Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Nadene Goldfoot                                                                   
JUDAH was created out of Southern Israel after King Solomon died in 922 BCE.  Jeroboam took over next, then Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam, Zecharia, Shallum, Meneahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea from 730-721 BCE. 

Moses had died outside of Canaan in about 1271 BCE and Joshua took the 12 tribes inside and subdued the land.
King Saul was the first king of Israel and reigned in the 11th century BCE.  He was of the tribe of Benjamin.  .
David of the tribe of Judah  became king. and ruled from 1010 BCE to 970 BCE.
His son, Solomon b: 961-d: 920 BCE  was to build the 1st Temple.  So far, the land has been in the hands of the Israelites for 351 years up to now.  The land of Israel was divided after Solomon's death between the North and the South, the North being referred to as Samaria, the name of their new capital.  Israel was more luxurious and the more powerful kingdom.  The south was renamed as Judah, the name of the tribe that inhabited this part of Israel.  However, Israel was weakened by internal fights between rival dynasties and recurring wars with the kingdom of Syria which resided in Damascus.  .
10 Tribes being led away by King of Assyria, SHALMANASER IV reigned from 728-722 BCE
In 721 BCE  the Assyrians attacked Israel  and took away 10 of the 12 tribes as slaves.  These people were replaced by new settlers that the Assyrians brought in.

Finally, Judah, which was smaller and more secluded geographically and more spiritual, having held onto Jerusalem and the Temple,  now being a smaller with a smaller military force, was overcome in 586 BCE by the Babylonians.  They destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.  They also took large number of the Judeans and deported them and the monarchy was abolished.  GEDALIAH, a member of the Old Royal House, tried to renew and organize political life was ended by his assassination in 582 BCE.
        Then the Persians (Iran) stepped in.  King Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian Empire.  He allowed the children of the exiles to return home to Judah and set up a center in 539 BCE.  It took them a long time to do this.  EZRA AND NEHEMIAH  had to leave the comfort of the Persian court and return with them to set it up.  The former northern section of Israel was now filled with Samaritans, named for the capital of Samaria, but they were not children of the original exiles.  They were of mixed heritage, and were not practicing Judaism.  So they were excluded from participation in the re-established Judah as it was feared that they would contaminate or even dominate the southern society.  Judah then was called Judea and was now a semi-autonomous Persian vassal state since Cyrus had allowed its re-development. Judea was administered by the high priest of the Jerusalem Temple.

The Samaritans had their center on Mt. Gerizim which is in the hills of Ephraim facing Mt. Ebal.  Shechem (Nablus) is situated in the intervening valley.  When the Israelites entered Canaan, a ceremony was held at which the people assembled on this mountain and blessed all who observed the law, and those on Mt. Ebal cursed those who profaned it. The mountain is 2,907 feet high.

In the next scene we see ALEXANDER THE GREAT invading the country.  They of course replace the Persian influence with Greek dominance which resulted in the establishment of Greek colonies along the coast and around the Jordan Valley which gave the entire country a European rather than Asiatic orientation.  Nothing changed in the general political scene, however.

The Ptolemies of Egypt shared alternate control and the Seleucides of Syria.  This went on until the 2nd century BCE when the attempt of ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES of Syria tried to hellenize the country by force in the Jewish religion and in their established culture.  This led to the HASMONEAN revolt in 165 BCE and the reestablishment for the 1st time since 586 BCE of the full independence under the HASMONEAN HOUSE in 142 BCE which converted its rule into a monarchy by 104 BCE.

What they had on their hands were wars of conquest, one after the other, particularly under JOHN HYRCANUS from 135 to 104 BCE.  where they extended their rule over the whole land of Judea.

Now we see that though the Greeks were strong on the coast and the Samaritans were in the central hill country, almost all the land was inhabited by the Jewish people.  THE GALILEE in particular was a center of patriotic sentiment.  In 63 BCE, the ROMANS were expanding in the Middle East and Judea was brought to their political orbit.  For a period of many centuries, it was part of the roman Empire, whether administerred by members of the HASMONEAN dynasty, by the house of HEROD, or directly by the Roman PROCURATORS and PROCONSULS.
There was a time between 55 to 49 BCE, 6 years, when it was a vassal kingdom under PARTHIAN control, and during the 2 great Jewish revolts of 66 to 70 CE when Jerusalem and the Temple was burned down,  and again with BAR KOKHBA from 132 to 135 CE.  Jews had been living here for 1,406 years.  Those revolts led to thousands of Jews being killed so that there was a depopulation of great parts of the country and again non-Jewish settlers being introduced into the land and many parts, particularly in the former Judea losing their Jewish character.

