Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Epic That Is Israel

The Epic of Jews in the Promised Land goes back 3,700 years.  
Nadene Goldfoot
Not many states have been created because of a directive from the Bible, but Israel was. In his last years as a leader Moses (born 1400 BCE)  had entered Canaan and with the younger generation fought the Amorites, Moabites, Midianites and Bashan who were in what would be Transjordan.   Joshua, of the tribe of Ephraim and the 600,000 entered the Promised Land when Moses could no longer continue on the 40 year Exodus trek, dying at age120. Joshua captured what would be most of the the Land of Israel.   Jews, given monotheism and the laws to be a Holy nation and a model for others by him,  settled and cities grew.

Jerusalem was the capital of Israel sitting in the center of the Judean Mountains.  Joshua's conquest was 1320 BCE and the king of Jerusalem was Adoni-Zedek who was defeated,  but the city remained as an independent town  between the tribal areas of Benjamin and Judah.  King David captured it in 1010 BCE, dealing leniently with the Jebusites while adding to the city.  It became the religious center of Israel and the capital of his empire that reached from the Red Sea to the Euphrates.  Solomon, his son, (970-930 BCE) enlarged the city.  He built the Temple.  Jerusalem remained the capital of Judah and of the Davidic dynasty.

After the destruction of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Romans, many of the wealthier Jews of leadership were taken away as slaves, but still many remained.  Their national language of Hebrew continued.  They maintained their own unique civilization with their special laws.  Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the 9th century.

 In the 11th Century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea.  However, along came the Crusaders starting in 1096-9 bringing war led by Christian rulers to take back Palestine from the Moslems and massacred many JewsIn their zeal they slaughtered Jews in N. France and in the Rhineland, Prague and Salonica, capturing Jerusalem in 1099. During the 12th century  of 1147 the 2nd Crusade began again, .A 3rd Crusade of 1189-92 brought in England who attacked Jews in York, England. 1320 saw another attack in France and Spain. Though dangerous to live anywhere, it seems that Palestine was the safest place to be in those days.  Jews were not safe outside of their own land.    

  The Palestine communities rebounded in the 13th and 14th centuries.  Many rabbis and Jewish pioneers immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee.  Famous rabbis started communities Safed, Jerusalem and other places during the next 300 years.  

By the early 19th century, before the birth of the modern Zionist movement, more than 10,000 Jews lived in what is today-Israel.  We've had 78 years of nation-building which began in 1870.  The end goal was the reestablishment of the Jewish state which came to fruition May 14, 1948.

The Balfour Declaration was the promise of the Jewish Homeland through the British who had the mandate after the World War I in 1917.  This was the international clincher to be a nation again among nations. 

                                                             Ashkelon 2012

The League of Nations Mandate gave Britain the responsibility to carry out the decisions to fullfill the Balfour Declaration, but they managed to give away most of the land to the Arabs and saved but a sliver for the Homeland.

The UN partition resolution  of 1947 was accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Arabs that would have given the Arabs most of the land for a state of their own.  Already a huge chunk of the land had been given over to Arabs who created Transjordan-called Jordan today. Israel was announced as a state May 14, 1948 and the next day was attacked by all the surrounding Arabs.   Israel was admitted  to the UN in 1949.

Resource: Myths and Facts by Mitchell G. Bard and Joel Himelfarb
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia  Judaism 101
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