Friday, October 16, 2015

Arabs and How They Have Treated Jews Throughout History

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                          
King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia today

 Arabs, from their very name, are from Arabia, not Palestine.  Palestinian Arabs, therefore, are not native to the present day Gaza and Judea and Samaria.  They wandered there throughout the centuries to arrive and live all over the Middle East.  Gaza had long ago been an Egyptian expedition base in the 15th to 13th centuries BCE.   and then was captured by the Philistines.  The Temple of Dagon was there.  That was an ancient Semitic deity whose cult was adopted by the Philistines when they entered Canaan.  Dagon was an important god in the Ugaritic belief in many gods.  He was a god of the soil and plant-growth and widely worshipped in the Middle Eastern countries.


Judea and Samaria were part of Israel, the only Jewish land in the world created by Moses who led the Israelites there as commanded by G-d. On the map above, Jordan was a part of Israel.   Moses died just outside the land in about 1271 BCE and Joshua took over getting the people on the land.  The first king was Saul in the 11th century BCE, son of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin.  Judah was the southern part of Israel and Samaria was the land around the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, founded in 880 BCE by King Omri on a hill bought from Shemer. They had to choose a new capital since Jerusalem, the original capital of Israel went to the Jews of Judah.   Samaria, the city was  NW of Shechem (Nablus today).  The city was on 25 acres and is all referred to now as Samaria.
It fell in 721 BCE to the Assyrians who resettled it with Cutheans, the Kutim,  who mixed in with the population and were the ancestors of the Samaritans.  According to records, "The emergence of the Samaritans as an ethnic and religious community distinct from other Levant peoples appears to have occurred at some point after the Assyrian conquest of the Israelite Kingdom of Israel in approximately 721 BCE. The records of Sargon II of Assyria indicate that he deported 27,290 inhabitants of the former kingdom. Then, "The Talmud accounts for a people called "Cuthim" on a number of occasions, mentioning their arrival by the hands of the Assyrians."  So this was another exchange of populations; those taken out and those brought in to replace them.  
Arabs are also a Semitic people like the Jews.  Their home had been the Arabian peninsula and other regions close by.  After Mohammad's birth and death in 632 CE/AD, they were part of the hoard or very well could have been THE hoard that burst forth from their homeland for the reason to conquer the greater part of the then civilized world.

They speak Arabic which just happens to be a cognate to Hebrew and forms a branch of the Semitic languages.  They say Salaam whereas Jews say Shalom, a greeting that means peace, or hello or goodbye.
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia
Our Tanakh (Bible) and Talmudic literature does mention the Arabs and their homeland.  At the time of our 2nd Temple before 70 CE, it is possible that there were some Arabs living in Israel.  Our Temple,  built by King Solomon (961 BCE-920 BCE) , was destroyed in 586 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia.  It was rebuilt  from 538 to 515 BCE during the period of Simon the Just, Judah the Maccabee, Simon the Hasmonean, and King Herod.  Then the Romans destroyed it in 70 CE.
                                                                      Descendants of Eber

1   Eber (descendant of Shem) Shem was one of 3 sons of Noah
.     2        Peleg-ancestor of Abraham
.     2        Joktan ancestor of the Arabs
According to Genesis 10, Eber was the forefather of Abraham as well as of Joktan, the ancestor of the southern Arabs.  Several Arab tribes are also enumerated among the descendants of Abraham.
Ishmaelites buying Joseph, son of  Jacob by Rachel  
  The Arabs themselves trace their origin to Ishmael, the first son of Abraham by Hagar, the Egyptian handmaiden and former Egyptian princess of Abraham's wife, Sarah.  Sarah also happened to be Abraham's niece.  Sarah later gave birth to her first child, Isaac, and because of problems raising the 2 boys and bad feelings between the 2 women, Hagar and  son Ishmael left the family group at Sarah's insistence because she felt that Hagar was trying to usurp her position as wife and take over Abraham entirely.

 Egyptians were not Arabs, but Arabs invaded Egypt in 640 CE.  From there on the  population may have blended somewhat.  Jews had lived there as well.  During Philo's days from 25 BCE to 50 CE , 1,000,000 Jews lived there with the most in Alexandria.  Philo was a Jewish philosopher living in Egypt.

Jewish tribes were found living in Arabia by the 1st century CE, long after The Assyrian conquest of Israel in 721 BCE and then the Babylonian conquest of 597-586 BCE.  It's possible they were so far away from Israel through these conquests when Jews were taken as prisoners to the land of the conquerors. The 10 tribes of Israel were taken  by Assyria.  The Babylonian conquest took Jews to Babylonia.  Perhaps some escaped at either time to wind up in Arabia, which would have been far south and a little east of their homeland.

