The Church Has NOT Replaced Gods Israel: Putting Israel Back in the Picture

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It is defined in detail in the exilic Book of Ezekiel as a land where both the twelve tribes and the "strangers in their midst", can claim inheritance. Deriving from the name "Israel", other designations that came to be associated with the Jewish people have included the " Children of Israel " or "Israelite". Genesis —21 describes what are known as "Borders of the Land" Gevulot Ha-aretz , [24] which in Jewish tradition defines the extent of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. More precise geographical borders are given Exodus which describes borders as marked by the Red Sea see debate below , the "Sea of the Philistines" i.

Genesis gives the border with Egypt as Nahar Mitzrayim — nahar in Hebrew denotes a river or stream, as opposed to a wadi. A slightly more detailed definition is given in Exodus , which describes the borders as "from the sea of reeds Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines Mediterranean sea and from the desert to the Euphrates River", though the Hebrew text of the Bible uses the name, "the River", to refer to the Euphrates.

Only the "Red Sea" Exodus and the Euphrates are mentioned to define the southern and eastern borders of the full land promised to the Israelites. Although the English name "Red Sea" is derived from this name "Erythraean" derives from the Greek for red , the term denoted all the waters surrounding Arabia—including the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf , not merely the sea lying to the west of Arabia bearing this name in modern English. Thus, the entire Arabian peninsula lies within the borders described. Modern maps depicting the region take a reticent view and often leave the southern and eastern borders vaguely defined.

The borders of the land to be conquered given in Numbers have a precisely defined eastern border which included the Arabah and Jordan. Numbers —15 describes the land allocated to the Israelite tribes after the Exodus. The tribes of Reuben , Gad and half of Manasseh received land east of the Jordan as explained in Numbers — Numbers —13 provides a detailed description of the borders of the land to be conquered west of the Jordan for the remaining tribes. The region is called "the Land of Canaan " Eretz Kna'an in Numbers and the borders are known in Jewish tradition as the "borders for those coming out of Egypt".

These borders are again mentioned in Deuteronomy —8 , and Joshua According to the Hebrew Bible, Canaan was the son of Ham who with his descendants had seized the land from the descendants of Shem according to the Book of Jubilees. Jewish tradition thus refers to the region as Canaan during the period between the Flood and the Israelite settlement.

Eliezer Schweid sees Canaan as a geographical name, and Israel the spiritual name of the land. He writes: The uniqueness of the Land of Israel is thus "geo-theological" and not merely climatic. This is the land which faces the entrance of the spiritual world, that sphere of existence that lies beyond the physical world known to us through our senses.

This is the key to the land's unique status with regard to prophecy and prayer, and also with regard to the commandments. Numbers —13 uses the term Canaan strictly for the land west of the Jordan, but Land of Israel is used in Jewish tradition to denote the entire land of the Israelites. The English expression " Promised Land " can denote either the land promised to Abraham in Genesis or the land of Canaan, although the latter meaning is more common. Jewish tradition as expressed in the commentaries of Rashi and Yehuda Halevi , as well as the Aramaic Targums understand this as referring to the Nile ; more precisely the Pelusian branch of the Nile Delta according to Halevi—a view supported by Egyptian and Assyrian texts.

Kaftor Vaferech placed it in the same region, which approximates the location of the former Pelusian branch of the Nile. Easton's, however, notes a local tradition that the course of the river had changed and there was once a branch of the Nile where today there is a wadi. Biblical minimalists have suggested that the Besor is intended. Deuteronomy indicates a certain fluidity of the borders of the promised land when it refers to the possibility that God would "enlarge your borders.

According to Jacob Milgrom , Deuteronomy refers to a more utopian map of the promised land, whose eastern border is the wilderness rather than the Jordan. Paul R. Williamson notes that a "close examination of the relevant promissory texts" supports a "wider interpretation of the promised land" in which it is not "restricted absolutely to one geographical locale". He argues that "the map of the promised land was never seen permanently fixed, but was subject to at least some degree of expansion and redefinition. On David 's instructions, Joab undertakes a census of Israel and Judah, travelling in an anti-clockwise direction from Gad to Gilead to Dan , then west to Sidon and Tyre , south to the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites , to southern Judah and then returning to Jerusalem.

