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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The State Israel Was In Ten Years Ago

Nadene Goldfoot                                            

On December 28, 2003, I noted the following in my speech about Israel.  I noted that there were 44 Muslim states with 1 billion people in an area 672 times the size of Israel, yet the Muslims were having a fit over the creation of the only Jewish state in the world that is in their neighborhood.  They were more than intolerant.  22 large sovereign Arab states are in the Middle East including oil rich Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who steadfastly refuse to absorb the so-called "Palestinian refugees;" preferring to keep them as political pawns in order to blame Israel for their plight!                                                                            
Arabs are living in Israel and are citizens.  They even have a political group and are in the Knesset.  Yet Jews are not allowed in Arab countries today.  The recent earthquake in Iran called for all people to come to help-except the Jews.

Israel has absorbed millions of Jewish refugees;  from the Holocaust, former Soviet Union, Ethiopian black Jewish community, and more than 850,000 Sephardic or Mizrachi Jews, many of whom were expelled from their homes in Arab lands where they had lived for generations, with no compensation for their property which was confiscated!

Since the moment of its recent birth on May 14, 1948, Israel was attacked by all the surrounding Arab countries.  Israel was then 55 years old, and its future was on the line.

              Let's start with some history about Israel.  

1.  Over 3,300 years ago, Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people.  this biblical kingdom was first ruled by Saul in 1020 BCE.(before the common era.).  King David ruled from 1010-970 BCE and King Solomon ruled from 961-920 BCE.  When Solomon died, the kingdom was split into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah.  Then the Romans conquered the area in 70 CE and they renamed the area "Palestine."  To the Jews who never left, it has always been known as Eretz Israel.  Yes, never left.  Though much of the land was decimated, the people taken prisoners or killed, some did remain.  Thus, we have always had a Jewish presence in the land.

2. The first Arabs arrived as conquerors in the 7th century, 2,500 years after the Jews had been there.  

3. In 1917 after WWI, Britain was given the task of supervising Palestine.  The Jews had fought with the British, and the Arabs had fought with the Germans.  Chaim Weizmann developed dynamite for the British, and the Jews were rewarded the homeland they had striven for.  The British promised them a Jewish Homeland; a territory consisting of both present day Jordan, Israel and the administered territories.  This was called the Balfour Declaration.  

Because the British had 2nd thoughts about it and wanted to appease the Arabs, they offered only half of the territory in the end to the Jews, who accepted it.  The other half was offered to Emir Feisal, ancestor of today's King of Jordan.  Then they offered half of Israel's half to the Arabs who rejected it.  Actually, the Arabs had thought of the area as belonging to Syria and wanted it to go back to them.

4. There has never existed, in all of history, an independent Arab state of Palestine.  It has been since Roman times fairly recently belonging to the Ottoman Empire.  The British had the mandate of caring for it.  It has been practically uninhabited, a wasteland made of swamps and desert.  No one did anything with it.  It was as if it was waiting for Israelis to come back and build it again.  

5. In 1922 Britain transferred 2/3 of the mandated Palestine to the Hashemite Bedouins who were driven out of Saudi Arabia by a rival clan.  That became Jordan and no Jews are allowed to live inside it today.   Yet Jordanians came across the bridge to work daily in Israel.  This is how Jordan came to be.  Today Jordan is made up mostly of people called Palestinians.  The king of Jordan is married to a Palestinian woman.

6.  This brings us up to the end of WWII.  6 million Jews were killed due to Nazi Germany.   Those that survived could not longer live in Europe.  People there were still trying to kill them, especially in Poland.  They needed a home of their own to go to.  

Jews had been returning to Eretz Israel in the late 1800's and creating kibbutzim.  They had legitimately bought land, drained swamps and started building towns.  They wanted their homeland back. They worked toward that goal with several Zionist congresses.  They conferred with Arab leaders.  Much of the land was owned by Arab landowners who were living in Europe, and they bought it at high prices, because  it was precious to them.

In 1947 the U.N. partitioned mandated Palestine into Jewish and Arab states which the Arabs rejected and then started war to drive the Jews into the sea the minute Israel was declared a state.  200,000 to 570,000 Arabs needlessly left the area so they would not obstruct the victorious Arab armies in their planned massacre of the Jewish defenders.  Many were told to leave by their own leaders.  The Arabs did not win in their attack on the infant country and did not return.  They settled in refugee camps.  The whole situation is used as a club against Israel.  These people came from the surrounding areas such as Greece and the closer Arab neighbors seeking work with the new immigrants who were building a country.  If they had only been in Palestine for 2 years they were deemed "refugees" by the British who were keeping records, such as they were.

160,000 Arabs stayed in Israel in 1948.  200,000 had left their homes.  Many of the successful Palestinian Arabs are the Christians who live in Haifa.  They are not the terrorists.  Israel has had good relations with the Christian Lebanese who were in trouble in 1981-82.  Major Hadad, their leader, would come to Israel for his R&R.  He also came to our hospital.  We had a deal with him to take care of is family if anything happened to him.  I might add that Arab income is the highest in Israel compared to the rest of the Arab world.  

7.  At the same time, 700,000 Jews who lived in the Arab countries such as Yemen, etc, were driven from their homes and needed to come to Israel.  They came and were settled.

