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Friday, August 30, 2013

Are the Karaites Jewish?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                         

Karaites  were Jewish people living in ancient Israel who followed the Torah along with all the rest of the 12 Tribes and others. They consider themselves following the original form of Judaism.  It is possible they were members of the Saducees.  Most all Jews  were dispersed at the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE though some were not rounded up and taken as slaves and remained.  The earliest appearance as a sect of Judaism was in 1177-1187 CE by Rabbi Petakhya from Regensburg who met them in "the land of Qedar.  This could have been somewhere in eastern Europe.

They have been found in Constantinople/Istanbul, the Crimean, Asia Minor, the Balkans, Syria (Damascus) Cypus, Moslem Spain (Toledo), Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. The Palestinian and Egyptian centers of Karaites surpassed those of Persia and Babylonia.  Part of this was because of lenient marriage regulations adopted in the 11th century superseding strict rules by Anan and the early Karaite scholars.  Anan Ben David of the 2nd half of the 8th century was perhaps not the  founder of the sect of Karaites, but was with a similar group that joined the Karaites.  He was the oldest son of the Babylonian exilarch and learned in Jewish law but followed one of the messianic sects then prevalent in Babylon.  His younger brother, Hananiah,  then was chosen  by the caliph in about 760 CE  as head of the academy.   Because they were found in  the Pale of Settlement (Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania), I become very interested as my grandfather came from Telsiai, Lithuania and we consider ourselves as Ashkenazis with the DNA haplogroup of Q1b1a, which is 5% of the Jewish population.

The Palestinian Karaites (those that remained in Israel and Judah after 135 CE) were austere, and settled in Jerusalem and adopted the custom of the Avele Zion who mourned for the Temple and prayed continually for redemption.  The Diaspora communities accepted the authority of the Jerusalem scholars.  Karaism was checked in the 12th century.  There was a verbal dispute in Spain that lasted for 150 years when Judah Ibn Ezra in Castile suppressed the Karaites.  They were also weakened in Palestine by the Seljuk Turks and the Crusaders.  Maimonides curbed the Karaite activity in Egypt.  Leadership of the Karaites then went to people in Constantinople, Adrianople, etc. where scholars added more literature.  By the 12th century, Karaism arrived in Lithuania.  It was found in Troki in the 13th century and Volhynia (Luck).

.  From early times in Israel there had existed a tradition of interpretation and analysis of the Written Law of Moses, and this was handed down orally from generation to generation, as each improved upon understanding the statements.  Thus, no one can say that our religion is "old" or stagnant.  Each time it was updated for better understanding and to fit in their contemporary society.  However, with the Karaites, they felt it was up to each person to interpret the law on his own.

Evidently when Assyria attacked Israel in 721 BCE and then Babylon followed up in 597-586 BCE, many Jews eventually found themselves living in Persia along with Queen Esther.  When Jews returned to Israel from the Babylonian Exile, it was most important that they retain knowledge of their descent and history.  Not only for historical reasons, but also this served as status in their society which affected their relationships with other prominent families, like the ruling House of David.  Jews who had assimilated with non-Jewish neighbors while in Babylon, something not often happening, found that their lineage was thought suspicious especially if they had been a member of the priesthood, the Cohens.  This is referred to in the Book of Ezra.

Judean Jews intermingled with previous exiled Israeli Jews from Assyrian times in Babylon. Their leaders were from of the Davidic dynasty.   Jews were able to return to Israel when Cyrus gave them permission.

During the 2nd Temple period of 538-515 BCE, the Oral Tradition handed down was upheld by the Pharisees and supported by the majority of the people, but it wasn't recognized by the Saducees or the Essenes who had developed their own interpretations of the written law.  When the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, the Pharisaic view won out.  Students would study the Oral Law in many academies.  Then parts of the Oral Law were finally recorded so as not to be forgotten.  Thus, the Mishnah was compiled by Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi.

The very discussion about the laws were recorded later as the Talmud (Gemara).  During the Gaonic Period, the Karaites rejected the Oral Law and denied the validity of the Talmud.  The Gaons were the intellectual leaders, often with power of the Babylonian Jewish community in the post-Talmudic period from the 6th to the 11th century CE.  They were the heads of the academies.  At the end of the 9th century, the academies of 2 different groups moved to Baghdad.

Conventional Rabbis avoided confrontation with the Karaite group until Saadyah Gaon who died in 942 CE attacked them violently and sought to exclude them from the Jewish community.  Various groups closed their ranks and united.  This caused the Golden Age of Karaite literature in both Arabic and Hebrew, producing much writings.  The Gaon failed in his act and much intermarriage continued.  Karaites studied with rabbis and were influenced by them.

 Thus, we find the Vilna Gaon in Lithuania (Elijah Ben Solomon Zalman 1720-1797), a Talmudist. We know he traveled in Poland and Germany, finally settling in Vilna, Lithuania.   He was one against the Hasidism spreading in Lithuania.                            
When the Russians annexed Lithuania and Crimea in the 18th century, Russian Karaites received privileges and rights from the Czars which were denied to the Rabbanites.  The Russian Revolution cut off the Crimean Karaites from others.  350 Karaites survived in WWII in the Crimea and the Russian 1970 census showed a population of the USSR at 4,571 .  In 1991 Troki had 288.  Many from Jerusalem and Damascus had moved to Egypt and then in 1948 they moved back to Israel in Matzliah and other places.  In 1990 Israel had 25,000 Karaites.

Karaites doctrine is conservative and more stringent than rabbinical teaching.  They forbid levirate marriage and all Sabbath illumination and is stricter on laws of purity. That means that  sexual intercourse is encouraged for married couples for Shabbat by Rabbinites, while it is forbidden by Karaites.  They have different laws of ritual slaughter which prevents inter-mingling with the Rabbanites.  They do not celebrate Hanukkah as that is a post biblical historical event.  They don't use tephillin or mezuzot.  Their own Oral Law has evolved with time and sometimes is the same as rabbinical tradition.  The only big difference we Ashkenazi or Sephardi Jews have with them is the sanctity of the Oral Law.  Their literature deals with practical observances and doesn't discuss ethics and metaphysics, with the exception of Aaron ben Elijah who was influence by Maimonides.  Anon abolished the afternoon prayer but he said this was from the post biblical period inserted by the Rabbinites.  He wrote prayers from biblical verses.

Intermarriage between Karaites and Ashkenazi Jews rarely happened, especially not in the Austrian Empire.  Some did take place  in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union.   Examples show marriage contracts with special clauses to fit a Karaite-Rabbanite marriage.  A few converts went over to Karaism, most likely with the wife converting.   The rule of being Jewish with Karaites is through the father which used to be followed by Rabbinical Judaism until the 4th century BCE.  Some men from both communities had a special inherited title added to their name.  Cohen shows a descent from the priests who served in the temple in Jerusalem.  Levi is the name of the tribe who served the priests.  This would be found in both groups.