Ezekiel —20 provides a definition of borders of land in which the twelve tribes of Israel will live during the final redemption, at the end of days.

It is not enough to love Israel; you must love Israelis!

The territory defined by these borders is divided into twelve strips, one for each of the twelve tribes. Hence, Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47 define different but similar borders which include the whole of contemporary Lebanon , both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and Israel , except for the South Negev and Eilat. Small parts of Syria are also included. The common biblical phrase used to refer to the territories actually settled by the Israelites as opposed to military conquests is "from Dan to Beersheba " or its variant "from Beersheba to Dan" , which occurs many times in the Bible.

It is found in the biblical verses Judges , 1 Samuel , 2 Samuel , 2 Samuel , 2 Samuel , 2 Samuel , 1 Kings , 1 Chronicles , and 2 Chronicles The 12 tribes of Israel are divided in 1 Kings In the chapter, King Solomon 's sins lead to Israelites forfeiting 10 of the 12 tribes:. According to Menachem Lorberbaum ,. In Rabbinic tradition, the land of Israel consecrated by the returning exiles was significantly different in it s?

It ranged roughly from Acre in the north to Ashkelon in the south along the Mediterranean, and included Galilee and the Golan. Yet there was no settlement in Samaria. According to Jewish religious law halakha , some laws only apply to Jews living in the Land of Israel and some areas in Jordan , Lebanon, and Syria which are thought to be part of biblical Israel. These include agricultural laws such as the Shmita Sabbatical year ; tithing laws such as the Maaser Rishon Levite Tithe , Maaser sheni , and Maaser ani poor tithe ; charitable practices during farming, such as pe'ah ; and laws regarding taxation.

One popular source lists 26 of the mitzvot as contingent upon the Land of Israel. Many of the religious laws which applied in ancient times are applied in the modern State of Israel; others have not been revived, since the State of Israel does not adhere to traditional Jewish law. However, certain parts of the current territory of the State of Israel, such as the Arabah , are considered by some religious authorities to be outside the Land of Israel for purposes of Jewish law.

According to these authorities, the religious laws do not apply there. According to some Jewish religious authorities , every Jew has an obligation to dwell in the Land of Israel and may not leave except for specifically permitted reasons e. There are also many laws dealing with how to treat the land. The laws apply to all Jews, and the giving of the land itself in the covenant, applies to all Jews, including converts.

Traditional religious Jewish interpretation, and that of most Christian commentators, define Abraham's descendants only as Abraham's seed through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. It often surfaces in political debates on the status of the West Bank , which is referred to in official Israeli discourse as Judea and Samaria , from the names of the two historical Israelite and Judean kingdoms.

Ideas about the need for Jewish control of the land of Israel have been propounded by figures such as Yitzhak Ginsburg , who has written about the historical entitlement that Jews have to the whole Land of Israel. The Satmar Hasidic community in particular denounces any geographic or political establishment of Israel, deeming this establishment has directly interfering with God's plan for Jewish redemption. Joel Teitelbaum was a foremost figure in this denouncement, calling the Land and State of Israel a vehicle for idol worship, as well as a smokescreen for Satan's workings.

During the early 5th century, Saint Augustine of Hippo argued in his City of God that the earthly or "carnal" kingdom of Israel achieved its peak during the reigns of David and his son Solomon. He goes on to say that the failure of the Hebrew nation to adhere to this condition resulted in its revocation [ citation needed ] and the making of a second covenant and cites Jeremiah —32 : "Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will make for the house of Israel, and for the house of Judah, a new testament: not according to the testament that I settled for their fathers in the day when I laid hold of their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my testament, and I regarded them not, says the Lord.

