Netiv Haavot

     In June of 2018, another Jewish town, Netiv Ha’avot, in the Judea -Samaria region, was forcefully evacuated. My heart broke as I witnessed Jews forcing Jews out of the very land our grandparents longed to return to. I was even more disturbed, when fellow Jews began to tell me that this action was right, because we cannot steal land from the Palestinians.  There are so many responses I could give, and passionately answer in ways that would only serve to further divide us as a people, playing into the hands of our enemies. Instead, I will tackle this issue academically through an article. In this article, I will enlighten you with a review of Jewish history, and keep my arguments as diplomatic as possible, so that perhaps I can show some of you, why I believe your narrative is erred, if you are willing to listen, as I am willing to listen to all of you, whether you agree or disagree with me. I am not a radical, but I am an idealist, and I consider myself the next generation in Zionism. It is that vision I seek to impart to you, and inspire you to dare to dream as Herzl, Pinsker and Ben-Yehuda did in their day.

     The time has come, my friends. The time has come to free the mind. To rid our psyche of tyranny and oppression. To loosen the shackles of pain and exile, which keep us prisoners to our own conscience. It is time for the liberation of the Jewish mind. You may challenge me, “Liberation from what? In the twenty first century, Jews are slaves to no man, but are educated and free from the oppressive regimes of the past.” But with all our education, with all our affluence and blessing of abundance, our decadence has left us in want. We are lacking in one major concept in our generation, which Jews always had in generations past, UNITY! We say we are proud of our Jewish identity, but tell me, what is the Jewish identity to you? Can you define it? Indeed, our people have returned from the nations and have rebuilt the nation of Israel, through blood, sweat and tears. And yet we are still scattered, not only geographically, but mentally and spiritually. The time has come for an exhaustive review of history, where if you bear with me, we will explore piece by piece until we arrive to the big picture that is the scope of Jewish history. Perhaps then, I will convince you, perhaps then I will inspire you, to be prouder of your Jewish heritage, and stand up more often to defend the rights of your brothers and sisters, the pioneers, of Judea, Samaria and all of Israel.

Israel, Judea, Samaria, Homeland of the Jews!

Map of the kingdom of David and Salomon

     Three thousand years ago, Israel was a Kingdom, established under the rule of King Saul of the tribe of Binyamin, and secured under King David and his son Solomon of the tribe of Yehuda  who reigned from Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) as the declared capital of the people of Israel. That Kingdom stretched from what was described in Moses’ prophecy, from the stream of Egypt to the Great River Euphrates. All of it, was then a part, of the Kingdom of the House of David, the Kingdom of Israel. After Solomon’s passing, the Kingdom was divided in two. Ten tribes settled in the northern Kingdom of Israel and two tribes remained in the southern Kingdom of Judea with Jerusalem as Judea’s capital. In the years that followed, the Assyrian Empire rose to dominate the Middle East, invaded the northern Kingdom of Israel and led much of the ten tribes captive, scattering them all over the empire so that they would not be encouraged to unite or rise up against their oppressors. And yet Judah they could not conquer. Years later, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon arrived and sacked Jerusalem, destroying the city, and the first Jewish Temple, carrying most of the Jews into a 70-year exile in Babylon. It was after those 70 years that Cyrus the Great of Persia decreed freedom for the Jews and allowed us to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple under the leadership of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubabel. The Second Jewish Temple stood proud atop of Mount Moriah for generations. Eventually the Empire of Alexander the Great broke into pieces, and the oppressive Seleucid Empire rose up and conquered the region, attempting to force the Jews to abandon their faith and worship their Greek gods and become assimilated into Greco-Syrian culture. But the Maccabees rose up and fought back, bravely resisting and actually winning the war by a great miracle which happened there. They liberated Jerusalem and the Temple, from which story derives the celebration of Hanukkah. The Hasmonean Kingdom lasted for over a century, until the rise of the Roman Empire. The Romans conquered much of Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and parts of the Middle East. Judea was among their captured prizes for Caesar Augustus who named Herod as his puppet king over Judea, reigning once more from Jerusalem. Herod began planning the enlargement and renovation of the Temple which even noted historian Flavius Josephus mentioned as one of the wonders of the ancient world, a true site to behold.

Artwork by Alex Levin, Israel.

     It was that Temple which saw the rise of historic figures such as the great Rabbis Hillel and Shamai, and even spiritual revolutionaries such as Jesus of Nazareth, and Saul of Tarsus. But around the year 67 CE, the Jews had enough of the brutal oppression of the Roman Empire and revolted. They managed to kick the Romans out and establish a brief but independent Jewish State. But Titus -Vespasian would not accept the might of Rome to be bested by a band of Jewish Zealots. The Romans returned and besieged Jerusalem, breaching her walls, destroying the city once again, the Second Temple and carrying Jews off into slavery. Little did our ancestors realize, they were entering the longest period of exile which would last for the next near two millennia.

