Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Life of a Persecuted Jew of Syria

Chief Rabbi Jacob Saul Dwek,Hakham Bashi of AleppoSyria, 1907
with secretaries. 
Syrian Jews first immigrated to New York in 1892. The first Syrian Jew to arrive was Jacob Abraham Dwek, along with Ezra Abraham Sitt. They initially lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.Some Syrian Jews have since left America for Israel, under the leadership of Rabbi Albert Hamra.
Nadene Goldfoot                                        
Great rabbis of Aleppo, Syria
1914-Jewish Wedding in Aleppo, Syria
By 1948 at the time that Israel was pronounced a state among the nations of the world, Syria had 30,000 Jews.  By 1991 they only had 4,000.  Today?  probably 1.
Home of Muslim family in Damascus in 1990's.
Another view of Muslim Home 

1910 in Damascus, Syria:  A Jewish family

The Jews of Syria were enduring the most severe persecution imaginable.  A lady from Canada was touched by her neighbor's words who had escaped from the Holocaust and decided to rescue the remaining Jews of Syria and she did, but I'll get back to that mitzvah later.  First, what they were enduring.
Before 1914, there were 14,000 Jews living in Aleppo.  The Jewish Quarter had many ancient synagogues with the oldest being the Mustaribaha, destroyed in 1947's riots.  This synagogue had dated back to the 4th century.
Syrian Jew's Wedding picture

According to tradition, the foundation for the Great Synagogue in Aleppo was constructed by King David’s General, Joab ben Zeruiah, (circa 950 BCE), after his conquest of the city.  Aleppo had been a part of Israel.  
In 1944 amidst WWII, Syria gained their independence from France who had held their mandate.  The new government of Syria then prohibited Jewish emigration to Palestine.  They also severely restricted the teaching of Hebrew in Jewish schools.  What happened/  Attacks against Jews escalated and boycotts were called against their businesses!  

By 1947, the year before the Brits who held the mandate for Palestine, a partition was declared in the UN.  When this was declared, the Arab mobs in Aleppo devastated the 2,600 year old Jewish community.  Now Aleppo was made up of Jews, Muslims and Druze and a few Christians.  The biblical name for Aleppo was Aram Soba. It was part of the extended area of Israel.  It became the  business center of Syria.    In this attack, 75 Jews were killed and more than 200 homes, shops and synagogues were destroyed.  Thousands of Jews illegally fled Syria to go to Israel.

By 1948, there were about 30,000 left in Syria.  Then,  the Syrian government intensified its persecution of the Jewish population.  Many were living on "Yehuda Street-Jew Street. of a Jewish ghetto section of Damascus as well. " Freedom of movement was severely restricted.  Jews who tried to leave faced either the death penalty or imprisonment at hard labor.  When Judith Feld Carr came along, she freed many who had been imprisoned.

1. Jews were not allowed to work for the government, of course, nor work in banks.
2. They could not have a telephone or have driver's licenses.
3.  They were barred from buying property--which had been the bane against Jews all throughout Europe as well.  G-d forbid if we ever had land to work on for our sustenance.
4. Jewish bank accounts were then frozen!  Imagine having money in the bank one day and then having it all in the government's hands instead!  That must have made their hearts  fall like the 1929 USA stock market crash!
5. An airport road was paved over the Jewish cemetery in Damascus.
6.  Jewish schools were closed and handed over to the Muslims.
7. Jews were not allowed to travel more then 3 kilometers without a permit.
Jewish child in a ghetto of Syria, probably Damascus
      In 1987-1988, the Syrian secret police seized 10 Jews on suspicion of violating travel and emigration laws, planning to escape and having taken unauthorized trips abroad.  Several who were released reported being tortured while in custody."  Torture has been an everyday habit of these people according to the report from my source who was also tortured for an American type of everyday act of searching on the web. It was his subjects that were forbidden  for Syrians to have knowledge about.  That was the reason he was picked up and tortured:  reading about  Judaism and Masonry.  You can't be curious and be a Syrian.
November 1989, the Syrian government promised to allowed the emigration of more than 500 single Jewish women.  It was because they outnumbered eligible men in the Jewish quarter and could not find suitable husbands.  24 women were allowed to emigrate in the fall of 1989 and another 20 in 1991.  At this rate, many would be old maids before they ever got out.