Augustine concludes that this other promise, revealed in the New Testament, was about to be fulfilled through the incarnation of Christ: "I will give my laws in their mind, and will write them upon their hearts, and I will see to them; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people". Other Protestant groups and churches reject Christian Zionism on various grounds.

Jewish religious tradition does not distinguish clearly between religious, national, racial, or ethnic identities. Religiously and culturally the area was seen broadly as a land of destiny, and always with hope for some form of redemption and return. It was later seen as a national home and refuge, intimately related to that traditional sense of people-hood, and meant to show continuity that this land was always seen as central to Jewish life, in theory if not in practice.

Having already used another religious term of great importance, Zion Jerusalem , to coin the name of their movement, being associated with the return to Zion. Religion and the State Islam, in contrast to Christianity, does not recognize a line between religion and the state. It is believed that God has all the power. Therefore, the State is governed by laws of God Shar'ia but not by God or an individual chosen by God.

The State is in charge of seeing that God's laws are carried out. God's sovereignty, like God himself, cannot be divided between the political and spiritual. Just as God cannot be divided, so God's authority is not capable of division. Religion and politics are one. Muslim scholars and political leaders continue to debate the relationship of religion and the state and there is a wide diversity in the forms of government of Islamic or Muslim states.

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But the nation state is now the norm and there is an examination going on over that relation of Islam and political order. Jerusalem is the birthplace of Christianity and the Holy Land is part of the birthright of Christians as well as Jews. It is also a holy city for Muslims. Many visitors come to see the holy sites and end up running where Jesus walked.

They seldom get to know the living stones who live there today. They miss the diversity and richness evident in the "home town" of Christianity and, indeed, in world Christianity. If you travel there, make an effort to meet the living stones Christians of the land. The Church dates back to the apostles in Jerusalem. In addition, Greek culture Hellenism predominated and Paul converted many People of the Greek cultural background.

Tabernacle of Moses

Ever since A. A Romanian Orthodox Church has also been in the Holy Land since to serve pilgrims and guest workers. The Armenian Apostolic Church was organized as a state Church in and, like some of the other Oriental Orthodox Churches, has remained a national religious group.

The Armenians were not at the Council in Chalcedon in and 55 years later rejected the statement on the nature of Christ from that Council in favor of an older formulation. The Syrian or Syriac Orthodox Church comes from the Patriarchate of Antioch and was formed by those in that Patriarchate who rejected the Chalcedonian formula of because it put too much emphasis on the duality of Christ. There is a Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem. The word "Syrian" refers to the Syriac language, a dialect of Aramaic and not the country, Syria.

The Coptic Orthodox Church originated in Egypt in the first century. After Chalcedon, the Patriarchate of Alexandria Egypt split into two parts: the smaller continued as part of the Greek Orthodox Church and the larger the non-Chalcedonians is the Coptic Orthodox Church. Their leader is called a Pope and resides in Egypt. In Jerusalem there is a Coptic Orthodox Archbishop.

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Copt is the term used for Christians in Egypt. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the most African of the ancient churches and has traditions dating back to the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon. Syrian Orthodox missionaries are credited with the development of Christian theology but the Ethiopians kept their organizational ties to the Coptic Church until the 20th century.

They have an Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem. Mostly as a result of missionary activity on the part of the Latin Catholics Roman Catholics , portions of the Orthodox churches have come into communion with Rome. Many of them still use ancient Orthodox liturgies. It was officially founded in after a split in the Patriarchate of Antioch and is the second largest church in the Holy Land.

The Maronite Church also began in Antioch but traces its establishment to the mountains of Lebanon and its people to the ancient Phoenicians. The Maronite tradition says they were always in communion with the Church of Rome. The Latin Catholic Church serves many ex-patriots and offers mass in several different languages as well as Arabic. Because the Franciscans were granted custody of the Holy places by the Pope after the crusaders left, the Custos of the Holy Land has status among the heads of churches.

