Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Jewish State Within a Muslim World--How's It Going?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                

Israel was created as a Jewish state on May 14, 1948.  It is the only Jewish state in the world.  It was founded by Theodor Herzl's Zionists in 1897 who were trying to solve the problem of 2,000 years worth of discrimination against the stateless Jews originally from Israel and Judah and the biblical injunction of living in Canaan (Palestine) .

As of  2011 Israel was made up of:

75.4% Jews
16.9% Muslims
 2.1% Christians
 1.7% Druze
 4.0% Others
   2 Sabras, 16 and 18 , one immigrant, 16, kidnapped and murdered       

73% of the Jews in 2012 were born in Israel, called Sabras.  
2,000 BCE  Exodus of Israelites From Egypt: 600,000 
1948:  Jewish population was 650,000.  
1971: Jewish population was  2,636,600.  There are 6,000 synagoges, 387 officially apponted rabbis.  Dietary Laws are followed in the IDF, government and public institutions.  
2014: Jewish population is 6 million.  
                                 Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

1971: Muslims counted 343,900 Arabs. Most Arab citizens of Israel are Muslim, particularly of the Sunni branch of Islam,  They are autonomous in religious matters.  Over 200 Muslim clergy is paid by the State of Israel.  Regular services are held in about 90 mosques.  The most important is the el-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.  since 1967, prayers have been broadcast by the national radio from the main mosques.  As of 1973, they cannot go to Mecca on their pilgrimage.  
2006,  1,413,500 people, about 20 percent of Israel’s population.
2014: Arabs count 1.7 million Muslims.  

Circassians ,  2014:  4,000 to 5,000 in Israel.
They are one of the Muslim groups in Israel.  They are a small group who were brought in by Sultan Abdel Hamid in the 19th century. They were in Caucasus and Russia.  They are not Arabs. They live in the villages of Kafr Kama and Rehaniya in the Galilee.  When I taught in Safed, which is in the Galilee, from 1981 to 1985, I had some Circassian boys in my 9th grade class in jr. high.  They came from Rehaniya which  is 9 miles north of Safed with 1,000 people.
From movies which included Circassian roles, they were the horsemen who worked to guard Jewish homes in the 1800's.

Some 1.5 million Circassians were killed in the Caucasian War of the mid-to-late 19th century, and another million — fully 90% of the population — were deported from their land in the Caucasus Mountains. Today, roughly 4,000 Circassians live in Israel, where they constitute the country’s only Sunni Muslim community that sends each of its sons to the military.

Druse are a sect unto themselves.  "Their ethnographical origins, no less than their ritual practices and religious beliefs, are shrouded in mystery. Appearing for the first time on the pages of history at Wādi-al-Taym near Mt. Hermon in anti-Lebanon, as professors of the divinity of the sixth Fāṭimite Caliph in Cairo (996-1020 A.D.), the Druzes have lived their semi-independent lives secluded in their mountain of Lebanon, unmindful of the progress of the world around them, and almost entirely forgotten by the outside world."  They are a minority group in Israel of 130,600, but are not included with Arabs. 

 "The Druze are Arabic-speaking citizens of Israel who serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Members of the community have attained top positions in Israeli politics and public service.Most Druze dissociate themselves from Arab nationalism.  I was lucky to have met a lady from this community who was a speaker for Israel.  She was most impressive and strongly in favor of Israel.  "The Druze (Arabicدرزي, derzī or durzī‎, plural دروز, durūzHebrewדְּרוּזִים,druzim) are an esoteric monotheistic religious community found primarily in SyriaLebanonIsrael, and Jordan. The religion incorporates elements of IsmailismGnosticismNeoplatonism and other philosophies.  They only marry from among themselves.  Druze citizens are prominent in the Israel Defense Forces and in politics. The bond between Jewish and Druze soldiers is commonly known by the term "a covenant of blood" (Hebrew: ברית דמים, brit damim).  The Druze in Israel live in a handful of sectarian villages and several mixed-religion Arab localities, over the Golan heightsUpper and Lower Galilee and Mount Carmel,  They are drafted into the military and are proud of it.  Elements of Judaism and Christianity are in their religious practice.  
                                                        Karaite During Passover

Karaites Follow only the the literal law of the Bible, not rabbinic tradition and law.  10,000 population in 1973 living in or around Ramla, have 3 synagogues.                                                    

Samaritans: follow Torah (Pentateuch and Joshua).  230 live in Holon near Tel Aviv, 250 in Nablus.  

Baha'i 's number 5 million in the world, and main shrine is in Haifa.  It is a beautiful site that everyone notices.  Most Baha'is left in 1948, and there seems to be only a few hundred there to administrate the shrines and gardens.  Haifa 's spiritual and administrative center is here with another shrine in Akko.  They have gardens on Mount Carmel that are visited often.  Unity is their motto.  This monotheistic faith started in Iran in 1863 with a man who thought he was the next prophet, the Bab.  There they suffered from intense persecution.  They take in all religions. 
                                     Female Christian Arab IDF soldier

Christians make up 2.1% of the population and 80% of them are Palestinian Arabs, about 25,000.  The rest come mainly from the USA and Russia. There are 7,000 Maronites from Lebanon, 1,000 Assyrians and 1,000 Copts from Egypt.  The largest Christian community in Israel is that of the Greek Catholics, (Melkite), with 40% of the total Christian population.  

Resource: Facts About Israel, 1973, Division of Information, ministry for foreign affairs, Jerusalem
Read more:'%C3%AD_Faith good info on Circassians

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