Eastern European Karaites were found who spoke a Turkic language.  It is thought that perhaps they descended from one or more Turkic-speaking tribes who had converted to Karaite Judaism like the Khazars or Kipchaks.  I know that my grandfather b: 1871 in Telsiai, Lithuania, spoke Yiddish and had a Yiddish-German surname of Goldfus, so he wasn't a Karaite, though could have had a few of their genes.   "DNA study has led us to conclude that they also descend in part from ethnic groups that lived in the Byzantine Empire and in Asia. They may have small amounts of Western European and Caucasus region ancestries (the Byzantine Empire at times included portions of those regions)." Brook.  Today, Karaites are a very small minority, and most Rabbinical Jews do not even know that they exist.

Resource: The Genetic Signatures of East European Karaites
by Kevin Alan Brook, Leon Kull, and Adam J. Levin
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Corrected .  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Russian Intervention in Syria Signals A Big Fight

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                       

                       Russian warships gather in the Mediterranean

Russia is sending several ships that will arrive in a few days in the Mediterranean to protect their interests in Syria.  Two Russian warships and a missile cruiser are coming to strengthen their fleet.  Russia is one of the big FIVE who would not vote for an  intervention attack against Syria since they are Syria's main backer.

In the meantime, talk is discussing back and forth about  a date for the USA to punish Assad and tell him he can't use chemicals while Britain has had second thoughts and is still bantering the matter in their parliament.  Actually, so is the USA, but Obama has already spoken and has said that the USA would take action even without the backing of allies or the UN.  What he had chastised Bush about, he  is now facing a very similar situation.

Obama has meetings in Sweden and Russia to attend.  He's leaving on Tuesday, so it is thought that something might happen before then.  Are we going to hit and then have our Commander in Chief leave when all fireworks can start?

If anyone attacks Syria, their promise is to attack Israel, who is prepared for that.  They of course will immediately answer an attack, and they have been trying to stay out of the Syrian devastation.   Syria's Civil War has been so close that some missiles had even landed in The Golan, which looks down on Syria.  When you live among lions, it's difficult at best to get into the middle of a roaring and fighting  pride.   Assad has threatened Israel with a deadly attack  from Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and what is left of their military and a surprise element of devastation.  What?  Atomic rockets from Iran?  More chemicals, no doubt.  Meanwhile, Assad has had time to leave Damascus and is safely hid out in Iran.

Israel is ready with gas masks for any surprise in Assad's retaliation against their tiny nation.  Psalms 108: 13-14 says it all.  "Give us help against the adversary:  for vain is the help of man.  Through G-d we shall do valiantly:  for He it is that will tread down our adversaries."   Israeli's warriors know they cannot run and hide anywhere.  They have nowhere to go.  This is a fight of the likes of the 300 Spartans,  only Israel feels they have help from their outer space guardian.

Thousands of Syrians have already fled to nearby Lebanon to get out of the way of the West's attack.  Not only did they have to worry about a crazed government with chemicals to use on them willy nilly, but now the West's answer to this use of chemicals which is not in the book of allowed war weapons.  The signal these people had of their eventual fate was in how their government treated the Jewish population in their country.  Confined on "Jew Street" and held as captives in a worse condition of any of the other dhimmis of the Middle East, the last remaining ones  were finally rescued by Israel in 1994.  As a country treats its Jewish population, so will the rest eventually wind up as the next scapegoat.  The Christians of Egypt have found that out already with the Muslim Brotherhood's first reprisal being their churches and people.

The Mediterranean will be full of Israeli, American, and Russian ships ready to fire missiles somewhere.  The British might be in the mix as well. At this point, the USA is not sure what the target is to be as the Syrians have been busy moving their arms to high ground surrounding Damascus.

Starting September 4th in the evening and going on into September 5th is the Birthday of the World, Rosh Hashanna, the start of a 10 day period of Jewish High Holidays ending with Yom Kippur, a day they were attacked on October 6, 1973 when everyone was in a synagogue asking for forgiveness from G-d of any sins they might be guilty of.  It is a day of fasting and is the most serious day of the year.  Unfortunately, the whole beginning of this  New Year is now colored with threats from a neighbor of all their lives once again.

On the sidelines of this stage are many Middle Easterners who are chomping on their bits at the thought of taking over Jerusalem.  I say that G-d has been on Israel's side through thick and thin for 65 years since May 14, 1948.  Israelis have been threatened when the odds were completely against them.  What makes the haters of Zionism  think that G-d's protection and direction has evaporated?  It is even miraculous that as a people Jews have continued to exist from the days when Judah, 4th son of  Jacob  and Leah, was born.  King David was from this tribe.  Of all the ancient people, it is only the Jews who have been able to survive, even with Hitler's determination to do Jews in.  The creation of their state once again has been prophesied to the amazement of all people. Just look into the "Old Testament.,"  It takes a lot more than plain luck to live that long in  a world  constantly against them.

Oregonian newspaper, 8/29/13/ Front page, Evidence, allies slow for strike on Syria, by Deb Riechmann and Kimberly dozier, AP, also page A5

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Syria Threatens Israel If American Coalition Attacks

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                  

Syria's defensive tactic if the USA and Britain attack its rocket bases is to attack Israel full force, including mystery surprises.  It's like taking a hostage for protection and Israel is the closest to pick on.

This comes from Syria's Foreign Minister, Walid Muallem today.  He mentioned al-Qaeda in in his speech, strange, since it's Hezbollah out of Lebanon who are on the side of Syria along with Iran.  However, he did mention that Israel's attackers would be a Syrian-led mob made up of Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and themselves, the usual countries that have warred against Israel in the past.

Muallem is demanding proof that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against their own people, which have been collected by investigators other than the UN investigators who were delayed beyond the time which would have divulged more facts.  Just the fact that Doctors Without Borders had reported Saturday that about 3,600 patients had been treated at 3 hospitals for symptoms coming from exposure to chemical weapons in which about 300 have died tells the story, but they aren't the Official Inspectors.  The group told Monday that out of their 100 volunteers, 70 who had actually taken care of these patients became ill and one had died.

This has caused the USA with John Kerry citing this evidence to talk about the military response, and we know that Britain's ships are also in the Mediterranean along with 4 of the Americans ready to attack with cruise missiles.   Targets in Syria are the military ones.

In the next few days the USA's intelligence agencies will give Assad the proof he is asking for telling how his forces used chemical weapons.  They have proof from radio or phone calls between Syrian military commanders.  The UN inspectors were to be given free passage by the Syrian government but the lead car in a caravan was hit in the tires and front window and taken out.  They were going into a Damascus suburb.  Kerry was brilliant in his retort to Walid al Moallem on Thursday that if the Assad government had nothing to hide it should provide immediate access to the attack site, which never happened.  They had stalled for 5 days and then attacked the area even more by shelling it and destroying all evidence.

If the Syrian government turns around, this can all be averted.  This has been a moral obscenity and is inexcusable to do to their own citizens of which over 100,000 have already been killed.  Russia is expected to veto an action from the UN.  France might step in to help out the allies.   Is one of the "surprises" intended to harm Israel the Al-Nusra Front, which is an al-Qaida-linked jihadist group?  Assad acts like the chemical weapons cause  is just a front to go in and take over Syria.   Already a top Syrian offical had threatened Israel if Syria were attacked by the West.  This was from Syria's Deputy Information Minister, Half Al-Maftah,  said in Arabic.

