SERBIA - First Country to Recognize Balfour Declaration

Arno Froese

With [the] anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which the British government reaffirmed the right of the Jewish people to renew their ancient Biblical homeland in the Land of Israel, this is a good opportunity to recall one such unsung Zionist hero who helped to spark a groundswell of international sympathy and support for the Declaration and its aims.

David Albala came to play a crucial part.

Utilizing his close relations with the Serbian leadership, he suggested that they declare their formal support for the Declaration and its goals.

Shortly thereafter, on December 27, 1917, Serbia did just that, becoming the first country in the world to openly endorse the Declaration.

The Serbian letter marked the first time any government had referred to the yet-to-be-born Jewish state as “Israel,” presaging the name that would be adopted by the nascent republic three decades later.

More significantly, it broke the international ice, paving the way two months later for France and Italy to back the Balfour Declaration, followed shortly thereafter by Greece, Holland and others.

Arno's Commentary

Serbia—as virtually all European countries, some of which are several millennia old—has a long illustrious history. Today, the country is seeking membership in the EU, and proposals are being made for its accession in 2025.

Serbia consists of about 7 million people, religiously dominated by Orthodox Christianity at 84.6%, Catholics at 5%, and Muslims at 3.1%. Life expectancy is 76.5 years, and per capita GDP stands at $18,233. Imports are listed as follows: Germany 13%, Russia 9%, Italy 8%, Hungary 6%, China 5%, and Turkey 5%.

Wikipedia notes: “As the 1930s progressed, Albala became increasingly concerned about the precarious position of Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, but his concerns were ignored by many other prominent Yugoslav Jews.” That was a great tragedy.

This report has a message for Christians. We, as individual believers, must be ready at any time for the great movement from planet earth into the presence of the Lord. We should also be “increasingly concerned” about the estrangement of the world from the Creator. Particularly now, with prosperity galore, the danger is the greatest.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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