8.  Israel is less than 1/3rd the size of Oregon, or 1/19th the size of California.  It is made of 10,840 sq. miles.  California has 160,222 sq miles.  Without the territories it is only 8,000 sq miles, or 2 1/2 times the size of Rhode Island.  It's slightly smaller than New Jersey with a population of about 6.7 million.  5.4 million were Jewish as of May 2003.  Only 17% of the land is arable.  It's 260 miles long, 60 miles at the widest, 3 to 9 miles at the narrowest.  This is roughly the distance from La Guardia airport to downtown Manhattan.   We're talking about a very small piece of real estate.  In comparison, in the year 2,000, New York City had 8,008,278 people.  

9. Jordan is 70% Arab Palestinian Arabs.  Jordan is made of 2/3 of the original mandated Palestine.  Jordan is an Arab Palestine.  In actuality, they already have their state that is ruled by a Hashemite king, which their political leaders reject.  

Why is it that people call Israel aggressors?  Since its inception, Israel has had to be defensive to exist.  It is constantly being attacked.  We haven't started any war nor do we want their land.  We have always wanted peace.  

The Palestinians and the surrounding neighbors have not accepted a Jewish presence in their Muslim neighborhood.  Their goal has always been to drive the Jews out and take over the land.  Only after the War of 48 (War of Independence) where 6 Arab armies attacked Israel, and the War of 56 and the war of 67 (6 day war) when Israel conquered the Gaza Strip, the vast Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights, and also repossessed the provinces of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and the eastern part of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by the Jordanians 19 years earlier when they invaded Israel in 1948, and the war of 73 (Yo Kippur) has Egypt and Jordan, the two closest neighbors, begrudgingly accepted Israel's presence, much to the horror of their Arab brothers.  To make peace with Egypt, Israel returned all the Sinai to Egypt.  Israel has always been prepared to give autonomy to Arabs living in Judea and Samaria and has wanted to keep it for security reasons.  

Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world.  It is the only democracy in the area.  

Since Israel's inception, all men and women are in the army by age 18.  I had to get used to seeing so many soldiers with their guns on the streets when I lived there from 1980-1985.  You get used to it after awhile.  All men serve in the IDF for a month every year until the age of 55.  It's called, "going into the milueem."  that affects wherever they are working.  They just usually don't get replaced.  There are no substitutes, even in school.  

You learn to never  pick up any trash on the streets.   It could be a planted bomb.  Every building, such as schools, stores, etc., have checkers at the door going through your purse, etc., before entering.  children have to learn this as soon as they learn to walk.  

One time while shopping in the Hadar area in Haifa, I saw the police robot at work.  A box of cookies had been left on the sidewalk.  The police were called, and the robot shot at it.  Luckily, it was only a big box of cookies, but you never know.  It could have been a planted bomb.  I almost picked up a loaf of bread I found outside my school.  That's when I learned that bombs had been planted in such loaves.  This was in 1980.  We learned that bombs were placed in every sort of container imaginable, even toothpaste boxes.  

Our apartment had a bomb shelter in the building, but our German shepherd, Blintz, was not allowed in it, so I decided that I would not go in, either.  

Everywhere you looked you saw young soldiers, both men and women in uniform carrying rifles.  I was told they even have to sleep with their rifles.

We trained for the civil guard and did our duty every month.  We rode in a police van and I took Blintz with me on my tour.  

                                                The 1982 Lebanon War

While going to Haifa to the hospital to check on my crushed elbow that had 6 screws in it, I saw tanks coming up the highway and thought that there were so many of them, and wondered what was going on.  The hospital was empty.  The doctors were in a hurry and couldn't make an appointment for an operation for me to take out the screws.  It was an army hospital, and the doctors knew that we were at war and they would soon be swamped with patients.  Israeli hospitals take in any wounded, Israeli or Arab.  My junior high male students went there and talked to the Arab injured by using English in order to help the nurses and doctors in their care of them.  

People live in high rise apartments.  There are very few homes except in the new towns in Judea and Samaria.  I saw a few homes in Safed.  One belonged to my writer friend, Dov Silverman.  Some had been excavated from an ancient earthquake and were restored as lovely homes.  I visited a friend who lived in one of those.  

This is a very brief summation of the history of Israel.  I suggest the following books for further information:

The Case For Israel by Alan Dershowitz.  it is excellent.  In his summation, Dershowitz doesn't even count the ancient historical claim of the Jews for the land.  He starts with the United Nations charter as a legal state.

Palestinians have constantly been offered a chance to have their own state alongside Israel and  always Israel has accepted the offer and the Arabs have refused it.

The Palestinians want to be able to allow all Palestinians to return to the area.  This would flood the land.  Actually, there were very few original Palestinians (stateless people, migrants as you will) in Israel in 1947-48.  They would want to overpower the area by population in this "return"

Sharon has said he will trade land for peace.  The Arabs do not want to recognize Israel's existence.   Arafat continually made other Arab leaders angry by not accepting offers.  

Another book to read if you're really into it is From time Immemorial by Joan Peters.  It was written by a non-Jewish woman reporter who originally thought the Palestinians were being given a raw deal by Israel.  In her research she discovered just who Palestinians really were.  Peters spent 7 years researching for this book.  The main thesis of the book is that the Palestinians were a ragtag group of workers who came into the area  from the surrounding countries.  The president of the USA thought so much of the book that he had Peters working for him in the White House.  

Read Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad.  It shows just how empty Palestine was at his time in the 1860's.  

Read Myths and Facts-a concise record of the Arab-Israeli conflict by Mitchell G. Bard, PhD.  

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