Israel has intended to stay out of the conflict,  but if they are attacked, they will not be held back.  They have warned Syria not to retaliate against them.  Of course Israel is being blamed for even thinking Syria would do such a thing.  "A member of the Syrian Baath Party national council, Halef al-Muftah, said that Syria regards Israel as being "behind the aggression".  Israel said the chemical attacks came from outside Damascus in the mountain range where the headquarters is of the 4th Armoured  Division and  is located and commanded by Assad's brother, Maher al-Assad.

A thought:  Could Maher be framing his brother just so he could become President instead?  It wouldn't be a first in the Middle East.

Resource:  Oregonian newspaper 8/27, 13 Front page and p. A4, : US sets stage for Syria action by Michael  R. Gordon and Mark Landler NY Times,
Arutz Sheva Syrian FM threatens "Surprises" for Western Forces by Ari Soffer

Friday, August 23, 2013

Haplogroup J1 and J1c3d or The Cohen Gene

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                  

                                 Israelites, Jacob's children,  entering  Egypt for 400 years

As far as many of us are concerned, science has validated the Bible through DNA of which the first 5 books happen to be the Torah.  DNA has validated the Biblical record about a Semitic people who chose a special way of life about 3,000 years ago that was Judaism, named for one of 12 sons of Abraham, Judah, even down to time periods.  This is BIG, as there are so many who think that the Bible is just a fairy tale.  In fact, the Bible includes historic facts, geography, genealogy, poetry, and hope as well as much prophecy that is coming true, to many's consternation. Many non-Jews do not concern themselves with it, going into the New Testament and skippng the Old or just studying the Koran.   The Cohen gene- "actually a combination  of neutral mutations indicating a common lineage." has been well studied in the past few years showing our history's truth of who we are.

Aaron and  Moses,were of the tribe of Levi,  who was a full brother of Judah. Both had Jacob as their father and Leah, his first wife,  as their mother.  Aaron was selected by Moses to be the high priest, the Kohen, and those descendants that followed had the same haplotype in their genes as well as the men before them in including their ancestor, Abraham, their 3rd great grandfather.  It's as if they have been tattooed for life and it is an inherited tattoo.  Most have the J1c3d haplogroup or J2.  This dna has been handed down from father to son for about 3,500 years from Abraham and going back even further in our biblical history from Noah's son, Shem.   Both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews can trace their lines back to a common male ancestor who lived about 3,200 years ago.  This marker of CMH is absent in non-Jews.  So in the beginning, all Jewish men were physically marked by being circumcised at 8 days after birth, as well as being marked in their dna, which we are just now finding out about it.

 In fact, Abraham's first son, Ishmael, whose mother was the Egyptian, Hagar, carries the same dna.  So there are men that are from the Middle East who are not Jewish, and are today on a branch particular to the Arab line.  Abraham had a son by Rebekah,  Leah's sister, his first love and 2nd wife, named Isaac.  One of Isaac's sons was Esau, who was the brother of Jacob, later renamed as Israel.  Esau broke off from his father and also was a carrier of the Kohen gene, so he is another line of Arab Kohen dna.

The Kohanim are known as "G-d's Holy People-sanctified from birth to serve as the "Priests" of the Temple, to bless the nation, and to educate the people in the ways of G-d.  Genetic research confirms that the Kohanim are the most ancient unbroken male dynasty in the existence in the world.  The Torah followed this up by describing the ancient dynasty.

It is said that Levi, who was the 3rd son of Abraham and Leah, was prone to a quick anger.  His descendants turned that zealousness to good  as shown when they were able to repeatedly stand up for values and G-d's honor.  His descendants' zeal is said to have been ingrained from Levi onward.  The Kohen may show he has a strong will and determination, a trait found among Kohanim.  They will also feel a bond with like members, and are to themselves an extended family.  They did their work diligently, fast and efficiently.  They were the ones chosen to perform the Temple Service to be the spiritual guides and instructors of the nation.

The lineage had to be verified.  Not everybody could claim to be a Kohen.  The status was only possible through the testimony of 2 qualified witnesses through direct knowledge that his paternal family served in the Temple.  Only men whose genealogical status was thoroughly investigated by the Sanhedrin, the High court, were allowed to participate in the Temple Service.  One honor they received  was to be the first on Shabbat to read aloud from the Torah to the congregation.  Though surnames have been introduced around the 18th century, and Kohens took surnames other than Cohen, they continued in their duties and today are found to have the Cohen gene as well, showing that the oral tradition worked.  Cohens have known who they are for the past 2,000 years of living in the Diaspora.

Even after the Babylonian Exile of 597-586 BCE, and with the reinstitution of the Temple Service in Jerusalem, Ezra the Scribe, a Kohen, examined the genealogy of his contemporary Kohanim.  They had to have with them, proof of their lineage.

The rest of the tribe of Levy were Levites.  They assisted the Kohanim in their duties.  So they also should have the same dna, but with today's challenges of migration because of fear for life, and the fact that the expectations for the Levites were not as strict as the Kohens, their dna has been more mixed, though still with markers of their Jewish history.  A Levite is the 2nd person to read from the Torah and also has duties to perform in the Synagogue service.

Both Ashkenazis and Sephardis who are Cohens are found to have the same dna. showing that in 70CE we were all together at the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans. The J1 haplogroup (M-267) is at least 16,000 years old originating around Anatolia and Mesopotamia.    "If you have no oral tradition of either being a Cohen, or of being Jewish, your Y chromosome is still part of Haplogroup J, or perhaps a subset, J2, and most likely your deepest ancestor was part of the Neolithic farming expansion that began about 9500 years ago from the Fertile Crescent."

The Jewish people have retained its genetic identity for over 100 generations while  living in the diaspora. Yet one may be Jewish without the genetic connection as converts have occasionally come into the fold.   They are still  fullfilling the prophecy and the  promise while just trying to maintain their own lives.    They kept their covenant while many tried to keep them from doing so with threats, conversions and even death at the stake. To live through being degraded, hated, living with accusations, fear, attacks, and still maintaining their stubbornness to adhere to their beliefs for this length of time takes extraordinary people who only make up 0.02 % of the world population today, about 14 million in all.  Out of about 7 million male Jews in the world today, about 5% or 350,000 are actual Cohens.

Resource: DNA and  Tradition by Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman, reprinted 2011.
Picture: from Dina  Brembridge nee Goldfoot  Arab  Jewish
familytreedna; cohen page

Syria's Chemical Warfare Hits Innocent Syrians

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                       

                                                 No Rose Colored Gas Masks For Syrians

Chemical warfare was first used in WWI. Tear gas, severe mustard gas, phosgene and  chlorine were used.   Then, only 4% of the deaths were from these weapons in the worst war ever. They've all been outlawed.   Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the Kurds anyway  in Iraq in the late 1980's. He killed thousands with mustard gas and  nerve agents with arial bombs, 122 mm rockets, and conventional artillery shells.   Nothing is impossible in the Middle East when powers that be want to gain more power, evidently, even the grotesque death of victims gasping for breath or going through trembling gyrations.  This horror is hitting Syria where the shooters are still unconfirmed.  Is it the rebels or the government of Syria doing this dastardly deed, and how many groups make up the rebels and what is their aim?  Some rebels are people that belong to al-Qaida or Hezbollah, terrorist groups.
Israel has had to dispense gas masks to their whole population, now 7 million, several times in order to try to protect them from maniacs who would attack by chemical warfare, something that is outlawed according to the Geneva Convention. My cousin Stanley was in an attack in his home in Jerusalem where everyone had to don their gas masks around 1993.  They feared the worst and again were issued masks in 2010 and 2012.  Bathrooms were to be sealed as a safe room.   Syrians are at the mercy of a government that is against their own populace.  They first destroyed the Jewish community of which the last was able to escape in 1994 when an airlift took them to Tel Aviv, Israel.  They were living in Gestapo-type ghetto-like conditions,  unable to have any civil liberties.  Now it is the few Christians who are in danger.