Jews didn't give up.  A solid Jewish life did continue to maintain itself after 135 CE, principally in Galilee where is had been the strongest.  It was based there on agriculture as it had been formerly.  The control came from the intellectual leaders and the Patriarchs (presidents of the SANHEDRIN)  whose authority was actually in time recognized by the ROMAN government.  This became the period of the intense intellectual life reflected in the writings of the Mishnah, the Palestinian Talmud and the Midrash.

There were a lot of areas in the land that had a pagan aspect.  The new administrative center on the coast, CAESAREA,  was lacking Jews.  They had become a minority.  This city had become the hub of Roman-Greek intellectual life.  Some other cities of the DECAPOLIS in the Northern Samaria were centers of philosophical study.

The Christianization of the Roman Empire  came about in the 4th century.  This brought about waves of violence and anti-Jewish legislation which was adopted by the emperors.  The result was the complete undermining of the position of Jews in what was  called Palestine (Israel and Judah) as of 135 CE by the Romans.  The land became the focus of Christian piety.  The Patriarchate was abolished in 425 which not only reflected the Christian distaste for Jews but stimulated the process of it as well.

Jews remained as strong Jews in their religion and there was considerable intellectual activity as shown in the development of Hebrew poetry, the Midrash and the Masorah now written.  However, Jews had become the minority in their own country.  They were indistinguishable from any other Roman or in due course from the Byzantine province.

 The Jews helped the PERSIAN invaders in 614 to 628 and suffered when they had to leave.

Under the Moslems, who conquered the country in 635 to 640 Jews were looked upon as unimportant, though and attempt was made to revive intellectual life by the establishment of a Gaonate, an imitation of that of Babylonian Jewry.  Under the UMMAYAD CALIPHS, ruling from DAMASCUS,  the country prospered.

PALESTINE was neglected when the ABBASID DYNASTY transferred its capital to Baghdad.  PALESTINE again became a problem between rival rulers of EGYPT AND IRAQ.  This caused the Jewish population to be reduced once again to insignificance.
The CRUSADERS of 1099 came and were followed by the setting up of a western feudal state in the country which lasted only until 1187 because of the turmoil of war.  By 1291, the last Christian stronghold at Acre fell.
The MONGOLS, also called the TARTARS came along in the 13th century and added to the devastation of the land.  In 1244-1260 and again in 1271  they had attacked Syria. "The Mamluks took advantage of the weakened state of the Mongol forces, and, negotiating a passive alliance with the remnants of the Crusader forces in Acre, advanced northwards to engage the Mongols at the pivotal Battle of Ain Jalut in September 1260." The country was now under Egyptian rule and was not important politically to anyone else."For about three months, until the Mamluks returned in May 1300, Mulay's forces were in technical control over Syria, and some Mongols engaged in raids as far south as Jerusalem and Gaza.  However, when the Mamluks returned from Egypt, the remaining Mongols retreated with little resistance.

By 1517, it was conquered along with Egypt, by Turkey who thought of it as just a remote and unimportant province .  They regarded it as little more than a source of revenue.  This was the period of the renewal of the Jewish settlement  in their ancient land on any scale--in part through the arrival after 1492 of refugees from SPAIN and PORTUGAL, in part through the emergence of SAFED as the great KABBALISTIC CENTER, and to a minor extent, through the attempt of JOSEPH NASI and then SOLOMON IBN YAISH to establish and autonomous center around TIBERIAS.

The Jews of the Diaspora (Europe, Spain, Middle East) kept in contact with the Jews of Palestine was maintained by the Emissaries from the 4 Holy Cities of JERUSALEM, SAFED, TIBERIAS AND HEBRON.  They would travel abroad to collect alms for the maintenance of the Jewish institutions.  The OTTOMAN EMPIRE'S local Pashas were frequently corrupt and oppressive like Muhammad Ibn Farukh, Pasha of Jerusalem, who barbarously maltreated the Jews there in 1625. On the other hand, local rulers who kept a firmer government like the Beduin sheikh Dahir al-Umar, who rebuilt Tiberias in 1740 with Jewish participation led by Rabbi Hayyim ABULAFIA, or Ahmed al-Jazzar, governor of Acre from 1775-1804, were unable to perpetuate their government.