The Madrid Conference was held in 1991 when the USA pressured Syria's government to ease its restrictions on Jews.  By Passover 1992, the Syrian government began granting exit visas to Jews on condition that they would not go to Israel.  At this time, 4,000 Jews were living in Damascus in the Yehud ash-sham area.  Jews also were living in Aleppo and Qamishli at this time.  Most Jews had made it to the USA and some even to Israel by then.  A few families had chosen to emigrate to France and Turkey.  There is a large Syrian-Jewish community living in South Brooklyn and in New York.  Just a few, mostly the older women who were caretakers of the cemetery, remained in Damascus.  There was a final airlift by Israel in 1994.  The destination was Tel Aviv.
It was from 1992 and 1994 that Judith Feld Carr, a modern day female Moses, rescued Jews and got them out of Syria.  Like Moses, she had to talk to Assad and get him to allow this to happen.  Judith, a Jew from Canada, was a mother of 6 children and a musicologist, teaching music in high school in Toronto and also teaching at the university.  She rescued 3,228 Syrian Jews, all in secret.   Her last rescue took place on September 11, 2001, an hour before the World Trace Center in New York was attacked by terrorists.  She also saved rare Jewish religious articles like the famous Damascus Codex-the Keter that was written in the 12th century in Italy, winding up in Damascus.  

Aleppo Jews felt they were more well educated than the Damascan Jews.  This is because Aleppo had been the center of Jewish learning.  These Aleppans were called Halabis, following the traditions of Aram Soba.  The Damascene Jews or "Shammies," as they were called, prayed in a different synagogue, though when living in Brooklyn, the 2 groups did get together and socialize.

The surname of Halabi means "Aleppo.  It means that their origins were from Aleppo (Halab) Syria, or it meant that the bearer of the name had traded with Aleppo residents.

Eli and Selim Soued were in prison for traveling to Israel in 1987.  By 1989 they were allowed to contact their families and let them know they were alive.  By May of 1991, each was sentenced to 6 years and 8 months in prison.  2 of the 4 Syrian Jews arrested in 1990, while trying to travel to Turkey without permission, were released in November of 1991.  Also,  2 other Jews were arrested in April 1991 for planning to leave the country illegally.

The Jews of Syria continued to live in extreme fear.  The Jewish Quarter ( Ghetto) in Damascus was under constant surveillance by the secret police.  These spies were present at synagogue services, weddings, bar-mitzvahs and other Jewish gatherings.  Contact with foreigners was closely monitored.

According to the State Department, Jews "were the only minority whose passports and identity cards note their religion and were under more thorough surveillance than the general population.

Jews had to get permission to sell a car or a house.  All their letters, phone calls, and other forms of correspondence were censored.  They were forbidden to work in the public sector and many university programs were closed to them.  Travel abroad was permitted in exceptional cases, but only if a bond of $300 to $1,000 was left behind along with family members who served as hostages.  China has been known to do something like this.                                
Alois Brunner (8 April 1912 – 2001[1] or 2010[2]) was an AustrianSchutzstaffel (SS) officer who worked as Adolf Eichmann's assistant.  Brunner is held responsible for sending over 100,000 European Jews to the gas chambers. He was commander of the Drancy internment camp outside Paris from June 1943 to August 1944, from which nearly 24,000 people were deported.
Syria's attitude towards Jews has been reflected in its continued sheltering of Alois Brunner, one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals that was at large.  Damascus had refused to extradite him.  Brunner, when 78 years old, was a chief aide to Adolf Eichmann and served as an adviser to the Assad regime.  He continued to enjoy the protection of the Syrian security service.  " During his long residence in Syria,   Brunner was reportedly granted asylum, a generous salary and protection by the ruling Ba'ath Party in exchange for his advice on effective torture and interrogation techniques used by the Germans in World War II."
There is a legend about Aleppo.  The legend says that Abraham, father of Jews and Muslims, had pastured his sheep on the mountain of Aleppo and from there had distributed milk to the poor on its slopes.  What would he say to the devastation of the Jews by their relatives, the Muslims of Syria?  Jews had been in Aleppo at least since the Greek period and remained throughout the Roman period.  Heads of the Palestinian yeshivot (schools) visited Aleppo.  Exiles from Spain's Spanish Inquisition came to Aleppo in the 16th century which includes some famous rabbis.
Aleppo:  2016  Destroyed
At the time, we noted that there's one particular Bible passage that's rekindling the entire discussion surrounding how Syria might fit into end times theology: Isaiah 17:1-3. It reads, “'See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.Oct 2, 2015