Syria had 22,505,000 people of which 90% are Muslims, a mixture of Sunni and Shi'a  They have no stated state religion as some states do in the Middle East.  Today Syrians have fled to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and many fled to Egypt under Morsi's short reign, who hoped they were all proponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, and are not even registered refugees receiving UN aid, but are about out of their own funds to help them to survive.  Work there is impossible to find under their present emergency.  The UN would do well to survey that situation.

The USA was aware of chemical warfare being used early this year when they confirmed this knowledge and said they would supply some form of weapons to the rebels, but have since had second thoughts about "rebels."  Rebels could be any of the terrorist groups, Hezbollah or al-Qaida who have immersed themselves into the remaining population.

Israel's intelligence strongly suggested a chemical weapons attack, but the rebels have pointed out where 4 rockets had been fired from that proved that the attack could have been carried out only by the government's forces. Sane people question how that could be when this happened on the day the inspectors had arrived in Damascus to check out previous attacks.  The timing is incredibly idiotic.  Russia thinks the rebels staged the attack, which does sound logical to me as it's so incredible that the government would do it upon the inspector's arrival.  .

The rebels reasoning is that the government is softening up the opposition before a major attack with tanks, armored personnel carriers and planes.

The recent attack happened just after 2:00am.  "Chemically equipped rockets were launched; 2 from a bridge on the highway from Damascus to Homs; others  from a Sironex factor in the Qabun neighborhood of  Damascus.

Now the UN may not be able to send investigators in to collect samples from the wounded and dead.

How will the UN respond to all this?  The USA has combat aircraft, fighters and bombers for an air attack, but what is the target and will civilians be killed?  The targets would be missile or artillery batteries that can launch chemical munitions of nerve gas and communications and support facilities, or on the headquarters and government offices of the government.  These are all bad choices according to a European official.  The USA is also divided over the proper response to use, as it was earlier.

Until the world powers get their act together, someone should go into Syria with gas masks, food and water for civilians not involved.  They are between a rock and a hard place, for sure.

Resource: Oregonian newspaper, 8/23/2013,  headlines: chemical quandary in Syria by Mark Landler, Mark mazzetti and Alissa J. Rubin, NY Times, front page and page A6.,7340,L-3855283,00.html

Monday, August 19, 2013

Israel: From Monarchy to Democracy Through Zionism

Today's Israelis protecting their homeland.

Anti-Semitism created today's Israel  
Nadene Goldfoot
Israel came about 2,000 years after Jews were forced to leave their land that had been theirs for over 3,000 years.  They had experienced all these years of yearning to return because they had been treated so badly in host countries.  They had been turned off by the results of formal emancipation in Central and Western Europe which never did put an end to anti-Semitism.  They were tired of being discriminated against and putting up with social ostracism, such as the Dryfus case in France pointed out.  They had suffered from oppression and pogroms in Eastern Europe along with suffering from extreme poverty because of it.

They had to face the fact that Jews needed to follow a path of their own self-determination such as Greeks, Italians and Poles were then doing.  Zionism was the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.  Since the world had been anti-Semitic since at least 70 CE, they found they were alone in their cause.  Since their inception 65 years ago, they have managed to hold onto their value system to have a real democratic state for all its citizens, something they never had experienced in the world they were flung into.

Charles Kupchan, American professor, feels that Egypt was pushed into having a Democracy too fast and wasn't ready for it. He is a professor of international relations at Georgetown and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.  He wrote in the New York Times that American policy should push for Egypt to be governed responsibly – not necessarily democratically – and that rapid transition to self-governance was ill-advised.  Their history and people are completely different from Israel.  Egypt with its 91 million are about 90% Sunni Muslim and Islam is their state religion.  

Israel, on the other hand, named a Jewish state on May 14, 1948,  made up of equal amounts of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, as well as Muslims,  Christians, Baha's and  Druze,  had a 2,000 year experience of being exposed to Western politics through the Ashkenazi exposure which includes Democratic values.  How did Israel come to be Democratic?  Look at their history and how it developed.

Actually, it was Zionism who first introduced the idea of the perfect state.  In 1897 Theodor Herzl (May 2, 1860-July 3, 1904) organized the first Zionist Congress and founded the world Zionist Organization which talked about creating a Jewish state.  Zion is the synonym for Jerusalem and the land.  He was a Hungarian reporter and an idealist-turned writer  who had written "Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) in 1895 and got it published in February 1896 and later the Utopian novel, "Altneuland (The Old New Land) in 1902.  What he created in his mind was better than a Democracy.  It was Utopia.  This was the groundwork for Israel as he is looked upon as the founder of Israel.  .

Israel's past governments must have led up to the creation of a man like Herzl-founder of Zionism 

Saul, was the first king of Israel who lived in the 11th century BCE.  He was the son of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin.  It was the people who had begged to have a king like the other nations had, so the prophet Samuel selected Saul.  He was a good choice who organized a trained army since they had been facing a military threat from the Philistines and Ammonites.  Internally, he did away with witches that people still  believed in which was against the Mosaic Law handed down from Moses (1391 BCE to 1271 BCE.  .  Evidently Saul and Samuel didn't get along, and Samuel had the power to appoint David as his successor.  Saul had accomplished the groundwork for national unity which was effective in establishing a strong and independent Israelite monarchy.

King David c 1000 BCE to 960 BCE of   the tribe of Judah, was an armor-bearer of King Saul, Israel's first king,.  This youngest son of Jesse,  and grandson of Ruth and Boaz, born in Bethlehem,  showed he had military prowess at the age of 25 when he fought against the Philistines.  He happened to have settled in Hebron and declared himself king of Judah before Judah had even parted from Israel in the next generation. He had taken what was to be Jerusalem and made it his capital when king.  The Psalms are said to be written by him.  Still and all, this was a monarchy, something quite new for the Jewish people 3,000 years ago.  David was sometimes known to rule by his passions, like with his love, Bathsheba.  The Bible lists his virtues and his vices.  Eventually he straightened out his conduct and became the Jewish religious symbol and a messianic hope has been attached to his descendants.

His son, Solomon, (961 BCE to 920 BCE) became King and was known for his wisdom.  He was able to build the Temple, a duty given to him but not to his father who was a warrior.  Solomon was a peaceful king, He was friendly enough with Hiram of Tyre who sent him architects and builders to work on his Temple.  The cedars used came from Lebanon, also.  So I am assuming that there was peace and economic cooperation between the 2 countries.