Jewish History 1

Judea Capta coin

     The words “IVDEA CAPTA” which is Latin for “Judea Captured,” can be seen on an ancient Roman coin from the reign of Vespasian, showing the Emperor’s image as was tradition, while on the other side, a Roman stands triumphantly over a weeping Jewish woman. Then the Empire issued a decree, that Judea would be renamed “Palestinae” after the ancient Philistines, and Jerusalem would be known in Latin as “Aelia Capitolina.” Jews were forbidden to enter Jerusalem, and the few numbers who remained in the Holy Land, settled in outer villages such as Yavne, where Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai and other Jewish leaders and scribes would come together to begin the long process of redefining Judaism in a world without the Temple. Eventually, Jewish leaders managed to convince their Roman conquerors to allow them to visit Jerusalem at least once a year, on Yom Kippur, but they were also forbidden from ascending to the ruins of the Temple Mount, and instead gathered before the Western Wall, where Jews would continue to visit through the generations, to weep, and pray for the exiles to return, for the Temple to be rebuilt, for the Messiah to finally come, and for Zion aka – Jerusalem and the people of Israel to be redeemed. Though the Land became desolate without her indigenous peoples, The Hope remained ever present, alive and well in our families and communities, no matter where in the world we wandered.

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     These renditions express a time in history when Jews were considered outcasts and a nuisance, much like Gypsies and other nomadic tribes of people in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Since the destruction of the second Temple and for the next near two thousand years, Jews were destined to wander from country to country, region to region. Sometimes we settled for centuries, sometimes for much less. Wherever our families went, there has always been a repetitive cycle where Jews are welcomed to a country by the local government, we establish communities and flourish for some time, eventually become an integral part of the local government and society, until anti-Semitism rises like the tides of a dark and turbulent ocean, pinning the Jews as an easy target for religious and political persecution. In Europe and the Middle East both Christian and Muslim powers were responsible for carrying out random pogroms, attacking Jewish communities and wreaking havoc on the Jewish populace. Christians blamed Jews for the death of Christ often ignoring the historic fact that Christ himself was a Jew as well as all of his first followers, and Muslims targeted Jews because they would not submit to Islam. The Crusades lasted for centuries, and with them the stain of religious fanaticism, where untold numbers of Jewish, Christian and Muslim minorities were often massacred in the name of some religious establishment.  Soon after we come to one of the darkest eras of history often ignored by mainstream educational institutions and seldom spoken of in modern classrooms, the so called, “holy inquisition.”

Sefarad

     For nearly eight hundred years, the Iberian Peninsula was home to a rich melting pot of cultures. The Moors, who were predominantly Muslim ruled the land, overseeing one of the greatest golden ages of science, medicine and theology, though imposing a strict “Zakat” tax upon all non-Muslim residents. For centuries, Jews, Christians and Muslims, Gypsies and Africans, Catholics and Protestants, scientists and theologians, all coexisted here and often mixed their cultural influences. Some of the greatest scholars and philosophers of history such as the great Maimonides, called Iberia home during this time. But the marriage of Queen Isabel of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon, sealed the fate of countless communities in the region and brought the golden age to an abrupt and violent end. Under Vatican influence, the Christian King and Queen declared war on Granada, proving triumphant over the region and conquering most of the Iberian Peninsula, claiming the entire region in the name of Christ and the Church and establishing the Kingdom of Spain. Soon after, the Edict of Alhambra was issued in the year 1492, which began the expulsion of all non-Catholic populations from Spain, especially the Jews. Jews, Protestant Christians, Muslims, Gypsies, and others were forced to leave their homes behind and all their possessions, and venture into the unknown. Those who desired to remain were required to be totally converted to the Roman Catholic faith or face the torture of the inquisition. Those who resisted would often be burned at the stake, beheaded, or subjected to some other means of execution. Historians believe that more than three hundred thousand people were killed during this time, and some estimate that number to actually be in the millions. It is depressing, and yet necessary to note that the Spanish Inquisition alone, as well as all the other inquisitions imposed by the Church, lasted for over five hundred years.

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     Jews were forced to roam once more, most settling in the regions of Morocco and parts of the Ottoman Empire. Some eventually found their way on a strange and yet remarkable journey which brought them to the region of Palestine and the Levant, joining and adding to the population of native Jewish communities whose families had remained in the region since ancient times. In other parts of Europe Jews were subject to various pogroms, where myriads of Jewish men, women and children fell victim to the horrors of anti-Semitism. Often working humble trades and establishing communities on the outskirts of countries such as Russia, Poland, Germany, Belarus, Romania, Greece, Italy, France, and others. These communities withstood the persecutions and grew over time, with newer generations eventually moving out of their Shtetls, (Jewish Villages) and settling into the newer cities and metropolitan areas. Many Jews became vastly successful, often serving as physicians, lawyers, and money lenders. Some were drafted into local armies but were often barred from holding positions of power and governments, or from owning land.  A new wave of anti-Semitism swept across Europe in the age of Nationalism. With new nations rising, new excuses were found to target Jews. Pogroms became more and more common. The situation grew to its climax, until a few Jewish intellectuals decided it was time to take matters into their own hands.

