The explosive situation in the Near East is a startling reminder that ever since World War I, the world has been confronted with an anomalous and even unprecedented state of affairs. It is the claim of a people to return and repossess a land that has not been theirs for nearly two thousand years. What other people in the world would venture to demand that the clock of history be put back two millenniums for their benefit? Yet within a decade the land of Palestine, which has been for centuries under non-Jewish control, with a population estimated in 1914 at less than 700,000, of which the majority were Arabs, has been partitioned in such a way that the state of Israel now has a population of 1,716,000, of whom nearly 90 per cent are Jews. Yet nearly a million Arabs are refugees outside of Israel and dependent upon a dole from the United Nations for their very existence.

A Religious Question

This is an amazing situation. To what is it due? It is due partly to Zionist agitation in England and America, partly to the widespread sympathy for the Jews because of the inhuman treatment they received in Europe during World War II. Consequently, the claim of the Zionists that Palestine belongs to them as the descendants of Abraham was accepted by many who would have emphatically rejected a similar claim by any other people to possess a land in which they had been for centuries an almost negligible minority. In fact, to evaluate the situation properly, we must view it not as a political question but as a religious one and ask ourselves, Do the promises of the Old Testament to which the Zionists appeal support their claim to the possession of the land; and does the New Testament which the Zionists reject confirm them in it? A number of ...

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