Solomon was relying on his father's achievements of political pacts.  His empire reached from Egypt to the Euphrates River and was the most energetic in the entire region.  They developed a culture including arts of historiography, parables, and elegant writings.  Several biblical works such was Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Psalm  72 were written by Solomon.  He wasn't a modern 2013 ruler, though.  He needed more laborers so introduced forced labor into his nation because he needed workers for his extensive building program  and had impoverished the country.  This was a bad move.

Several groups of different people in the empire, the Edomites and Arameans began to revolt and even inside Israel were malcontented citizens.  Therefore, when Solomon died, Israel faced the ceding of Judah and internal division. Jeroboam (933-912 BCE) led the revolt against Rehoboam of Judah and the last king of Israel, the northern kingdom,  was Hoshea (730-721).  Judah's kings in this southern kingdom were  from Rehoboam (933-917 BCE) led to Zedekiah (597-586 BCE).  Though many nations came through the land, none stayed long.  Finally Jerusalem was done in by the Romans in 70 CE, and Jews have had to live in many lands facing hatred since then.

One of the leading politicians during Israel's fight to survive till its birth was Abba Eban, born 1915 as Aubrey Solomon in Capetown, South Africa and educated in England.  He worked in the political department of the Jewish Agency from 1946 and was a member of the Jewish Agency delegation to the UN in 1947-48.  He represented Israel at the UN in 1948-1959.  He was elected as a Mapai delegate to the Knesset in 1959 and was appointed minister without portfolio.  Then he became minister of education and culture in 1960, Deputy Prime Minister from 1963 to 1966 and foreign minister from 1966 to 1974.  He wrote "My People, a History of the Jews."

Jews had settled in South Africa in the early 19th century so were among the first to emigrate to Israel.  There was a large Jewish community  in  Johannesburg.  They had enjoyed political equality in Cape Colony and Natal.  Many Jews had immigrated there after WWI from Lithuania.  (Lithuanians had emigrated to Safed in the 1500's and had built large Yeshivot there).  Then restrictions were put on Jewish immigration during the 30's,  though there were some German Jews who made it there after 1939, which was a miracle.  When I made aliyah in 1980, I found many of the English speakers in Israel were South Africans.  The English Department was headed by Jews from South Africa.  They brought with them ideas of English Democracy.

Today, Israel happens to be a parliamentary democracy.  Supreme authority rests with the Knesset, an Assembly.  This is a unicameral legislative body (single legislative chamber)  of 120 members.  The Knesset is elected for 4 years.  The people may decide on new elections before the end of the term if need be.  Electors choose between national lists of candidates, seats being allocated in proportion to the number of votes obtained by each list.

The President of the State of Israel is elected by the Knesset for a period of 5 years. and may be re-elected for one more term.  His duties are to prerogative of pardon and of commuting sentences.  He accepts the accreditation of foreign ambassadors and ministers, appoints Israel's ambassadors and ministers, judges and the State comptroller.  He signs all laws except those concerning the presidential powers.  The Transition Law, 1949, describes the powers of the President.

If a new Government is to be formed, the President consults with the representatives of the parties and then calls on a member of the Knesset to undertake the task.

In June 1950, the Knesset decided not to enact a formal Constitution but to adopt basic laws which shall eventually be in a constitution.  These laws written were passed in 1958, 1960, 1964 and 1968.  There was a Basic Law of Human Right before the Knesset by 1973 and supplementary laws on the working of courts drafted then.

Hertzl never became President or Prime Minister of Israel because he died early on, but he was the battery all charged up for its creation and had laid out the plans for its creation and development.  Though Israel isn't following the exact precept of Hertzl's Utopia, they are adhering to its basic tenants which are complemented by democracy.  All the leaders have been impressed by the United States of American Democratic values and history as well.  I'm afraid that Hertzl was a little naive at the time, not knowing how Arabs would react to his ideas, though they were as lofty and worthy of calling his ideas the creation of  a Paradise.

Many children are given the task in their social studies classes of creating a Utopia on some outer space planet.  We may all have lofty ideas, but it is when our plans do not gel and we have to live and altar our plans that taxes and brings out the best in us.  Do we fling off moral values or somehow weave them into the plan?  That is the task that Israel has been presented with, and though difficult, are facing reality and are doing their darndest to do their very best job.  They  are still striving to be the light for the nations.

facts about Israel from division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Three Palestines in the Making

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                    
                                          Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Plotting with Hitler to Destroy Jews

Instead of pushing for a democracy, Britain pushed for a monarchy and helped establish Jordan as one in 1923.  They felt they owed Emir Abdullah (1882-20 July 1951), 2nd son of the Sherif Hussein bin Ali,of Saudi Arabia, who asked to be a king for his fighting help in WWI.  After all, he had been a part of the Ottoman Empire legislature's ruling class.  The Brits understand things like that.   Abdullah was pretty clever having been educated in Turkey. He talked his father into become the Grand Sherif of Mecca.  He became the King of Transjordan.

  Britain had also made a deal with Jews through the Balfour Doctrine at the same time who also had helped Britain and her allies to win the war with their fighters, but mostly by Chaim Weizmann's invention of increasing the capacity of their weaponry.  Britain had also taken on the responsibility of creating the Jewish Homeland, something decided through the League of Nations that was signed in agreement by all the countries in the world at that time by accepting the mandate.

Jordan became the pet project of Britain which was under the rule of King Abdullah and assisted them in many ways.  Britain trained military units of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, the Persian Gulf states and Jordan, but Jordan held special status with them and saw to it that they continued the special British pattern well after WWII.  It was British officers who directed Jordanian military and paramilitary units.  Perhaps with Britain's off-stage help, King Hussein and his Royal Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan have managed to survive since Britain acted as their tutor.

Britain had made a private commitment to assist them.  They helped to establish after WWI the Jordanian border patrol which led to create the Royal Jordanian Guard and Arab Legion under Glubb Pasha.  Britain was looking out for their own interests since the oil pipelines from Kirkuk and a later Trans-Arabian Pipe Line from Saudi Arabia put Jordan in the right position for oil exports.  It was also strategically in the  right spot to help Britain defend the Suez Canal and Red Sea zone.  Jordan helped them carry out their Palestinian mandate that way, they told themselves.  This desert kingdom was a very special British client and of  high importance to the British foreign office.

In 1948, the UN had tried to get the Arabs to accept their partition of Palestine and establish their own state like Israel was doing, but the Arabs refused, intending to take all of Palestine eventually, not settle for half of it.  It's possible the Brits were backing off from seeing the   Palestinians create  a Palestinian state headed by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,  Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, born in Jerusalem in 1893, son of the Mufti of Jerusalem, the richest and most powerful clan in the Ottoman Empire. He was an Arab who was from the land for several generations.    "In the lead-up to the 1948 War against Israel, Husseini opposed both the 1947 UN Partition Plan and King Abdullah's designs to annex the Arab part of British Mandatory Palestine to Jordan.  He and King Abdullah were related to each other but opponents.  