Leon Pinsker (2)Herzl     Ben-Yehuda Israel Zangwill

“By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we remembered Zion. And by the rivers of Basel, we resolved to weep no more.” – Israel Zangwill

     They were despised, they were mocked, ridiculed and harassed by their fellow Jews. Most of the world called them dreamers, and yet their leader – Theodore Herzl said, “If you will it, it is no dream.” In Basel, Switzerland in the year 1897, he and his compatriots founded the First Zionist Congress. The ideas first expressed in Leo Pinsker’s book Auto-Emancipation and later in Herzl’s iconic book The Jewish State, that in response to the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and around the world, The Jewish people, just as any other people on earth have the natural and historic right and moral duty to return to Zion, their ancient homeland, also known by the names Judea, Israel, Palestine, the Holy Land, Zionism was finally revived. Judea was the last independent nation that existed in the region under the Bar Kokhba revolt from 132 to 135 CE, and after so many imperial occupations, it was time for the Jews to reclaim their native home. Why should Jews continue to wander around the world? Why should we continue to suffer at the whims of anti-Semitic governments? No more! Enough was enough. It was a dream that gained much support, but not enough for that time. And so, the people waited, immigrating and purchasing land in Palestine from the Arab inhabitants. The Jews bought several plots of land and turned them into communities. Those communities sprang up into towns, and cities. The pioneers who led them, such as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, insisted despite religious protest, that Hebrew, the ancient mother tongue of our Israelite ancestors, should be revived and spoken by Jews as the national modern language of the Jewish State. He created the first official Hebrew Lexicon, learned perfect Hebrew, and taught it to his wife and children. They in turn taught it to their communities, printing books and newspapers. As the years passed, one generation died, and another grew in its place; a new generation of Hebrew speaking Palestinian Jews grew, living along-side Palestinian Arabs. But while they built, sowed and worked the land, the nations of the world grew wrestles with their own problems. It would take two world wars, and one final disaster of nightmarish proportions, before the Zionist dream would be realized.

                    Armageddon 1918

Battle of Megiddo 2

     The War to End All Wars, known today as the First World War, was fought from the summer of 1914 to the fall of 1918, and in that time, almost all of Europe, parts of Africa and the Middle East were engulfed in some of the bloodiest conflicts of human history. The Allied powers – Great Britain, France, the United States, Russia, Canada and Australia all rallied to fight the Central powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Turks. Perhaps one of the most important battles of the war, and yet one which receives little attention from the history books, was General Allenby’s Sinai campaign against the Ottoman Empire, which was concluded in September of 1918 with the Battle of Megiddo.

Battle of Megiddo

     Strangely enough, the battle was fought from the 19th to the 25th of September that year, about four days after Yom Kippur and during the great holiday of Sukkoth. It is also worthy of note, that in the New Testament, the Apostle John, who was himself a Jew, foretold of an epic “end-time” battle which would take place here that would determine the destiny of the Jews and the world, famously called “Armageddon.” Whether this battle was it, or not, it certainly fits the description. Here British and Ottoman forces clashed bitterly, in a campaign which began miles away in the deserts of Sinai, engulfed several towns and parts of Judea, and finally reaching its climactic conclusion on the mountain of Megiddo. The Turks lost to the British crown, and Great Britain assumed total dominance in the region, taking control of Palestine, while carving up and dividing the Levant into individual Arab States. It would inevitably mark the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the rise of a new era of opportunity for the Jews of Palestine and the world. Precisely one year earlier, on November 2nd, 1917 Lord Arthur James Balfour wrote a remarkable letter to Lord Walter Rothschild which read as follows:

“Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty’s Government the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours,

Arthur James Balfour”

Allenby Enters Jerusalem

              General Allenby enters Jerusalem.

     One year later, at long last, after nearly two millennia of longing and wandering, Zion was within our grasp. But there was still much work to be done. As Jewish communities continued to grow in Palestine, so too did Arab riots and prejudice. They protested the immigration of Jews into the region, while Arab leaders such as King Faisal of Hejaz praised the Zionist movement and openly welcomed Jews as fellow descendants of the patriarch Abraham. His agreement with Chaim Weizmann in 1919 was as follows:

     “His Royal Highness the Emir FAISAL, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of HEJAZ, AND Dr. Chaim Weizmann, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization, mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realizing that the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations, is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine, and being desirous further of confirming the good understanding which exists between them, have agreed upon the following articles:

Article I

The Arab State and Palestine in all their relations and undertakings shall be controlled by the most cordial goodwill and understanding and to this end Arab and Jewish duly accredited agents shall be established and maintained in their respective territories.

