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Arab–Israeli War of 1948


Chaim Weizmann first president of Israel

LeGrand Richards
Here is an account of a contemporary and rather dramatic occurrence recounted at the April 1954 General Conference of the Mormon Church that could be attributed to the Three Nephites. “A short time ago, when a committee was sent there [to Israel] by President Truman, they were told by Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, that it was their belief in a mystical force that would return the Jews to the land of Israel, that had kept them alive.

In the Jewish Hope, of September 1950, was an article by Arthur U. Michelson. I will not take time to read it, but he tells of a visit he made to Jerusalem, when he heard the experience of the Jewish army. They had only one cannon, and were facing the Arabs with their well-trained and equipped army, and so when they used this cannon, they moved it from place to place so the enemy would think they had many, and every time the cannon was fired, they would beat tin cans in order to make a lot of noise so that the enemy would think they had many cannons. I want to read what he said about what happened when the armies of Israel were about to give up:

“One of the officials has told me how much the Jews had to suffer. They had hardly anything with which to resist the heavy attacks of the Arabs who were well organized and equipped with the latest weapons. Besides, they had neither food nor water, because all their supplies were cut off.

“At this critical moment, God showed them that he was on their side, for he performed one of the greatest miracles that ever happened. The Arabs suddenly threw down their arms and surrendered. When their delegation appeared with the white flag, they asked, ‘Where are the three men and where are all the troops we saw?’ The Jews told them that they did not know anything of the three men, for this group was their entire force. The Arabs said that they saw three persons, with long beards and flowing white robes who warned them not to fight any longer, otherwise they would all be killed. They became so frightened that they decided to give up. What an encouragement this was for the Jews to realize that God was fighting for them.

“And then he told about another case when one man with a white robe and a long beard appeared, and they all saw him, and they gave up their arms. Now I do not know, but the Lord said that he would do something for the Jews in the latter days, and when he permitted the Three Nephites to tarry upon this land, he said:

“And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not. They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not. And it shall come to pass, when the lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them. (3 Ne. 28:27-29.)” (Elder Legrand Richards, Conference Report, April 1954, Afternoon Meeting, p.55-56)







The complete Conference address given by La Grant Richards in 1954:

I have one specific little illustration of how it would appear the Lord is working with them I would like to refer to here today. First, I will read a few words from Zachariah, the twelfth chapter:

In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (Zach. 12:8-9.)

The Lord said he would fight their battles and that they should be strong, like unto David. When David went out to meet Goliath, no mortal man would ever have thought that in and of himself he could have conquered that great giant. David went forth, and when Goliath ridiculed him, saying, "Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?" David replied: "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

"This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand," and by that same power, the Lord is today wresting this great land of promise and delivering it back unto his people. (See I Sam. 17:43, 45.)

A short time ago, when a committee was sent there by President Truman, they were told by Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, that it was their belief in a "mystical force that would return the Jews to the land of Israel, that had kept them alive."

In the Jewish Hope, of September 1950, was an . article by Arthtir U. Mich-elson. I will not take time to read it, but he tells of a visit he made to Jerusalem, when he heard the experience of the Jewish army. They had only one cannon, and were facing the Arabs with their well-trained and equipped army, and so when they used this cannon, they moved it from place to place so the enemy would think they had many, and every time the cannon was fired, they would beat tin cans in order to make a lot of noise so that the enemy would think they had many cannons.

I want to read what he said about what happened when the armies of Israel were about to give up:

"One of the officials has told me how much the Jews had to suffer. They had hardly anything with which to resist the attacks of the Arabs who were well organized and equipped with the latest weapons. Besides, they had neither food nor water, because all their supplies were cut off. . . .

"At this critical moment, God showed them that he was on their side, for he performed one of the greatest miracles that ever happened. The Arabs suddenly threw down their arms and surrendered. When their delegation appeared with the white flag, they asked, "Where are the three men that led you, and where are all the troops we saw?" The Jews told them that they did not know anything of the three men, for this group was their entire force. The Arabs said that they saw three persons, with long beards and flowing white robes who warned them not to fight any longer, otherwise they would all be killed. They became so frightened that they decided to give up. What an encouragement this was for the Jews to realize that God was fighting for them."

