Jewish World Review Jan. 17, 2002 / 4 Shevat 5762

Why Israel is the Victim and the Arabs
are the Indefensible Aggressors in the Middle East

by David Horowitz

On the Child Abram

A Brief History of the Land of Israel

Question Set A

Question Set B

ZIONISM is a national liberation movement, identical in most ways to other liberation movements that leftists and progressives the world over — and in virtually every case but this one — fervently support. This exceptionalism is also visible at the reverse end of he political spectrum:In every other instance, right-wingers like Patrick Buchanan oppose national liberation movements that are under the spell of Marxist delusions and committed to violent means. But they make an exception for the one that Palestinians have aimed at the Jews. The unique opposition to a Jewish homeland at both ends of the political spectrum identifies the problem that Zionism was created to solve.

The “Jewish problem” is just another name for the fact that Jews are the most universally hated and persecuted ethnic group in history. The Zionist founders believed that hatred of Jews was a direct consequence of their stateless condition. As long as Jews were aliens in every society they found themselves in, they would always be seen as interlopers, their loyalties would be suspect and persecution would follow. This was what happened to Captain Alfred Dreyfus,whom French anti-Semites falsely accused of spying and who was put on trial for treason by the French government in the 19th Century. Theodore Herzl was an assimilated, westernized Jew, who witnessed the Dreyfus frame-up in Paris and went on to lead the Zionist movement.

Herzl and other Zionist founders believed that if Jews had a nation of their own, the very fact would “normalize” their condition in the community of nations. Jews had been without a state since the beginning of the diaspora,when the Romans expelled them from Judea on the west bank of the Jordan River,some 2,000 years before. Once the Jews obtained a homeland – Judea itself seemed a logical site — and were again like other peoples, the Zionists believed anti-Semitism would wither on its poisonous vine and the Jewish problem would disappear.

Here is what happened instead.

2. The Beginnings

In the 1920s, among their final acts as victors in World War I, the British and French created the states that now define the Middle East out of the ashes of the empire of their defeated Turkish adversary. In a region that the Ottoman Turks had controlled for hundreds of years, Britain and France drew the boundaries of the new states, Syria Lebanon and Iraq. Previously,the British had promised the Jewish Zionists that they could establish a”national home” in a portion of what remained of the area, which was known as the Palestine Mandate. But in 1921 the British separated 80 percent of the Mandate, east of the Jordan, and created the Arab kingdom of “Transjordan.”It was created for the Arabian monarch King Abdullah, who had been defeated in tribal warfare in the Arabian Peninsula and lacked a seat of power. Abdullah’s tribe was Hashemite, while the vast majority of Abdullah’s subjects were Palestinian Arabs.

What was left of the original Palestine Mandate – between the west bank of the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea – had been settled by Arabs and Jews.Jews, in fact, had lived in the area continuously for 3,700 years, even after the Romans destroyed their state in Judea in CE 70. Arabs became the dominant local population for the first time in the 7th Century CE as a result of the Muslim invasions. The Arabs were largely nomads who had no distinctive language or culture to separate them from other Arabs. In all the time since,they had made no attempt to create an independent Palestinian state west or east of the Jordan and none was ever established.

In 1948, at the request of the Jews who were living in Palestine, the United Nations voted to partition the remaining quarter of the original Mandate to make a Jewish homeland possible. Under the partition plan, the Arabs were given the Jews’ ancient home in Judea and Samaria – now known as the West Bank. The Jews were allotted three slivers of disconnected land along the Mediterranean and the Sinai desert. They were also given access to their holy city of Jerusalem, but as an island cut off from the slivers, surrounded by Arab land and under international control. Sixty percent of the land allotted to the Jews was the Negev desert. Out of these unpromising parts, the Jews created a new state, Israel, in 1948. At this time, the idea of a Palestinian nation, or a movement to create one did not even exist.

At the moment of Israel’s birth, Palestinian Arabs lived on roughly 90 percent of the original Palestine Mandate – in Transjordan and in the UN partition area, but also in the new state of Israel itself. There were 800,000 Arabs living in Israel alongside 1.2 million Jews. At the same time, Jews were legally barred from settling in the 35,000 square miles of Palestinian Transjordan, which eventually was renamed simply “Jordan.”

The Arab population in the slivers called Israel had actually more than tripled since the Zionists first began settling the region in significant numbers in the 1880s. The reason for this increase was that the Jewish settlers had brought industrial and agricultural development with them, which attracted Arab immigrants to what had previously been a sparsely settled and economically destitute area.

If the Palestinian Arabs had been willing to accept this arrangement in which they received 90 percent of the land in the Palestine Mandate, and under which they benefited from the industry, enterprise and political democracy the Jews brought to the region, there would have been no Middle East conflict.But this was not to be.

Instead, the Arab League – representing five neighboring Arab states – declared war on Israel on the day of its creation, and five Arab armies invaded the slivers with the aim of destroying the infant Jewish state. During the fighting,according to the UN mediator on the scene, an estimated 472,000 Arabs fled their homes to escape the dangers. They planned on returning after an Arab victory and the destruction of the Jewish state.

But the Jews — many of them recent Holocaust survivors — refused to be defeated. Instead, the five Arab armies that had invaded their slivers were repelled. Yet there was no peace. Even though their armies were beaten, the Arab states were determined to carry on their campaign of destruction, and to remain formally at war with the Israeli state. After the defeat of the Arab armies, the Palestinians who lived in the Arab area of the UN partition did not attempt to create a state of their own. Instead, in 1950, Jordan annexed the entire West Bank.

3. Refugees: Jewish and Arab

As a result of the annexation and the continuing state of war, the Arab refugees who had fled the Israeli slivers did not return. There was a refugee flow into Israel, but it was a flow of Jews who had been expelled from the Arab countries. All over the Middle East, Jews were forced to leave lands they had lived on for centuries. Although Israel was a tiny geographical area and a fledgling state, its government welcomed and resettled 600,000 Jewish refugees from the Arab countries.

At the same time, the Jews resumed their work of creating a new nation in what was now a single sliver of land. Israel, had annexed a small amount of territory to make their state defensible, including a land bridge that included Jerusalem.

In the years that followed, the Israelis made their desert bloom. They built the only industrialized economy in the entire Middle East. They built the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. They treated the Arabs who remained in Israel well. To this day the very large Arab minority, which lives inside the state of Israel, has more rights and privileges than any other Arab population in the entire Middle East.

This is especially true of the Arabs living under Yasser Arafat’s corrupt dictatorship, the Palestine Authority, which today administers the West Bank and the Gaza strip, and whose Arab subjects have no human rights. In 1997,in a fit of pique against the Oslo Accords, Palestinian spokesman Edward Said himself blurted this out, calling Arafat “our Papa Doc” – after the sadistic dictator of Haiti – and complaining that there was “a total absence of law or the rule of law in the Palestinian autonomy areas.”

The present Middle East conflict is said to be about the “occupied territories”- the West Bank of the Jordan and the Gaza strip – and about Israel’s refusal to “give them up.” But during the first twenty years of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel did not control the West Bank. In 1950, when Jordan annexed the West Bank, there was no Arab outrage. Nor did the Middle East conflict with the Jews subside.

The reason there was no Arab outrage over the annexation of the West Bank was because Jordan is a state whose ethnic majority is Palestinian Arabs.On the other hand, the Palestinians of Jordan are disenfranchised by the ruling Hashemite minority. Despite this fact, in the years following the annexation the Palestinians displayed no interest in achieving”self-determination” in Hashemite Jordan. It is only the presence of Jews,apparently, that incites this claim. The idea that the current conflict is about “occupied territories” is only one of the many large Arab deceits –now widely accepted — that have distorted the history of the Middle Eastwars.

4. The Arab Wars Against Israel

In 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan attacked Israel for a second time and were again defeated. It was in repelling these aggressors that Israel came to control the West Bank and the Gaza strip, as well as the oil-rich Sinai desert.Israel had every right to annex these territories captured from the aggressors- a time honored ritual among nations, and in fact the precise way that Syria,Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan had come into existence themselves. But Israel did not do so. On the other hand, neither did it withdraw its armies or relinquish its control.

