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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our Jewish History: All the Events Before Israel's Rebirth of May 14, 1948

Nadene Goldfoot
By the Jewish calendar, Moses was born on the 7th of Adar 2368, or 1400 BCE.  Moses was led by G-d to the Promised Land, Canaan or Eretz Israel, with his people, who had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. They did not have an easy trip, but were forced to fight for their lives against the Amorites, Moabites, Midianites and Bashan while on the east side of the Jordan River.   Moses was 120 at the time the 600,000 arrived there, but could not enter.  He died in an unknown spot on purpose, as he was not to be worshipped, but his next in line, Joshua, led the people in. 

More than 3,000 years ago, the 12 Tribes of Israelites formed the first constitutional monarchy in what came to be called "The Promised Land" about 1,000 BCE.  King David, the 2nd Jewish King, made Jerusalem the nation's capital.  The nation of Israel was split after the death of Solomon, David's son, and the Southern  half became Judah.  The tribes living in Judah were  3 of the 12; Judah, most of Benjamin and Simeon.

Jewish independence lasted 212 years.  The USA's age is only 236 years. 

In the 2nd century CE, the Romans crushed the last Jewish revolt in 135.  they used the name Palaestina instead of Judea (what is Judea and Samaria and today referred to as "West Bank."  in order to delete Jewish identification with the land of Israel.  "Filastin" is an Arabic word which came from this Latin name.  Originally, the term "Palestine" is thought to be from "Philistines," an Aegean people who settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what is now Israel and the Gaza Strip in the 12th Century BCE. 

When the Jews' 2nd Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, many were dispersed, but also many stayed and maintained ties to their homeland for more than 3,700 years.  They maintained their national language of Hebrew and maintained their own distinct civilization.  Jewish life continued and often flourished.  Communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the 9th century.  By the 11th century, Jewish communities were growing in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea. 

Along came the Crusaders who massacred many Jews during the 12th century, but in two centuries communities again rebounded.  Large numbers of rabbis and Jewish pilgrims immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee.  Well known rabbis settled into communities in Safed, Jerusalem and other places during the next 300 years.  Read "The Source" by James Mitchener.  It has a lovely chapter about Safed.  Mitchener lived there while he was writing. 

So we never left.  We've always had a population living in our homeland.  By the early 19th century, more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout our modern Israel. 

Israel is unique and has an international "birth certificate" validated by the promise of the Bible, Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward.  This is why Jews chose to return when they came to the conclusion that they desperately needed their own homeland.  No other place was in their heart. 

By the 1870's many Jews from Russia and the rest of Europe immigrated back to Palestine as refugees from pogroms there. Tsar Alexander III issued the May Laws in 1882 which caused 2 million Jews to emigrate. from 1881 to 1884.  Many went to the USA while others made aliyah to Eretz Israel.   They had the idea of creating a perfect land, a Utopia of peace and good will.  They and their descendants worked for 78 years of nation-building which finally was realized with the reestablishment of the Jewish State.  By 1897 Theodor Herzl, reporter and lawyer who was appalled by the Dryfus Affair in France,  was on the scene trying to secure the land as the Jewish Homeland.  The land was then part of the Ottoman Empire and still lay in waste, untouched since 135 CE.   

When the WWI ended, their time came and they approached the British who held the mandate over the area.  That was November 11, 1918.  The world had seen 4 years of terrible fighting and the allies took over the Ottoman Empire who had been on the axis side.  Our ancestors had the Balfour Declaration of 1917, went through the League of Nations Mandate which incorporated the Balfour Declaration for the Jewish Homeland, and then the UN partition resolution of 1947. The Balfour Declaration referred to "the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the moral validity of reconstituting their National Home in that country.  It was to be the whole of historic Palestine, including Transjordan (today's Jordan). .   Finally, Israel was admitted to the UN in 1948 after their birthday of May 14, 1948.

Israel has long had the right to exist.  There can be no discussion about it.  Saudi Arabia has a right to exist and so does the USA and 151 other states.  Israel is a legitimate state in this world.  Now is not the time to decide to back the people who want to destroy it and who have been trying for the past 64 years.  If they're not shooting missiles at Israel they're trying to erase the fact that Jews ever had a history in the land.  Their people remain ignorant of the facts.   

Myths and Facts by Mitchell G. Bard and Joel Himelfarb
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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