They have had separate bishops since and are under Arab leadership today and each has a congregation of expatriates as well. In addition to the four Church families in the Middle East Council of Churches, there are also many small Protestant churches, a result of 20th century missionary movements and the desire to serve expatriates in their own language. The latter often see themselves in continuity with the earliest Judeo-Christian believers.

They are people who believe that the end of the world is near and one sign is the influx of Jews into Israel. They are mostly from other countries and come to Jerusalem for holidays etc. The Palestinian Christians see them as very destructive of the indigenous Christian community since their support ignores the Christians who have been there for centuries and supports the Jewish Israelis.

Because of the hardships of the military occupation, Christians are continuing to leave the Holy Land and the Christian community is endangered in the land of its birth. Refugees fled in and as a result of the wars and Christians continue to leave because of the harsh military occupation and the second class treatment of even those who hold Israeli citizenship.

The closure of the border between Palestinian territories Gaza and the West Bank and Israel has caused a desperate economic situation. Land confiscation, multi-day curfews and closures, house demolitions, the confiscation of identity cards, the building of the Separation Barrier, the closing of schools, and denial of medical treatment have caused Christians as well as Muslims to leave the area.

They want better conditions for themselves and their children and join family and friends in Europe, the Americas and Australia. At least 25, Palestinian Christians live in the diaspora and there is concern that Christianity in the Holy Land will become a dead religion without the presence of living communities. Faith Under Occupation is an excellent additional resource on this topic. Some Old Testament scholars say they were already there and were formed as a nation by overcoming the other inhabitants.

Their high point as a nation came during the reigns of David and Solomon when the country was united for about years. In B. Before Christian Era the Babylonians conquered the territory of Judah and took the inhabitants into exile in Babylon. Although many came back, and the story of Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem is the story of the return, many continued to stay in the diaspora, scattering throughout the eastern Mediterranean area.. During these years and even into Jesus' day, worship was centered in the Temple in Jerusalem with its rituals of animal sacrifice.

More Jews, though, remained in the diaspora than lived in the Holy Land at the time of Jesus. After a series of conquests by strong empires, the Jews were conquered in 63 B. Just after the time of Jesus, in 66 C. In 70 C. The remaining Jews were forced into diaspora along with those already there.


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Rabbinic Judaism was developing at the same time as Christianity with the concept of the community as the New Temple and no need for animal sacrifice. This helped the Jews to maintain their religion and relationships now that there was no Temple to be the center of worship. Having been a highly respected religion in the Roman Empire, Judaism became a smaller minority throughout the centuries.

There were periods, though, of a golden age, especially during the time of Maimonides 12th and 13th century in Spain when scholarship and science flourished for Christians, Jews and Muslims. The Christian idea that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ also led to areas and periods of persecution. By the 18th century most of the world's Jews were living in Europe and many had developed a liberal approach to living in modern society. Hertzl was made president of the Zionist World Congress and the modern Zionist movement to make a national Jewish homeland in Palestine was begun.

Founding a normal national state would protect Jews from anti-Semitism, according to Zionist ideology. In England's Lord Balfour wrote a letter saying, "His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people The State of Israel was declared in after the British pulled out of Palestine. They are the majority and the schedule of living--weekly, monthly and yearly-- follows the Jewish calendar.

Jewish holidays, not normally celebrated outside the synagogue in the West, are observed publicly there and they are celebrated with more intensity. The school year revolves around the holidays so that school does not begin in the fall until after Succoth. In addition, Jews who wish to pray at the designated times of day meet no prejudice. In addition, national holidays take on a religious or spiritual aspect.

On Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, a day of fasting and repentance, no cars, buses, taxis, or other vehicles are allowed on the roads. On the Sabbath, Ultra-Orthodox areas do not permit cars on their streets and there are sirens to mark the beginning and end of the Sabbath. Other religious Jews observe the Sabbath Shabbat as a time for turning off material and work-related issues. For six days the Jews are expected to work on perfecting the world and on the seventh, they are to celebrate the creation just as it is.