By the time  this prophecy was uttered, the tribes of Reuben and Gad had already been exiled from their lands.  Isaiah warns Aram (Syria) that it would be exiled by Sennacherib, just as he had exiled the Jewish city of Aroer and then the rest of the  10 Tribes.
The prophecy went on in 17:5 that told about Israel which did come true after the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. "Israel will be as uninhabited as a field that has been harvested and then gleaned by the poor.  The Valley of Rephaim was near Jerusalem;  thus Sennacherib's butchery would extend up to Jerusalem-commented Rashi.

Resource:  "Myths and Facts-a concise record of the Arab-Israeli conflict," by Mitchell G. Bard, Joel Himelfarb
my blog:  What Happened to the Jews of Aleppo, Syria? http://jewishfactsfromportland.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-happened-to-jews-of-aleppo-syria.html
Tanakh (Bible) the Stone Edition.
Messages from a Syrian Jew Trapped in Egypt-my book on amazon.com

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Can UN Take Land Israel Won Back in 1967? Life Surrounded by Enemies

This is what the UN expects Israel to return to, and have a 9 mile strip of Israel at the narrowest. 
Judea-Samaria (West Bank) has 2,183 square miles. Gaza has 140.9 square miles. Otherwise,
Israel would have had 10,000 square miles, the size of Massachusetts.   
Nadene Goldfoot                                        
1947 UN Partition; Israel-Palestine
Israel is made of only 8,000 sq miles and is surrounded by enemies.  On the left or West side is the Mediterranean Sea so that enemies have that expanse to attack from.
1949 partition plan of UN after War of Independence
Israel was announced as a state through UN May 14, 1948 and was then immediately attacked. 

This is where Obama expects Israel to now accept as their border. A year ago he wanted the 67 pre-war armistice border and this is even worse!  This border is what the UN calls "the Green Line." That just came out of the Paris conference of 1/15/17.    
 They also have Gaza which since the Hamas terrorists have taken over, have been shelling southern Israel with mortars, missiles and rockets.  Then there is the right or eastern flank of Judea-Samaria (named West Bank by Jordan) and Jordan itself who are on the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River.  Attacks can easily come from there.  The southern part of Israel is open to Egypt, and part of the sea, so that could be breached as well.  As I see it; the East, West and northern sides are the most vunerable right now.
It is 110.3 miles from Judea-Samaria; 2 hr. 42 minutes by car to Beer Sheva's desert area.
East Jerusalem is part of unified Jerusalem, and is that to be part of Palestine according to UN also? Then it's one minute away.  
1920 British Mandate of Palestine  to be Jewish Homeland;
80% chopped for for Abdullah from Saudi Arabia-Hashemite prince
Of this, the UN has taken it upon itself to dismiss Israel's rights as a rightfully created state-through the League of Nations and the United Nations itself, and is saying that the land they won back in the 1967 onslaught of Arab states is to be given back to them anyway in the form of a Palestine for this group of Arabs that have said no to any deal ever since 1947.  Israel has always been ready to deal but not the Palestinians, who had been led by terrorist #1, Yasser Arafat.  They are now being led by the head of the PA, a position Israel had agreed to, Mahmoud Abbas born in 1935, who has held the reigns for as President since 2005.  That's one long term now of almost the past 12 years. Before he was the Prime Minister.
By 1922, Given to Abdulla instead by Britain
All the Arabs met in Khartoum after the 1967 Six Day War with Israel in which Israel miraculously won and decided on saying NO to any peace arrangement with Israel.  Their goal was not peace but taking all of Israel for themselves.  We know this and the world should know it.  Look at what happened when Israelis were removed from Gaza in the name of peace?  It's  been a platform to shoot missiles, mortars and rockets into Israel and create havoc and death.
8,000 sq miles of Israel and 70 nations of the world in Paris today plotting to take more
land away from this tiny country from its 6 million Jews of Israel plus 600,000 in Judea and Samaria.
Only Israel is expected to give up land and its security for people who have attacked them for 70 years.
The UN  lesson here is:  It pays to be the aggressor and murderers of many.  

