Actually the consensus is that the modern secular state of Israel founded by men has no connection to the Biblical state of Israel that was founded by God.....
That isn't really what the thread starter is asking though Doom. The Church teaches that there will be a conversion of the Jews, and we know that God made a conditional promise to the Jews regarding the land.
Therefore the question remains, why are they back in the land before
we have seen this conversion, and does it have any significance in terms of the end times?
I would agrue that it does, I would argue that one of the reasons God may have brought the Jews back to Israel is for that very reason, their conversion. There are other things besides God's conditional promise of the land to the Jews to make me believe this. There is also the return of Enoch and Elijah, who many believe will be sent to convert the Jews before the return of Christ, according to Catholic end times eschatology.
Haydock's Commentary wrote:
Ver. 8. Their bodies shall lie in the streets. It is what has often happened to the bodies of the martyrs, and may happen to Henoch[Enoch] and Elias[Elijah], for three days and a half, for a short time. --- The great city. Some understand any city where Christians are persecuted. Others by the following words, where also their Lord was crucified, will needs have to be understood Jerusalem, which they hold shall be rebuilt in the time of antichrist, and where by him shall be put to death Henoch and Elias. But others think it may be expounded of heathen Rome, which in a mystical sense might be called Sodom for its infamous crimes, and Egypt for its idolatries and superstitions, where Christ might be said to be crucified, not as to himself, but in his members, according to what he himself said, Matthew xxv. 40., "inasmuch as you did it to one of these, my least brethren, you did it to me." (Witham) --- City; Jerusalem, which it is supposed will be the residence of antichrist, and filled with a great concourse of people. (Menochius)
To completely dismiss the return of the Jews to Israel as insignificant, in terms of Catholic end times eschatology is naive in my opinion.
I agree with you (not that I count for anything).
While the state of Israel is secular, it does allow for many Jews to be united in one place and that, arguably, would make mass conversion easier. That would likely have a ripple effect throughout the world; Jews everywhere would see the mass conversion of the state of Israel and possibly be prompted to conversion as well.
Dismissing the formation of the state of Israel out of hand as not associated with the "end times" might be naive.