The Grand Mufti, Al-Husseini,  was a new militant Palestinian Arab with nationalism in his being which was a new feeling among the Arabs.  Once he was in power, he began a campaign of terror and intimidation against all opposed to his rule and policies.  He killed Jews at every opportunity, and also eliminated Arabs who didn't support his violence.  He wouldn't negotiate or make any kind of compromise in the name of peace. He later went on to make pacts with Hitler against the Jews.    

Originally the UN had planned to make Jerusalem an international city, but King Abdullah I of Jordan went ahead and on his own without anyone's permission, annexed half of Jerusalem and all of the Palestinian highlands many call the West Bank, which are part of the original Jewish lands of Israel and Judah of which Samaria was the capital and surrounding land of Israel after the creation of Judah and was part and parcel of their promised Jewish Homeland.  When the king did this illegal act, the UN just looked the other way.  By doing this, he had added this fertile land of the West Bank of the Jordan River to his Hashemite Kingdom and more importantly,  increased the population of Jordan by one million people.

Now Jordan became physically very close to the new state of Israel since the border between the two was a haphazardly drawn one in the countryside and the streets and alleys of Jerusalem.

Two-thirds of the population of Jordan were now Palestinians.  There was a difference between them and the Bedouin Arabs, nomadic desert dwellers,  who lived on the East Bank of the Jordan River, for the Palestinians  were better educated and more politically aware of their position.  The Palestinian Arabs saw how King Abdullah manipulated and took land and they then thought how they could do the same thing.  So in July 1951, one of the Palestinians assassinated King Abdullah while he was in the Mosque of Aqsa in Jerusalem.  This was a case of jealousy of what Jordan's king had accomplished and he and his people coveted it.  After, all, there was this class difference between them, and they couldn't let nomads take over and be so successful.

Talal, Abdullah's son stepped into the kingship position but then abdicated due to illness which allowed his 18 year old son, Hussein to become king.  He had his hands full of strife between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jordanian Bedouins.  Then Nasser of Egypt rose to power,  and everyone thought he would overpower the Israelis so that they could take over their land.  Hussein found his position was not that easy and decided not to join the United Arabs or make peace with Israel without being dethroned by his angry coveting subjects.  He became afraid of being attacked by the UAR (United Arab Republic) which would be the open door for Israel to get their West Bank back.  At the same time, Hussein was taking money for military and economic aid from the USA which the Palestinian Arabs resented but without it, couldn't stay in power for long.

The Iraqis had a revolution in 1958, putting Hussein in more danger.  He cried out to his friend, Britain and 2,000 British troops came to protect Jordan against the other Arab nations.

The Arabs of UAR (heads of the Arab States) met in Cairo in 1964 and approved making the Palestinians a political entity and called them the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).  This was a conglomeration of factions with the biggest being Fatah under Yasser Arafat who became their leader.  Others were the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DPELP).  The Arab nations supported them by giving the PLO the funds to work with.  Most all the Palestinians were actually living right in Jordan which made 2 armies within its borders; one led by King Hussein and the other by Arafat.

This made Jordan the staging area for the many attacks on Israel's land, just like Gaza assumed today.  This resulted in Israeli retaliations, of course.  There was a Palestinian village called Karameh on the east bank of the Jordan River that had become a terrorist stronghold. In March 1968 Israel retaliated and hit it resulting in the UN blaming Israel but not the Palestinians who were attacking Israelis from there.  The Arabs used this "blame the victim" as a cause celebre, a psychological and a military victory for the PLA who were defending the village.  Now the PLO's prestige skyrocketed and this led to more of the same; airplane heists, political murders like killing the Israeli athletes in the 1976 Munich Olympics.  The Palestinian Arabs now concluded that only a disaster or an armed confrontation would make Europeans and Americans feel sorry for them.  Violent deeds were the key to their success!

The world didn't really seem to join their thinking so they went onto 1970's Black September in Jordan. It was then that King Hussein had had enough of their free-wheeling control of Amman, his capital.  They had actually taken over Jordan, he felt.  The king had the superior armed forces and the assistance of Britain and the USA.  Syria and Egypt were silent, so he went about crushing the PLO leadership.  In the act, hundreds of Palestinians were killed  and thousands fled to Lebanon and Syria.  The king had decided to win back his kingship powers and he closed the door to anymore cooperation with them.

At any rate, the Arabs of the Middle East again attacked Israel on their most sacred holy day, a day when they were fasting and attending a whole day in the synagogue asking G-d for forgiveness, Yom Kippur in October 1973.  Israel begged Jordan not to join in, but they weakened and wound up playing a rather passive role this time.  This angered Egypt and Syria who also held against King Hussein the fact that he played an active part in crushing the Marxist-Leninist Dhofari uprising against the Sultan of Oman so why didn't he fight more against Israel!

 A Rabat Conference was held in October 1974 making the sole rep of the Palestinians conferred upon Arafat.  Arafat, now with too much confidence, pleaded brazenly in the UN in November 1974. He wound up with observer status for his state he had not yet accepted.

 Arafat in 1983 tried to consider a possible federation of a joint Palestine-Jordan state. Hussein weakened by going along with the PLO status and like the others, condemned Sadat of Egypt for visiting Jerusalem  in 1977 and the Camp David Accords of 1979.

 This was following the Beirut and Tripoli evacuations. However, even today when approached about taking more Palestinians into his country, the King of Jordan is adamant against the idea.   There are so many Palestinians living in Jordan that it is actually a monarchy run by the Beduin Hashemite kingdom with a population of 5 million mostly Palestinian Arabs.  Today's King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein  has married a Palestinian girl, now called Queen Rania Al Abdullah.

Jordan has been a dependent state since its inception.   The Arab states have been conferring $1.25 billion annually since 1978 but decreased it to $850 million in 1983.    He is trapped and can't act on his own freely.  It's been dependent on the USA militarily for arms.  56 US senators signed a resolution against selling arms to Jordan finally because it has been an enemy of Israel.  Politically, he has been caught between Israel and Syria, one of the major Israel attackers in 73.  Syria gets its weapons from Russia and Israel gets theirs from the USA.

Today, Arafat has been replaced by Abbas of Fatah (formerly called the PLO). He is dickering with Israel and has pledged to stay in for 9 months of talks.  His goal is to create Palestine out of Judah and Samaria and Jerusalem.

We still have his other half left to deal with, the rest of the Palestinians led by Hamas, a declared terrorist group who have sworn never to make peace and who constantly shoot rockets, mortars and missiles into southern Israel, Eilat and anyplace their weapons can reach so far.  

Only a handful of the original Arabs were from Palestine.  Most all came into the area from the surrounding lands looking for work in the 1880's when Jews from Russia came, escaping pogroms and wishing to return to their roots.  Arabs were scarce in the land when  Mark Twain and his contingent toured the Middle East. in  February, 1867.  The average Arab considered themselves to be Syrian Arabs.  They had no burning desire or need for a state of their own, only decent wages.

As Theodore H. White put it, to understand what is happening in the Middle East is to begin with its past.  Joan Peters, in her research, has traced the history to the present with unmatched skill.  I'm afraid this has not been a strong requirement for government involvement from any other country dealing with the peace table and Israel and the Palestinians.  Without in-depth knowledge, drastic mistakes have already been assumed as far as I can see.  Where many men of the West haven't clamored for political positions of ruling, it seems that there is no end to men who have yearned for this position in the East.