The reason was that the Arab aggressors once again refused to make peace.Instead, they declared themselves still at war with Israel, a threat no Israeli government could afford to ignore. By this time, Israel was a country of2 or 3 million surrounded by declared enemies whose combined populations numbered over 100 million. Geographically Israel was so small that at one point it was less than ten miles across. No responsible Israeli government could relinquish a territorial buffer while its hostile neighbors were still formally at war. This is the reality that frames the Middle East conflict.

In 1973, six years after the second Arab war against the Jews, the Arab armies again attacked Israel. The attack was led by Syria and Egypt, abetted by Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and five other countries who gave military support to the aggressors, including an Iraqi division of 18,000 men. Israel again defeated the Arab forces. Afterwards, Egypt – and Egypt alone — agreed to make a formal peace.

The peace was signed by Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, who was subsequently assassinated by Islamic radicals, paying for his statesmanship with his life.Sadat is one of three Arab leaders assassinated by other Arabs for making peace with the Jews.

Under the Camp David accords that Sadat signed, Israel returned the entire Sinai with all its oil riches. This act demonstrated once and for all that the solution to the Middle East conflict was ready at hand. It only required the willingness of the Arabs to agree.

The Middle East conflict is not about Israel’s occupation of the territories;it is about the refusal of the Arabs to make peace with Israel, which is an inevitable by-product of their desire to destroy it.

5. Self-Determination Is Not The Agenda

The Palestinians and their supporters also claim that the Middle East conflict is about the Palestinians’ yearning for a state and the refusal of Israel to accept their aspiration. This claim is also false. The Palestine Liberation Organization was created in 1964, sixteen years after the establishment of Israel and the first anti-Israel war. The PLO was created at a time the West Bank was not under Israeli control but was part of Jordan. The PLO, however,was not created so that the Palestinians could achieve self-determination in Jordan, which at the time comprised 90 percent of the original Palestine Mandate. The PLO’s express purpose, in the words of its own leaders, was to “push the Jews into the sea.”

The official charter of the new Palestine Liberation Organization referred to the “Zionist invasion,” declared that Israel’s Jews were “not an independent nationality,” described Zionism as “racist” and “fascist,” called for “the liquidation of the Zionist presence,” and specified, “armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.” In short, “liberation” required the destruction of the Jewish state. The PLO was not even created by Palestinians but by the Arab League — the corrupt dictators who ruled the Middle East and who had attempted to destroy Israel by military force in 1948, in 1967 and again in 1973.

For thirty years, the PLO charter remained unchanged in its call for Israel’s destruction. Then in the mid-1990s, under enormous international pressure following the 1993 Oslo Accords, PLO leader Yasser Arafat removed the clause while assuring his followers that its removal was a necessary compromise that did not alter the movement’s goals. He did this explicitly and also by citing a historical precedent in which the Prophet Muhammad insincerely agreed to a peace with his enemies in order to gain time to mass the forces with which he intended to destroy them.

6. The Struggle to Destroy Israel

The Middle East struggle is not about right against right. It is about a fifty-year effort by the Arabs to destroy the Jewish state, and the refusal of the Arab states in general and the Palestinian Arabs in particular to accept Israel’s existence. If the Arabs were willing to do this, there would be no occupied territories and there would be a Palestinian state.

Even during the “Oslo” peace process — when the Palestine Liberation Organization pretended to recognize the existence of Israel and the Jews therefore allowed the creation of a “Palestine Authority” — it was clear that the PLO’s goal was Israel’s destruction, and not just because its leader invoked the Prophet Muhammad’s own deception. The Palestinians’ determination to destroy Israel is abundantly clear in their newly created demand of a”right of return” to Israel for “5 million” Arabs. The figure of 5 million refugees who must be returned to Israel is more than ten times the number of Arabs who actually left the Jewish slivers of the British Mandate in 1948.

In addition to its absurdity, this new demand has several aspects that reveal the Palestinians’ genocidal agenda for the Jews. The first is that the “right of return” is itself a calculated mockery of the primary reason for Israel’s existence — the fact that no country would provide a refuge for Jews fleeing Hitler’s extermination program during World War II. It is only because the world turned its back on the Jews when their survival was at stake that the state of Israel grants a “right of return.” to every Jew who asks for it.

But there is no genocidal threat to Arabs, no lack of international support militarily and economically, and no Palestinian “diaspora” (although the Palestinians have cynically appropriated the very term to describe their self-inflicted quandary). The fact that many Arabs, including the Palestinian spiritual leader — the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem — supported Hitler’s “Final Solution” only serves to compound the insult. It is even further compounded by the fact that more than 90 percent of the Palestinians now in the West Bank and Gaza have never lived a day of their lives in territorial Israel.The claim of a “right of return” is thus little more than a brazen expression of contempt for the Jews, and for their historic suffering.

More importantly it is an expression of contempt for the very idea of a Jewish state. The incorporation of five million Arabs into Israel would render the Jews a permanent minority in their own country, and would thus spell the end of Israel. The Arabs fully understand this, and that is why they have made it a fundamental demand. It is just one more instance of the general bad faith the Arab side has manifested through every chapter of these tragic events.

Possibly the most glaring expression of the Arabs’ bad faith is their deplorable treatment of the Palestinian refugees and refusal for half a century to relocate them, or to alleviate their condition, even during the years they were under Jordanian rule. While Israel was making the desert bloom and relocating 600,000Jewish refugees from Arab states, and building a thriving industrial democracy in its allotted sliver, the Arabs were busy making sure that their refugees remained in squalid refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, where they were powerless, right-less, and economically destitute.

Today, fifty years after the first Arab war against Israel, there are 59such refugee camps and 3.7 million “refugees” registered with the UN. Despite economic aid from the UN and Israel itself, despite the oil wealth of the Arab kingdoms, the Arab leaders have refused to undertake the efforts that would liberate the refugees from their miserable camps, or to make the economic investment that would alleviate their condition. There are now 22 Arab states providing homes for the same ethnic population, speaking a common Arabic language. But the only one that will allow Palestinian Arabs to become citizens is Jordan. And the only state the Palestinians covet is Israel.

7. The Policy of Resentment and Hate

The refusal to address the condition of the Palestinian refugee population is – and has always been — a calculated Arab policy, intended to keep the.Palestinians in a state of desperation in order to incite their hatred of Israel for the wars to come. Not to leave anything to chance, the mosques and schools of the Arabs generally — and the Palestinians in particular– preach and teach Jew hatred every day. Elementary school children in Palestinian Arab schools are even taught to chant “Death to the heathen Jews”in their classrooms as they are learning to read. It should not be overlooked,that these twin policies of deprivation (of the Palestinian Arabs) and hatred(of the Jews) are carried out without any protest from any sector of Palestinian or Arab society. That in itself speaks volumes about the nature of the Middle East conflict.

All wars — especially wars that have gone on for fifty years – produce victims with just grievances on both sides. And that is true in this one. There are plenty of individual Palestinian victims, as there are Jewish victims, familiar from the nightly news. But the collective Palestinian grievance is without justice. It is a self-inflicted wound, the product of the Arabs’ xenophobia,bigotry, exploitation of their own people, and apparent inability to be generous towards those who are not Arabs. While Israel is an open, democratic,multi-ethnic, multicultural society that includes a large enfranchised Arab minority, the Palestine Authority is an intolerant, undemocratic, monolithic police state with one dictatorial leader, whose ruinous career has run now for 37 years.

As the repellent attitudes, criminal methods and dishonest goals of the Palestine liberation movement should make clear to any reasonable observer, its present cause is based on Jew hatred, and on resentment of the modern, democratic West, and little else. Since there was no Palestinian nation before the creation of Israel, and since Palestinians regarded themselves simply as Arabs and their land as part of Syria, it is not surprising that many of the chief creators of the Palestine Liberation Organization did not even live in the Palestine Mandate before the creation of Israel, let alone in the sliver of mostly desert that was allotted to the Jews. Edward Said, the leading intellectual mouthpiece for the Palestinian cause grew up in a family that chose to make its home in Egypt and the United States. Yasser Arafat was born in Egypt.

While the same Arab states that claim to be outraged by the Jews’ treatment of Palestinians treat their own Arab populations far worse than Arabs are treated in Israel, they are also silent about the disenfranchised Palestinian majority that lives in Jordan. In 1970, Jordan’s King Hussein massacred thousands of PLO militants. But the PLO does not call for the overthrow of Hashemite rule in Jordan and does not hate the Hashemite monarchy. Only Jews are hated.