And then he told about another case when one man with a white robe and a long beard appeared, and they all saw him, and they gave up their arms. Now I do not know, but the Lord said that he would do something for the Jews in the latter days, and when he permitted the Three Nephites to tarry upon this land, he said:

And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not.

They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not.

And it shall come to pass, when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them. (3 Ne. 28:27-29.)

Whoever these persons were, they seemed to have "convincing power" sufficient to cause a whole army to surrender.

In permitting these Three Nephites to tarry upon the earth until he, Jesus, should come in his glory, he must have had in mind some great things for them to accomplish in bringing about a fulfilment of his promises. Whether it was they who convinced the army of the Arabs to surrender, I do not know, but this I do know: That what is going on in the Holy Land should convince one that the Lord is moving rapidly toward restoring the Jews to the land of their fathers and is giving them that land and redeeming it from its waste condition, as the prophets have foretold.

In closing, I give you the words of Isaiah. I believe the words of the prophets with all my heart.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isa. 40:8.)

To me prophecy is one of the great evidences that there is really a God and that he is directing his work and will do so to its ultimate decreed destiny, and I bear you this witness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


War of 1948 - Arab–Israeli War

The 1948 Arab–Israeli War (1948–49), known as the "War of Independence" by Israelis and al-Nakba ("the Catastrophe") by Palestinians, began after the UN Partition Plan and the subsequent 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine in November 1947. The plan proposed the establishment of Arab and Jewish states in Palestine. The Arabs had rejected the plan while the Jews had accepted it. For four months, under continuous Arab provocation and attack, the Yishuv was usually on the defensive while occasionally retaliating. By March 1948 however, the United States was actively seeking a temporary UN approved trusteeship rather than immediate partition, known as the Truman trusteeship proposal. The Jewish leadership rejected this. By now, both Jewish and Arab militias had begun campaigns to control territory inside and outside the designated borders, and an open war between the two populations emerged.

Jordanian, Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi and Saudi troops invaded Palestine subsequent to the British withdrawal and the declaration of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. The Arab invasion was denounced by the United States, the Soviet Union, and UN secretary-general Trygve Lie, although it found support from Taiwan and other UN member states. The Arab states proclaimed their aim of a "United State of Palestine" in place of Israel and an Arab state. The Arab Higher Committee said, that in the future Palestine, the Jews will be no more than 1/7 of the population. i.e. only Jews that lived in Palestine before the British mandate. They did not specify what will happen to the other Jews. They considered the UN Plan to be invalid because it was opposed by Palestine's Arab majority, and claimed that the British withdrawal led to an absence of legal authority, making it necessary for them to protect Arab lives and property. About two thirds of Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from the territories which came under Jewish control; the rest became Arab citizens of Israel. All of the much smaller number of Jews in the territories captured by the Arabs, for example the Old City of Jerusalem, also fled or were expelled. The official United Nations estimate was that 711,000 Arabs became refugees during the fighting.

The fighting ended with signing of the several Armistice Agreements in 1949 between Israel and its warring neighbors (Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria), which formalized Israeli control of the area allotted to the Jewish state plus just over half of the area allotted to the Arab state. The Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan until June 1967 when they were seized by Israel during the Six-Day War.


Taking Back Mount Zion

During the Independence War, Ira Rappaport’s Israeli platoon fought the Jordanian military for Mount Zion and found themselves surrounded by hundreds with only twenty five bullets left. With a sad end seemingly near, the men agreed to go out with a bang and readied themselves to make good use of every last bullet. Then, just when the small platoon were about to face the inevitable, something incredible happened. The Jordanian soldiers dropped their weapons and began suddenly running away, screaming “ABRAHAM!”. Several years later, Ira would come across a familiar face with an unlikely answer, as to what had actually occurred on that miraculous day. This was a former Jordanian soldier who had fought against Ira on Mount Zion. According to him, his army all witnessed a vision of Abraham defending the Jews in the sky above the Israeli platoon and had no choice, but to drop their weapons.