Article II

Immediately following the completion of deliberations of the Peace Conference, the definite boundaries between the Arab State and Palestine shall be determined by a commission to be agreed upon by the parties hereto.

Article III

In the establishment of the Constitution and Administration of Palestine all such measures shall be adopted as will afford the fullest guarantees for carrying into effect the British Government’s Declaration of the 2nd of November 1917 (Balfour Declaration-SEH).

Article IV

All necessary measures will be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil. In taking such measures the Arab peasants and tenant farmers shall be protected in their rights, and shall be assisted in forwarding their economic development.

Article V

No regulation or law shall be made prohibiting or interfering in any way with the free exercise of religion; and further the free exercise and expression of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall for ever be allowed. No religious test shall ever be required for the exercise of civil or religious rights.

Article VI

The Mohammedan Holy Places shall be under Mohammedan control.

Article VII

The Zionist Organization proposes to send to Palestine a Commission of experts to make a survey of the economic possibilities of the country, and to report upon the best means for its development. The Zionist Organization will place the aforementioned Commission at the disposal of the Arab State for the purpose of a survey of the economic possibilities of the Arab State and to report on the best means for its development. The Zionist Organization will use its best efforts to assist the Arab State in providing the means for developing the natural resources and economic possibilities thereof.

Article VIII

The parties hereto agree to act in complete accord and harmony in all matters embraced herein before the Peace Congress.

Article IX

Any matters of dispute which may arise between the contracting parties shall be referred to the British Government for arbitration.

Given under our hand at LONDON, ENGLAND, the Third DAY OF January, one thousand Nine Hundred and Nineteen.

Provided the Arabs obtain their independence as demanded in my Memorandum dated the 4th of January, 1919, to the Foreign Office of the Government of Great Britain, I shall concur in the above articles. But if the slightest modification or departure were to be made. I shall not then be bound by a single word of the present Agreement which shall be deemed void and of no account or validity, and I shall not be answerable in any way whatsoever.

FAISAL IBN HUSAIN

CHAIM WEIZMANN”

(Courtesy of jewishvirtuallibrary.org)

     It seemed a Jewish and Arab state side by side was within reach, but alas, King Faisal’s voice was among the minority. For much of the Arab world hated the notion of a Jewish State in Palestine and resisted the Zionist movement to the point of violence. In 1929, that hatred was made distinctly visible as an angry mob of Arab rioters stormed the ancient city of Hebron, and massacred the Jewish inhabitants, raping and pillaging, murdering 67 Jews which included women and children. The Hebron Massacre was but one example of the deep seeded hatred which the Jews were up against in Palestine and Europe, but sadly, there was something much worse on the horizon, for the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis loomed like a shadow over the entire world. In 1933 Hitler was elected into power, and soon after declared himself führer, establishing absolute control over Germany. In 1935 he passed the infamous Nuremberg Laws, which forbade Jews from marrying or having relations with Germans, holding public office, owning businesses, or even sitting on public benches. Meanwhile, Hitler secretly violated the Treaty of Versailles by building up the German army to near imperial proportions. Wherever the Germans took control, Jews were forced to be registered and wear arm bands or yellow stars of David to identify them as Jews. In November of 1938, Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) happened…

     By September of 1939, Germany attacked Poland and World War II officially began. Meanwhile, Jews were rounded up and put into ghettos, beaten, publicly humiliated, and murdered. Many were deported and forced into cattle cars, sending them by trains to concentration camps. I think we can all agree, that the Holocaust was most certainly the most horrific and darkest time in all of human history, showing us just how much evil human beings are capable of. But there is another side to the same story, because throughout the years of suffering, blood, fire and billows of smoke, yes even after six million Jewish souls and countless people from other minorities had been senselessly murdered in the most barbaric of ways, the Children of Israel held on to “Ha Tikvah” (The Hope), to one day live in freedom in the land of Zion and Jerusalem. It was that Hope our grandparents and people held on to, it was our song as we were burned alive in the crematorium, it was our song as we were choked in the gas chambers, it was our song during in the death marches, it was that Faith, that Song which became our Salvation and led to our survival as a nation. The war ended in 1945, the survivors were liberated from the camps. Many of the survivors had no homes or families to return to. Those who did return were no longer welcomed by the anti-Semitic locals. Incredibly, incidents like the pogrom of Kielce, Poland in 1946, where 42 Jewish men, women and children were murdered by a mob of Polish citizens just one year after the end of the war only worsened an already desperate situation. It was clear to the Jews we had no where in the world to go where we were welcomed.