It is a hatred, moreover, that is increasingly lethal. Today, 70 percent of the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza approve the suicide bombing of women and children if the targets are Jews. There is no Arab “Peace Now” movement,not even a small one, whereas in Israel the movement demanding concessions to Arabs in the name of peace is a formidable political force. There is no Arab spokesman who will speak for the rights and sufferings of Jews, but there are hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel – and all over the world- who will speak for “justice” for the Palestinians. How can the Jews expect fair treatment from a people that collectively does not even recognize their humanity?

8. A Phony Peace

The Oslo peace process begun in 1993 was based on the pledge of both parties to renounce violence as a means of settling their dispute. But the Palestinians never renounced violence and in the year 2000, they officially launched anew Intifada against Israel, effectively terminating the peace process.

In fact, during the peace process — between 1993 and 1999 — there wereover 4,000 terrorist incidents committed by Palestinians against Israelis,and more than 1,000 Israelis killed as a result of Palestinian attacks -more than had been killed in the previous 25 years. By contrast, during thesame period 1993-1999 Israelis were so desperate for peace that they reciprocatedthese acts of murder by giving the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gazaa self-governing authority, a 40,000 man armed “police force,” and 95 percentof the territory their negotiators demanded. This Israeli generosity wasrewarded by a rejection of peace, suicide bombings of crowded discos andshopping malls, an outpouring of ethnic hatred and a renewed declarationof war.

In fact, the Palestinians broke the Oslo Accords precisely because of Israeligenerosity, because the government of Ehud Barak offered to meet 95 percentof their demands, including turning over parts of Jerusalem to their control– a possibility once considered unthinkable. These concessions confrontedArafat with the one outcome he did not want: Peace with Israel. Peace withoutthe destruction of the “Jewish Entity.”

Arafat rejected these Israeli concessions, accompanying his rejection witha new explosion of anti-Jewish violence. He named this violence — deviously– “The Al-Aksa Intifada,” after the mosque on the Temple Mount. His newjihad was given the name of a Muslim shrine to create the illusion that theIntifada was provoked not by his unilateral destruction of the Oslo peaceprocess, but by Ariel Sharon’s visit to the site. Months after the Intifadabegan, the Palestine Authority itself admitted this was just another Arafatlie.

In fact, the Intifada had been planned months before Sharon’s visit as afollow-up to the rejection of the Oslo Accords. In the words of Imad Faluji,the Palestine Authority’s communications minister, “[The uprising] had beenplanned since Chairman Arafat’s return from Camp David, when he turned thetables on the former U.S. president [Clinton] and rejected the Americanconditions. “The same conclusion was reached by the Mitchell Commission headedby former U.S. Senator George Mitchell to investigate the events: “The Sharonvisit did not cause the Al-Aksa Intifada.”

9. Moral Distinctions

In assessing the Middle East impasse it is important to pay attention tothe moral distinction revealed in the actions of the two combatants. Whena deranged Jew goes into an Arab mosque and kills the worshippers (whichhappened once) he is acting alone and is universally condemned by the Israeligovernment and the Jews in Israel and everywhere, and he is punished to thefull extent of Israeli law. But when a young Arab enters a disco filled withteenagers or a shopping mall or bus crowded with women and children and blowshimself and innocent bystanders up (which happens frequently), he is someonewho has been trained and sent by a component of the PLO or the PalestineAuthority; he is officially praised as a hero by Yasser Arafat; his motheris given money by the Palestine Authority; and his Arab neighbors come topay honor to the household for having produced a “martyr for Allah.” ThePalestinian liberation movement is the first such movement to elevate thekilling of children – both the enemy’s and its own – into a religious callingand a strategy of the cause.

It is not only the methods of the Palestine liberation movement that aremorally repellent. The Palestinian cause is itself corrupt. The “Palestinianproblem” is a problem created by the Arabs, and can only be solved by them.In Jordan, Palestinians already have a state in which they are a majoritybut which denies them self-determination. Why is Jordan not the object ofthe Palestinian “liberation” struggle? The only possible answer is becauseit is not ruled by Jews.

There is a famous “green line” marking the boundary between Israel and itsArab neighbors. That green line is also the bottom line for what is the realproblem in the Middle East. It is green because plants are growing in thedesert on the Israeli side but not on the Arab side. The Jews got a sliverof land without oil, and created abundant wealth and life in all its richand diverse forms. The Arabs got nine times the acreage but all they havedone with it is to sit on its aridity and nurture the poverty, resentmentsand hatreds of its inhabitants. Out of these dark elements they have createdand perfected the most vile anti-human terrorism the world has ever seen:Suicide bombing of civilians. In fact, the Palestinians are a community ofsuicide bombers: they want the destruction of Israel more than they wanta better life.

If a nation state is all the Palestinians desire, Jordan would be the solution.(So would settling for 95 percent of one’s demands.) But the Palestiniansalso want to destroy Israel. This is morally hateful. It is the Nazi virusrevived. Nonetheless, the Palestinian cause is generally supported by theinternational community, with the singular exception of the United States(and to a lesser degree Great Britain). It is precisely because the Palestinianswant to destroy a state that Jews have created — and because they are killingJews — that they enjoy international credibility and otherwise inexplicablesupport.

10. The Jewish Problem Again

It is this international resistance to the cause of Jewish survival, thepersistence of global Jew-hatred that, in the end, refutes the Zionist hopeof a solution to the “Jewish problem.” The creation of Israel is an awe-inspiringhuman success story. But the permanent war to destroy it undermines the originalZionist idea.

More than fifty years after the creation of Israel, the Jews are still themost hated ethnic group in the world. Islamic radicals want to destroy Israel,but so do Islamic moderates. For the Jews in the Middle East, the presentconflict is a life and death struggle, yet every government in the UN withthe exception of the United States and sometimes Britain regularly votesagainst Israel in the face of a terrorist enemy, who has no respect for therights or lives of Jews. After the Al-Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center,the French ambassador to England complained that the whole world was endangeredbecause of “that shitty little country,” Israel. This caused a scandal inEngland, but nowhere else. All that stands between the Jews of the MiddleEast and another Holocaust is their own military prowess and the generous,humanitarian support of the United States.

Even in the United States, however, one can now turn the TV to channels likeMSNBC and CNN to see Ariel Sharon who is the elected Prime Minister of ademocracy equated politically and morally with Yasser Arafat who is a dictator,a terrorist and an enemy of the United States. One can see the same equivalencedrawn between Israel’s democracy and the Palestine Authority, which is aterrorist entity and an ally of America’s enemies Al Qaeda and Iraq.

During the Gulf War, Israel was America’s staunch ally while Arafat and thePalestinians openly supported the aggressor, Saddam Hussein. Yet the nexttwo U.S. Governments – Republican and Democrat alike – strove for even-handed”neutrality” in the conflict in the Middle East, and pressured Israel intoa suicidal “peace process” with a foe dedicated to its destruction. It isonly since September 11 that the United States has been willing to recognizeArafat as an enemy of peace and not a viable negotiating partner.

The Zionists’ efforts created a thriving democracy for the Jews of Israel(and also for the million Arabs who live in Israel), but failed to normalizethe Jewish people or make them safe in a world that hates them. From thepoint of view of the “Jewish problem,” which Herzl and the Zionist foundersset out to solve, it is better today to be a Jew in America than a Jew inIsrael.

This is one reason why I myself am not a Zionist but an unambivalent, passionateAmerican patriot. America is good for the Jews as it is good for every otherminority who embraces its social contract. But this history is also why Iam a fierce supporter of Israel’s survival and have no sympathy for thePalestinian side in the conflict in the Middle East. Nor will I have suchsympathy until the day comes when I can look into the Palestinians’ eyesand see something other than death desired for Jews like me.

JWR contributor David Horowitz is editor of Front Page Magazine and the authorof several books, including, The Art of Political War and Other Radical Pursuits,Hating Whitey, Art of Political War, Radical Son : A Generational Odyssey.

