Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Israelite Warrior Then and Now

Nadene Goldfoot                                     IDF Soldiers of Israel                          
                                            Ethiopian Israeli IDF soldier
                                                   Israeli Druze IDF soldier
                                     Christian Arab female IDF soldier                  

                                                 Nahal Unit.of IDF
We're an ancient people going back 4,000 years or so.  Abraham  in the 2nd millennium BCE led the way by having sons Ishmael by Hagar the Egyptian handmaiden of his wife, and Isaac by his own niece, Sarah, who was his wife.   Ishmael became the father of the Arabs and Isaac was father of the Jewish people.  Isaac had Jacob, who led his family of 70 people into Egypt when there was a famine in their land, and they didn't come out till 400 years later as 600,000 including Moses, who led them out.

 Joshua (Hoshea)  took over when Moses died at age 120 and never made it into the Promised Land.  Joshua was the general and had to fight Canaanites such as the Amalekites.  They were a nomadic group always wandering between southern Canaan and attacked the Israelites in the desert near Rephidim.  They were almost always hostile to Israel.  They were eventually defeated by the Israelite army under Joshua.  They are regarded by Israel as an eternal foe.  They penetrated western Israel at various points and their presence was a standing threat to the peace of the country.  In King David's time, they invaded southern Judea and burned the town of Ziklag.  David fought and defeated them heavily, only 400 escaping.

The Masada was a stronghold and refuge for King Herod's family in 40 BCE. It was used as a Zealot fortress for 960 Jews staying there holding off the Roman soldiers.  Under their leader, Eleazar, they committed suicide instead of allowing themselves to be captured by the Romans.  It would have been a slaughter.
                                                   Rav Aluf  Moshe Dayan            
It was 650,000 by May 14, 1948 that the Jewish population was when Israel  was reclaimed.  This happened after Jews had been decimated by 6 million in the Holocaust when they saw German Nazis and their European collaborators try to exterminate the whole Jewish people.
After fighting in 1947-1949 in the War of Independence, Israel has had to fight in 1956, 1967 and 1973 as well as go into Lebanon in 1982.  There has been the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Intifadas involving attacks on Israel with Israel defending itself.  Since then, Israel has just invented the Iron Dome.  This has 90% accuracy in hitting rockets, mortars or missiles coming into urban centers,  blowing them up in the air.  With Operation Protective Edge, missiles were hitting all over Israel from Gaza.  Israel had to go in and take out concrete-lined underground tunnels used by terrorists which were coming out into Israel.

Before that they experienced anti-Jewish pogroms in towns of Russia from 1871 to 1921
From 1882 to 1890, 750,000 Jews in Russia were forced to re-settle in the Pale of Settlement.  My ancestors lived in Telsiai, Lithuania and Suwalki, Poland, both a part of the Pale.  They both immigrated to the states.

Russian Jews and those from other countries started to return to Judah, now called Palestine which was due to the Roman renaming, in the 1880's.  They had need for guards as the Bedouins attacked  so the Ha-Shomer were created in 1920.  The Haganah (defense) was a group established for their own self defense since the British did nothing to protect them.  Then in 1948 the members were transferred to Tzeva Haganah le-Israel.  There were riots instigated by Haj Amin al-Husseini in 1929 in Jerusalem.  The riots scared the British who took on a policy of appeasement of the Arabs.  In 1931 the Haganah split  and the right-winged groups formed separate organizations like the Stern Group of which my cousin was the Chief of Intelligence.  In 1936 the Irgun Tzevai Leumi was formed.  David Ben Gurion felt that the Haganah should operate as the security arm .  30,000 men and women volunteered into the British army.  In 1941 the Palmah , military commando units, were set up at first with the British, but later independently.  After the War, Haganah operations were against the British.  From the end of 1947, the Haganah concentrated on defense against the mounting Arab attacks.
I:n the late 1940's the Uzi sub machine gun was invented by Major Uziel Galin.  It was first introduced to the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) special forces in 1954.  It was issued 2 years later.  It has found use as a personal defense weapons by rear-echelon troops, officers, artillery troops and tankers, as well as a frontline weapons by elite light infantry assault forces.    It's been exported to over 90 countries.  It's manufactured in Israel.  From the 60's through the 80's, more Uzi submachine guns were sold to more military law enforcement and security markets than any other submachine gun ever made.  .

Jews suffered from expulsions, forced conversions, murders and massacres throughout the ages.  Go back to 1492 to the Spanish Inquisition and Jews were either forced to convert or leave Spain.  The same things greeted them in Portugal after moving there.  The Inquisition set the gears in motion for the whole world to attack Jews.

Before that were the Crusades when Germans started in 1096 with English and France following with their own Crusaders who went to Jerusalem and on the way killed anyone looking like a Jew.  Then Arabs and Jews, who looked alike in Jerusalem were both killed.  This was one time when Jew and Arab joined forces to fight the onslaught of Crusaders on horses.  In 1099 the Jews of Jerusalem were massacred by Crusaders.
We go back to 135 CE to a Jewish General by the name of Bar Kokhba.  He was of Davidic descent, and some thought he was the Messiah.  He had great personal strength, was autocratic, and irascible according to letters found from him near the Dead Sea.  He led a revolt for 3 years against the Roman Legion.  This man had been living in Jerusalem, but it was being rebuilt as a Roman colony.  Laws were being changed by the Romans for the Jews living there such as denying them the right to perform circumcision.  Leading his army, hie captured Jerusalem and almost annihilated their legion.  Jewish coins were even minted with the names of Simeon and Eleazar the Priest.  In 133 the Romans counterattacked with an army of 35,000 under Hadrian and the commander, Julius Severus.  They entered from the Galilee, then fought over the Valley of Jezreel, Ephraim , and the Judean Hills.  It ended with them retaking Jerusalem.  In 134-135 The Romans took Bar Kokhba's stronghold, Betar, and reduced the remaining hill and cave strongholds.  This is when Bar Kokhba was killed.  50 fortresses and 985 villages were destroyed.  580,000 Jews were killed besides those who died of hunger and disease.  Judea then fell into desolation.  It's population was annihilated and Jerusalem became  a heathen city in which no Jew was allowed to enter.

That wasn't the first disappointment Jews have suffered.  They were attacked in 597 BCE and then in 586 BCE by the Babylonians and many of the best people were taken away.  Judah was taken by Nebuchadnezzar II.

Before that, the Assyrians had attacked in 721 BCE whle people had been led into captivity in 722 BCE.  Shalmaneser V took siege of Samaria and it was captured in 721 by his successor, Sargon. who annexed the country and then deported 27,290 Israelites to Assyria and Media and replaced them with Syrian and Babylonian prisoners.

Today we have our modern generals.  
1. Rav-Aluf........Lieut. General
2. Aluf......Major-General
3. Tat-Aluf....Brigadier
4. Aluf-Mishneh.....Colonel
5. Segan-Aluf.....Lieut. Colonel
6. Ra-Seren......Major
7. Seren.....Captain
8. Segen.....Lieut.
9. Segen-Mishneh.....2nd Lieut.
10. Rav-Samal.....Sgt. Major

Resource: facts about israel, Published by the division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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