In our time when so many of the prophecies of our holy prophets have been fulfilled in exactitude in our lives and in front of our eyes, there really should be little if any doubt left as to the veracity of the remaining prophecies currently yet unfulfilled.
Even in the "slap" that Hashem gives us, there is a measure of his relationship with us. This is similar to a father who might hit his son who ran into the road, because he loves him and wants him to be safe.
The exile was an active decisions of G-d, the result of which was a state of hester panim for the nation. Those who choose to come and live in the Land today and fulfill the prophecies of yore – merit to return to the protective gaze of Hashem Himself.
Our calls are never ignored though, for the Heavenly answering machine is always turned on and working. According to Jewish tradition and belief our calls can be returned, so to speak, years and even generations later. But once our message is recorded on that Heavenly answering machine it remains there permanently and will be dealt with in Heaven’s good time and effective manner.
The issue of whether Mitzvat Yishuv Eretz Yisrael is one of the 613 mitzvot is just about the most irrelevent of all the so important aspects of Eretz Yisrael. This shiur explains the shotot of the Megilat Esther, R. Chaim in Tosafot, and R. Moshe Feinstein.