© 2002, David Horowitz

Question Set A                           Back to Top
(Please send your answers to theMystery School with “Israel History- A” in the subject line)

1. T or F: The Zionist founders believed that hatred of the Jews was a directconsequence of their stateless condition.

2. What nation conquered Judea and began the Jewish diaspora 2,000 yearsago?

3. T or F: Jews had not lived in the Judea-Palestine region since the diasporabegan.

4. From which nation did the British and French win the Holy Land in WorldWar I?

5. T or F: From the time they originally settled the area in the 7th centuryAD until the British gave them some territory from the former Turkish Empireafter World War I, the Arab settlers of Judea-Palestine had made no attemptto form an independent Palestinian state.

6. Did Britain keep its promise to the Jewish Zionists to provide them withterritory in Judea-Palestine after World War I? Who granted the land fora state of Israel in 1948?

7. T or F: The genocide of over 6 million European Jews during the Holocaustof World War II was a major reason the UN granted the state of Israel itsexistence.

8. T or F: Only a quarter of the land initially promised them by the Britishwas granted to the Zionists in 1948, sixty percent of which was the Negevdesert. The lands of the ancient homeland of the Jews, Judea and Samaria(now called the West Bank) were given to the Arabs, and although access toJerusalem was given to the Jews, it was still surrounded by Arab territory.

9. T or F: At the time of the establishment of the state of Israel, Arabshad more settlers living in the region than their Jewish neighbors.

10. T or F: At the time of the establishment of the state of Israel, Arabshad less land than their Jewish neighbors.

11. T or F: Israeli economic development brought in more Arab settlers seekingemployment and better human rights under the new democratic government.

12. T or F: The five Arab nations declared war on Israel the day it was formedbecause Israel had oppressive policies towards the Arab Palestinians.

13. T or F: After the Six-Day War the Arab settlers who had fled the countryto await the destruction of the Jewish state did not return to Israel, butover 600,000 Jews that were expelled from the Arab countries came as refugeesto settle there instead.

14. T or F: The Arab minority of over one million which still lives in thestate of Israel has more rights and privileges than any other Arab populationin the entire Middle East.

15. T or F: The Arab population living under Yasser Arafat’s leadership inthe West Bank and Gaza Strip have better rights than the Arabs living inIsraeli territory.

16. T or F: The conflict between Arabs and Israelis over the West Bank stemsfrom the issue of being an “occupied territory.”

17. T or F: Israel willingly gave up strategically valuable territory toEgypt when its President, Anwar Sadat, made formal peace with Israel at CampDavid.

18. T or F: At least three Arab leaders, including Anwar Saddat, have beenassasinated for making peace with the Jews.

19. T or F: The Middle East conflict is more about Israel’s “occupation ofthe territories” than it is the Arab’s willingness to make peace with theJews.

20. T or F: The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) had as its statedpurpose, not to create an independent Palestinian state, but to “push theJews into the sea.”

21. T or F: In the 1993 Oslo Accords Yasser Arafat changed the clause inthe PLO’s constitution which called for the destruction of Israel, but saidit was only for diplomatic purposes and did not change the organization’sgoals.

22. T or F: The PLO was formed by the Arab League, the five nations whichhad declared war on Israel at its inception in 1948, then again in 1967 and1973.

23. T or F: If the Arab states accepted the existence of the state of Israeland revoked its declaration of war against the Jews, there would be no occupiedterritories and a Palestinian state could be born.

24. T or F: Many Arabs, including the Palestinian spiritual leader, the GrandMufti of Jerusalem, supported the genocidal agenda of Hitler during WorldWar II.

25. T or F: The Palestinians have called for a “right of return” for fivemillion Arabs into the state of Israel. This is more than ten times the numberof Arabs who fled the territory at the end of British rule in 1948.

26. Where were many of the Palestinian leaders such as Yasser Arafat actuallyborn and raised?

27. What neighboring Arab country, lead by its Hashemite government, isresponsible for the massacre of thousands of members of the PLO? Do thePalestinians also protest this government’s abuses?

28. When the Palestinians committed over 4,000 terrorist acts and killedover 1,000 Israelis in the period from 1993-1999, with what three concessionsdid the Israelis respond?

29. Did the terrorism of the Palestinians increase or decrease after theseconcessions?

30. Why do the Palestinians enjoy such great international support?

31. Which two countries are the only reliable supporters of Israel in theUN?

32: Essay: How does the bad treatment of the Palestinian refugees by theirArab leaders and allies contribute to the continuing war against Israel?

On the ChildAbram                Back toTop
Dr Boris Schein writes: This is a translation of a poem of NathanAlterman, a distinguished Israeli poet (1910-1970). Please forgive theimperfections: good poetry is, in principle, untranslatable. Also, thetranslation is not by a professional translator; it was made in December,2001 as a part of Michael’s final exam in a course of Hebrew. (Michael isBoris’ son)

Necessarily, his time was limited. The Hebrew original is written in a regularrhymed meter (lost in translation). Other features are lost in translationtoo. For example, the word for “knife” used by the poet is not the ordinaryone but a specific word used in Genesis when Abraham was commanded to sacrificehis son Isaac. The words “Go forth … to the land that I shall show thee”are, equally, an exact quotation from the story of Abraham. The meaning of”The Seventy Nations” is clear to everyone who is “Bible-educated.” Thereare more examples like this.

But, again, Hebrew poetry was meant to be read in original Hebrew as Englishpoetry in original English.

Modern Hebrew poetry in English translations is not particularly well known.This is why I took the liberty of sending this sample to you.

Katia inserts: the word for knife he’s talking about is like the wordathame, and means ceremonial or sacrificial knife. Other references to the”sacrifice” is the word Holocaust itself which means “burnt offering” orsacrifice. The 10 million, yes that’s MILLION Jews who gave their lives justone generation ago, did so as a sacrifice, a holocaust for their childrenand future clan members. That’s why when those survivors got a homeland,little slivers of land in Israel, they were so grateful and worked theirbutts off to make those dusty slivers bloom and prosper, welcoming alldowntrodden Jews from around the world. Now the Arabs and Muslims (not allMuslims are Arabs) want to take all that away from them too. But this boyAbram, God promised him something to what he promised that other Abram longago….

On the Child Abram     byNatan Alterman               Back to Top
(as he was sleeping on the steps of his house in Poland at the end of thewar, from fear of lying in his bed)

A Polish town.
The moon is high and, as always, clouds are sailing.
As night comes, the child Abram lies down on the stone steps of the house.

His mother stands before him, up close and does not touch the ground withher feet.
And she says, “Abram, the night is cold and wet.
Come home, to your made bed.”

And Abram answers her, “My mother, my mother,
I will not sleep in my bed like all children, because in it I saw you,
My mother, my mother, sleeping — and in your heart was a knife.”

Then his father stands up and floats his hand toward him and scolds him,transparent and tall.
And tells him, “Abram, come home right now.
Abram, my son, come home quickly.”

And Abram answers him, “My father, my father,
I will be afraid to shut my eyes there because I saw you there,
My father, my father, sleeping still, without your head on your shoulders.”

Then his little sister stands opposite him and calls him home, crying.
But Abram answers her, “You are sleeping there with the tears of death onyour cheek.”

Then the Seventy Nations arise before him and say, “Here we are, upon you!
With seventy laws and seventy axes we will return you to this house!
We will put you in your made bed, and you will sleep there, still, like yourfather!”

And Abram in his dream cries, “My father!”
And he calls out his mother’s name and she answers:
“My dear son! If the knife were not in my heart,
My heart would break in two inside me.”

Then silence is cast upon the night and the moon is dimmed.
And against the flash of bayonets seeking their prey the word of God cameto Abram.

To Abram sleeping in the entranceway of his house.

Saying, “Fear not. Fear not, Abram,
For great and mighty will I make thee.
Go forth, through the night and the knife and the blood to the land thatI shall show thee.

Go forth, through the night and the knife and the blood, like a beast, likea worm, like a bird.
Those who bless thee I will bless, Abraham, and those who curse thee I willcurse.”