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Israel Independence 2

     It was at long last time for Jews to take matters into our own hands and fight if we had to, for our return to Zion. Organizations like the Haganah led by David Ben Gurion took charge in sending rescue ships to start bringing Jewish refugees from Europe and bring them home to Palestine. Against all odds, Jews poured into Palestine in more massive numbers than ever before. The Arab populace, encouraged by their leaders, began to riot, and even attack Jews. Over the next few years the British government seemed to all but forget the Balfour Declaration when they tried to appease the Arab world by attempting to halt, detain, even going as far as firing cannons onto Jewish refugee ships to stop Jews from entering Palestine. The Haganah went to war with Arab fighters, focusing on defending Jewish communities and fighting diplomatically in the newly formed United Nations for statehood. The Irgun on the other hand, was a Jewish resistance force led by Menachem Begin, who took a more aggressive approach and actively attacked British military and civilian targets. By 1947, it was clear to the whole world, Jews would no longer be led like sheep to the slaughter; from now on Jews would be strong and fight our enemies wherever they may rise against us. In November of 1947, the UN voted with a two thirds majority for the Partition of Palestine for the establishment of a Jewish State, and the British Government began preparations to leave Palestine in the coming year. The Jews gratefully accepted the two-state plan, which would have established an Arab and Jewish state side by side. The Arab leaders rejected the plan, and refused to recognize a Jewish state. 

 מִי-שָׁמַע כָּזֹאת, מִי רָאָה כָּאֵלֶּה–הֲיוּחַל אֶרֶץ בְּיוֹם אֶחָד, .אִם-יִוָּלֵד גּוֹי פַּעַם אֶחָת:  כִּי-חָלָה גַּם-יָלְדָה צִיּוֹן, אֶת-בָּנֶיה

Israel Independence 1

     “Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Is a land born in one day? Is a nation brought forth at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.”  – Isaiah 66:8

     It was prophetic, that after nearly two thousand years in exile, Zion’s children return, and a nation is re-born in a single day, on the 5th of Iyar 5708, May 14th, 1948, the State of Israel declared her independence. The joy and elation felt by Jews all over Israel and in the diaspora abroad was electric, you could feel it in the air. The longing, the Hope of so many generations having passed, not being able to see this day with their own eyes, but indeed they did see it, through their children. The voices of our ancestors echoed throughout Eretz Israel as people sang with pride the words of Ha Tikvah, Israel’s modern national anthem.“So long as yet within our breasts, the Jewish heart beats true, so long as yet to the east, to Zion looks the Jew. So long our Hope is not yet lost, two thousand years we treasured them, to live in freedom in the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”It is the same song that survivors sang after being liberated and can be heard in this rare recording. The sound of which honestly gives me chills, bringing tears to my eyes for everything it means, and every life represented in these voices. We remember them, and we remember all our fallen fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, neighbors, rabbis, doctors, artists, actors and musicians. All of them, we remember, and it is in their memory and honor that every subsequent action was taken. When Jews raised the Israeli flag over Eretz Israel for the first time, the Jews gave an answer loud and clear to the rest of the world, NEVER AGAIN! The Nazis are gone, and so are all our enemies of the past. The people of Israel live, Am Israel Chai! Od Avinu Chai – because our Father still lives!

     Almost as soon as independence was declared, five Arab nations simultaneously declared war on the day old Jewish State and attacked Israel from all sides. The people of the world thought the Arabs would drive the Jews into the sea, after all, the Israeli army was hardly equipped for such a large-scale war against five military giants. Israel had no tanks, just guns and grenades. A few very brave Jewish and non- Jewish American pilots and soldiers had volunteered and joined the fight to help the Israelis. The war was brutal as it went on until 1949, and yet somehow, by sheer miracle, the tiny “pipsqueak” nation won the war, and the wars that followed in years to come. Veterans of the Haganah and Irgun, now forming the Israel Defense Forces, could tell you all about their strategies, and yet they admit that they were up against incredible odds. They can tell so many mysterious stories of miracles and wonders, unexplained phenomena which somehow aided their efforts and worked in Israel’s favor. As David Ben Gurion himself said, “To live in Israel and not believe in miracles is not logical.”

Exodus and “Nakba,” the real untold story…

Palestinian nakba

Palestinian Arabs fleeing the war.

Refugees In Amman

Years later, Palestinian Arab refugees remain in camps at the whims of Arab states…      WHY?!Palestinian Refugees 2

     The images speak for themselves. But the whole picture must be shown, and not just one side of the story, as Arab and Western media so often report. Too often we hear about Palestinian refugees, and how they suffer because of Israel. Israel is thus painted as the big bad wolf, and Palestinian Arabs are portrayed as victims. But is this the whole story? Are these accusations backed by evidence? Let us review historic events.Arab propaganda claims that between 1947 and 1949, one million Palestinians were kicked out of their homes and fled the country. But this is a blatant lie!Firstly: Palestinian Arabs left their homes for several reasons, not because they were forced out.