Palestine - On 29 November 2012 Palestine has been granted the status of non-member observer state.
   It hasn't (still) been admitted to the UN as a full member.
  It hasn't  changed its attitudes
towards Israel, either and still rewards murderers of Israelis, teaches hatred towards Jews in schools.  Now it is threatening to revoke their accepting Israel's right to exist that it had admitted before when wanting the Palestine Authority positions.    They will do this if Trump moves his USA embassy to Jerusalem as he has said he will do. "The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had recognized the state of Israel’s existence in 1988 as part of a campaign to accrue international legitimacy and from the west in particular. The PA was founded by the PLO as a new governing body to represent Palestinians during the Oslo process in the 1990s when Israel engaged in peace talks with the PLO." 

  Imagine, Jerusalem has been Israel's capital for 69 years and the USA embassy remains in Tel Aviv.  Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel, ancient and modern.  With the UN's 2334 bill, the Western Wall in Jerusalem is to belong to Palestinians who  plan  to keep Jews away from it and Temple Mount, home of Solomon's Temple.  King Solomon was the son of King David, both Jewish kings of Israel.  

""The long march through the UN has produced many benefits for the PLO (now the Palestinian Authority PA). It has created a people where there was none; an issue where there was none; a claim where there was none. Now the PLO is seeking to create a state where there already is one." — Jeane Kirkpatrick, U.S. ambassador to the UN (1981-85).
(She's referring to Jordan, made up of many Palestinians besides their Hashemite tribe.)
Resource:  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mahmoud-Abbas

Friday, January 13, 2017

How Muslims and Christians Have Fared in Israel, the Only Jewish State in the World

Nadene Goldfoot                                                      
Jewish arrivals to Israel that had to be snuck in illegally  from Holocaust death centers were handed a gun and found themselves
fighting for Israel's right to exist that their enemies wouldn't accept in the War of Independence 1947-1949. 
The Jewish state of Israel was declared on May 14, 1948.  Muslims had been fighting against Israel since at least 1929 in sporadic attacks, but were adamantly striking at Jews in 1947 after the League of Nations' decisions for the area.  This fight continued well after declaring statehood.

                                                  Arab Muslims
Proud to be an Israeli;  Ashraf Sherjan
and I'm proud of him for speaking out.
He stands with Israel.  (see reference below) 


"Israel, a tiny country, is the only democracy in the Middle East where people of all faiths have full, equal rights," he explains.  "Furthermore, he has never seen an Israeli commit stabbing attacks, car-terror or bombings against Arabs."  
Nevertheless, Jews had asked the Muslims to remain and become part of their new Israel.  By 1971, the Arab population of Muslims numbered 343,900.  They were making their own decisions concerning their religious matters.  Their Muslim leaders were qadis of the Shari'a courts.
Today there are about 1,658,000 Palestinians, mostly Muslims in this count.  209.000 live in East Jerusalem.
Jerusalem;  Muslim and Christian sites as well as our Jewish ones
 Their status was regulated and safeguarded by law.  There were Muslim trusteeship committees who attended to their community's religious and social affairs, and administered to religious endowments (waqf).
At this time in 1971, the Muslims had over 200 clergy who were paid by the state of Israel.  They held regular services in some 90 mosques.  The most important mosques are the el-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem which are historic.  They also have the great mosque of el-Jazzar in Akko (Acre), and the stately new mosques in Nazareth and in Haifa.

Since 1967's Six Day War, Friday prayers had been broadcast  by the national radio from the principal mosques.  They are also broadcast on loud speakers.

Israeli Muslims are still denied transit through neighboring Arab States to fulfill the 5th pillar of Islam, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Saudi Arabia refuses to take passports from Israel.  To help fellow Muslims, Jordan is stepping in today and issuing temporary Jordanian passports to those wanting to make the Hajj.  "A reported 5,000 Arab-Israelis perform the hajj each year. Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel, so Jordan issues the visas to make the journey possible." " Israeli Muslims who wanted to travel to Mecca had to go through a third country such as Cyprus until the 1970s, when Saudi Arabia gave them permission to make the hajj via Jordan."
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.615855

One special group of Muslims are the Circassians, a small group who were brought in by Sultan Abdel Hamid in the 19th century.  They live in the villages of Kafr Kama and Rehaniya in the Galilee.  I had Circassian students in my 9th grade English class (Kita Tet)  in Safed (in the Galilee) , also.  They were well behaved, well mannered and interested students.  Another Muslim group, members of the Ahmadi sect, are from Pakistan living in Kababir near Haifa.  In 1971 there were 700.  Today there are about 3,000.
Druze IDF soldier