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A Brief History of the Landof Israel       Back toTop
by Amber Satterwhite aka Oiled Lamp

Before the time of the Patriarchs, the land of Israel was a loosely organizedland of city-states mostly descended from the ancient Sumerian and Mesopotamiancivilizations. The dominant religion of the common people was venerationof the Great Goddess, associated with the moon and fertility, whereas theruling class (composed of the warrior elite from conquering nomadic tribes)either worshipped a Moon God or a solar male Deity of thunder and war. Ifthe Biblical record is reliable, we can safely believe that the conflictbetween these two religions was well under way by the time of Abraham. Oncehis grandson Jacob had grown to manhood, the cult of the Goddess was strugglingto exist under the oppressive patriarchal regimes of the ruling class. Still,try as they might, the ruling warrior class could not do away with the lunarGoddess worship of the peasant farmers.

Before the time of Joseph, son of Jacob, Hebrew religion had very littleto do with Egypt, but instead focused on the Sumerian and Mesopotamian deitiesof its native land. When royal Joseph brought the family of Jacob into Egyptto escape famine in the land of Israel he changed the course of Jewish religionforever. After dwelling in Egypt for several hundred years and undergoingslavery at the hands of a new ruling family, the Hebrew family of Jacob becameincreasingly Egyptian on one hand, and increasingly blended with other Hebrewslave groups and nomadic tribes on the other. When a prophet by the nameof Moses was called to finally lead them out of Egypt, he was an Egyptianprince well schooled in the Mystery Religion of royal Egypt. It is likelythat his brother Aaron, the new Hebrew High Priest, and Miriam, the new HighPriestess, were also Egyptian royalty and initiates into the Egyptian mysteries.In “Genesis of the Grail Kings” Sir Laurence Gardner outlines thisEgyptian influence on the Hebrew religion and Moses, Aaron, and Miriam’sroles in transforming the Sumerian Goddess cult of the Hebrews into the Jehovahcult that later flourished in the Holy Land.

When the children of Israel were finally led back into the Holy Land, theyencountered there a society that was more or less the same as the one theirancestors had left behind centuries earlier. They encountered the same priestsof the sacred groves who presided over the rural shrines of Asherah and Baal(called Levites or Hittites in the Bible), a religion strikingly similarto the native tradition of the Hebrew slaves. One evidence of this is thatthe golden calf, which the Israelite Hebrews demanded Aaron make them atMt. Sinai, is also a symbol closely associated with the cult of the fertilityGoddess Isis. This made the Israelite Hebrews more closely related to thenative farmers of the Holy Land than the ruling warrior class they were tryingto conquer. Despite Moses and Aaron’s attempts to convert them to areligion more closely centered on the solar male God – the god of“progress” and conquest at the time – they clung to theirancestral religion with the help of the Levite priests. This suggests thatthe Hebrews were more likely assimilated into Canaanite culture than theywere conquerors of it; until the time of the first Kings of Israel therewas very little to distinguish the Israelite religion, customs, and governmentfrom the host of other pagan groups in the region.

The tribes of Israel maintained a loose confederacy in Canaan from theirsettlement of the Holy Land under the direction of Joshua up through thetimes of the judges until the first King of Israel, Saul, was anointed. Saulwas a warrior’s warrior, a reluctant, humble king at best, who concentratedon simply defending the borders of his kingdom and keeping the confederacytogether. It wasn’t until the time of King David that the kingdom ofIsrael really became a power in the region. David began his career as asuccessful warrior in the court of King Saul. After becoming a popular heroamong the people he married the King’s daughter Michal, and used hisskill at music and poetry to delight everyone at the royal court. Soon, hebecame so popular that David started thinking that maybe he could do a betterjob at ruling than Saul. Saul caught on to his treachery, and attempted tokill David. David fled and formed a brigade of outlaws and thieves on theoutskirts of the kingdom, supporting himself by demanding “protectionmoney” from the inhabitants of the region so the outlaw group wouldn’tattack them. Saul again tried to capture and kill David, but David againevaded him.

Realizing his days were numbered in Saul’s kingdom, David hired himselfout as a mercenary among the Philistines, a group of warrior invaders fromCrete, who were making things generally unpleasant for the entire region.The Philistines put David in charge of his own city, gave him a small army,and instructed him to start raiding the Israelite cities. David could keepthe spoils. The Bible says David and his forces lied to his superiors andraided Philistine villages instead, pretending that it was another groupof marauders, and thus winning the hearts of the Judeans. Considering thelikelihood that the Philistines would have bought into this farce for sevenyears when the area we are talking about is less than twenty square mileslarge, it is more likely that David and his men were raiding Judean villagesand the Biblical scribes, not wanting to make a traitor out of their hero,decided to doctor the record.

Eventually, King Saul was killed in battle by the Philistines along withhis son. The Philistines decided that David, having been a good Israeliteservant of theirs in the past, would make a fitting king to put on the throne.At first David ruled from Hebron, the city of the patriarchs in the south,which was composed mostly of the tribe of Judah. The northern tribes, however,were not willing to accept David as king. After a two-year civil war, theyfinally complied. They still viewed themselves as a vassal state, however,and David came to the conclusion that as long as he kept his capitol in thesouth he would have to rely on brute force to keep the northern tribes loyal.If he moved his capitol from the south, however, he risked losing the loyaltyof the Judeans, who were probably already wary of him due to his former maraudingalong their borders. It is even possible that David wasn’t an Israeliteat all, but a Canaanite, which would have put his kingship into even morequestion. So, David concluded that he needed a capitol in between the tworegions, which could somehow unite the two factions into one cohesive body.He turned towards Jerusalem.

Jerusalem at the time was a Jebusite fortress, officially in the lands ofthe Benjamites, King Saul’s tribe. In former days a temple of Zadok/Sydikhad stood there, officiated at by the High Priest Melchizedek himself. Thisgod was in many ways a solar diety, a mountain God of thunder and light,and his cult most likely continued at the site until it was adopted by theAaronite or “Levitical” priests (who were in opposition to theLevites) as the holy site of Jehovah, the God of Israel. This undoubtedlyoccurred after King David conquered the city and made it his capitol; itwas customary in that day for the war god of the conquering tribe to takeover the temple of the old tribe’s war god, so that the new god couldassume all the old god’s powers and authority. Once King David had thisneutrally located capitol, he only had to give it divine importance to allthe Hebrew tribes. He accomplished this by moving the Ark of the Covenant,a symbol of Israelite strength and power which all the tribes could standbehind, up to the tabernacle at Jerusalem. This event was one of such importancethat members of both the northern and southern tribes flocked to Jerusalemfor a huge feast and celebration. David’s dream of unity was complete.He was now King over all Israel.

David ended his life in relative security; he gave his heir, Solomon, a unifiedkingdom strong, rich, and influential. In some ways Solomon exploited thisto full advantage. He built the first and probably the greatest Israelitetemple and palace to ever stand in Jerusalem. He developed trade relationsthat were enviable even by modern standards. He kept his kingdom peacefuland avoided being seriously opposed by any foreign power. Unfortunately,he was also an elitist. He burdened the common people, particularly the northerntribes, with such horrible taxes and forced labor that by the time he died,the northern tribes threatened to break away if his son and heir Reheboamdid not lower the taxes and limit the requirements of forced labor. Reheboamresponded by raising them both. The northern tribes broke away just as theyhad promised under the leadership of Jereboam; they named their kingdom Israelwhile the southern tribes under Reheboam called themselves Judah. This wasthe era of the Divided Kingdom, and not until modern times would Israel againbe one nation.

Jereboam was followed by Omri, who changed the capitol city of Israel toSamaria while Judah remained strong in Jerusalem. Ahab and the PhoenicianQueen Jezebeel followed Omri, and in their day Assyria conquered Babyloniaand marched towards Israel in the south. Wisely, Israel made a treaty withthem and Assyria left them mostly to themselves as long as they paid theirtribute. In the 730’s BC a new Assyrian King, Tiglath Pileser III, decidedthat wasn’t enough, however, and invaded Israel, taking away half itsinhabitants as slaves and laying waste to many of its cities. He eventuallygave up on ruling the country, though, and again allowed Israel to rule itselfas long as they paid their tribute. In 725 BC King Hosea (not the same asthe prophet of the same name), foolishly, decided not to pay his tribute.The Assyrian King Sargon II marched south and crushed Israel, taking allits inhabitants captive and destroying the capitol of Samaria. These captivesbecame the “lost tribes” of Israel. Meanwhile, the king of Judah,Hezekiah, who had sided with Sargon in the Israel affair, was planning arebellion of his own. Assyria eventually marched against him, and after along siege by King Sennecherib, the Assyrian forces came down with a nastycase of the plague. Jerusalem was spared. Perhaps more humbled by the experience,Hezekiah sent tribute after the king and didn’t rebel again.

