The history of the People of Israel is a unique phenomenon in the history of mankind. One cannot find a people who survived from the ancient world to the present day, scattered in postcards all over the world, persecuted and hated by their neighbors, and yet maintained their identity and faith, flourished and influenced the world, and eventually returned to their land (for the third time!) from all over the world and established a prosperous State. The existence of the People of Israel is considered a miracle by many: “The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Persians and Romans ascended and filled the world, made a huge noise and disappeared.
Only the Jewish people saw them all, struck them all, and is today what it has,” wrote Mark Twain. Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote: “Preserving national identity on the part of a nation without political independence, without a uniform spoken language, a nation that is not concentrated but scattered all over the world and facing horrific persecutions – this is such an irrational phenomenon facing every open-mouthed historian.”
There is no doubt that the riddle of the existence of the People of Israel is amazing in itself. Yet it is doubly astonishing that all the history of the People of Israel was foretold in the Torah: exile, dispersal, persecution, the minority, and eventually returning to the land, which would wait desolate for its sons all these years without foreigners taking their place. All these points of history are described in detail in the Book of Deuteronomy. Who could have naturally anticipated these events?
After all, the People of Israel could easily have become extinct, assimilated to a dominant group, assimilated into other peoples, settled in another land and the like, as has happened to a great many other peoples. It could easily have happened that some people would settle in the Land of Israel and fill it in a way that would not allow the Jews to ever return to it. The fact that events actually happened as written in the Torah, contrary to all expectations and chances, constitutes strong evidence of its truth and of the prophecies. It follows that this is not just a credible historical tradition, but a tradition that produces a people with an extraordinary history who changed the world.