If you follow the story of Israel, you may know that the people of Israel are special. These demonized Jews, so hated by so many, have a unique—even unequalled--record of accomplishment.
For example, this tiny nation has been described as one of the smaller countries in the world—perhaps number 100 of some 196-200 countries (the United Nations has 193 Member States, but there are also a small number of nations not Members). Israel’s Jewish population of app 6 million is less than 1/1,000th of the world’s total population. Nevertheless, Israel is number two in the world for attracting Venture Capital investment dollars.
It is number one in the world for ratio of population with university degrees.
It is number one in the world for per capita number of scientific papers produced.
It is number one in the world for per capita number of startup companies.
It is number one in the world for per capita number of biotech startup companies.
Relative to its population, Israel is number one in the world for attracting immigrants.
It is number in one in the world for rate of entrepreneurship among women.
You get the picture. This tiny nation is truly a giant.
But its specialness is not limited to its people or its accomplishments. The land itself is special.
For example, Israel has been called the Superpower of bird migration. More birds migrate through Israel—some 500,000 a year—than through any other country.
Israel has the lowest point on earth.
Israel has the lowest salt water body on earth.
Depending on whose numbers you accept, Israel has the saltiest (or 2nd most or 3rd most salty) lake on earth.
According to one source, the hypersaline Dead Sea is inhabited by unique, ‘highly specialized’ algae and ‘archaeobacteria’.
Israel is home to the Machtesh. There are only seven Machtesh in the world—and they are all in Israel (five are in Israel proper, two are in the Sinai, which Israel has surrendered to Egypt). The Machtesh is a deep natural hole in the ground. Israel’s largest Machtesh is perhaps 25 miles long, five miles wide and 1,300 feet deep. It is enormous. It is called, ‘Israel’s Grand Canyon’. But it isn’t a canyon. It isn’t a crater. These Machtesh were not created by an impacting meteor (crater) or the effects of a river (canyon). These holes were created by erosion. Generally, craters have no entry points and canyons have two entry-points; a Machtesh has one entry point. They are a unique nature preserve that provides unprecedented insight into prehistory. Some of the exposed rock is said to be up to 200 million years old. The views and vistas are literally breath-taking.
The world’s lowest fresh water body is in Israel.
The minerals that appear in Israel’s lowest hypersaline lake (see above) all appear naturally in the human body.
The 2,300-year old Dead Sea Scrolls (which, essentially, scientifically validate the Jewish religion) reveal their secrets to us from caves in the Jordan River Valley.
Israel sits in the Great Rift Valley, the longest rift on the earth’s surface. This Rift splits Israel in half, north-south. A rift is a continuous geographic trench. It is a crack in the earth’s crust. It is a spot where the earth’s crust moves and pulls apart. Geologists claim that Africa’s 19,000+-foot Mount Kilimanjaro was formed as a result of subterranean movement within the Rift—movement which continues to this day. Living on this Rift means that Israel truly ‘lives (miraculously) on the edge’.
We are reminded of the specialness of the land of Israel because of a comment made at the end of last week by Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman declared that he supports peace proposals to be presented soon by US Secretary of State John Kerry. He supports land-swaps as part of a deal with ‘Palestinians’ (“Lieberman: Unity of people more important than unity of land”, Ynet, February 7, 2014). He reiterated his commitment to Kerry today (“Liberman: I'm willing to be Evicted – for Peace”, Aruz Sheva February 9, 2014).
Mr Lieberman is wrong. The Jewish people cannot be separated from the Jewish land.
The Jewish people have a unique relationship with this Jewish land. Our history proves that. Read your Tanach. We are to possess this land, not give it away. We protect our identity by living on this land, not by giving it away.
Just as the Jewish people are extraordinary (above), so too, this Jewish land is extraordinary. This special place—this unique land--is our heritage. It is a priceless asset. It is a super-museum-quality property granted to the Jewish people by the ultimate Grantor--G-d.
Israel is number one in the world for museums per capita. Israel understands what to do with priceless assets.
Mr Lieberman, when you possess a priceless heritage, you do not give it away. You protect it.