Perhaps due to the weakened state of the Assyrian army, Babylonia soon defeatedSyria and in 597 BC the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzer took Jerusalem. Heplaced Zedekiah on the throne and in opposition to everyone’s adviceZedekiah rebelled against Babylon. Jerusalem fell again in 587 BC after ayear-long siege, and Zedekiah was blinded shortly after witnessing the deathsof his family. The royalty of Judah were taken into captivity in Babylon.A rebellion later broke out in Judea among the common youth, who did notlike their new Babylonian rulers, but when the Babylonian forces came todeal with them they fled to Egypt for their lives. The remainder of the Judeans,missing both their ruling class in Babylon and their idealistic young menin Egypt, quickly lost any national identity and became nearly indistinguishablefrom their Canaanite neighbors.

The exile in Babylon lasted for no more than fifty years. In the 530’sBC the Persians defeated the Babylonians, and the Persian King Cyrus, whohad a policy of allowing native peoples to stay in their homelands and practicetheir own religion, allowed a delegation of Jews to return to the homelandunder a Persian overseer, Sheshbazzar. Cyrus was succeeded by Darius I, whoappointed Zarubbabel governor of Judea and deported even more Jews back intothe region. Under the prophet Nehemiah’s direction these Jews rebuiltthe temple, and Ezra instructed them in the newly codified Torah Law.

This resurgence of Israelite religion was countered by Hellenism when Alexanderthe Great swept over the known world and took Judea from the Persians in334 BC. Although Alexander treated the Jews well and allowed them to continuetheir religious and social customs, he also gave tax breaks to those willingto adopt the Greek way of life. The wealthy and ruling classes quickly abandonedthe old ways for the new Hellenism. The Jewish way of life began to changeunder this pervasive influence, and Jewish society began to be divided betweenthe Hellenized Jews on the one hand and the more traditional, Hebrew secton the other. In 323 BC Alexander died, leaving his kingdom to be dividedup by his generals. There are three divisions: Macedonia, Egypt (ruled byPtolemy) and Syria-Mesopotamia (ruled by the Seleucids). Unfortunately Judealay between the land of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, and became abattleground between the two powers. In 301 BC Judea was conquered by Ptolemy,and in 200 BC it was finally taken by the Seleucids under Antiochus III.

In 169 BC the Seleucid King Antiochus IV again attacked the Ptolemies. Helost. Word got back to Jerusalem that Antiochus was dead. A former High Priest,Jason, saw this as an opportunity to wrench the priesthood from Antiochus’lackey, Menelaus. He set up a revolution in Jerusalem. Of course, Antiochuswas still alive. Upon returning to Jerusalem and discovering Jason’ssubterfuge he declared martial law, banned Judaic practices like Shabbatand circumcision and declared them capitol crimes, and then profaned thetemple by introducing foreign worship. All this was supported by many ofthe Hellenized Jews, but was absolutely intolerable for a group called theHasidim, who found leadership in a priestly family called the Hasmoneans.Using guerilla tactics in the mountains of Judea these revolutionaries managedto defeat the army of Antiochus and then take Jerusalem. They cleaned upthe temple and declared a holiday to celebrate their dedication, called Chanukah,which means “dedication.” The Seleucids and their Jewish alliesnever accepted the Hasmonean rulers as legitimate, and civil war continuedfor twenty years after the re-dedication of the temple. Still, the Hasmoneansmanaged to stay in power for a hundred years until internal corruption leadto their downfall.

The Hasmoneans/Maccabees had so weakened Judea from internal strife thatby 63 BC the Roman Emperor Pompey marched in and took over the region. Heentered Jerusalem unopposed, but the fortifications around the Temple Mountposed a problem, and it took three months before Pompey was able to gaincontrol of it. Pompey appointed Herod, the son of an Idumean who had beenforced to convert to Judaism, as the governor of the region, giving him nearabsolute power to act as king. Pompey was followed by Julius Caesar, whowas followed by Cassius, Mark Antony, and Octavian in succession. They allkept Herod as governor of Judea. Herod ruled by ruthless brute force. Hecreated a secret police force to root out dissidents and orchestrated massslaughter to eliminate any enemies of Roman rule. These were the times ofYeshua and Mary Magdalene. During his reign this created a rather terrified,yet peaceful society, but after his death the resentments and hostilitieshe had sown erupted with malevolent force.

After the death of Herod, the hatred of Roman rule which the Jews had beensilently fomenting for the last few generations suddenly exploded into riotsand revolts. In 66 AD the Sicarii, a group of militant Jewish nationals,took the stronghold of Masada and defeated several Roman garrisons aroundJudea and in Jerusalem. Emperor Nero sent in his best general, Vespasian,with 60,000 troops. The Jewish forces which were distrustful of each otherand fought among themselves, expected help from the Diaspora Jews in Egypt,Persia, and Rome, which never came. Their disunity became their downfall.After the death of Nero in 68 AD Vespasian left for Rome to become Emperor;he left his army in the hands of his son, Titus, who in 70 AD finally tookJerusalem and destroyed the Temple. After a three year siege, the forcesat Masada choose to commit suicide rather than surrender to Rome. In 73 BCthe revolt ended.

Although the Jews had lost their Temple, they didn’t loose their angeragainst Rome. It simmered beneath the surface until 115 AD, when Rome wentto war against the Parthians in Mesopotamia. The Jews in Cyrene and Alexandriatook this opportunity to revolt, and the fighting quickly spread, althoughit did not reach Judea itself. Emperor Trajan responded by brutally puttingdown the riots and destroying the Jewish communities in Cyrene, Crete, Cyprus,and most of Egypt, adding garrisons to the armies already in Judea and raisingtaxes there. The Judean Jews, who were too young to remember the horrorsof the revolt in 66 AD, resented this treatment. Fortunately Trajan diedonly two years later and Hadrian, the new emperor, executed the generalswho had overseen the cruelties under Trajan. He rebuilt parts of the Templewalls and restored some of the buildings that had been destroyed during priorrevolts. The Jews remained resentful, however, and soon rumors surfaced thatHadrian planned to turn the Temple Mount into a temple of Jupiter (whichwas probably true), and ban circumcision (this probably wasn’t true,Hadrian had written an edict forbidding castration).

In 132 AD war broke out in Judea again. This time it was lead by a man namedSimeon Bar Kochba, who was proclaimed the Messiah by Rabbi Akiva and someother religious leaders. Being united under a single leader, this time theJews had a more successful campaign. They retook Jerusalem and most of Judea,establishing rule and minting coins that are still extant today. Hadrianhad no choice but to pull his best general, Severus, out of Britain, andsend him to Judea. Instead of openly challenging the Jews, Severus used siegewarfare to slowly starve out the Jews. In 134 AD the final Jewish strongholdfell. By the end of the war, over 580,000 Jews had been killed. To make mattersworse, Hadrian was furious at the survivors for opposing him. He declaredJerusalem a holy Roman city and built his temple to Jupiter, and then declaredthe practice or teaching of Judaism to be a capitol offense, thus outlawingboth Shabbat and circumcision, and torturing and killing the Jewish rabbisand scholars who had supported Bar Kochba. He renamed the region“Palestine” after the ancient enemies of the Jews, the Philistines,from which we get the modern name “Palestinian.”

After Emperor Hadrian’s death in 138 AD the new Emperor Antoninus Piusrevoked his decrees, thus granting the Jewish people and their religion astay of execution. An unwritten agreement developed between the Jews andthe Roman emperors: the Jews would try to eliminate any zealot outbreaksand Rome would return the favor by restoring Judaism to its place as a legalreligion. Eventually Jews received certain privileges like the right to abstainfrom military service and not being required to appear in court on the Sabbath,although they were still forbidden from proselytizing or ever setting footin Jerusalem. Emperor Carracalla granted the Jews Roman citizenship in 212AD along with most of the other inhabitants of the Roman Empire. Jewish fortunesrose and fell with the Empire’s until the first Christian Emperor,Constantine, began his rule.