By the 18th century, the Jewish settlement was reinforced by an Ashkenazi (European Jewish)  immigration.  First of the Hasidim came in 1777.  They were followed by the Mitnaggedim (Perushim) whose early villages were mainly in Galilee (northern Israel).  NAPOLEON's campaign was in 1799 when he called on the Jews to rally to his armies and help free the Holy Land from the TURKS.  It didn't happen then.

MEHEMET ALI OF EGYPT kept a firm administration which seemed promising in 1831.  but was ended by the Powers of England, Austria, Prussia and Russia after only 9 years.  The importance of international politics was realized both by the cutting of the Suez Canal and by the southerly advance of Russia.  Visitors came to Palestine like Mark Twain and so did Russian Jews escaping pogroms.
Sir Moses Montefiore of England
Religions of all faiths were established in  great profusion.  The Jewish population grew.  There had been restrictions on Jews who wanted to live in Jerusalem,  but they were removed and soon it had a Jewish majority.  SIR MOSES MONTEFIORE and others tried to found  Jewish agricultural colonies.  In 1882, the BILU settlers of the 1st ALIYAH came from Russia and created a town.  They were backed by the resources of BARON EDMOND de ROTHSCHILD.  THE   ALIYAH from 1904 onward placed Jewish rural life in Palestine and it was supported by a Hebrew-speaking culture.

The BRITISH CAMPAIGNS of 1917-1918 at the end of WWI led to the termination of  TURKISH rule.  Administration of the land was done by the LEAGUE OF NATIONS and given to GREAT BRITAIN to carry out for 30 years.  They were the Mandatory Power with the object of implementing the BALFOUR DECLARATION.  SIR HERBERT SAMUEL was the first HIGH COMMISSIONER from 1920 to 1925.  In 1922, an arrangement was negotiated for political reasons by WINSTON CHURCHILL, then the British colonial secretary.  He detatched TRANSJORDAN from the historic Palestine and set it up as a separate emirate barring Jews from living there.The Brits were to carry out the Jews ability to have their Jewish Homeland and they were going against it.  Jewish political rights were now restricted.  Arab objections seemed to be fostered by them.  Immigration and expansion of Jews were limited.  Jews came anyway, if not in droves, in dribbles, and they changed the face of the country.  New villages and towns were created, swamps were drained and forests were planted--by the Jews.  Tel Aviv was built and expanded.
European Jews destined for their deaths in Holocaust
The Arabs benefited from the Jews' presence.  The landowning effendi enjoyed the advantage over the hard-working peasant.  This economic expansion was stimulated after the beginning of Nazi persecution in Europe in 1933 when Jewish immigration increased.
 In 1936 Arabs rioted, urged to do so by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.    He's the one who had gone to Germany and spoke with Hitler.  The Italian Fascist government was anxious to embarrass England in the Middle East, and they went along with the Germans against the Jews. The total population then was 1,367,000.  Of this number, 384,000 were Jews. The development of the country by the Jews continued, regardless.  Illegal immigration had to be the way to enter for the Jews from 1940.  The Brits continued to try to keep the Jews out, even during the Holocaust from 1939 to 1945.
The Exodus arrived with Jewish refugees
Jews found themselves fighting the Brits and the Arabs.  From 1945 onward, large-scale clashes happened and the Brits continued to prevent immigration.  They turned the problem over to the UNITED NATIONS which recommended on November 1947  the division of Palestine into an Arab state and  a Jewish state.  The British 30 year mandate ended on May 15, 1948, and so on the day before, May 14th, Israel announced their state.  They had a war on their hands because the Arabs refused to accept the ruling of the UN partition resolution.  .  This WAR OF INDEPENDENCE happened because the Arabs all attacked the new state of Israel.  They came from the regular armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and a Saudi-Arabian contingent.    The act caused Israel to expand.  How 650,000 Jews, the total Jewish population, managed to fight off the soldiers of all the neighboring Arab states is one of the world's miracles.Israelis lost 6,000 fighters.

At the same time,  the King of Jordan took the Old City of Jerusalem and almost the whole of Transjordan and annexed it.  Egypt took and annexed the Gaza Strip at this time.  Many Arabs fled the scene.  A million and a half Jewish immigrants arrived.                    

The Land of Israel was for the 1st time in the modern period.  An armistice was signed in 1949, but the Arabs continued to fight Wars against Israel again in 1956, 1967, 1973 and Palestinians from Lebanon in 1982.  After that, there have been riots, intifadas, all sorts of attacks even up to today with knifing and using cars to ram crowds.  It hasn't always been peaceful, but a good life has continued amid havoc. After all the times of living in the Diaspora, Jews are home and are willing to fight for their special home.

Resource:   The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia:  Israel

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