In today's Israel there are a number of divisions within Judaism itself. The first is among different branches of Judaism. Other branches include Reformed and Conservative Judaism. Another way to categorize the Jewish population is based on their heritage - the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. The Ashkenazi Jews come from Europe, especially Eastern Europe and were the dominant Jews to come to Israel in the early years of Zionism and the founders of the kibbutz movement.

The Sephardic Jews are a mixture but they basically come from Arab lands. The word means Spanish and referred originally to the Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition in There are now more Sephardic Jews in Israel than Ashkenazic Jews but there are power struggles noticeable in where people live, how good the schools are, and what political parties they belong to. Wesley G.

The Sephardim, coming from Middle Eastern countries brought their own customs so now, "Modern Israel, in short, is a western-styled nation that acts in an eastern manner, and the result is often chaotic. The Sabbath. Although streets where ultra-Orthodox live are closed on the Sabbath, the neighborhoods have been expanding along with the demand for more street closings. Stores, that used to be closed on the Sabbath, have been opening and cinemas and restaurants are sometimes open.

The only conversions recognized are those by Orthodox rabbis if done in Israel. Although conversions by Reform and Conservative rabbis completed outside Israel are recognized, the Reform and Conservative movements want state recognition for conversions inside Israel. The study of the Torah is considered to be of supreme value in the defense of the State. The number of students has ballooned and Israelis who serve in the army and their families feel this is unfair since over 30, have deferments. The main texts are found in Genesis, especially Genesis ; In the Abrahamic Covenant, the Hebrew people are given "land," descendents as numerous as "the stars in the sky" and eventually they become a great people and nation.

These components are the means by which the covenant people will fulfill their calling to point people to the one and only God. The Hebrew prophets were constantly calling Israel back to their need to keep the Torah Law and point others to Yahweh. Many Christians believe, as did Jesus, that land is not of central importance if one is faithful to God and the ethics of the Kingdom of God.

They believe that land must be shared as the people of God live with those of differing ethnicities and religions, and that they must keep Torah and the things that make for a just peace. In the last century, Jewish people have moved to Israel after thousands of years in other countries. Since the promise was made to Abraham, and Jews, Christians and Muslims all claim to be descendents of Abraham, the question becomes one of where the lines are to be drawn.

What does the Bible say about Jews as the "chosen people"? The Hebrew people of the Bible called themselves "Chosen People" and many scholars believe that they were chosen to be an example to the world of the way God wants people to live. These scholars also say that the nature of being "chosen" does not imply superiority but chosen to be in covenant with God. Most Christians, including the UCC and Disciples, also believe that God did not replace the covenant with the Jews but added the new covenant with the Christian community. What is the relationship between Israel in the Old Testament and the State of Israel as it exists today?

There is little direct connection in terms of time spent living in the area or in terms of ethnic inheritance. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 C. Christian Era and expelled and killed many Jews and Jewish Christians. After the Zealot Revolt of C. The Jewish community that remained in the area was very small. However, Jews always maintained a mystical connection to the land with the prayer "next year in Jerusalem. Some of those diaspora Jews joined Jews who lived in the eastern Mediterranean area for centuries and others subsequently moved to virtually all areas of the world.

During that time they developed a variety of ethnic expressions of the core of Judaism, differing from the Temple worship of Jesus' day. Meanwhile, Christianity grew and eventually became the dominant religion. After the 7th century Arab invasion, the people living on the land adopted the Arab language and culture and many became Muslims, although some remained Christians and Jews. In order to keep the understanding clear, it is more correct to use the term "Israelite" for the biblical group and "Israeli" for the modern people.

Why do some Christians believe that the State of Israel is related to the second coming of Christ? What does the Bible say? A certain type of biblical interpretation, which gave selected scriptures a future fulfillment, began to be popular in England in the s and has continued today. Many of the texts were taken from Daniel, Zechariah, Ezekiel and Revelation. Other biblical scholars believed that these scriptures were fulfilled when the Jews returned to Palestine after the Babylonian captivity of the 6th century BCE before common era.