The Council of Nicea showing the bishops and Emperor ConstantineBeginning with the angry diatribes of St. Justin Martyr, Jewshad been the whipping boy of Christianity for many years prior to the ruleof Constantine. As the people who had crucified Christ, and the “falseIsrael” versus the new spiritual Israel of the Christian Church, theJews were not much better than demonic according to most Christian theologiansof the day. When Constantine declared the Council of Nicea in 325 AD to formulatethe Christian doctrine of his new state religion, it was the beginning ofthe end for Jews in the Empire. At best the Jews were expected to convertto Christianity, and depending on the zealousness of the ruling Emperor andthe Christian mob, they were often put to death and generally harassed throughoutthe Empire. In 351 AD the Jews revolted against one such zealous Emperornamed Gallus. He responded by destroying the cities in Galilee from whichthe rebellion had taken place. Several of the communities never recovered.

As the Roman Empire was split in two, Rome staying the capitol in the Westand Constantinople becoming the capitol of the Byzantine Empire in the East,conditions for the Jews became progressively worst. There was a brief respitein 363 AD when Julian the Apostate became Emperor and attempted to restoreJewish rights in Judea to their former Hellenistic state. He was soonassassinated, however, and the decrees were revoked. In the beginning ofthe fifth century Emperor Theodosius ruled that since Jews were the evillot who had rejected Christ, they should naturally be persecuted. His policieswere expanded by Justinian, who forbade Jews from reading any book in Hebrewand encouraged the citizenry to destroy synagogues and Jewish homes andbusinesses. Luckily, the anti-Semitic Byzantine emperors were too busy withoutside threats to devote many troops to persecuting the Jews, and duringthis time the Jews managed to build more synagogues than perhaps in any otherperiod under foreign rule, incorporating beautiful Byzantine art and mosaicsinto their architecture. Then, in the beginning of the seventh century, Persiaonce again marched to conquer Judea.

The Jews had been so badly mistreated by the Byzantines that they decidedto side with the Persians in hopes of better conditions under their rule.With the help of the Jews, the Persians slaughtered from 60,000-90,000Christians, and in 611 AD they conquered Judea. They entered Jerusalem tothe cheers of the Jews, and destroyed the Holy Sepulchre, built by EmpressHelena, Constantine’s mother, who had identified (perhaps none tooaccurately) most of the holy sites of Christendom in Judea. To the dismayof their Jewish allies, the Persians turned out to be even crueler and moreoppressive than the Byzantines. Almost immediately after the Persian victorythe Jews of Judea approached the Byzantine emperor Heraclius to broker adeal to put Byzantium back in power. Relying on the support of the Jews,Heraclius retook the Judean territory in 629 AD after a bloody and expensivewar for both sides. After the victory the Jews approached Heraclius to remindhim of his treaty with them. Heraclius responded by ordering all Jews executedand their synagogues destroyed. He asked the King of the Franks to join himin his slaughter by executing all the Jews in France, but the King refused.For the next seven years the future of the Jews in Judea came into seriousperil, while the Muslim religion of Islam began to grow in the south.

Luckily for the Muslims, the Byzantines and Persians were far too busy fightingbetween themselves to pay any attention to Mohammed and his growing religiousmovement in the Arabian desert. By the time Islam had become so large theycould no longer ignore it, they falsely believed it would spread throughthe Arab tribes and then stop there. They could have built defenses againstthe invasion. Instead, they refused to believe there would be an invasion,and in 634 AD the Muslims invaded Judea and took the region with very littleopposition. Jerusalem surrendered after a long siege without being conquered.Although it may seem ironic in the face of modern events, the Jews in Judeabreathed a sigh of relief when the Muslims took the region from the Byzantines.The end of Byzantine rule also meant that the anti-Semitic edicts of Heracliusheld no power. Although the Muslims didn’t exactly provide equalityfor the Jews, they at least allowed the Jews to live. Under Muslim law allwere supposed to convert to the true religion of Islam or die, except forJews and Christians, who were allowed to live and practice their religion,but were deemed second-class citizens in return.

The Umayyad Dynasty signaled the beginning of the Muslim Empire. It had threedivisions, each ruled by a prince or “caliph”. The first caliphto govern Judea was named Omar, and he ruled from the capitol city of theUmayyads, which was Damascus. When Omar arrived in Jerusalem he was scandalizedby the filthy state in which the Byzantines had left the Temple Mount. Heordered that it be cleaned, and intended to build a shrine there where Abrahamwas said to have almost sacrificed Isaac, and where Mohammed had ascendedinto heaven with the angel Gabriel. After all, Muslims had Mecca and Medinaas holy sites in Arabia, now there needed to be a similar holy site in theprovince of Damascus. Omar was never able to build his shrine, however. Itwas left to later caliphs to build the Dome of the Rock, which was completedin 691 AD. To this day it is sometimes referred to as the Mosque of Omar,which is incorrect because it is neither a mosque (it is a shrine) nor wasit built by Omar. The Mosque of Aksa, the Furthest Mosque, was also builton the Temple Mount about this time, and it became the third holiest sitefor Muslims in the world. Together with the Dome of the Rock it is a siteof pilgrimage and great reverence in Islam to this day.

Although reasonably tolerant of Jews and Christians, the Umayyad Dynastydid not allow foreigners to participate in government. This changed whenthe Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasid Dynasty in the middle of theeighth century. Unlike their predecessors, the Abbasids welcomed skilledforeigners into their government, and changed the capitol city from Damascusto Baghdad in Babylonia, establishing the already strong Babylonian Jewishcommunity as the center of the Jewish world. Although Jews and Christianswere still relegated to a second class status with many civil rightsrestrictions, this change did improve that status dramatically. The Abbasidsbenefited from including Jews by developing their economic potential, andthe Jews benefited from advanced political and economic clout. The Umayyads,who had fled to Spain, took note of the Abbasids’ success and decidedthat they, too, would give Jews and Christians a place in governmental affairs.This led to an exceptionally progressive society in Muslim Spain, centeredon a love for Greek learning which allowed the development of many of thegreat Jewish Cabalists of the medieval era, as well as many Jewish scholarsand professionals in many other secular fields, also. This freedom was juxtaposedagainst the plight of Jews in most of Europe at the time, which had fallenunder a dark cloud of anti-Semitism. Despite pockets of Jewish settlementin Italy, Germany, and southern France, and the rising prominence of Jewishtraders and merchants, medieval Christian Europe continued to be a generallydangerous place for the Jews.

The Abbasid Dynasty began to disintegrate in the tenth and eleventh centuries.First trouble came from within, when in 909 AD Shi’ite Muslims called Fatimidsrevolted in Tunisia and set up their own caliphate. Their purpose was toallow only caliphs who were direct descendants of Mohammed. They loved Greekphilosophy and tried to reconcile Islamic teachings with it. Sixty yearslater they controlled most of the Abbasid Empire, establishing trade routesthrough India which by-passed the Abbasids in Baghdad and encouraged Jewishmerchants and traders. Since most of the people in the Abbasid territoriesremained loyal to their Sunni Muslim leaders, the Fatimids were forced togrant Jews and Christians even greater freedoms so they could act as a politicalbridge between Shi’ite and Sunni relations. This lasted until 1012 AD,when the caliph Al-Hakim decided to restore the anti-Jew and anti-Christian,seventh century edicts of the Umayyads. Fortunately his reign only lastedfor nine years, and the later caliphs did not enforce his fundamentalistlaws. This relative peace ended again in the eleventh century when a groupof Orthodox Muslims from Turkey called the Seljuks essentially conqueredthe Abbasid Empire. By 1091, Jews and Christians were again relegated tosecond class, with all the former restrictions and more that were set uponthem centuries earlier. This caused Muslim Spain to quickly replace Babyloniaas the center of the Jewish world.

