In response to my article Hamas Military Handbook, reader Amr commented: "Armies can be built, arms can be bought, soldiers can be trained, imagine the will of 1.5 Billion people if we had the right leadership, and if big states and empires were removed or collapsed . . what make you think that the so called Israel is eternal?"
My dear sweet, misinformed Amr, I am not the only one who thinks Israel is eternal, so does one of the greatest writers in history - from the book Beyond a Reasonable Doubt by Shmuel Waldman, quoting Leo Nikolaivitch Tolstoy who wrote this in 1908:
"The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He who neither slaughter nor torture of thousands of years could destroy, he who neither fire, nor sword, nor Inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the earth. He who was the first to produce the Oracles of God. He who has been for so long the Guardian of Prophecy and has transmitted it to the rest of the world. Such a nation cannot be destroyed. The Jew is as everlasting as Eternity itself."
How about Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher and one of the greatest minds in history:
AISH, Crash Course in Jewish History Part 4
In the 17th century when Blaise Pascal, the great French enlightenment philosopher, was asked by Louis XIV for proof of the supernatural, he answered, "The Jewish people, your Majesty."
Why? Because he knew Jewish history and he realized that for the Jewish people to survive to the 17th century, violated all the laws of history. Can you imagine what he'd say seeing the Jews made it to the 20th century?! Jewish history is a supernatural phenomenon.
And this from Mark Twain:
Wikiquotes, Jewish quotes
"...If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky way. properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it.
The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"
- Mark Twain ("Concerning The Jews," Harper's Magazine, 1899, see The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, Doubleday  pg. 249)
Mark Twain was on the right track: all other empires have disappeared but the Jew is with us forever. I'd like to expand on his theme a bit more: here are nations that warred against the Jews with the most powerful armies of the known world at the time and what happened to them:
* The Egyptian Empire - gone.
* The Amalekites - gone.
* The Assyrian Empire - gone.
* The Hittite Empire - gone.
* The Chaldean Empire - gone.
* The Philistines - gone.
* The Babylonian Empire - gone.
* The Persian Empire - gone.
* The Greek Empire - gone.
* The Roman Empire - gone.
* The Byzantine Empire - gone.
* The Ottoman Turkish Empire - gone.
* The Soviet Empire - gone.
* The Nazi Empire - gone.
There is something to learn from this list, Amr - and that is: anyone who has ever even looked funny at Jews has disappeared from the face of the Earth. There is a lesson there for Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran and other enemies of Jews everywhere. Take heed or disappear from the face of the Earth. Muslims may be one-fourth of mankind now but they rule over very weak and small kingdoms. Previous empires that ruled more than half the globe and a hundred times mightier than Islam have all disappeared - their only crime - hating the Jews. So pardon me Amr, if I laugh at your 1.5 billion pipsqueak Muslims whose total gross domestic product among the 57 Islamic nations (including Russia) combined is barely more than half of the GDP of the United States (1). All the Muslims in the world combined do not amount to even one great power so I doubt that America will collapse from force of Islamic arms. The only way for Islam to conquer America is through immigration. Now you know why I do not worry about Islamic terrorists but do fear moderate Muslims.
That Jews have outlived all their enemies seems nothing short of a miracle.
"And the Lord, your God, shall return you from your captivity, and have compassion upon you. He shall return and gather you from amongst all the nations. And the Lord, your God will bring you back into the land your fathers inherited. He will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your fathers".
Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, Jews, Christians, Muslims And Time.
For the Jews, empire was never a defining characteristic. Jews did not need a homeland or any specific piece of geography to be identified as Jews or possessing a culture. In fact, Jews had many diverse cultures defined by geographical location. There were Ashkenazi Jews, Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews and derivatives thereof. What tied these disparate groups together were values. Geography played no role in their identity, save for the desire to someday return to Zion. The idea of time was important in that it was in how we spent time relating to each other in the here and now and in reinforcing community values.
Nations that were to embrace democracy and allow for religious freedom saw no need for empire. Those nations came to understand that relationships with other democracies were far more advantageous than relationships defined by colonial rule. Social, economic and political alliances forged with shared values are more enduring and productive than forced social, economic and political alliances. Time was to be used to improve the lives of all, in the here and now.
In much of the Arab and Islamic world, how time and empire are defined account for much of their failure as nation states. It must also be said that these definitions have been authored by dysfunctional leaders driven by corruption, for whom Islam is no more than a tool to be employed as a hammer.