–   Many thousands of wealthy Arab families fled Palestine in anticipation of war.-        Arab leaders constantly encouraged the people to flee their homes to make way for their armies, and in protest of Jewish “occupation.”    – A small number were indeed expelled by Jewish forces for strategic military reasons in response to constant Arab attacks on Jews.Secondly: A census taken by the British Government in 1945 found 1.2 million Arabs living in the region of Palestine. An Israeli census taken in 1949 revealed 160,000 Arabs living in Israel after the war. In 1947, over 800,000 Arabs lived in the region. The numbers indicate that Palestinian Arab refugees must have been no more than 650,000. A United Nations report counted 472,000 refugees, of which only 360,000 required aid.Thirdly: The plight of Jewish refugees is all but ignored in main-stream media. Why could that be I wonder? These were Jews whose families had lived in Arab countries for generations, flourishing and coexisting peacefully with their Arab neighbors. And yet, throughout that time Jews sometimes fell victim to radical attacks, riots and violent pogroms. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, Arab governments persecuted and expelled most if not all Jewish families from their countries. Between 1948 and 1972 the number of Jewish refugees was actually about 820,000, that is almost twice the number of Palestinian Arab refugees. They were forced to leave their homes, with Arab Governments confiscating most if not all their wealth and possessions. Jewish refugees were often expelled with little more than the clothes they were wearing and perhaps their Torah scrolls and other sacred texts carried with them throughout their very long journey to reach the Promised Land.

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     One of the reasons we do not hear much about Jewish refugees, is because the Israeli government settled them relatively quickly, even at great costs. Israel took care of her own. Why did the Arab governments not do the same with their own? The answer is quite simple really, Arab refugees from Palestine would be dubbed “Palestinians,” implying that they were once citizens of an imaginary independent nation called Palestine, and using them as political pawns, making them out to be victims of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Since then, the descendants of Jewish refugees live peacefully in Israel, while many Palestinian Arab refugees are kept in refugee camps by Arab regimes. Since then the Israeli government maintains that any future compensation to Palestinian Arab families must come with mutual Arab compensation to Jewish refugee families, Israel has once again offered a peaceful solution, but not one Arab regime has offered any such compensation.

Jerusalem/Judea & Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights

Jerusalem Today

     When Israel declared its independence in 1948, they won the war and declared West Jerusalem the capital, but East Jerusalem which included the old Holy City was captured and occupied by the Jordanian army. The Jordanians did as every other Arab state did in 1948, expelling all Jews from Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. For 19 years, Jordanian forces occupied the Holy City and Jews were forbidden from entering, or even so much as visit the Western Wall on holy days. The Jordanians not only expelled Jewish families, but went as far as to demolish their homes, ripping out the sacred mezuzah from the doorposts and using them as pavement to demonstrate their hatred toward Jews. Jerusalem remained occupied and off limits.

     Then in June of 1967, the Arab nations decided to strike again, planning an all-out invasion of Israel which would, in theory, spell out the ultimate demise of Zionism. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon declared war on Israel, the radical move being spearheaded by Jamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt. Egyptian armies expelled the UN peace keeping forces from the Sinai Peninsula and stationed themselves to attack the Jewish State. But this time Israel was prepared, having perfected her Mossad intelligence network in the years following independence. Israel Defense Forces carried out a preemptive strike, a surprise attack on Egyptian air forces in Sinai. In the first few hours of the day, Israel decimated Egypt’s air force and achieved air superiority. Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian forces immediately attacked from every border of Israel and fought savagely for six days, in a conflict which would come to be known as The Six Day War. In that conflict, Israel not only defended itself most effectively, but managed to capture the territories of Gaza and Sinai from Egyptian forces, the Golan Heights from Syrian forces, and the Judean-Samarian regions, also known as the West Bank, from Jordanian forces. Perhaps the greatest prize of all, came on June 7th, 1967, when the Holy City of Jerusalem was finally liberated after 19 long years; and for the first time in two thousand years, Jerusalem was in Jewish hands again. Many brave men and women gave their lives in that war, but the famous words declared in the following recording, proved that they did not die in vain. “Har ha Bait b’yadeinu! Har ha Bait b’yadeinu!” – “The Temple Mount is in our hands! The Temple Mount is in our hands!”

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     Jerusalem has since been liberated, united, protected, and opened to the free expression of every religion whose sounds can till this day be heard emanating from within her walls. Jerusalem is home to Jews, Christians, Muslims, Armenians, and many other groups of people who seek refuge here. Never again shall it be divided, never again will we ever let her go! Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people; she is our home and eternal capital, and only the Jews have protected the rights of every religion to be freely practiced here. She is not a bargaining piece and should remain off the table of discussion. She is not-negotiable! Jerusalem and all of Israel stand as a shining light in the midst of a dark chaotic region of the world. In several modern Arab states, Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities suffer discrimination or much worse. Israel protects all of her minorities, and has become the protector of several religions and peoples; Jerusalem is a brilliant example of that protection and coexistence.

