With its forces vastly outnumbered by Arab armies, Israel’s victory in the 1948 War of Independence was widely considered a modern-day miracle. The Jewish state shocked the world again in 1967 by significantly expanding its borders and reunifying Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.
In 2017, the perceived miracles keep coming. Ahead of the 69th Israeli Independence Day (Yom Haatzmaut), JNS.org recounts five of Israel’s latest crowning achievements.
1. Baseball fever
Team Israel far surpassed expectations at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, starting the international tournament with a four-game winning streak—including victories over baseball powerhouses South Korea, Taiwan and Cuba—before losses to the Netherlands and Japan ended its run.
Israel’s squad, comprised of Jewish Americans who are eligible for Israeli citizenship, garnered significant attention from major mainstream media outlets. ESPN ran a feature article dubbing Israel’s the “Jamaican bobsled team of the WBC,” given its current underdog story. The New York Times ran with the headline, “With Mirth and a Mensch, Israel Upsets South Korea in WBC,” referring to the team’s mascot, the popular plush Hanukkah toy Mensch on a Bench.