R"I will restore the fortunes of my people Isra’el;
they will rebuild and inhabit the ruined cities;" Amos 9:14
A thriving, bustling metropolitan city with a stunning Mediterranean border, Tel Aviv is like a beachside Manhattan.
(view of Tel Aviv from Jaffa, 2017)
"Tel" means ancient ruins while "Aviv" means spring or renewal, making the name Tel Aviv one of the world's most iconic realistic oxymorons. Just as God promised.
(Tel Aviv: the first lots being auctioned off in 1909)
(Tel Aviv cityscape, 2018)
A few facts about the modern city of Tel Aviv:
Because Tel-Aviv is predominantly a secular city, most faith-based tour groups typically don't visit the White City. But I think that is a mistake. That's why I bring my groups for 1-2 days because it is the place where prophecy was fulfilled. Moreover, it is THE place of the official beginning of the modern state of Israel...the fist glimmer of our redemption in process.
- Home of the world's largest concentration of tech startups and the world's best known Diamond Exchange, Tel Aviv is the country's economic and technological center of the country.
- Tel Aviv is ranked 25th in the Global Financial Centres Index. Tel Aviv has the third- or fourth-largest economy and the largest economy per capita in the Middle East. (source: Wikipedia)
- Tel Aviv is also known as the White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 and comprises the world's largest concentration of International style buildings, including Bauhaus and other related modernist architectural styles. (source: Wikipedia)
- Named a top global culinary destination by Conde Naste Traveler Magazine, Saveur Magazine and Forbes Business Magazine. There is no shortage on the avant garde culinary artistry coming out the White City. The top cuisine? Sushi! Tel Aviv is also listed as the world's largest vegan city. Carnivore's don't despair, there are plenty of meat dishes available too. Simply put: Incredible, mind-blowing food is waiting for you in Tel Aviv!
How can a nation be born in a day?
It was in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948 where Ben Gurion signed the declaration of Israel as a sovereign modern nation into existence; fulfilling Isaiah 66:8
"Who ever heard of such a thing?
Who has ever seen such things?
Is a country born in one day?
Is a nation brought forth all at once?
For as soon as Tziyon went into labor,
she brought forth her children." Isaiah 66:8
(The room in Independence Hall, Tel Aviv, where Ben Gurion fulfilled Isaiah 66:8)
(I'm thankful to my pastor, Mark Biltz, for introducing me to Independence Hall in 2014.)
(Inscribed on a wall inside of Independence Hall, Tel Aviv)
If that moment in modern history colliding with biblical prophecy doesn't blow your mind, consider this.
The day Israel was declared a modern nation happened a mere 3 years after 6 million Jews were annihilated in the unspeakable Holocaust. Three years. In the blink of an eye, while Auschwitz was still smoldering, a nation was reborn with their culture, faith and language intact after being forced into exile for thousands of years.
Please let me know of any other people group this has happened to. You can't. I can't. No one can explain this in a rational way. This is the miracle. This is the promise of God to his people. There is no other nation that has been persecuted, forced into exile and denied the right to exist to not only survive but to return and build a superpower nation as they are today.
Do you like your cell phone? What about your computer or the handy dandy flashdrive that stores all of your photos and documents? You like cherry tomatoes? You can thank Israel...all of those things and a gazillion more were invented in Israel. Not to mention the promise of a Jewish Messiah to redeem the world. God's promises are through a specific people and place but for the benefit of all mankind. Hallelujah!
I've visited Independence Hall a half dozen times and every single time I go, I cry when I hear the guide tell the fascinating story from Theodore Herzl to Ben Gurion. Against all odds, this is truly remarkable.
On my last visit there in May 2018, as usual, I started to cry as I heard the riveting story. The lady behind me reached out and patted my shoulder to comfort me. When I turned around to thank her, it was none other than the famous, Lori Palatnik, the co-founder of Momentum (formerly known as The Jewish Woman's Renaissance Project). I could not believe it was her! I first learned about Lori through her wisdom-filled and inspiring videos, "Lori, Almost Live" and have been a fan ever since.
As soon as the presentation ended, we started talking and when she found out I was from Texas, she introduced me to the group of Jewish ladies she was leading who happened to be from Dallas. I couldn't help myself...through tears, I looked at those woman and pointed to the place where Ben Gurion signed Israel into existence and I said, "this...all of this was for you!" It was surreal to be in the presence of Lori and her group.
You see, Lori's organization, Momentum
, has a mission to be "a global movement focused on the greatest influencer -- the Jewish mother. Dedicated to inspiring Jewish mothers to live their most meaningful lives, Momentum is where Jewish comes to life." That is their foundation, but it is the trips to Israel where they bring Jewish women (and now men!) to the land of their ancestors, the land of their identity. These trips are life changing for many.
It was in that moment, as a Gentile totally smitten with what happened over 70 years ago in that very room, standing there in front of those Texas Jewish women, that it all came full circle...it was for those women and every other Jew that the early pioneers laid it all on the line to build a Jewish nation. A nation for Jews to call their own.
And this Jewish nation has amazing food.
There are many, many amazing restaraunts in Tel Aviv but my favorite is Manta Ray, right on the beach. It's casual but nice, seaside dining with the best pan-seared trout and intoxicating sunsets. The perfect way to end the day in The White City, home of the fulfillment of Isaiah 66:8.
(Pan seared trout with herbed gnocchi in a cashew sauce, Manta Ray)
(View of the Mediterranean from Manta Ray)
(my very first day in Israel, May 2014)
Mediterranean Sunset from Tel Aviv
Thanks for reading. Have a great week!