Druze soldier of IDF
I'll include the Druze community with the Muslims since they are a break-away group from Islam.  This happened back in the 10th century and were granted the status of an autonomous religious group by Israel for the 1st time in their history.  That's because they have their own religious courts, which administer Druze religious law.  There were 18 villages for the 38,000 Druze in the Galilee in 1971.  They also lived on Mt. Carmel.  Every year they practice the pilgrimage of going to the tomb of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses on the 25th of April.  The tomb is near the Horns of Hittin in the Lower Galilee.  In 1971, 8,000 Druze lived on the Golan Heights.  They were able to have free social and ceremonial contact with their relatives and friends in Israel, and have their own spiritual leadership.  At this time, the Golan was not incorporated into Israel. "On December 14, 1981, the Knesset voted to annex the Golan Heights. The statute extended Israeli civilian law and administration to the residents of the Golan, replacing the military authority that had ruled the area since 1967.  .They were also able to make a pilgrimage every August 25th to the tomb of Nebi Ya'fouri, another of their important religious persons to remember.
Baha'i Center in Haifa showing terraces

The Baha'i  faith is yet another break-away from Islam who are centered in Israel.  Their principal shrines are in Akko (Acre) and in Haifa.  The Universal House of Justice, supreme direction of the Faith, constantly improves the center for the better guidance of their community's affairs.  The gardens on Mount Carmel had been developed and embellished by 1972.

The Arabs and the Druzes are Israel's largest minority groups.  At the beginning of 1972, minorities in Israel numbered 458,500, which doesn't include the population of the administered areas.

About half of the minorities live in about 100 villages.  Two-Fifths live in towns including 73,000 in Jerusalem by 1972.  The rest of about 44,000 were semi-nomadic Beduin.  Of these, 75% are Muslims, 17% Christians, and 8% Druzes and any others, at least by 1972.

Since 1949 at the end of the fighting, the Arab community had grown considerably.  At that time, 140,000 were left in Israeli territory.  The population grew by natural increase and by the re-admission of thousands who had fled when the Arab States had attacked Israel in the War of Independence.
Black Jew (possibly Ethiopian)), Druze, Christian and Muslim IDF soldiers 
Members of the Arab community are exempt from military service in order to avoid any conflict of conscience.  Compulsory military service is applied to the Druze and Circassian communities at their own demand.  I remember attending a meeting in which the speakers from Israel were a male Jew and a female Druze.  She was amazing and was adamant about defending Israel.  She  loved her state.  I was so impressed by her and her ability to read Arabic, since I wanted to ask her about the high school in my city who was teaching Arabic.  My concern was that none of the other teachers or parents could read it and had no idea of what was going up on posters, etc. all written in Arabic.  There they both were, both able to speak English, Arabic and Hebrew, and who knew what else?

Today there are 57 Muslim states in the world.  A Palestine would make it the 59th.  Out of these,  48 states are Muslim Majority states.  Palestine would be the 49th similar to Saudi Arabia with no Jews or Christians allowed in.
                                                            Arab Christians
Female Arab Christian IDF soldier

Christians living in Israel have been mainly from the Arab community and in 1971 numbered 77,300.  This small number belongs to 30 different Christian denominations.  The main ones by 1971 were the:
1. Greek Catholic--25,000
2. Greek Orthodox--22,000
3. Latin (Roman Catholic) --16,000
4. Maronite (known in Lebanon) --3,500 in 1972.  Today's count is about 7,000.
5. Protestants (Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans)--2,500
6. Eastern Monophysite Churches (Armenian Orthodox, Coptic, Ethiopian,Syrian Orthodox)-- 3,500

In 1972 there were about 300 churches and chapels for the Christians.  They had 2,200 clergy including 400 monks and some 850 nuns that belonged to 30 Roman Catholic orders and congregations.  They had 16 religious courts that dealt with matters of personal status.
Catholic Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation in NazarethChristian Arabs are one of the most educated ethno-religious groups in Israel
Over 11,000 Christians were living in Jerusalem in 1972.  There they had many Holy Places of paramount importance to Christendom.  It is the seat of the Greek Orthodox, Roman and Armenian Orthodox Patriarchs.  Their congregations make up most of the Christian population, as well as of several archbishops and bishops.  There are also Catholics of the various Uniate Churches;  Anglicans, Lutherans, Syrian Orthodox, Copts and Ethiopians.

