The Land of Israel was an empty wasteland for nearly the last 2,000 years. Any form of discussion about the modern State of Israel must begin with that understanding. There was no major Jewish, Christian, or Arab presence for centuries. All there was were a few small population centers in a few small cities. Jerusalem, Safed, and a few other locations had hundreds or a few thousand people – not more. But all of this began to change around 150 years ago.
The Modern Zionist Movement
There were precursors to the modern Zionist movement in the early and mid 1800’s. They were dreamers, and some actually moved to the Land of Israel and began the process of resettlement outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem and in cities such as Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. But the newcomers never numbered a group of more than tens or hundreds. The first time that there was a mass group that made Aliyah, that moved “up” to the Land of Israel was in the early 1880’s. This came to be known as the “First Aliyah.” These people drained swamps and settled in places that had no previous modern history of settlement. They were the pioneers that led to even more pioneers coming a decade or two afterwards. Even though they were a few thousand people, there big move led to tens of thousands of Jews who lived in Eastern Poland or Russia deciding to follow in their footsteps.
Soon after the turn of the 20th century, there were around 50-100,000 new Jewish settlers in the modern Land of Israel. The Land was still occupied by the Turks, but this would only last till the end of World War I. The success of these early pioneers drew many Arabs from all over the Middle East who were looking for upward financial mobility into the Land of Israel. This is where the bulk of the Arabs who live in Israel now came from.
Today, the areas of Judea and Samaria, liberated in the Six Day War of 1967, have attracted hundreds of thousands of Jewish pioneers. But the Christian supporters who are helping work the Land are not attracted by financial reward. They are driven by the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Bible. Yes, the vineyards of Samaria are bearing fruit and being sold via Costco to the entire world. This was unimaginable 100 years ago. Today, it is the norm. That is a modern-day miracle.