Ben Gurion  on Jerusalem
Ben Gurion on JerusalemVictor Sharpe

I was complimented some time ago by a reader of one of my earlier published articles, titled, Lies, Myths and Obama, which dealt – as many of them do – with the history of Israel and its enemies: Biblical and post-Biblical.

I had included in the article the following sentence: “Only one people has ever made Jerusalem its capital and only one people ever established their ancestral and Biblical homeland between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea: the Jews.”

I had also added that: “the Jews were the indigenous inhabitants of the Land for millennia long before the Muslim religion was created.”

The reader, nevertheless, had correctly pointed out that most people, because they have been exposed for so long to anti-Israel Arab propaganda, believe that there has not been a continuous Jewish presence in the Land during the last 2,000 years. They are thus unaware that the territory was never Judenrein (that is empty of a Jewish presence). And most Arabs and a hate filled world would rather you forget also that Jews lived for millennia in Mesopotamia or what became later known as British created Iraq.

Indeed, Jews had resided for nearly 3,000 years in that territory from the Babylonian Captivity in 586 BCE onwards. It was when Israel was reborn in 1948 that the Iraqi Arabs drove the Jews from their ancient homes, turning them into penniless refugees who found sanctuary in Israel; an impoverished country barely able to support them at the time.

More Jewish refugees were created than Arab refugees as one Arab state after another in the Middle East and North Africa drove out their Jewish populations. A monumental crime, which hardly is ever recognized.

Arabs and their anti-Israel supporters try to convince the world that the Jews just appeared in the early 20th century after being dispersed for two thousand years from their Biblical homeland. That is a flat out lie and flies in the face of recorded history. Indeed the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians do not even acknowledge ancient Biblical Jewish history ever existed. But facts never seem to matter to Arabs and pro-Arabs. So this brief history lesson will be for them an inconvenient truth.

Let me start by quoting from an article written in The Weekly Standard, May 11, 1998 by Charles Krauthammer:

"Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,500 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one today advertising ice cream at an Israeli corner candy store."

The Jewish People trace their origin to Abraham (Avraham), he who is called the Holy Convert, the first Jew, who established the divine belief in the One and Only God and Savior besides whom there is None Other. Abraham, his son Yitzhak (Isaac), and grandson Yaakov (Jacob - Israel), are referred to as the patriarchs of the Israelites who lived in what was then the Land of Canaan; later to become known as the Land of Israel. They and their wives are buried in the Ma'arat HaMachpela, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in Hebron, Judaism’s second holiest city. (Genesis Chapter 23).

The name, Israel, (Yisrael) derives from the name given to Jacob (Genesis 32:29). His 12 sons were the ancestors of the 12 tribes that later developed into the Jewish nation. The name Jew derives from Yehuda (Judah) one of the 12 sons of Jacob. You will find the names of the tribes listed in Exodus 1:1. Yehuda (Judea) is also the Biblical name of the southern region of what the same hostile world calls by its Arab name – the 'West Bank'. Shomron (Samaria) is the Biblical Hebrew name for the northern half. Modern Israel shares the same language, culture, and Jewish faith passed through generations starting with the founding father Abraham. The Jews have had a continuous presence in the land of Israel for the past 3,500 years.

In 70 CE, Rome destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and conquered the Jewish nation, but only part of the population was sent into exile.

The pillaging of holy vessels is clearly seen on the Arch of Titus.

Arch of Titus, Rome
Arch of Titus, RomeCorutesy

Even after the Second Jewish Revolt against the continuing cruel Roman occupation, Jews, though banned from Jerusalem, survived for centuries in other Jewish towns including Rafah, Gaza, Yavne, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea as well as throughout Galilee and the Golan. Ruins of synagogues built in post-Biblical times are found scattered throughout the Golan where an epic act of Jewish resistance to the Roman legions took place at Gamla, high upon the Golan Heights. Here again, the Jewish presence predates the false Syrian claims to the Heights by millennia.

Interestingly, early seventh century battles raged between the Persians and the Byzantines over the Land of Israel. The Byzantines were oppressing the Jews and a Jewish general, Benjamin of Tiberius, was able to raise an army of twenty thousand Jewish men from villages and towns in northern Israel to support the Persian cause against the oppressors. This again points to extensive Jewish life in the land well after the erroneous Arab and hostile world claim that Jews had not lived in the land during the last 2,000 years.

Jewish prominence was again achieved in the tenth century. In Tiberius, by the shores of Lake Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, a symbol system for Hebrew vowels was created which eventually gained universal acceptance. But with the advent of the Crusades in Israel during the 12th century, and the massacres of thousands of Jews in Jerusalem and throughout the land, the Jewish population reached its lowest point. But the Jewish population again revived, strengthened by Jewish immigrants arriving constantly from the Diaspora. Many such returnees settled in Safed, Tiberius, Hebron and Jerusalem.

These are the four Holy Jewish cities of the Land with Jerusalem, north, south, east and west, the eternal 3,000-year-old Jewish capital and veritable jewel in the crown. Jews traveling from Europe, such as the remarkable medieval explorer, Benjamin of Tudela, had to overcome immense perils while crossing lands at war with one another. They had to avoid death or capture by bandits, or at sea from North African pirates and Crusaders based in Cyprus or Malta. That they came at all, however, remains a tribute to the earliest efforts to keep Israel populated with its indigenous and ancestral folk and abide by the religious commandments to go up to the land of Israel.

A brief list of Jews returning to the ancestral land reveals a constant arrival of people joining existing Jewish villages and towns, themselves always at the mercy of alien occupiers.

According to the Center for Online Judaic Studies, here are just a few of the names of early Jewish returnees:

1075:1141 Yehuda Halevi, poet.

1135: 1204 Maimonides, philosopher.(who, although he had to flee Cordoba's antisemitism as a young boy, has been welcomed posthumously by that city in the statue below)

Maimonides statue in Cordoba
Maimonides statue in CordobaCourtesy

1210: Immigration in Israel of three hundred French and English rabbis.

1267: Nachmanides arrives in Israel.

1313: Estory Haparchi arrives: The first geographer of Israel.

1538: Renewal of rabbinic ordination in Safed.

1561: Joseph Nasi leases Tiberius from Turkish sultan.

1700: Yehuda HeChasid and his followers arrive in Jerusalem.

1777: Large Hassidic group settles in Galilee.

1797: Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav’s trip to Israel.

1808: Disciples of Elijah, Gaon of Vilna, settle in Jerusalem.

This very partial list of Jewish immigrants, who arrived well before the 20th century, is an inconvenient truth to the Arab and pro-Arab propagandists who would have you believe their myth that the Jews only arrived much, much later.

The national coins, the pottery, the cities and villages, the ancient Hebrew texts…all support the empirical fact that Jews always had a continuous presence in the land for over 3,500 years and the fact that Jewish villages and towns were to be found in all parts of the ancient homeland and throughout all the preceding years, up until the present time, certainly negates any claims that other people in the region may have; especially the fraudulent Arabs who today call themselves 'Palestinians'.

Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer, contributing editor, and author of the four volumes of Politicide: The attempted murder of theJewish state.”