     Israel subsequently won the Six Day War, and years later also won the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when Arab states surprise attacked Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The Arabs nearly won that war, had it not been for miraculous events which were put into motion many decades before. Golda Meir was Israel’s first female Prime Minister, and a great leader. But when the Yom Kippur War reached a point of desperation, she made a phone call to then United States President Richard Nixon. Nixon’s entire cabinet stood against the idea of helping the Israelis. Nixon, however, recalled his childhood and religious Christian upbringing, when his mother prophetically warned him that one day he would be placed in a position when the Jews will need his help, and that when that day would come, he had to help them because no one else will. As crazy as it may sound, this is a true story, and one of many stories of miracles which led to the existence of modern Israel. Nixon then ordered a large shipment of arms, tanks, and other vital supplies to the Israel Defense Forces, turning victory from a dream into a reality for the Jews. Since those days Israel has fought several wars, carried out many vital operations, fought terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and protected Israeli civilians from harm. Israelis have suffered through two violent Palestinian Intifadas, including a knife intifada in recent years, two wars in in Lebanon in 1982 and 2006 , several operations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.  Twice now, has Israel saved the world from a nuclear holocaust – having bombed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor in 1981 in Bagdad, Iraq – and having recently bombed a potential Syrian nuclear reactor near Damascus. Israel has also made headlines this year when Mossad agents exposed the Iranian nuclear weapons program to the world. Looking further back, Anwar Sadat of Egypt signed a historic peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and received the Sinai Peninsula. Jordan made history by signing a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. Even now, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have made headlines, admitting the necessity of recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to exist in their own land and to defend themselves.

             Judea & Samaria

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     I now turn my attention back to the main subject of this article, that is – the Jewish “Settlements” of Judea and Samaria. They are not settlements, but towns and villages. It is not called the West Bank; the land is historically known as Judea -JEW-DEA! It is time for the world to recognize that the Jews are the indigenous people of this land. It is time for the world to see that we are as much victims of this conflict as the Palestinians, but that they are the aggressors, not Israel. It is the Palestinians who constantly attack Israel with terrorism, not because they are oppressed but because they are fueled by indoctrinated hatred fed to them since the crib. Hatred is at the root of all this conflict, not on the Jewish side, for Jews have long coexisted peacefully with all societies including with Muslims. The hatred stems from the radical minded Palestinian Liberation Organization. They are the oppressors of their own people, not Israel! I have never heard a single Jewish family or Christian family for that matter, teach their children that Muslims are not human, or teaching them that killing Muslims is a righteous thing to do. This sort of hateful brain-washing is the sort of thing I have always heard only from the Palestinian camp, not the Israeli. It is time the world recognize the truth and stop being politically correct. The issue is not two sided. Is Israel perfect? No, we have plenty of problems in our camp, but we don’t teach our kids to hate! We don’t turn them into cold blooded killers or suicide bombers! It is time for Jews to take back the name of David upon ourselves and leave the Palestinian camp no choice but to bear the name of Goliath to their shame. I am not trying to be radical, I am trying to expose the lies of our enemies! I am trying to ignite a fire of inspiration among our people that will bring down the radical empire we have come to know as the PLO and all its branches. It is time for Jews to stop apologizing for who we are, for where we are from! We did not steal the land from the Arabs, that land is our birthright! And Arab Muslims, Christians, and any other religion or ethnic group is welcomed to coexist with us in peace upon our own ancient homeland of Israel, Judea, Samaria, all of it belongs to the Jews. We gave Gaza, sacrificing our own people in the process, Jews forcing Jews out for the sake of peace.

     The result? Years of endless barrages of rockets and bombs lobbed towards Israeli towns and villages. Terror tunnels, kidnapping Israeli soldiers and civilians, mass murders, stabbing attacks and much more. And the world wants us to give up more land? After watching the above video, can you who are reading this article honestly tell me that we are doing the right thing in the eyes of G-d?  You know it is wrong and you know it plays into the hands of our enemies. I do not blame the soldiers of the IDF, but they also know what you and I know in the deepest places of our hearts. We the Jewish people are being way too apologetic to the anti-Semitic demands of the world, and we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Anti-Zionism is indeed anti-Semitism. It is the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to their natural and historic homeland, but to simultaneously graciously recognize the right of a violent and brutal Palestinian regime. The double standard against Jews could not be more evident to the world.  Enough is enough!

     Even Arafat said it when he outlined his agenda – to demand and take land from Israel piece by piece, until they can call upon their Arab brothers to come and give the final blow. Tell me, why are we playing into their hands? Because Peace Now demands it? Peace at any cost does not work! It never has, and it never will. Even the rest of the Muslim world is beginning to recognize that Israel is a nation with people and families just like them and must be equally recognized as a member of Middle Eastern states. They realize that is time to put the conflict of the 20th century behind them and move forward together in the 21st century for the betterment of the Middle East and the world. Just imagine how much good can be accomplished if our enemies lay down their weapons and actually decide to work with us. Imagine the innovation that would come to the Middle East and imagine the impact it would have on the world. I believe it starts in Israel, and Judea and Samaria are the keys to opening that door of prosperity, not by handing them over to the Palestinian Authority, they are but offshoots of the PLO and have proven to be instigators of terrorism, and by that fact have forfeited any and all diplomatic rights. Instead we must turn to new solutions.

