In our past two issues, we have sought to identify the miracles which Hashem performed to aid the establishment of the State of Israel. We continue to analyze these miracles in this issue.
Our Enemies’ Foolish Mistakes
Another way we can detect Hashem’s subtle involvement is when our enemies act in an inexplicably foolish manner. Arab behavior regarding the UN Partition vote undoubtedly satisfies this description. Benny Morris (“1948” p. 40) writes that Arab leaders “came to the [United Nations] assembly cocky and disorganized and remained so until the bitter end.” Morris (ad. loc p.42) further records:
“The AHC (Arab High Command; the leaders of the Palestinian Arab community) announced its intention to boycott UNSCOP and failed completely to prepare for its visit. The AHC charged that UNSCOP was pro-Zionist and accompanied the committee’s deliberations with uncompromising radio broadcasts (“all of Palestine must be Arab”). Opposition figures were warned that they would pay with their lives if they spoke to UNSCOP.
The Arabs [of Palestine] displayed sourness, suspicion or aggressiveness [to UNSCOP]. Everywhere the Arabs refused to answer the committee’s questions… In the Arab village of Rama the inhabitants evacuated the village and UNSCOP was greeted by a delegation of children who cursed them. The committee was impressed by the cleanliness and development in the Jewish areas and conversely, by the dirt and backwardness of the Arab villages and towns. They were particularly horrified at the common sight of child labor and exploitation in Arab factories and workshops.”
In his memoir, one UNSCOP member wrote that “there is nothing more extreme than meeting all the representatives of the Arab world in one group...when each one tries to show that he is more extreme than the other.”
Finally, Benny Morris records (p. 62):
“In general, until the last three days before the vote, Arab diplomats and their governments refused to believe that partition would gain a two-thirds majority and made no concerted effort to mobilize votes. The old foreign office hand Harold Beeley tried to orchestrate a last minute postponement and compromise. But the AHC declined to consider any concessions after replacing their more moderate spokesmen with hardliners.”
All in all, the Arab leadership acted in an astonishingly foolish manner that served only to strengthen the case for the creation of a Jewish State in part of Palestine and to highlight the justice in establishing the State of Israel.
Events that Defy Normal Probability
A third means of detecting God’s subtle involvement in an event is when events occur that dramatically defy normal expectations. The very fact that the UN voted to create a Jewish State was a striking defiance of expectations.
Benny Morris (p. 37 and p. 40) writes that “the Arabs were not averse to the [Palestine] problem going before the United Nations, where they anticipated a favorable outcome. With five member states and a handful of reflexive Islamic and third world supporters, they expected an easy victory.” Zionist leadership, by contrast, was “wary” (p.38) and quite concerned with the United Nations voting on the outcome of Eretz Yisrael in which a two-thirds majority of the fifty seven UN members was needed to establish a Jewish State.
The Jews had every reason to be worried, as many of the UN member states were not initially strongly in favor of establishing a Jewish state. Benny Morris writes (p.53-54):
“The Zionists faced a major challenge in the twenty-member Latin American bloc, the United Nations’ largest, where the anti-Zionist influences of the Catholic Church – the Vatican opposed partition and Jewish statehood – and local Arab and German communities were strong, and where anti-American feeling, which affected attitudes to Zionism, was widespread.”
As late as November 25, 1947 (four days before the critical vote), six Latin American countries abstained, Paraguay absented itself, and Cuba voted against the Partition Plan in the UNSCOP committee vote.
Regarding Western Europe, Benny Morris writes that it was not “in the bag.” France was not readily in favor due to its traditional alliance with Britain and its commitment to the sixteen million Muslims under its rule in North Africa. France’s vote was vital as it would impact Belgium, Denmark, Holland and Luxembourg.
The four countries in the British Commonwealth, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, were not “in the bag” either. For example, New Zealand’s UN deputy head of delegation, J.S. Reid, was strongly anti-Zionist. These four countries almost voted in line with Great Britain which was hardly in favor of creating a Jewish State.
China was particularly difficult to convince due to its population of twenty million Muslims.
Finally, the United States was not strongly in favor of the partition until seventy-two hours before the vote.