To the former group, events in the formation of today's Israel are given theological significance as fulfilling biblical prophecy. Jesus cautioned his followers about interpreting signs of the end times on several occasions such as in Acts In answer to the question about the time when the kingdom will be restored to Israel? Jesus says, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. This idea is sometimes called Millenarianism and has had proponents in a number of periods of history over the centuries.

Those who focus their work on bringing Jews to Israel to fulfill their interpretation of the end times and to bring about the Second Coming of Christ are known as Christian Zionists discussed earlier. The Philistines are members of an ancient "sea people" from Greece. After several battles with Egypt, they landed on the eastern Mediterranean coast and conquered some of the Canaanite people.

Goliath, of the David and Goliath tale, was a Philistine and the Hebrew scripture contains many stories of the enmity between Israel and the Philistines. The contemporary Palestinians are the indigenous inhabitants, or their descendants, of historic Palestine. They are a mixture of many races as a result of years of invasions, and their location at the crossroad of Europe, Asia and Africa.

Where and when did Palestine get its name? Christian Era. Earlier the people were called Canaanites, Israelites or other tribal groups, but after the Roman era they all were called Palestinians, whether they were Jews, Christians or later Muslims. The exact geographical boundaries of Palestine have been fluid over the centuries. Because Palestine is at the crossroads of Africa and Asia and had many cultures and conquerors, the population historically has included a great variety of ethnic groups. Some people refer to the whole area, accurately, as Western Asia rather than the Middle East.

Is the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians basically a religious war? It is a political war over a piece of land or parts of that piece of land. Religious beliefs, usually certain extremist Christian, Jewish or Islamic ideas, have been used to justify the conflict, especially as to who owns or controls the land and resources and why. There have been and still are interfaith organizations on the ground attempting to foster and nurture positive relationships.

Is it true that the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has been going on for many centuries? The modern Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political and economic conflict over land and resources. It is not a religious conflict. Until the advent of the Zionist movement at the end of the 19th century there were a variety of relationships between Jews and Arabs Muslims and Christians , many of which were positive. Some residents of the area called themselves Arab Jews, that is Jews who spoke Arabic and considered the Arab culture to be their own. Did Jews fare better in Christian lands than in Arab and Muslim lands?

They fared better in Muslim lands. Islam considers Jews and Christians to be People of the Book and, although the Jews and Christians were "protected people" with fewer citizenship rights than Muslims, they were not persecuted for their faith. During the Ottoman Empire 15th century until World War I the Ottomans developed the millet system giving Christian and Jewish communities a certain freedom of action. Each Church denomination oversaw its own personal law governing marriage, divorce, burials, etc. The religious leaders patriarchs, chief rabbis etc.

Unlike many European countries, Spain was a country where all three religions lived together somewhat harmoniously until the Inquisition. Many of the Jews went to Arab lands to settle, where they were treated fairly. In Christian lands, Jews were often persecuted and condemned as "the killers of Christ". The Holocaust took place in a nation that called itself Christian. It is interesting to note that after the Jews were forbidden to live in Jerusalem by the Romans it was an Arab Muslim ruler, Salah ad-Din, who, in , specifically invited the Jews to once again live in the Holy City.

Are Zionism and Judaism the same thing? What is their relationship? Judaism is a religion and a cultural heritage. Several locations were considered for the homeland, but later Palestine was singled out and this was supported by Great Britain, especially through the Balfour Declaration. Lord Balfour was hghly influenced by Christian Zionism. The Holocaust during World War II, and the guilt of those who did not, or could not, stop it gave a great impetus to Jewish immigration into Palestine and support for the formation of Israel. However, some deeply religious Jews even some who live in Israel feel that the establishment of a Jewish State should come after the appearance of the Messiah and not before, so they object to Israel as premature.

