Is the State of Israel really the great redemption for which the Jews have been praying for two thousand years?
YES!!! The Shmoneh Esrei (Amida) prayer includes the entire vision of the Jewish resurrection of statehood. Among our requests, we appeal to G-d to redeem us from our state of depravity in the Exile and to rebuild the nation in Israel. For two thousand years the Jewish People were overwhelmed by persecution, poverty, hunger, epidemics, and national disgrace. Today, thank G-d, since the return of Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel, the situation of the nation is far more positive. An incredible blessing has been bestowed on the Jewish People in our time – health, prosperity, the national return to Eretz Yisrael, the upbuilding of Jerusalem, and the rebirth of our Land. Photographs taken sixty years ago depict Israel as a land of deserts and swamps. Today, the Land is bursting with new life. Rabbi Kook would exhort his students to simply open their eyes and see the miraculous rebirth taken place all over the country, from the agricultural bounty, to the building of Yeshivot, to the great military might. Obviously, this is all G-d's Hand, bringing His children home to the Promised Land. This is what is meant when we pray for G-d to allow us to witness the return of His Divine Presence to Zion – that we should see in the day-to-day rebuilding of Israel the gradually unfolding actualization of our prayers.