Israel is looking at a next door neighbor already made up of Palestinians, a new one taking over the original Jewish lands of belonging to Israel and Judah and a despicable enemy in Gaza who will never make peace.  That's 3 Palestine states!  .  How secure can Israel become against this horde?  For the creation of a state means more money to create more weapons and even more voice in the UN than they have now.  It means the peacock will have brighter feathers and will attract more than the Palestinians number today being they want to take in all other Palestinians who have settled elsewhere.  For Israelis, this should be a nightmare.  There has been no regard among the advisers to alter the hateful attitude of any of the Palestinians.  All they teach is that they will take over Israel and that Jews of Israel are the enemy and are terrible people.  There can be no "peace" between two different people this way.

The Jewish Homeland was originally to include land east and west of the Jordan River.  Israel has had to see it chopped apart where they have received 20% of the original promised land, and now they are expected to give up  land again to the attackers that was Israel's  in the first place won back after being brutally attacked in the 1967 war.  To reward people who attack you with the land they covet just to see you destroyed is a first in this world.  It could only happen to Israel because they are a Jewish country and have been vilified by the losers of the many battles that have gone on since 1948.

Resource: Text: Middle East Past and Present by Yahya Armajani and Thomas M. Ricks
From Time Immemorial, the origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine by Joan Peters, Christian reporter-researcher

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Past 40 Years With Egypt From a Jewish Perspective

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                      

                                                             August 2013 Riots in Egypt
Israel usually is always the one to bend in gaining peace with her neighbors.  Even after the 1967 Six Day War when all the Arab nations attacked Israel but lost the battle, the Arabs decided to attack Israel again in 1973 on Yom Kippur and lost again. This attack by an Arab coalition of states  was led by Egypt and Syria starting on October 6th and lasting until the 25th.

 The Camp David Peace Accords were held starting on September 17, 1978.  "They were the result of 14 months of diplomatic efforts by Egypt, Israel, and the United States that began after Jimmy Carter became President." 

Sadat visited Israel 10 days after telling his government he was going to visit Israel  on November 9, 1977.  and made peace this time with Israelis admiring him greatly for his 3 day visit including addressing the Knesset.   16 months after his visit, Egypt was the first to make peace with Israel out of all the Arab nations that were defiant in its creation by signing a mutual recognition peace treaty with Israel on March 26, 1979 in Washington DC.  The Camp David Accords also prompted the disintegration of a united Arab front in opposition to Israel.  

"As part of the agreement,  the U.S. began economic and military aid to Egypt,  and political backing for its subsequent governments.   From the Camp David peace accords in 1978 until 2000,  the United States has subsidized Egypt's armed forces with over $38 billion worth of aid.   Egypt receives about $1.3 billion annually."  Since then they are receiving 1.5 billion each year but the amount is now being reconsidered because of the disturbance of a possible coup in Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood had been in power. The people have overturned that and have taken charge with the more secular military.    "Between 1948 and 2011,  the United States has given Egypt about $71.6 billion in bilateral military and economic aid."
 Israel gave back the Sinai, taken in 1967.  "Begin remained determined to continue the peace process. In the end, he agreed to return to Egypt the strategically critical Sinai — 91 percent of the territory won by Israel during the Six-Day War — in exchange for Sadat's promise to make peace."

For his efforts, Sadat was assassinated by a Muslim Brotherhood army officer on October 6, 1981. He was the son of an Egyptian father and Sudanese Nubian mother and had 13 brothers and sisters.   Sadat had been born on December 25, 1918 right after WWI  had ended on November 11th. 

Egypt is still battling against the Muslim Brotherhood.  278 people have been killed since Wednesday as riot police cleared out 2 camps of them.  The interim Vice President, Mohamed El Baradei has resigned.   Israel, with Egypt's military cooperation, was able to use a drone and hit 5 terrorists connected to Al Qaeda about to shoot into Israel.  This cooperation has taken place now with the Muslim Brotherhood not in power.  Egypt is also taking the credit for doing so.  Perhaps it was their combined efforts.  

 The United States is complaining that putting an end to the rioting  must be done differently than brute force.  "The White House condemned the violence and said the United States “strongly opposed” the imposition of a state of emergency by the military-backed government."  As I see it, the violence is coming from the violent reaction of the Muslim Brotherhood in reaction to Morsi being deposed.  They are not about to be agreeable for the good of the state but want their power back.   

Outside of the USA, force is usually met with force. However, the USA is giving a quarter billion more dollars to Syria who is also in turmoil with a civil war between the government and the people.  Has the United States considered withdrawing this aid from a despicable despot?  Assad is no sweetheart.  He had been financed by the Russians.  

It's unfortunate that the Muslim Brotherhood gained power in the first place.  Now that error has been rectified, but is causing something akin to a Civil War that has also happened in Syria. Whereas it looks like Assad's government might be winning, right now  it looks like the Egyptian military is winning with a quick put down.  Only time will tell.  

Resource: ??

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jews That Never Left Israel and Judah

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                   
                                              Old Jerusalem Walls Near Tower of David
"Sephardim Jews are among the descendants of the line of Jews who chose to return and rebuild Israel after the Persian Empire conquered the Babylonian Empire About half a millennium later, the Roman Empire conquered ancient Israel for the second time, massacring most of the nation and taking the bulk of the remainder as slaves to Rome. Once the Roman Empire crumbled, descendants of these captives migrated throughout the European continent. Many settled in  Spain (Sepharadi) and Portugal,  where they thrived until the Spanish Inquisition  and Expulsion of 1492 and the Portuguese Inquisition and Expulsion shortly thereafter.  Others went onto Germany and then on up into Eastern Europe.  Because of their initial contact in Germany and France, they are called the Ashkenazim Jews.  

A misnomer is that Zionism started with Jews living in Europe (Ashkenazi Jews).  The facts are that there were Jews that have always remained in the “Holy Land,” even after 70 CE when Rome destroyed Jerusalem. They were the first to be "Zionists."   Life was not easy for them and in later centuries many came to depend on donations from abroad, but they had remained; remained, prayed and suffered through the centuries waiting for their brothers to return.  .

Those Jews living nearby in Arab countries yearned every day to return to their own land.  When World War I was over in 1918, nearly half of the total Jewish population in Jerusalem were Sephardic Jews–Jews of the Middle East which are often referred to as Mizrachi Jews. Sephardis has become the overall blanket term.

Hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing from Arab persecution also poured into Israel who also had desired to be back in their country.  Arabs had taken over Rome’s position in a conquest of the Holy Land, but had not settled there.  They had their own well developed lands.

Before Islam came into being in 600 CE, the Sabaeans and the Nabataens,  traders with caravans,  came through into area from Arabia.  Greeks came along and pushed them out of the way in the 1st century CE. In 438 CE, the Jews from Galilee were elated when the Empress Eudocia allowed them to pray again at their holy temple site.  They thought this was the end of the exile of their people.

