God’s Promise to Abraham

The Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel is rooted in God’s promise to the patriarch Abraham. Almost 4,000 years ago, God directed Abraham to leave his homeland of Ur Kasdim, commanding, “Go from your land … to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Abraham, a faithful servant of God, obeyed God’s orders.

The promise to Abraham is repeated several more times in Genesis. For example, the borders of the Promised Land of Israel are delineated: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river the Euphrates. The land of the Kenites, Kenizites, Kadmonites; the Chitties, Perizites, Refaim; the Emorites, Canaanites, Gigashites and Yevusites” (Genesis 15:18-21). God also tells Abraham, “I will give to you and to your descendants after you…all the land of Canaan as an eternal possession and I will be a God to them” (Genesis 17:8)

The Land of Israel, God’s gift to Abraham and his descendants, has remained a central and integral part of Jewish identity and the Jewish experience throughout the ages; there has been a continuous Jewish presence in the Holy Land for over 3,000, and for centuries Jewish people have been praying three times a day to be able to return to their land and rebuild the holy temple in Jerusalem.

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