The Jews continued to live in Spain in relative peace and security untilthe Christians, beginning their attacks as soon as the Muslims settled, finallydrove out the Muslims entirely by the end of the 13th century. Gradually,Jewish rights began to be taken away, until Christian anti-Semitism onceagain took hold and Jews began to fear for their lives and livelihood. WhenPope Urban II called the First Crusade in 1095, European mobs decided therewas a traditional enemy of Christ much closer to them than Jerusalem, andmarched on the Jewish settlements in the German Rhineland. By the time theywere finished over 10,000 Jews were dead. Many more were slaughtered in theattacks on the Holy Land itself. Luckily, when the Second Crusade was calledin the year 1146 against the approaching Muslim Emperor Saladin, Bernardof Clairvaux, author of the Templar constitution, wrote letters to many Christiancommunities insisting that they refrain from harming Jews. Fewer than 200Jews were killed in Europe as the Crusaders marched again for the Holy Land.This was changed by the Crusaders’ defeat by Emperor Saladin, whichput most of Europe into such a rage that they again marched against the Jews.If not for a decree by Frederick I of Prussia that no Jews were to be harmed,another slaughter of immense proportion might have occurred. Anti-Semitickillings continued to persist throughout the Crusades, however, and afterthe final defeat of the Europeans by Saladin in the Third Crusade, the Jewswere alternately expelled from nearly every country in Europe.

The Ayyubid Dynasty of Saladin was ended by a rather unlikely group. TheMamluks (which literally means “slaves”) were young boys from regionssuch as southern Russia that were enslaved and raised as Muslim soldiers,who would be trained to defend the Empire against enemies such as the ChristianCrusaders. Despite their famous loyalty, at the time of the Seventh Crusadea rebellion ensued and the chief Mamluk, Baibers, killed the Sultan and theCaliph and placed a boy on the throne who would obey his wishes. Shortlyafterwards, in 1260 AD, the Mongol forces of Genghis Khan attacked Judea.Amazingly, the Mamluks stopped the Mongol armies and drove them back. Europeowes a debt both to the Mamluks and the Mongols. If not for the Mamluks,Genghis Kahn would have no doubt wasted Europe, and if not for Genghis Kahnkeeping the Mamluks busy on the Eastern front, it is likely the Muslims wouldhave invaded and perhaps conquered most of Europe, which was seriously weakenedby the Crusades and internal strife. After their defeat of the Mongols, theMamluks became the unequivocal rulers of the Holy Land. This was not goodnews for Jews, however, or Christians, both of whom were severely persecutedunder Mamluk rule. Conditions there were so bad that in 1492, when the Jewswere evicted from Spain, they did not even consider returning to Judea. Manyof them, however, fled to Turkey.

The Ottoman Turks conquered Judea in 1517 AD. The Land of Israel was importantto them as a strategic point on the pilgrimage route to Mecca. The Turkscould not afford to keep a standing army in this region, however, so theyrelied on the local Bedouin Arab leaders to officiate for them. Horriblecorruption ensued, creating poverty and disease for most of the region’sinhabitants. Law was determined by who could pay the biggest bribe. The Jewsof the area became so poor and overtaxed, that the practice of chalukah wasinstituted. Chalukah was the giving of charity, where European Jews wouldsend money, clothing, foodstuffs, and other provisions to the Jewry in Palestineso that the Jews could still have a home there. It was becoming more andmore important for Jews to know there were still Jews in the homeland. In1856 one such wealthy European Jew, Sir Moses Montifiore, donated land, money,and a mill to start a Jewish settlement just outside the city walls of Jerusalem.Although not hugely successful, this settlement began what is now the moderncity of Jerusalem. In 1870 and 1878 further attempts at farming settlementswere made, but due to malaria both were abandoned. Still, the idea of theJews returning to settle Israel was beginning to take shape. Settlement attemptscontinued with some success for the next 40 years while the Zionist movementwas born. [This article ends where Horowitz’s article — Section A above– begins]  Check out the following links if you want, then be sureto answer the following questions, set B, based on the article you just read.

Gates of Jewish Heritage— Articles on history of Israel

State of IsraelTimeline of Important Events — Important events in the modern stateof Israel’s history

Arab-Israel Conflictin Maps

Question Set B                   Back toTop
(Please send your answers to theMystery School with “Israel History- B” in the subject line)

1. T or F: The first inhabitants of the Holy Land worshipped a lunar Goddessof fertility.

2. T or F: The religion of the Hebrews was heavily influenced by the Egyptianmysteries at the time of Moses.

3. T or F: The group of priests described as “Levites” served a patriarchalGod of war and thunder.

4. T or F: Some groups in ancient times regarded the thunder god as the”progressive” deity, as opposed to the traditional worship of the Goddess.

5. T or F: The tribes remained highly organized with a central governmentfrom the time they invaded Canaan up until the days of King Saul.

6. T or F: Saul was an oppressive king who demanded high taxes and forcedlabor from the people to support his opulent palaces and temples.

7. T or F: David raided Judean villages and worked for the enemies of theIsraelites, the Philistines, before becoming King of Israel.

8. T or F: Jerusalem was an Israelite stronghold before the reign of KingDavid.

9. T or F: The Temple Mount in Jerusalem was once the site of a temple tothe God Zadok/Sydik, where the High Priest Melchizedek officiated.

10. T or F: The presence of the Ark of the Covenant made the Temple Mountspecial to both the northern and southern tribes of Israel.

11. T or F: The northern tribes caused the division of the kingdom when theirking, Jereboam, refused to lower taxes and limit forced labor.

12. Fill in the blanks: At the time of the division of the two kingdoms,the southern tribes became the kingdom of _____________ under the leadershipof ______________, and the northern tribes became the kingdom of_________________ under the leadership of ________________.

13. Fill in the blank: The city of Samaria became the capitol of the kingdomof _____________.

14. T or F: The Babylonians were the nation to take the “ten lost tribes”captive.

15. T or F: Zedekiah was the last king of Judah before the Babylonian captivity.

16. T or F: The Persian king Cyrus had a policy of allowing native peopleto stay in their homelands under self-rule.

17. Fill in the blanks: The prophet________________ was responsible forencouraging the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple, whereas ____________was responsible for codifying the Torah law after the Babylonian captivity.

18. T or F: Hellenism had very little effect on the religion and cultureof the Jews in Judea.

19. What group started the revolt under Seleucid King Antiochus IV, afterhe outlawed the Jewish religion in Judea?

20. Which Roman Emperor conquered Judea in 63 BC?

21. Who did he make governor and king of Judea?

22. T or F: The reign of King Herod was peaceful and pleasant for the Jewsin Judea.

23. Fill in the blanks: The Jewish revolt against the Romans in 66 AD endedafter the destruction of the _______________ and the fall of the stronghold________________.

24. T or F: Hadrian began his reign as Emperor with many beneficial edictsfor the Jews.

25. T or F: The Bar Kochba Rebellion ended with the slaughter of over 580,000Jews in the Holy Land.

26. Fill in the blank: The term Palestine comes from the name of the ancientenemy of the Jews, the ______________.

27. T or F: After Emperor Hadrian’s death, circumstances became increasinglygood for the Jews under Roman rule.

28. T or F: When Constantine declared Christianity the state religion atthe Council of Nicea in 325 AD, it meant the beginning of the end for theJews in the Empire.

29. T or F: The Byzantine Emperors had a policy of tolerance and acceptancetowards the Jews.

30. T or F: The Jews found better living conditions under the Persians thanthey did under the Byzantines.

31. T or F: After promising them better rights for their help in overthrowingthe Persians, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius ordered that all Jews in theEmpire were to be executed.

32. T or F: The Jews in Judea-Palestine were relieved when the Muslims conqueredtheir Byzantine rulers and took over the region.

33. T or F: The Muslim Ummayad Dynasty had a policy of “convert or die” towardsall Jews, Christians, and Pagans.

34. T or F: The Jews took part in Muslim government of the Judean regionand prospered economically under Abbasid rule.

35. T or F: When the Orthodox Muslim group the Seljuks conquered the Abbasids,living conditions for Jews in Judea-Palestine vastly improved.

36. T or F: Muslim Spain was a safe haven for Jews in the medieval era.

37. T or F: When the Crusades were declared the Europeans slaughtered Jewsin Europe and the Middle East as well as Muslims.

38. T or F: St. Bernard of Clairvaux, author of the Templar constitution,encouraged the killing of Jews in Europe and the Middle East.

39. T or F: The name “Mamluk” means “slave.”

40. T or F: The practice of “chalukah” was instituted to help the impoverishedJews in Judea-Palestine under Turkish rule.

41. T or F: Jews began re-settling Israel as early as 1856.

42. Essay: How might Europe be different today if either the Moslem Mamluksor Mongol armies of Genghis Kahn had not existed?

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