Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Holiest Places to Jews: In Judea and Samaria

Nadene Goldfoot
Israel was originally designed by G-d as found in the Bible (Torah, Old Testament) . Moses, living in about 1271 BCE was led there by G-d.   The original Promised Land covered about 58,000 square miles and was occupied by the Israelites under Kings David and Solomon The total surface was 17,500 square miles of which 45% was in Transjordan.  It included most of Syria. .  Under the British Mandate, it was formed by the area west of the Jordan.  The armistice agreements of 1949 left Israel with 8,000 square miles.  After the 1967 Six Day War Israel came to occupy all of Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and the Sinai up to the Suez Canal.  The Sinai has been given back to Egypt for peace.

Judea and Samaria (West Bank)  is home to about 500,000 Jews who are living in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.  These 2 areas are said to be the places where the Palestinians want their state of Palestine.  The huge problem with this is that they want no Jews to continue living here.  They want  all 500,000 to be moved out.  They also want to include East Jerusalem as well, which is a part of the whole city of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.  It was in the past and is now the Jews' eternal city.

Brandon Marlon's article printed in the Jewish Press about Judea and Samaria is well worth reading today.  Why these 2 places are not included in the whole package of Israel was not Chaim Weizmann's fault.  They were included and should have been the boundaries of Israel being they were the very places Israel existed and was attacked by the Assyrians  back in 722 BCE when 10 of the 12 tribes were taken away.  Unfortunately, our leaders lost 80% of the land intended by world opinion to become the Jewish Homeland to Transjordan, which became Jordan and the world did not raise the rebellion about it that they should have.  The Brits had flubbed up by promising land to both Jews and Arabs at the same time.  They also flubbed up because they were to be the ones to create the Jewish Homeland and did not bring this about with the promised larger section of land.

The report is that Jewish young men living in these places  are now our best Israeli warriors.  Their parents dared to settle there where Arabs have taken up residence as well.  The areas are loaded with holy places for Jews.  It has meaning.  This was the very  heartland of the Jews.

First there was Israel in the 11th century BCE. .  King Saul of the tribe of Benjamin was Israel's first king.  David followed and then his son, King Solomon.   Later on they divided the Israel , sort of like a Democrat-Republican problem, into Israel and Judah.  Judah was where Jerusalem was.

Judah was the southerly of the 2 kingdoms.  It was divided into the 2 kingdoms in 933 BCE when King Solomon died.  The tribe of Judah and most of Benjamin as well as a lot of Simeon lived here.  It held Jerusalem so was important.  The rulers were from the house of David.  The Assyrian attack in 722 was checked before the walls of Jerusalem, but fell to the Babylonians in 586 BCE.  The name was changed by the Romans around 135 CE to Judea.

 Samaria was also called Shomron and was the capital of the of the then northern kingdom of Israel.  It was founded in 880 BCE by Omri on a hill bought from Shemer.  It was on a piece of elevated land that dominated a wide countryside and sat on 25 acres.  Omride kings of Israel such as Omri, Ahab, Joram, etc ruled there.  It was the ancient center of the wine and oil industry.  It had wonderful orchards.  The city was later ruined and owned by King Alexander Yannai, a Hasmonean and renamed Sebaste, then Sabastiyah by Herod the Great.  Finally it was under Roman occupation and settled by others.  The prophet Elisha is buried there.  So is John the Baptist.

Gilgal is the first camp and base of Joshua and the Israelites when they entered Canaan.  Joshua erected 12 stones there from the Jordan River.  People came here to celebrate Passover and they circumcised those born in the desert.  Samuel the prophet judged Israel here.  King Saul was crowned at this site.  It was a city of the Levites in the time of Nehemiah.  It is very very Jewish.

Mount Ebal or Eval is where Joshua built an altar to G-d after the fall of Ai and where  the Torah was read to all the Israelites in the presence of the Ark of the covenant, a very sacred Jewish event.  Mt. Gerizim is where the other half of Israel stood listening to Joshua.  These places are holy only to Jews.  These are only a few of the special places within Judea and Samaria.

The history of the Jews is what brought serious aliyah back home after at least 2 thousand years of  suffering from anti-Semitic nations.  No one should wonder why people are sticking their necks and lives out from living in Judea and Samaria today.  It was all planned to be done as peacefully as possible with benefiting the natives who might not be Jewish but instead have been met with hostility every inch of the way.  Of course Jews remember how they were met in foreign lands.  They followed their own Golden Rule to do unto others as they want to be done to, but these others certainly have not been cooperative.

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
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