What Israel makes possible for the Israeli Christians and Christian pilgrims from abroad (tourists) is that they can walk in the footsteps of Jesus from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, and back to Jerusalem.   While in Jerusalem, they can visit the Hall of the Last Supper on Mount Zion, traverse the Via Dolorosa and worship in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Today at the end of 2016, there are 1.7 million Arab citizens in Israel.  There are 6 million Jews.  Israel was created to be a haven for Jews since they have been so maligned throughout the past 2,000 years.  It is the only Jewish state in the world.  It is imperative that the majority of the population remain  Jewish for this reason, but those that were already living in Palestine at the time of its inception have been welcome additions as citizens.  The Jews know what it was like to be strangers in strange lands.
Jews have realized since its inception that so long as there is no peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors, Israeli Arabs are sometimes torn between their loyalty to Israel and their Arab kinship.  Nevertheless, there is a growing pattern of co-existence between the Jews and Arabs of Israel.  Israel has ensured equality before the law for all citizens without distinction of race, religion or language, and affords its Arab citizens every opportunity to maintain their own culture and traditions.
1917 British soldier in Palestine during 30 year mandate of ruling over population
Avraham Stern,(1907-1942) Nationalist leader of the Stern Group, fighting against British in Palestine
who were just as big a problem as Arab terrorism for Jews living there who were to create their state
with blessings from League of Nations .He left the Irgun Tzevai Leumi when  a leader and formed an underground organization known to British as the Stern Gang.  They had to carry out acts of sabatage.  He was killed at age 35 by British police while being arrested.  My 3rd cousin, Stanley Goldfoot, was the group's Chief of Intelligence. 
During the 30 years when Palestine was under the British mandate that was finished on May 14, 1948, Jews had to develop their own institutions of local government.  The Arab community lagged in doing this.  Only Nazareth, Shfar'am and one Arab village had local councils.  The government of Israel has done much to help and encourage them towards municipalization.  By 1972, 2 municipalities and 46 local councils were predominantly Arab or Druze.  27 Arab villages were also represented in mixed Arab-Jewish local or regional councils.  Except the Beduin, 82.5% of the Arabs lived in areas with local government by 1972.

Arabs and Druzes play and active part in political life of Israel, and their interests are effectively represented in the Legislature.  In the 7th Knesset of 1972, there were 6 Arabs of which one was a Deputy Speaker and one was a Deputy Minister and one Druze who was a Deputy Minister.

 "There are three mainstream Arab parties in Israel: Hadash (a joint Arab-Jewish party with a large Arab presence), Balad, and the United Arab List, which is a coalition of several different political organizations including the Islamic Movement in Israel. In addition to these, there is Ta'al. All of these parties primarily represent Arab-Israeli and Palestinian interests, and the Islamic Movement is an Islamist organization with two factions: one that opposes Israel's existence, and another that opposes its existence as a Jewish state. Two Arab parties ran in Israel's first election in 1949, with one, the Democratic List of Nazareth, winning two seats. Until the 1960s all Arab parties in the Knesset were aligned with Mapai, the ruling party."

I wonder what Barak Hussein Obama, a community organizer before becoming Senator and President, would think about Israel's fast abilities to organize the living conditions of such a diverse community that makes up Israel.  I'm not even mentioning the single Israeli problem of a population making aliyah to grow from 650,000 to 6 million in 69 years and all the planning that went into that to reach solutions amid fighting and wars.  No other state with this few people have ever faced such challenges before and yet maintain their ideology and fairness that their religion demands of them. The USA voted against Israel this time; a first, in abstaining on a resolution about "settlements" in Judea and Samaria by Jews. since the 1967 Six Day War.  By doing this they were siding with the Palestinians.  In the Paris conference coming up in a few days, they will most likely do the same thing and just go over Israel's heads as if they are not there.  To this American-Israeli Jew, it is purely disgusting.  Also on the 20th, Donald Trump will be the new American President who is not of the same party as Obama.  He will be vastly different, but will be handed a lot of problems brought on at the last minute concerning Israel and their rights as a Democratic country.

