What Are the Jewish Ties to the Land Where Israel and the Palestinian Territories Currently Exist?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Mitchell Bard, PhD, Executive Director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), in an article for the Jewish Virtual Library (JVL) titled “Pre-State Israel: Jewish Claim to the Land of Israel,” available from the Jewish Virtual Library website, (accessed Jan. 11, 2016), wrote:
“The Jewish people base their claim to the land of Israel on at least four premises: 1) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham; 2) the Jewish people settled and developed the land; 3) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people and 4) the territory was captured in defensive wars…
The Twelve Tribes of Israel [the traditional divisions of the ancient Jewish people] formed the first constitutional monarchy in Palestine about 1000 B.C. The second king, David, first made Jerusalem the nation’s capital. Although eventually Palestine was split into two separate kingdoms, Jewish independence there lasted for 212 years…
Even after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the beginning of the exile [70 AD], Jewish life in Palestine continued and often flourished. Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the ninth century. In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea.
Many Jews were massacred by the Crusaders during the 12th century, but the community rebounded in the next two centuries as large numbers of rabbis and Jewish pilgrims immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee. Prominent rabbis established communities in Safed, Jerusalem and elsewhere during the next 300 years. By the early 19th century-years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement-more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel.”Jan. 11, 2016 - Mitchell G. Bard, PhD
Big Tent Judaism, in the “Q&A: Jewish Life” section of its website, available from Big Tent Judaism website (accessed Jan. 11, 2016), wrote:
“The Jews have a historical connection to the land of Israel. In Biblical times, Israel was where the Jewish patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and matriarchs (Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah) lived. It was through their line that the Jewish people of today descended. A famine in the 17th century BCE caused the Israelites to move to Egypt. The Israelites escaped from the slavery and persecution of Egypt under the guidance of Moses, who received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. After forty years in the Egyptian desert, the Israelites settled the Land of Israel and formed a Jewish monarchy under the leadership of King Saul. King David succeeded him and made Jerusalem his capital. Solomon, David’s son, took control when his father died, and built the Temple in Jerusalem. In 586 BCE, Babylonia conquered Ancient Israel and destroyed the temple. Most Jews were expelled and lived in Babylonia while in exile. The experience of exile caused Judaism to evolve as a portable religion, which would become helpful in later years.”Jan. 11, 2016 - Big Tent Judaism
Beyond Images, a pro-Israel advocacy and educational organization, in the “Israel and the Jews: The 3,500 Year Connection,” section of their website, available from the Beyond Images website (accessed Jan. 11, 2016), wrote:
“The Jewish people have had a deep connection with the land of Israel for more than 3000 years, and a continuous physical presence. A Jewish state has existed there during three separate historical periods…
Jan. 11, 2016 - Beyond Images
- The land of Israel was promised to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, over 3700 years ago…
- The first Jewish ‘state’ was established in Israel during the period of the kings and the prophets, and lasted for around 600 years – from 1175 BCE to 586 BCE. Its leaders included King David and King Solomon, and the prophets Samuel, Deborah and Isaiah.
- Ever since that time, the Jewish people have had a continuous and unbroken physical presence in the land of Israel…
- The first Jewish kingdom was eradicated by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were slaughtered, the Jewish temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, and those Jews who survived were taken as prisoners into exile in Babylon.
- Within two generations, Jews had started to return. They rebuilt Jewish life, and constructed a second temple in Jerusalem. This revived period of independent national life in the state of Judaea lasted for around 400 years, under the leadership of such figures as Ezra, Simon the Just, Judah the Maccabee, and the Rabbi Hillel.
- This second period of nationhood was also ended by merciless invasion – this time by the Romans, who destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE, killed vast numbers of Jews with extreme cruelty, and dispersed the remainder to various countries of exile.
- The second Jewish exile lasted for over 1800 years.
- While Jews did enjoy periods of relative stability in some of the countries to which they were dispersed, their overall experience was one of intense persecution and anti-semitism.
- The establishment of the modern State of Israel has marked the end of this era of dispersion and exile.”
Fred J. Khouri, PhD, Professor of Political Science at Villanova University at the time of the quote, in a 1985 book titled The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, wrote:
“Over a period of many centuries, Arabs and Jews have developed deep historical roots in Palestine and strong emotional attachments to it…
The Jews had their first contact with their ‘promised land’ about 1800 B.C., when Abraham led his Bedouin followers to the outskirts of the Palestine area, much of which was controlled by the Canaanites. Later, Abraham’s descendants migrated to Egypt, where they multiplied and lived for several centuries before Moses led them out again. The Jews returned to Palestine around the twelfth century BC., but they remained weak and divided until Saul united them into one Kingdom. Saul’s successor, David, extended the country’s borders, and his son Solomon built the First Temple in the city of Jerusalem during the tenth century. This first united kingdom, which lasted less than two hundred years before dissolving into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, provided the religious and emotional basis for Jewish interest in Palestine and Zionist claims to the area.
In 721 B.C. the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel and destroyed part of it. The small southern kingdom of Judah continued to exist until the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem in 586 B.C., destroyed the First Temple, and scattered the people. Fifty years later Persia captured Babylonia and permitted some Jews to return to Palestine. A second temple was built in the early part of the sixth century B.C. Subsequently Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies of Egypt, and leaders of the Syrian-Greek state to the north ruled all or part of the area. The Maccabean revolt in 168 B.C. against Antiochus’ efforts to enforce Hellenism resulted in a century of Jewish dominance which ended with the Roman conquest about 63 B.C. Two major Jewish revolts in A.D. 70 and A.D. 135 led to the leveling of the Second Temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the expulsion of all Jews from Jerusalem ‘forever.’ Few Jews remained in the Palestine region after that date…
In the fifth and sixth centuries, small and scattered Jewish settlements lived among the Christian majority. Palestine was briefly lost to the Persians but reconquered by Byzantium in 628. Around 634 it was lost again, and for good, to the Arabs during the Arab caliphate of Omar, successor of the prophet Muhammad…
The hope of returning one day to the Promised Land of the Old Testament never died among the Jews. In fact, for two thousand years Jewish prayer and rituals were built around the theme of the eventual coming of the Messiah to unite the Jews in Israel and rule over them.”1985 - Fred J. Khouri, PhD