has reunited Jerusalem and provided unrestricted freedom of religion. Access of all faiths to the Holy places in the unified city of peace is assured. The story of the rebirth of Israel is truly a miracle, yet challenges have remained, challenges that threaten the existence of this ancient country filled with so rich a culture.

As we watch, we pray for Israel and the Jewish people, for an everlasting peace and prosperity.

© 2017 Amil Imani – All Rights Reserved
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