Taken all together, the Zionist leadership correctly assessed that it did not have the votes for a Jewish state. And yet, the UN voted on November 29, 1947, in favor of partitioning Palestine into two states. The United States and France voted for the establishment of a Jewish State as did the four Commonwealth countries. Shockingly, thirteen Latin American countries voted for a Jewish state and only one (Cuba) voted against it. The five Soviet bloc states voted in favor of the Partition Plan, which was extremely shocking (for reasons explained in last week’s essay). China shifted from outright rejection to benevolent neutrality, and in the end it abstained. Liberia, Haiti and the Philippines voted in favor of the Partition Plan, even though they were teetering until the last moment. In the end, Belgium, Denmark, Holland and Luxembourg all voted in favor as well. Yugoslavia abstained despite its large Muslim population, Argentina abstained despite the many Nazis that took refuge in that country and its large Arab population, and Ethiopia abstained, which was a happy surprise in light of its high percentage of Muslims.
More Evidence of Divine Manipulation
Benny Morris (p. 61) cites a leading Arab leader who correctly noted that the partition would never had been approved had the vote been conducted in secret as demanded by the Arab states. With God’s help, this demand was not accepted by UN leaders.
Moreover, it is reasonable to argue that the divine hand ensured that the UN vote take place in New York (Lake Success to be exact, just outside of Queens, which had and still has an extraordinarily large Jewish community) and not San Francisco (the location of the beginning of the UN) or Geneva (the headquarters of the League of Nations). Benny Morris explains:
“Delegates with no firm instructions from their governments were no doubt influenced by the prevalent atmosphere in New York and Flushing Meadow, where the media broadcast ‘that an enemy of partition was an enemy of the American people’... [At Flushing Meadow the] almost exclusively Zionist audience…applauded declarations of support for Zionism. They hissed Arab speakers. They created the atmosphere of a football match, with the Arabs as the away team.”
One could argue that the success of the UN Partition vote was a happy coincidence or a result of massive and wide Zionist lobbying of each UN member which it stood a chance to convince. However, too much had to work out properly to attribute the success exclusively to Zionist efforts.
Just as the many and varied circumstances that had to work in order for Esther’s brilliant plan to save the Jews leads us to attribute her success to divine intervention, so too, the fact that so many countries were persuaded to vote in favor of a Jewish State must be a result of Hashem’s understated manipulation of events.
The United Nations was tilted against Zionism and Israel even in its early stages. The staunch anti-Israel stance of the United Nations during the 1956 Suez War demonstrates that anti-Zionism was prevalent throughout this organization even in its early years. Benny Morris writes (p. 403) that the United Nations cramped the Israel Defense Forces’ style and curtailed its battlefield successes in a series of cease-fires and truce resolutions beginning in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Morris notes that all UN interventions after June of 1948 clearly and strongly favored the Arabs.
Despite its anti-Israel inclination, the United Nations voted to establish a Jewish State. Perfect timing, unwise Arab behavior, and the convincing of dozens of countries to vote for a Jewish state (or at least abstain) were indispensable for this shocking vote to happen. Was it simply coincidence and human effort that brought about this result? The reasonable conclusion is that Hashem was tilting the United Nations to act in a manner contrary to its normal behavior. No single individual or country has ever had that much good fortune or talented behavior. The reasonable way to view the establishment of the State of Israel is as a miracle –“Baruch SheAsa Nissim BiZeman HaZeh,” “Blessed is [God] who made miracles at this time.”
We will IY”H continue our discussion of the establishment of the State of Israel in the following issue.
 By contrast, the Jewish leadership in Eretz Yisrael presented UNSCOP with, in addition to tours and extensive interviews, no less than thirty-two tons of written depositions (Morris, “1948”, p.42).
 In reality, UNSCOP membership consisted of representatives from three Muslim or partly Muslim states (Iran, India and Yugoslavia) and two countries from the British Commonwealth, which usually supported the British agenda, which in this case was not in favor of creating a Jewish State; these countries were Canada and Australia (“1948”, p. 40).
 It is stunning that the Arab leadership did not at least try to hide child labor from UNSCOP and instruct local Arabs to clean their communities in preparation for the UNSCOP visit.
 Holland had to consider the millions of Muslims in its colony of Indonesia.
 Rabbi Marvin Tokayer, an expert on Jewish life in the Far East, relates:
“The closest friend, adviser, and bodyguard of the first president of China, Sun Yat-sen, was Morris Abraham Cohen, who was called “Two-Gun” Cohen. He was an unbelievable person. He saved Sun Yat-sen’s life several times and was instrumental in getting China not to vote “no” on the partition of Palestine to produce a Jewish homeland.”
 It is stunning that UN officials did not insist on moving the vote to a more neutral venue.