Is there truth to the claim that this area was "a land without a people for a people without a land"? When the Zionist movement started encouraging immigration, the land of Palestine was a settled area with Palestinians living in villages, towns, cities and settled agricultural lands. There were significant numbers of well-educated, professional people. Contrary to popular belief, there were only a few Bedouin tribes in Palestine. There were also several thousand Bedouin and about 10, Jews with foreign citizenship.

By the population of Jews had risen to about 60, and the Arab population Christians and Muslims was around , Other sources give comparable population figures. Did the Israelis make the desert bloom? Making the dessert bloom is a biblical concept coming from Isaiah It describes a time when Israel is restored and renewed.

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It was used in the early years of the founding of Israel to illustrate two things. First, to show that the cultivation of the land by the Jews was fulfilling the Bible and, second, to put forth the idea that Palestine was an uncultivated desert. The term is rarely used any more. Considerable land in Palestine was under agricultural cultivation by the indigenous Arab population before the State of Israel was founded, much of it in crops and trees that required little water beyond what was provided by rainfall.

Some desert areas were irrigated. Deserts are generally fertile places if water is made available, but water in the whole area is limited. For that very reason, throughout the Middle East, water is a political issue. Water diversion and water access were major causes of ongoing conflict between Israel and its neighbors in the 's, 60's and 70's. At the present time there is an increasingly severe water shortage in Israel and Palestine, largely the result of the amount of water being used by Israel for agriculture and to support the settlements-for example, green lawns in the dry season.

What was the British Mandate? Various areas became "mandates" and the British were given the mandate for Palestine. Mandates were a type of protectorate some called it colonialism to move indigenous people to political independence by giving them administrative advice and assistance. In the case of other mandates, such as Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Syria, it was assumed that the indigenous Arab people would form their independent states "under guidance. On November 2, , the British Government announced the so-called Balfour Declaration that favored the Zionist plan of making a homeland for the Jewish people in unspecified parts of Palestine.

Throughout the British Mandate Britain was aware of the conflict between the indigenous Palestinians and the immigrant Jewish people but continued to favor the Zionists, even training soldiers and giving them equipment. When British Mandate troops became the targets of terrorism, especially by organized Zionist militias, Britain decided to end its mandate and the matter was handed to the United Nations.

After a commission of inquiry was conducted, the UN passed a plan to partition the area. What was the United Nations Partition Plan? The United Nations, on November 29, by a vote of 33 to 13 with 10 abstaining, passed Resolution It divided the former Palestinian Mandate into three parts-a proposed Jewish state, a proposed Arab state, and an international zone to include Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

The land that was designated for the Jewish state included prime agricultural and coastal land and would have had a large Palestinian population under the Jewish state control. The Arabs considered this unfair. Is this when the Arab countries invaded Israel? No, the Arab countries only came in later and after other events occurred. The British announced in December a month after the Partition Plan was announced , that they would withdraw and give up the Mandate by May 15, More intense fighting broke out between the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs.

Jewish fighting groups, such as the Irgun conducted military operations in a number of cities and villages and many Arabs fled or were forced out of their homes. As a result, approximately , Palestinians became refugees before the war started. The day after the British withdrew, the State of Israel was founded. It was then that the Arab armies joined the fight. Wasn't Israel a poorly equipped force faced with overwhelming Arab armies?

Zionist militias had been trained and armed by the British during the Mandate period. The Israeli Defense Forces had trained manpower, weapons, a large young adult population and a centralized command based on former fighting organizations. The Arabs were far less organized, subject to rivalries and lacked both modern weapons and training. Why are there so many Palestinian refugees? The first group of Palestinian refugees resulted from the war in Palestinians claim that they fled their homes in fear after the massacre in Deir Yassin and other towns, or because Zionist militia forced them to leave at gunpoint.

They expected to return to their homes within days or weeks, and for that reason many still have their house keys with them. Recent scholarship has shown that there were no appeals to evacuate and that Arabs urged the Palestinians to stay put. Smith, , others put the figure at , of the approximately , Arabs who lived in the area of Palestine that now is called Israel remained, and , entered camps in what is called the West Bank and Gaza.