 The Roman Empire (70-395), who had taken Jerusalem in 70 CE were replaced by the Byzantium Empire (395-636) with Constantinople being their capital.  This was Eastern Orthodox Christianity and they spoke Greek.  Then the Sasanid Iranians, another warring empire took the front page in history.  And so it went.  Islam came into being in 600 CE.  It was in 614 CE  that Jews fought along with the Persian invaders of Palestine and overwhelmed the Byzantine garrison in Jerusalem.  They controlled the city for 5 years.  and then the Arabs conquered the land 2 decades later and  the Umayyad Dynasty followed by the Abbasid Empire.  Finally the Ottoman Empire appeared in the 1400's and they owned the property until World War I ended.

The Jews had suffered 3 centuries of Christian intolerance of which violence had been practiced spasmodically during half of that period.  This is when Jews welcomed with lots of hope in their hearts, the Arab conquerors.

Muslim Arabs (636-1072) entering 7th century Jerusalem found a strong Jewish identity.  They found that Jews lived in all parts of the country and on both sides of the Jordan.  They lived in both the towns and the villages as farmers and making many types of handicrafts.  Many lived in Lydda and Ramle-cities Arabs of today think of as Arab towns.  Other larger communities they lived in were Ascalon (Ashkelon today) , Caesarea and Gaza which was their capital when they couldn't get into Jerusalem.  Jericho was home to many Jews.  When Islam was introduced to the world, some Jews became 7th century Jewish refugees escaping from  Khaibar in Arabia.

 Khaibar had been a thriving Jewish community to the north of Mecca and Medina.  They faced death if they did not convert and had to defend their forts and mansions with their heroism as the Prophet Muhammad had "visited upon his beaten enemy inhuman atrocities," by the mass massacre of men, women and children.  What he did was completely exterminate  2 Arabian Jewish tribes.  He did this to Jews who had lived there for centuries living in freedom, peace, labor and trade and now they had been  treated as slaves and  degraded.  They had to see their wives and daughters given out among the Arab men and carried away by these conquerors.  He did this to a people who at  times of famine, would give Arabs who came to them  fruit and water and help them out.  So these Jews that survived struggled back to their Homeland.  When asked later in 1968 at an Arab theologian conference about this detestable act,  a speaker defended it by saying that Mohammad said while dying, "Never do 2 religions exist in Arabia."   He had purified Arabia from Jews.

All this time, it was a struggle for the Jews in the land to survive under these oppressive powers.  The Arabs treated Jews in the Middle East lands as dhimmis or 3rd class people who lived under a lesser quality of life due to the Arab laws.  They also prayed for their return to their homeland.  It was equally desired in both camps; Ashkenazis of Europe and Sephardis of the Middle East.  Both groups had been one in 70 CE when they parted, and both practiced the same religion and did the same things.  There are 2 great compilations of thought on the Five Books of Moses and its Jewish Law.  .  One was the was the Palestinian  or Jerusalem Talmud written before 400 CE..  About 200 years later the Babylonian Talmud  was written before 500 CE  in Iraq with about 2 1/2 million words and more than 3 times as long as the Palestinian Talmud    Each one consists of the Mishnah together with a gemara which is both a commentary on and a supplement to the Mishnah.  Both Talmuds also contain non-legal or aggadic digressions. Ashkenazis were able to study both, though the Babylonian Talmud was much better and longer.

The fact remains that we have had an unceasing strain of “Oriental” or “Palestinian” Jews in “Palestine” for millennia” who hadn’t left.  They were able to stay and hold down the fort in spite of every discouragement.  Jews had not abandoned the land physically, nor did they ever renounce their claim to to their nation.  Their claim to the land is the only continuous claim that exists.  Even though successive conquerors had devastated the Jewish organization structure they once had, the Jews never submitted to assimilation into the various victorious populations even after being devastated.  "Many Jewish scholars living in Roman-controlled Syria Palaestina moved to Persia to escape the harsh decrees against Jews enacted by the emperor Hadrian  after Bar Kokhba's revolt of 132-135.   The remaining scholars who lived in the Galilee area decided to continue their teaching activity in the learning centers that had existed since Mishnaic times".

"Jews arrived in central Europe following the crisis of the 7th century in Byzantine Palestine around the time of Muslim conquest.   Jews probably began settling along the Rhine in Germany, from  Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north, during the early Middle Ages."  They were then known as the Ashkenazi Jews.  It's probable that some Jews got to Germany from Rome where they were taken as slaves.  They could have even been sold to Romans going to Germany's Rhineland where the Romans had also conquered.  In their Roman period,  Jewish soldiers were found to be in Roman garrisons there, so slaves had to become soldiers.   In 321 CE, the emperor Constantine issued regulations in Cologne where Jews had settled on the Rhineland.   

It’s like studying the case of twins who have been separated at birth.  The development of Judaism in both camps appear to be exactly alike, and being they were one people originally, this is not surprising at all.  They both had the same education. They were a people separated by a situation facing exile from their homeland.  They had scattered.

The Crusaders ruled from 1099-1291 calling the land the Kingdom of Jerusalem.  Mamluks ruled from 1291 to 1516.  Jews were killed along with Arabs as the Crusaders couldn't tell the difference.  They all looked the same.  Crusaders massacred Jews throughout the Rhineland and nearby areas.  1298 saw many massacres of Jews in Germany and again in 1336 and 1348 when Jews were accused of creating the Black Death.

  In the 1400's many returned to Safed, the city I chose to live in when I made aliyah in 1980.  . Others came later  escaping the Spanish Inquisition.   Safed  was the going capital of Jewish learning and held many Yeshivahs founded by different rabbis where Jews came to study and learn.  Throughout time, Ashkenazis did try and some made it back to the Homeland and were more successful in the late 1880's with the first Aliyah.

Under Turkish rule of the Ottoman Empire (1516-1917)  the Jews in Jerusalem and in Gaza maintained cultural and spiritual unity and Sultan Suleiman I allowed many Jews to return to the Holy Land.  In 1561 Suleiman gave Tiberias, one of the Jewish 4 holy cities, to a "secret Jew," from Portugal, Don Joseph Nasi, who rebuilt the city and the villages around it.  this attracted Jewish people to come and live there from any areas of the Mediterranean.

The post-Roman Christians had turned around and caused physical violence on Jews and pagans alike.  Despite their cruelty, more then 40 Jewish communities survived and could be traced in the 6th century.  They were 12 towns on the coast, in the Negev, and east of the Jordan which was land that was part of the Palestine mandate that Britain held in 1922.  This land had been dubbed "Transjordan then and was declared the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  He had just taken it and seemed to get away with it.  The Jews were also living in 31 villages in the Galilee and in the Jordan Valley at that time.

On May 14, 1948, we had 650,000 Jews living in Israel and 126,000 Arabs.   Today we have 6 million Jews, the same number we lost in the Holocaust.  In the 24 years since this date, entire Jewish communities from Arab countries have made aliyah to Israel.  Out of Iraq came 121,000 out of the 130,000.  Out of Yemen came 44,000 of their 45,000.  Out of Libya came 30,500 out of their 35,000.    Moroccan, Tunisian, Poland and other countries   had 165,000 Jews return between 1955-1957.  It wasn't until 1994 that the last Syrian Jews were able to get to Israel being they were held like prisoners.  

Resource:From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters
 The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Text: Middle East Past and Present by Yahya Armajani and Thomas M. Ricks