     I propose, that the Israeli Government assume full control over Judea & Samaria, in both Arab and Jewish towns. I call for the complete dismantling of the Palestinian Authority and for the Israeli Ministry of Education to enforce a reformation of the education system. Throw out the old hate-filled textbooks, replacing them with new and proper textbooks conducive to a real human education. Re-name the streets named after suicide bombers! I propose that a reformation in education and tougher Israeli military and police presence could truly reshape the quality of life in Judea and Samaria. With better education comes new opportunities. With new opportunities come new economic incentives, new jobs, new innovative start up companies, Israelis and Arabs living and working together. As the quality of life progresses in the region over time, I propose a new aggressive Aliyah campaign should be implemented, providing powerful incentives for a new wave of young Jews from all over the world not only to come live in Israel, but to settle and build in Judean and Samarian territories. Eventually, I believe the Knesset should pass a new law, to annex Judea and Samaria, thereby uniting all of Israel from Eilat to Golan, Tel Aviv to the Jordan River, as one nation at long last.  Israel is the only Jewish State in the entire world! And it is the only Jewish State in a region of 22 Arab states. Is it too much to ask to finally be left alone? The Jews of Judea and Samaria are not “settlers” but pioneers. They follow in the footsteps of Theodore Herzl and those who first settled at Rishon L’Tzion. They are not terrorists, or obstacles to peace in any way shape or form. We the Jews of the diaspora should unite with our brothers and sisters in Israel, our only definite home in the world, to defend the rights of Jewish pioneers in Judea and Samaria and to declare to the world with one voice, THIS IS OUR LAND!  Once more I emphasize, that Muslims, Christians, and any other people are welcomed to become full and equal citizens under Israeli law, so long as they live peacefully and obey Israel’s laws. That any citizen or non-citizen engaging in acts of terror or violence shall be captured and dealt with most severely as the commanding officers of the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet or Mossad see fit. Promote Zionism more among Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and other communities in the region, because it is for all of them as well. Inspire them all to serve together in Israel’s military, let them have a sense of pride and love for their fellow Israelis and for their land, whether they be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Bahai, Druze, or any other indigenous group of the Middle East. Think my ideas are crazy? Remember they said the same thing about Herzl and the first Zionist Congress. Peace through strength and leadership, not through weakness and cowardice. You never know, it may actually work. After all, Herzl’ s dream is far from finished, and there is still much work to be done.

     Almost all modern Israeli cities once began as settlements, if they were stopped at that time, where would Israel be today? There should be no more incidents like that of Netiv Ha Avot. Our ancestors dreamed of returning to this land. We have returned, and we should never be moved from her again. For Jews to be doing this to Jews, only to please the world, indeed shows how much Israelis want peace, but is also naïve, because our enemies will only demand more and more from us until there is nothing left.

     And so, I believe it is time for Jews to be free of mind and come together in strength. For we are the Jews! The Children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are Israel and Israel is us. We gave the world the Holy Bible, we inspired Christianity and Islam, both of which have contributed to shaping the modern world. I AM A JEW! Yes, that’s right I said it! No, I won’t apologize. No, I’m not afraid of being targeted or ridiculed. It’s time for the Jewish Nation as a people to rise up worldwide and unite in strength! No longer will we be silent! No longer will we sit idly by while our brothers and sisters are murdered overseas and then painted as war criminals by the very assassins and murderers who have the audacity to claim the identity of David while somehow masking their Goliath-like stature from world view!

     I am an American, but first and foremost I am a Jew, a Hebrew, a Son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! To my brothers and sisters in Israel and the diaspora I say, royalty flows in your veins, the blood of prophets and kings from Moses to David and Solomon, from Queen Esther to Golda Meir! We are the Jews, and we will no longer be silent, for Zion is our home! Yes, I am a Zionist and proud, no apologies to anyone. Our journey is just beginning, Herzl’s dream is not over. It’s up to us to take the next steps. To my fellow Jews in America and all over the world! Stop apologizing for who we are! Embrace your identity! Remember Moses and David, Deborah and Esther! Remember our parents and grandparents who gave their lives for Zion’s sake. Rise up! Defend Zion! Defend Israel’s right! From the border of Egypt to the Lebanon! The Arab world will hate us, what else is new? But let them learn to respect us! It is time for Jews to stop thinking of ourselves as the weak minority and start remembering Who we have on our side and believe! Assimilation will have us believe these stories are fairy tales. Tell that to our grandparents who survived countless onslaughts of the nations to destroy us, and are alive today to keep the flame of Faith burning! And to never let it go out!

       ! עם ישראל חי

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The People of Israel Live! – And we are not afraid!

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