Many Jews were expelled from northern Arabia shortly after the rise of Islam because they refused to convert-and Arabs were on a strong convert or die bent.  The Jews in southern Arabia continued to live in considerable numbers until recent times.  Medina was a large city where Jews lived and met many Arabs including Mohammad.  Several whole Jewish tribes had been forced to convert or die this way.
The Islamic conquests extended to many countries with ancient Jewish communities.  On several occasions, the Arabs were looked upon as better overlords than the people of these European countries, so were welcomed by the Jews who even helped them in conquest and occupation as life under them was better.   This happened in  Palestine,  Syria (Aram) . and Spain.   Palestine received its name from the Romans who had taken Judah and destroyed the 2nd Temple in 70 CE.
Syria was never a homogeneous state.  The coast had Phoenicians living there.  In the 8th century it was overrun by the Assyrians, too.  The Jews living there then suffered from the Greeks who had taken it.   When the Arabs conquered Syria in 634, life was better for the Jews living there.  Aleppo had in the 12th century, 5,000 Jews;  Damascus had 3,000, and Palmyra 2,000.  After 1492, more Jews lived in Syria who came from the Spanish Catholic Inquisition.  WWII caused an immigration of 30,000 Syrian Jews to dwindle down to 14,000 by 1947.
Haj Amin al-Husseini
WWII also saw the affinity that Nazi Germany had for Arabs. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Sherif of Jerusalem known as the Grand Mufti, visited Hitler in Germany to talk him into killing European Jews.  He didn't want any in Palestine.  It was a mutual attraction between Husseini and many other Arabs with Nazis and vice- versa.  That seems to be the beginning seeds of bad blood between many  Arabs and Iranians and the Jews.
Bashar al-Assad
In Syria, an Alawite family of Bashar al-Assad's father, Hafez al- Assad,  came down hard on the Jews and kept them confined in a ghetto.  He followed suit. The Alawites "are a religious group, centred in Syria, who follow a very highly contested and controversial branch of the Twelver school of Shia Islam.  The Jews of Syria  were finally rescued and taken out of  Syria by Judith Feld Carr, a Canadian musician and mother, who with her husband,  was actually buying Jews from Assad over 28 years and getting them out of Syria.  She started her humane project in about 1973.  The Alawites are a minority in Syria, populated more with people following Sunni Islam.  As we have seen, the Alawites rule with an iron hand.
 The Arab conquerors usually treated the Jews well and assured them of protection and freedom of religion as long as they paid the tax for doing it, called the poll tax.  This was written up in the Pact of Omar.  The Jews, like all the other non-Moslems, were called Dhimmis, or 2nd class citizens, and were subject to certain restrictions.  Outright persecutions happened not infrequently, especially in countries under sectarian rule, but in general, their position in the Arab world during the Middle Ages was actually better than in Christian Europe.

The surprising thing is that Jews sometimes were given a high governmental office in Spain and Fatimid Egypt.  In Spain, Jewish life under Arab rule was very good in the cultural field.  On the other hand, medieval conditions dominated the Arab world after Europe went into their age of Enlightenment, so Europe supposedly improved and uplifted themselves.  Under western European influence, conditions for Jews greatly improved in most place, but not in Yemen in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Then we see that the position of the Jews was badly affected by the anti-European attitudes and rising nationalism of the past generation.  The creation of the Jewish State of Israel in 1948 caused Jews to be expelled from Arab lands.  At the same time, Palestinian Arab leaders told their people to leave the newly announced Israel so that they could attack and take it over, which didn't work out for them.  There was an exchange of people from the land, coming into and leaving.

During 1967 During the Six Day War of Arabs attacking the Jews of Israel, there were 700,000 Arabs living in Israel.  About another million came under Israeli administration as a result of Israel winning the war-standing up against the attack.  
Former Shah of Iran before Ayatollas
Ayatollah of Iran-All Powerful
Iranians are not Arabs. Called Persians till only a few years ago, Persia met Jews when the Babylonian Empire by Cyrus in 538 BCE attacked Judah and carted away its best of the population.  Jews lived there and can be read about in the Book of Esther.  However, Iran today is of the Shi'a sect of Islam while Arabs are of the Sunni sect-like a difference of Protestants and Catholics.
 They also have the Salafist sect now seen by the conquesting IS, who are radicals.  IS has taken much of Syria and Iraq and of course hates and will kill Jews either through planning or accident.  They are reliving the ancient days of Islam in their planning to take over the Middle East.

Reference:  The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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