Other books give similar figures. Some of these people, already refugees from , were displaced a second time. Why don't the Arab nations simply absorb the Palestinians into their own countries?

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Approximately 3 million Palestinians live in diaspora, outside the country they claim as their homeland. Many still live in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Many have moved to Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf countries; some have moved to other parts of the world. Many Palestinian refugees want to return to Palestine, and their children and grandchildren want to live there. They have no interest in settling in another country, and numerous UN resolutions state the right of the refugees to return to their homelands. Other Arab countries back them up.

The economic, social and political impact of absorbing such a large number of people from another place would present a tremendous burden on countries as well as change the demographics of the country. Politically, absorbing the refugees would relieve Israel of its responsibility toward them.

Isn't Jordan really a Palestinian country? At the end of , Palestinians constituted more than half of Jordan's total population. Jordan has given citizenship to the Palestinian refugees who entered the country in and , and they have partially assimilated into Jordanian society, although most still consider themselves to be Palestinians. Those Palestinians who fled the Gaza Strip in are called displaced persons and they are not allowed to vote or hold public-sector jobs in Jordan. If Jordan were to absorb all these refugees it would also have to take over the renovation of schools, hospitals, public buildings and housing, and pay for other services now provided by UNRWA.

Jordan's October peace treaty with Israel created fear among Jordanians that, because of the number of Palestinians in Jordan, the kingdom would eventually be transformed into a substitute state for the Palestinians. This has increased the climate of suspicion between native Jordanians and Palestinians and the fear that Jordan would not remain the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. There is also concern because some Israeli government officials talk about "transferring" the Palestinians to Jordan and Egypt. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. The Devil, also referred to as Satan, is best known as the nemesis of good people everywhere. His image and story have evolved over the years, but this malevolent being—and his legion of demons—continue to strike fear in people from all walks of life as the antithesis of all Mormons are a religious group that embrace concepts of Christianity as well as revelations made by their founder, Joseph Smith. Today, with about million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam.

But the recent discovery and translation of the earliest known Latin commentary on the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John not Mark has shed new light on the subject. The text, Followers of Judaism believe in one God who revealed himself through ancient prophets. History is essential to understanding the Jewish faith, which is embedded in tradition, law and culture. The Inquisition was a powerful office set up within the Catholic Church to root out and punish heresy throughout Europe and the Americas.

Beginning in the 12th century and continuing for hundreds of years, the Inquisition is infamous for the severity of its tortures and its Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity, with about 1. Although its roots go back further, scholars typically date the creation of Islam to the 7th century, making it the youngest of the major world religions.


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Zoroastrianism is an ancient Persian religion that may have originated as early as 4, years ago. Zoroastrianism was the state religion of three Persian dynasties, until the The second-largest private collection of Dead Sea Scroll fragments, an early copy of the Psalms and interactive exhibits are among the features of the ,square-foot Museum of the Bible that opened its doors to the public in Washington, D. This Day In History.

Old Testament The Old Testament is the first section of the Bible, covering the creation of Earth through Noah and the flood, Moses and more, finishing with the Jews being expelled to Babylon. The Gospels The oral traditions within the church formed the substance of the Gospels, the earliest book of which is Mark, written around 70 A.

Book of Revelation The Book of Revelation is the final book of the Bible, an example of apocalyptic literature that predicts a final celestial war through prophecy. Biblical Canon Surviving documents from the 4th century show that different councils within the church released lists to guide how various Christian texts should be treated. A Tour of the Biblical Treasures at D.

The Swiss Guard. Inside The Vatican Archives. The Book that Changed the World. The Devil The Devil, also referred to as Satan, is best known as the nemesis of good people everywhere. Mormons Mormons are a religious group that embrace concepts of Christianity as well as revelations made by their founder, Joseph Smith. Inquisition The Inquisition was a powerful office set up within the Catholic Church to root out and punish heresy throughout Europe and the Americas. Islam Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity, with about 1.


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