I'm sad to report that much of the BDS movement has been coming from these same Christian Arab leadership of today.  Even my reference lists "Palestine" as if already a declared state which it is not.  It lists 173,000 Christians today of which are 6.0%.  6% of what, may I ask?  Are they really going to let in Christian Arabs into their Palestine?  They've already declared that their state is to be Judeanrein (NO JEWS ALLOWED.)

Why are so many of my pictures those of soldiers?  Because every adult, male and female, are needed to defend this tiny country made of only 8,000 sq. miles that is surrounded by so many Muslim enemy states, sworn to not accept peace.  Improvements are happening, though, with the 2 closest neighbors of Egypt and Jordan, signing peace agreements.  May they continue.

Added more:  1/13/17 at 1:25pm about Obama and Israel, again later on Golan Heights.  
Resource:  Facts About Israel by Division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem 1973
http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.615855 Jordanian passports to Muslim Israelis
http://jewishfactsfromportland.blogspot.com/2016/05/incomprehensible-moves-against-israel.html--Christian Arabs starting BDS

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Our Lost Years, From Roman Days to May 14, 1948

Nadene Goldfoot                                              

Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 CE.  A large Jewish community survived during this 1st century, mainly in the Galilee of Northern Israel.  There were also communities in parts of the coastal plain and in Judaea.  They lived by farming. Probably growing grapes for wine was included.  Their leaders evolved and consolidated the Jewish way of life, in teachings and scholarship. 

 The outstanding writings of this era were the Mishnah that was completed in the 2nd century, and the Jerusalem Talmud, completed between the 4th and 5th centuries. 

The Jews rose more than once in rebellion, seeing to renew their political independence.  Bar Kochba led a rebellion from 132 to 135 when he was killed in battle.  He had taken Jerusalem during those 3 years with his men.  The Romans were exceptionally brutal.  Hundred of thousands of Jews were killed or exiled.  Letters of Bar Kochba and other relics from that period were found by Israeli archaeologists in caves in the Judaean desert in the vicinity of the Dead Sea.  

We had to wait until 614 to have a Jewish force, numbering about 20,000, who aided the Persians (Iran) in the conquest of the Land.  By doing this, the Persians promised a measure of autonomy and the right to return to Jerusalem. "In the fifth and sixth centuries, the lot of the Jews who had remained in Palestine became unbearable. They were the victims of heavy taxes, confiscation of property and even forced conversions. Messianic hopes and dreams were the only thing that kept them going.
Just at this point in history, King Khosrau II (591-628) became the Sassanid king of Persia. He followed his predecessor's liberal policy towards the local Jews. Within the Persian royal circles, the Jews had recognized rights and privileges, but due to the fanaticism of some of the Persian people they were not always able to exercise these."

 This short restoration to our previous life was cut short by the Byzantines.  This was the Eastern Roman Empire, capital was Constantinople.  Justinian (537-565) wrote anti-Jewish laws in his Code, issued a decree in 553 controlling what could be in the synagogue service!  Heraclius in 614 issued an edict ordering the conversion of Jews.  Judaism was forbidden by emperors following;  Leo, Romanus Lucapenus, but Jews continued to be Jews.  By 1170 Jewish communities continued in this empire.  Jews were treated with contempt in Constantinople.  Then the Turks conquered in 1453.  

The Arabs had come along and conquered the Land in 636.  Mohammad had died in 632.  At this time, there were still many Jewish villages in parts of the country.  A few centuries passed before they became islamized and arabized.  
Rashi, Jewish Biblical commentator (1040-1105) France and Germany
Descendant of King David of Israel now in exile
By 1600 the population of Jews was about a half a million.   Therefore, Jewish life--for nearly 1,000 years, was almost entirely confined to the towns.  The main centers of Jewish life were in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Safed and Hebron.  Safed became the center of Jewish mysticism in the 16th century. About 10,000 Jews lived in Safed then.  By 1563 the Jews of Safed established the 1st printing press in the Near East, printing of course in Hebrew.
13th Century Jews in Germany, Jews had to wear such hats
The general conditions of life in the Land deteriorated and so the population declined.  The Jewish urban communities became smaller.  
1839 Palestine at Tomb of Joseph at Shecham (Nablus).
Nablus, in Jordanian hands until 1967, now Israel's.  inhabited mostly by
Moslems, center of fanatical Arab nationalism. 

At the beginning of the 19th century, the number of Jews living in the Land was estimated at 10,000.  Coincidentally, in Europe the Jews were being persecuted for their religious beliefs in one G-d.  France showed their anti-Semitism by the Dryfus trial.  Russia kept all Jews by Catherine 2nd's decree in 1791 lasting until 1915,  in the Pale of Settlement, not allowing them into Russia proper.  Jews lived in shtetls, small villages and were persecuted with pogroms-attacks by drunken Cossacks  who attacked the villages and the people.  
Members of Hashomer, a Jewish security organization dedicated to protecting pioneering Zionist settlements, pose with their rifles October 1, 1907 in the Upper Galilee during the Ottoman rule of Palestine.

Golda Meier (May 3,1898- Kiev, Ukraine of Pale of Settlement- 1978 Israel) lived through many causing her to immigrate to the USA when a child. In 1921 she made aliyah to Palestine.  
Golda Meier, 1948 declaration of Statehood of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel in 1969 and again 1973 but retired in 1974.


 Jews in desperation made their way back to Palestine where Israel had been and set up communities during the Ottoman Empire.  There were 5 groups of Jews who went back in what was called "making aliyah."   The 1st aliyah took place in 1880.  

Jews of Europe had always kept contact with Jews of Palestine who had remained.  The exiled Jews longed for the day they would be able to return.  It was in part of the daily prayers, the subject of poems and books.  They all mourned together on the 9th of Ab, the destruction of the Temple, by fasting and prayers.  They suffered and were persecuted by the Christians, and this gave rise to messianic movements calling for mass returning to the Land.  Entire Jewish communities in Europe prepared for the Return-especially followers of Shabbetai Zevi in the 17th century.   Many Jews went through a deep depression when this fell through.  

During the talmudic period as well as all through the centuries, Jews returned somehow to the Land, either as individuals or in groups.  Jews constantly moved from today's Iraq (Mesopotamia) to the Land.  In the Middle Ages, Jews went from Europe, North Africa and other Middle East countries back to the Land and settled.  
Jewish Aliyah started farming on Kibbutz Degania Aleph est. 1909, 1st kibbutz in Israel. lies between the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan Rivewith 534  in 2015.
I visited there between 1980-1985.  It was beautiful!
3rd Aliyah (1918-1921) collective village took name of Kibbutz
Those of us who were living outside the Land were living in the Diaspora.  It became a tradition to assist those living in the Land financially.  A relay of emissaries (Shelichim) went back and forth between the Land and the Jewish communities of the Diaspora, doing whatever was needed.  By May 14, 1948, the population of the new statehood of Israel was 650,000, a little over the population that Moses had arrived with from Egypt.  By 1971, the population was about 3 million;  the population they had in the 1st Century CE.  

One way we know all this because our Talmud, compiled during this period, mentioned more than 4oo Jewish localities.  Most of them were villages.  By the 1st century CE, the population of Jews in their ancient land of Israel was over 3 million, most likely a fraction of its original count at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE.  

The Talmud referred to would be the Palestinian Talmud.  We had two:  the other one was written in Babylon by the exiled Jews taken there.  Both were great compilations of collected records of academic discussion and of judicial administration of our Jewish Law, given to us by Moses,  by generations of scholars and jurists in many academies and in more than one country during several centuries after 200 CE.  They also consisted of the non- legal or aggadic digressions. The authorities mentioned by name in the Palestinian Talmud all lived before 400 CE.

The Catholic Church was out to destroy any Jewish records.  The 1st official destruction of rabbinic literature by them was in Paris on June 17, 1242 when 24 cartloads of Talmuds  were burned as a sequel to the religious Disputation there 2 years earlier.  Attacks like this continued to happen: like in Italy in 1322.  In Rome on September 9, 1553, many  volumes of all types of Jewish literature were destroyed.  This led to more destruction in northern Italy.  Rabbinic works found in raids on Jewish quarters were thereafter burned sporadically.  Thousands of volumes of the Talmud were burned in Poland by order of Bishop Dembowski after a disputation between the rabbis and the "Zoharists" led by Jacob Frank at Kamenetz-Podolsk in 1757.  Jacob Frank had declared himself the messiah, successor another pseudo messiah, Shabbetai Tzevi, attracting many followers in Podolia.  Rabbis excommunicated Frank and his followers. The Zohar was a part of the Spanish Kabbalah, commentary on sections of the Song of Songs, Ruth, and Lamentations.

Resource:  Facts About Israel, Division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem 1973, pages 30-31
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia