Antisemitism (also spelled anti-Semitism or anti-semitism) is prejudice against, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as an ethnic, religious, or racial group. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is widely considered to be a form of racism.
While the conjunction of the units anti-, Semite, and -ism indicates antisemitism as being directed against all Semitic people, the term was popularized in Germany in 1873 as a scientific-sounding term for Judenhass (Jew-hatred), although it had been used for at least two decades prior, and that has been its normal use since then. For the purposes of a 2005 U.S. governmental report, antisemitism was considered “hatred toward Jewsindividually and as a groupthat can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity”.
Antisemitism may be manifested in many ways, ranging from expressions of hatred of or discrimination against individual Jews to organized violent attacks by mobs, state police, or even military attacks on entire Jewish communities. Although the term did not come into common usage until the 19th century, it is now also applied to historic anti-Jewish incidents. Notable instances of persecution include the pogroms which preceded the First Crusade in 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the massacres of Spanish Jews in 1391, the persecutions of the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, Cossack massacres in Ukraine of 16481657, various pogroms in Imperial Russia between 1821 and 1906, the 18941906 Dreyfus affair in France, the Holocaust in German-occupied Europe, official Soviet anti-Jewish policies and Arab and Muslim involvement in the Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries.
The origin of “antisemitic” terminologies is found in responses of Moritz Steinschneider to the views of Ernest Renan. As Alex Bein writes “The compound anti-Semitism appears to have been used first by Steinschneider, who challenged Renan on account of his ‘anti-Semitic prejudices’ [i.e., his derogation of the “Semites” as a race]”.Avner Falk similarly writes: ‘The German word antisemitisch was first used in 1860 by the Austrian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider (1816-1907) in the phrase antisemitische Vorurteile (antisemitic prejudices). Steinschneider used this phrase to characterise the French philosopher Ernest Renan’s false ideas about how “Semitic races” were inferior to “Aryan races”‘.
Pseudoscientific theories concerning race, civilization, and “progress” had become quite widespread in Europe in the second half of the 19th century, especially as Prussian nationalistic historian Heinrich von Treitschke did much to promote this form of racism. He coined the phrase “the Jews are our misfortune” which would later be widely used by Nazis. In Treitschke’s writings “Semitic” was synonymous with “Jewish”, in contrast to its use by Renan and others.
In 1873 German journalist Wilhelm Marr published a pamphlet, Der Sieg des Judenthums ber das Germanenthum. Vom nicht confessionellen Standpunkt aus betrachtet (The Victory of the Jewish Spirit over the Germanic Spirit. Observed from a non-religious perspective.)[pageneeded]&/or[need quotation to verify] in which he used the word Semitismus interchangeably with the word Judentum to denote both “Jewry” (the Jews as a collective) and “jewishness” (the quality of being Jewish, or the Jewish spirit).
This use of Semitismus was followed by a coining of “Antisemitismus” which was used to indicate opposition to the Jews as a people and opposition to the Jewish spirit, which Marr interpreted as infiltrating German culture. His next pamphlet, Der Weg zum Siege des Germanenthums ber das Judenthum (The Way to Victory of the Germanic Spirit over the Jewish Spirit, 1880), presents a development of Marr’s ideas further and may present the first published use of the German word Antisemitismus, “antisemitism”.
The pamphlet became very popular, and in the same year he founded the Antisemiten-Liga (League of Antisemites), the first German organization committed specifically to combating the alleged threat to Germany and German culture posed by the Jews and their influence, and advocating their forced removal from the country.
So far as can be ascertained, the word was first widely printed in 1881, when Marr published Zwanglose Antisemitische Hefte, and Wilhelm Scherer used the term Antisemiten in the January issue of Neue Freie Presse.
The Jewish Encyclopedia reported: In February 1881, a correspondent of the “Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums” speaks of “Anti-Semitism” as a designation which recently came into use (“Allg. Zeit. d. Jud.” 1881, p.138). On 19 July 1882, the editor says, “This quite recent Anti-Semitism is hardly three years old.”
The related term “philosemitism” was coined around 1885.
Despite the use of the prefix anti-, the term “anti-Semitic” is not a direct opposite of “Semitic” which linguistically makes the term a misnomer. Within common, day to day usage, however, the terms “anti-Semitism” and “antisemitism” have accepted and specific use to describe prejudice against Jews alone and in general. This is despite the fact that there are other speakers of Semitic languages (e.g. Arabs, Ethiopians, or Assyrians) and that not all Jews speak a Semitic language.
The term “antisemitic” has been used on occasion with meanings inclusive of bigotry against other Semitic-language peoples such as Arabs, with the validity of such use being challenged.
The terms “anti-Semitism” and “antisemitism” are both in use. Some scholars favor the unhyphenated form because, “If you use the hyphenated form, you consider the words ‘Semitism’, ‘Semite’, ‘Semitic’ as meaningful” whereas “in antisemitic parlance, ‘Semites’ really stands for Jews, just that.” For example, Emil Fackenheim supported the unhyphenated spelling, in order to “[dispel] the notion that there is an entity ‘Semitism’ which ‘anti-Semitism’ opposes.” Others endorsing an unhyphenated term for the same reason include Padraic O’Hare, professor of Religious and Theological Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College; Yehuda Bauer, professor of Holocaust Studies at the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and James Carroll, historian and novelist. According to Carroll, who first cites O’Hare and Bauer on “the existence of something called ‘Semitism'”, “the hyphenated word thus reflects the bipolarity that is at the heart of the problem of antisemitism”.
Though the general definition of antisemitism is hostility or prejudice against Jews, and, according to Olaf Blaschke, has become an “umbrella term for negative stereotypes about Jews”, a number of authorities have developed more formal definitions.
Holocaust scholar and City University of New York professor Helen Fein defines it as “a persisting latent structure of hostile beliefs towards Jews as a collective manifested in individuals as attitudes, and in culture as myth, ideology, folklore and imagery, and in actionssocial or legal discrimination, political mobilization against the Jews, and collective or state violencewhich results in and/or is designed to distance, displace, or destroy Jews as Jews.”
Elaborating on Fein’s definition, Dietz Bering of the University of Cologne writes that, to antisemites, “Jews are not only partially but totally bad by nature, that is, their bad traits are incorrigible. Because of this bad nature: (1) Jews have to be seen not as individuals but as a collective. (2) Jews remain essentially alien in the surrounding societies. (3) Jews bring disaster on their ‘host societies’ or on the whole world, they are doing it secretly, therefore the anti-Semites feel obliged to unmask the conspiratorial, bad Jewish character.”
For Sonja Weinberg, as distinct from economic and religious anti-Judaism, antisemitism in its modern form shows conceptual innovation, a resort to ‘science’ to defend itself, new functional forms and organisational differences. It was anti-liberal, racialist and nationalist. It promoted the myth that Jews conspired to ‘judaise’ the world; it served to consolidate social identity; it channeled dissatisfactions among victims of the capitalist system; and it was used as a conservative cultural code to fight emancipation and liberalism.
Bernard Lewis defines antisemitism as a special case of prejudice, hatred, or persecution directed against people who are in some way different from the rest. According to Lewis, antisemitism is marked by two distinct features: Jews are judged according to a standard different from that applied to others, and they are accused of “cosmic evil.” Thus, “it is perfectly possible to hate and even to persecute Jews without necessarily being anti-Semitic” unless this hatred or persecution displays one of the two features specific to antisemitism.
There have been a number of efforts by international and governmental bodies to define antisemitism formally. The U.S. Department of State states that “while there is no universally accepted definition, there is a generally clear understanding of what the term encompasses.” For the purposes of its 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism, the term was considered to mean “hatred toward Jewsindividually and as a groupthat can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity.”
In 2005, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (now Fundamental Rights Agency), then an agency of the European Union, developed a more detailed working definition, which states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” It also adds that “such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity,” but that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” It provides contemporary examples of ways in which antisemitism may manifest itself, including: promoting the harming of Jews in the name of an ideology or religion; promoting negative stereotypes of Jews; holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of an individual Jewish person or group; denying the Holocaust or accusing Jews or Israel of exaggerating it; and accusing Jews of dual loyalty or a greater allegiance to Israel than their own country. It also lists ways in which attacking Israel could be antisemitic, and states that denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor, can be a manifestation of antisemitismas can applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel. Late in 2013, the definition was removed from the website of the Fundamental Rights Agency. A spokesperson said that it had never been regarded as official and that the agency did not intend to develop its own definition.
In 1879, Wilhelm Marr founded the Antisemiten-Liga (Anti-Semitic League). Identification with antisemitism and as an antisemite was politically advantageous in Europe in the latter 19th century. For example, Karl Lueger, the popular mayor of fin de sicle Vienna, skillfully exploited antisemitism as a way of channeling public discontent to his political advantage. In its 1910 obituary of Lueger, The New York Times notes that Lueger was “Chairman of the Christian Social Union of the Parliament and of the Anti-Semitic Union of the Diet of Lower Austria. In 1895 A. C. Cuza organized the Alliance Anti-semitique Universelle in Bucharest. In the period before World War II, when animosity towards Jews was far more commonplace, it was not uncommon for a person, organization, or political party to self-identify as an antisemite or antisemitic.
In 1882, the early Zionist pioneer Judah Leib Pinsker wrote that antisemitism was a psychological response rooted in fear and was an inherited predisposition. He named the condition Judeophobia.
Judeophobia is a variety of demonopathy with the distinction that it is not peculiar to particular races but is common to the whole of mankind.’…’Judeophobia is a psychic aberration. As a psychic aberration it is hereditary, and as a disease transmitted for two thousand years it is incurable.’… ‘In this way have Judaism and Anti-Semitism passed for centuries through history as inseparable companions.’……’Having analyzed Judeophobia as an hereditary form of demonopathy, peculiar to the human race, and having represented Anti-Semitism as proceeding from an inherited aberration of the human mind, we must draw the important conclusion that we must give’ up contending against these hostile impulses as we must against every other inherited predisposition. (translation from German)
In the aftermath of the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, German propaganda minister Goebbels announced: “The German people is anti-Semitic. It has no desire to have its rights restricted or to be provoked in the future by parasites of the Jewish race.”
After the 1945 victory of the Allies over Nazi Germany, and particularly after the extent of the Nazi genocide of Jews became known, the term “anti-Semitism” acquired pejorative connotations. This marked a full circle shift in usage, from an era just decades earlier when “Jew” was used as a pejorative term. Yehuda Bauer wrote in 1984: “There are no anti-Semites in the world… Nobody says, ‘I am anti-Semitic.’ You cannot, after Hitler. The word has gone out of fashion.”
Antisemitism manifests itself in a variety of ways. Ren Knig mentions social antisemitism, economic antisemitism, religious antisemitism, and political antisemitism as examples. Knig points out that these different forms demonstrate that the “origins of anti-Semitic prejudices are rooted in different historical periods.” Knig asserts that differences in the chronology of different antisemitic prejudices and the irregular distribution of such prejudices over different segments of the population create “serious difficulties in the definition of the different kinds of anti-Semitism.” These difficulties may contribute to the existence of different taxonomies that have been developed to categorize the forms of antisemitism. The forms identified are substantially the same; it is primarily the number of forms and their definitions that differ. Bernard Lazare identifies three forms of antisemitism: Christian antisemitism, economic antisemitism, and ethnologic antisemitism.William Brustein names four categories: religious, racial, economic and political. The Roman Catholic historian Edward Flannery distinguished four varieties of antisemitism:
Louis Harap separates “economic antisemitism” and merges “political” and “nationalistic” antisemitism into “ideological antisemitism”. Harap also adds a category of “social antisemitism”.
Gustavo Perednik has argued that what he terms “Judeophobia” has a number of unique traits which set it apart from other forms of racism, including permanence, depth, obsessiveness, irrationality, endurance, ubiquity, and danger. He also wrote in his book Spain Derailed that “The Jews were accused by the nationalists of being the creators of Communism; by the Communists of ruling Capitalism. If they live in non-Jewish countries, they are accused of double-loyalties; if they live in the Jewish country, of being racists. When they spend their money, they are reproached for being ostentatious; when they don’t spend their money, of being avaricious. They are called rootless cosmopolitans or hardened chauvinists. If they assimilate, they are accused of fifth-columnists, if they don’t, of shutting themselves away.”
Louis Harap defines cultural antisemitism as “that species of anti-Semitism that charges the Jews with corrupting a given culture and attempting to supplant or succeeding in supplanting the preferred culture with a uniform, crude, “Jewish” culture. Similarly, Eric Kandel characterizes cultural antisemitism as being based on the idea of “Jewishness” as a “religious or cultural tradition that is acquired through learning, through distinctive traditions and education.” According to Kandel, this form of antisemitism views Jews as possessing “unattractive psychological and social characteristics that are acquired through acculturation.” Niewyk and Nicosia characterize cultural antisemitism as focusing on and condemning “the Jews’ aloofness from the societies in which they live.” An important feature of cultural antisemitism is that it considers the negative attributes of Judaism to be redeemable by education or religious conversion.
Religious antisemitism, also known as anti-Judaism, is antipathy towards Jews because of their perceived religious beliefs. In theory, antisemitism and attacks against individual Jews would stop if Jews stopped practicing Judaism or changed their public faith, especially by conversion to the official or right religion. However, in some cases discrimination continues after conversion, as in the case of Christianized Marranos or Iberian Jews in the late 15th century and 16th century who were suspected of secretly practising Judaism or Jewish customs.
Although the origins of antisemitism are rooted in the Judeo-Christian conflict, religious antisemitism, other forms of antisemitism have developed in modern times. Frederick Schweitzer asserts that, “most scholars ignore the Christian foundation on which the modern antisemitic edifice rests and invoke political antisemitism, cultural antisemitism, racism or racial antisemitism, economic antisemitism and the like.” William Nichols draws a distinction between religious antisemitism and modern antisemitism based on racial or ethnic grounds: “The dividing line was the possibility of effective conversion… a Jew ceased to be a Jew upon baptism.” From the perspective of racial antisemitism, however, “… the assimilated Jew was still a Jew, even after baptism…. From the Enlightenment onward, it is no longer possible to draw clear lines of distinction between religious and racial forms of hostility towards Jews… Once Jews have been emancipated and secular thinking makes its appearance, without leaving behind the old Christian hostility towards Jews, the new term antisemitism becomes almost unavoidable, even before explicitly racist doctrines appear.”
The underlying premise of economic antisemitism is that Jews perform harmful economic activities or that economic activities become harmful when they are performed by Jews.
Linking Jews and money underpins the most damaging and lasting Antisemitic canards. Antisemites claim that Jews control the world finances, a theory promoted in the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and later repeated by Henry Ford and his Dearborn Independent. In the modern era, such myths continue to be spread in books such as The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews published by the Nation of Islam, and on the internet. Derek Penslar writes that there are two components to the financial canards:
Abraham Foxman describes six facets of the financial canards:
Gerald Krefetz summarizes the myth as “[Jews] control the banks, the money supply, the economy, and businessesof the community, of the country, of the world”. Krefetz gives, as illustrations, many slurs and proverbs (in several different languages) which suggest that Jews are stingy, or greedy, or miserly, or aggressive bargainers. During the nineteenth century, Jews were described as “scurrilous, stupid, and tight-fisted”, but after the Jewish Emancipation and the rise of Jews to the middle- or upper-class in Europe were portrayed as “clever, devious, and manipulative financiers out to dominate [world finances]”.
Lon Poliakov asserts that economic antisemitism is not a distinct form of antisemitism, but merely a manifestation of theologic antisemitism (because, without the theological causes of the economic antisemitism, there would be no economic antisemitism). In opposition to this view, Derek Penslar contends that in the modern era, the economic antisemitism is “distinct and nearly constant” but theological antisemitism is “often subdued”.
An academic study by Francesco DAcunto, Marcel Prokopczuk, and Michael Weber showed that people who live in areas of Germany that contain the most brutal history of anti-Semitic persecution are more likely to be distrustful of finance in general. Therefore, they tended to invest less money in the stock market and make poor financial decisions. The study concluded “that the persecution of minorities reduces not only the long-term wealth of the persecuted, but of the persecutors as well.”
Racial antisemitism is prejudice against Jews as a racial/ethnic group, rather than Judaism as a religion.
Racial antisemitism is the idea that the Jews are a distinct and inferior race compared to their host nations. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, it gained mainstream acceptance as part of the eugenics movement, which categorized non-Europeans as inferior. It more specifically claimed that Northern Europeans, or “Aryans”, were superior. Racial antisemites saw the Jews as part of a Semitic race and emphasized their non-European origins and culture. They saw Jews as beyond redemption even if they converted to the majority religion.
Racial antisemitism replaced the hatred of Judaism with the hatred of Jews as a group. In the context of the Industrial Revolution, following the Jewish Emancipation, Jews rapidly urbanized and experienced a period of greater social mobility. With the decreasing role of religion in public life tempering religious antisemitism, a combination of growing nationalism, the rise of eugenics, and resentment at the socio-economic success of the Jews led to the newer, and more virulent, racist antisemitism.
According to William Nichols, religious antisemitism may be distinguished from modern antisemitism based on racial or ethnic grounds. “The dividing line was the possibility of effective conversion… a Jew ceased to be a Jew upon baptism.” However, with racial antisemitism, “Now the assimilated Jew was still a Jew, even after baptism…. From the Enlightenment onward, it is no longer possible to draw clear lines of distinction between religious and racial forms of hostility towards Jews… Once Jews have been emancipated and secular thinking makes its appearance, without leaving behind the old Christian hostility towards Jews, the new term antisemitism becomes almost unavoidable, even before explicitly racist doctrines appear.”
In the early 19th century, a number of laws enabling emancipation of the Jews were enacted in Western European countries. The old laws restricting them to ghettos, as well as the many laws that limited their property rights, rights of worship and occupation, were rescinded. Despite this, traditional discrimination and hostility to Jews on religious grounds persisted and was supplemented by racial antisemitism, encouraged by the work of racial theorists such as Joseph Arthur de Gobineau and particularly his Essay on the Inequality of the Human Race of 18535. Nationalist agendas based on ethnicity, known as ethnonationalism, usually excluded the Jews from the national community as an alien race. Allied to this were theories of Social Darwinism, which stressed a putative conflict between higher and lower races of human beings. Such theories, usually posited by northern Europeans, advocated the superiority of white Aryans to Semitic Jews.
William Brustein defines political antisemitism as hostility toward Jews based on the belief that Jews seek national and/or world power.” Yisrael Gutman characterizes political antisemitism as tending to “lay responsibility on the Jews for defeats and political economic crises” while seeking to “exploit opposition and resistance to Jewish influence as elements in political party platforms.”
According to Viktor Kardy, political antisemitism became widespread after the legal emancipation of the Jews and sought to reverse some of the consequences of that emancipation. 
Holocaust denial and Jewish conspiracy theories are also considered forms of antisemitism.Zoological conspiracy theories have been propagated by the Arab media and Arabic language websites, alleging a “Zionist plot” behind the use of animals to attack civilians or to conduct espionage.
Starting in the 1990s, some scholars have advanced the concept of new antisemitism, coming simultaneously from the left, the right, and radical Islam, which tends to focus on opposition to the creation of a Jewish homeland in the State of Israel, and they argue that the language of anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel are used to attack Jews more broadly. In this view, the proponents of the new concept believe that criticisms of Israel and Zionism are often disproportionate in degree and unique in kind, and they attribute this to antisemitism. Jewish scholar Gustavo Perednik has posited that anti-Zionism in itself represents a form of discrimination against Jews, in that it singles out Jewish national aspirations as an illegitimate and racist endeavor, and “proposes actions that would result in the death of millions of Jews”. It is asserted that the new antisemitism deploys traditional antisemitic motifs, including older motifs such as the blood libel.
Critics of the concept view it as trivializing the meaning of antisemitism, and as exploiting antisemitism in order to silence debate and to deflect attention from legitimate criticism of the State of Israel, and, by associating anti-Zionism with antisemitism, misused to taint anyone opposed to Israeli actions and policies.
Many authors see the roots of modern antisemitism in both pagan antiquity and early Christianity. Jerome Chanes identifies six stages in the historical development of antisemitism:
Chanes suggests that these six stages could be merged into three categories: “ancient antisemitism, which was primarily ethnic in nature; Christian antisemitism, which was religious; and the racial antisemitism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”
The first clear examples of anti-Jewish sentiment can be traced back to Alexandria in the 3rd century BCE. Alexandria was home to the largest Jewish diaspora community in the world at the time and the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, was produced there. Manetho, an Egyptian priest and historian of that era, wrote scathingly of the Jews. His themes are repeated in the works of Chaeremon, Lysimachus, Poseidonius, Apollonius Molon, and in Apion and Tacitus.Agatharchides of Cnidus ridiculed the practices of the Jews and the “absurdity of their Law”, making a mocking reference to how Ptolemy Lagus was able to invade Jerusalem in 320 BCE because its inhabitants were observing the Shabbat. One of the earliest anti-Jewish edicts, promulgated by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in about 170167 BCE, sparked a revolt of the Maccabees in Judea.
In view of Manetho’s anti-Jewish writings, antisemitism may have originated in Egypt and been spread by “the Greek retelling of Ancient Egyptian prejudices”. The ancient Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria describes an attack on Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE in which thousands of Jews died. The violence in Alexandria may have been caused by the Jews being portrayed as misanthropes. Tcherikover argues that the reason for hatred of Jews in the Hellenistic period was their separateness in the Greek cities, the poleis. Bohak has argued, however, that early animosity against the Jews cannot be regarded as being anti-Judaic or antisemitic unless it arose from attitudes that were held against the Jews alone, and that many Greeks showed animosity toward any group they regarded as barbarians. Statements exhibiting prejudice against Jews and their religion can be found in the works of many pagan Greek and Roman writers. Edward Flannery writes that it was the Jews’ refusal to accept Greek religious and social standards that marked them out. Hecataetus of Abdera, a Greek historian of the early third century BCE, wrote that Moses “in remembrance of the exile of his people, instituted for them a misanthropic and inhospitable way of life.” Manetho, an Egyptian historian, wrote that the Jews were expelled Egyptian lepers who had been taught by Moses “not to adore the gods.” Edward Flannery describes antisemitism in ancient times as essentially “cultural, taking the shape of a national xenophobia played out in political settings.”
There are examples of Hellenistic rulers desecrating the Temple and banning Jewish religious practices, such as circumcision, Shabbat observance, study of Jewish religious books, etc. Examples may also be found in anti-Jewish riots in Alexandria in the 3rd century BCE.
The Jewish diaspora on the Nile island Elephantine, which was founded by mercenaries, experienced the destruction of its temple in 410 BCE.
Relationships between the Jewish people and the occupying Roman Empire were at times antagonistic and resulted in several rebellions. According to Suetonius, the emperor Tiberius expelled from Rome Jews who had gone to live there. The 18th-century English historian Edward Gibbon identified a more tolerant period in Roman-Jewish relations beginning in about 160 CE. However, when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire, the state’s attitude towards the Jews gradually worsened.
James Carroll asserted: “Jews accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors such as pogroms and conversions had not intervened, there would be 200 million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13 million.”
From the 9th century CE, the medieval Islamic world classified Jews (and Christians) as dhimmi, and allowed Jews to practice their religion more freely than they could do in medieval Christian Europe. Under Islamic rule, there was a Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain that lasted until at least the 11th century. It ended when several Muslim pogroms against Jews took place on the Iberian Peninsula, including those that occurred in Crdoba in 1011 and in Granada in 1066. Several decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were also enacted in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen from the 11th century. In addition, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in some parts of Yemen, Morocco and Baghdad several times between the 12th and 18th centuries. The Almohads, who had taken control of the Almoravids’ Maghribi and Andalusian territories by 1147, were far more fundamentalist in outlook compared to their predecessors, and they treated the dhimmis harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews and Christians emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands, while some others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.
During the Middle Ages in Europe there was persecution against Jews in many places, with blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions and massacres. A main justification of prejudice against Jews in Europe was religious.
The persecution hit its first peak during the Crusades. In the First Crusade (1096) hundreds or even thousands of Jews were killed as the crusaders arrived. This was the first major outbreak of anti-Jewish violence Christian Europe outside Spain and was cited by Zionists in the 19th century as indicating the need for a state of Israel.
In the Second Crusade (1147) the Jews in Germany were subject to several massacres. The Jews were also subjected to attacks by the Shepherds’ Crusades of 1251 and 1320. The Crusades were followed by expulsions, including, in 1290, the banishing of all English Jews; in 1394, the expulsion of 100,000 Jews in France; and in 1421, the expulsion of thousands from Austria. Many of the expelled Jews fled to Poland. In medieval and Renaissance Europe, a major contributor to the deepening of antisemitic sentiment and legal action among the Christian populations was the popular preaching of the zealous reform religious orders, the Franciscans (especially Bernardino of Feltre) and Dominicans (especially Vincent Ferrer), who combed Europe and promoted antisemitism through their often fiery, emotional appeals.
As the Black Death epidemics devastated Europe in the mid-14th century, causing the death of a large part of the population, Jews were used as scapegoats. Rumors spread that they caused the disease by deliberately poisoning wells. Hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed. Although Pope Clement VI tried to protect them by issuing two papal bulls in 1348, the first on 6 July and an additional one several months later, 900 Jews were burned alive in Strasbourg, where the plague had not yet affected the city.
During the mid-to-late 17th century the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth was devastated by several conflicts, in which the Commonwealth lost over a third of its population (over 3 million people), and Jewish losses were counted in the hundreds of thousands. The first of these conflicts was the Khmelnytsky Uprising, when Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s supporters massacred tens of thousands of Jews in the eastern and southern areas he controlled (today’s Ukraine). The precise number of dead may never be known, but the decrease of the Jewish population during that period is estimated at 100,000 to 200,000, which also includes emigration, deaths from diseases and captivity in the Ottoman Empire, called jasyr.
European immigrants to the United States brought antisemitism to the country as early as the 17th century. Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch governor of New Amsterdam, implemented plans to prevent Jews from settling in the city. During the Colonial Era, the American government limited the political and economic rights of Jews. It was not until the Revolutionary War that Jews gained legal rights, including the right to vote. However, even at their peak, the restrictions on Jews in the United States were never as stringent as they had been in Europe.
In the Zaydi imamate of Yemen, Jews were also singled out for discrimination in the 17th century, which culminated in the general expulsion of all Jews from places in Yemen to the arid coastal plain of Tihamah and which became known as the Mawza Exile.
In 1744, Frederick II of Prussia limited the number of Jews allowed to live in Breslau to only ten so-called “protected” Jewish families and encouraged a similar practice in other Prussian cities. In 1750 he issued the Revidiertes General Privilegium und Reglement vor die Judenschaft: the “protected” Jews had an alternative to “either abstain from marriage or leave Berlin” (quoting Simon Dubnow). In the same year, Archduchess of Austria Maria Theresa ordered Jews out of Bohemia but soon reversed her position, on the condition that Jews pay for their readmission every ten years. This extortion was known as malke-geld (queen’s money). In 1752 she introduced the law limiting each Jewish family to one son. In 1782, Joseph II abolished most of these persecution practices in his Toleranzpatent, on the condition that Yiddish and Hebrew were eliminated from public records and that judicial autonomy was annulled. Moses Mendelssohn wrote that “Such a tolerance… is even more dangerous play in tolerance than open persecution.”
In 1772, the empress of Russia Catherine II forced the Jews of the Pale of Settlement to stay in their shtetls and forbade them from returning to the towns that they occupied before the partition of Poland.
According to Arnold Ages, Voltaire’s “Lettres philosophiques, Dictionnaire philosophique, and Candide, to name but a few of his better known works, are saturated with comments on Jews and Judaism and the vast majority are negative”. Paul H. Meyer adds: “There is no question but that Voltaire, particularly in his latter years, nursed a violent hatred of the Jews and it is equally certain that his animosity…did have a considerable impact on public opinion in France.” Thirty of the 118 articles in Voltaire’s Dictionnaire Philosophique concerned Jews and described them in consistently negative ways,
Historian Martin Gilbert writes that it was in the 19th century that the position of Jews worsened in Muslim countries. Benny Morris writes that one symbol of Jewish degradation was the phenomenon of stone-throwing at Jews by Muslim children. Morris quotes a 19th-century traveler: “I have seen a little fellow of six years old, with a troop of fat toddlers of only three and four, teaching [them] to throw stones at a Jew, and one little urchin would, with the greatest coolness, waddle up to the man and literally spit upon his Jewish gaberdine. To all this the Jew is obliged to submit; it would be more than his life was worth to offer to strike a Mahommedan.”
In the middle of the 19th century, J. J. Benjamin wrote about the life of Persian Jews, describing conditions and beliefs that went back to the 16th century: “they are obliged to live in a separate part of town Under the pretext of their being unclean, they are treated with the greatest severity and should they enter a street, inhabited by Mussulmans, they are pelted by the boys and mobs with stones and dirt.”
In 1850 the German composer Richard Wagner published Das Judenthum in der Musik (“Jewishness in Music”) under a pseudonym in the Neue Zeitschrift fr Musik. The essay began as an attack on Jewish composers, particularly Wagner’s contemporaries (and rivals) Felix Mendelssohn and Giacomo Meyerbeer, but expanded to accuse Jews of being a harmful and alien element in German culture. Antisemitism can also be found in many of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, published from 1812 to 1857. It is mainly characterized by Jews being the villain of a story, such as in “The Good Bargain (Der gute Handel)” and “The Jew Among Thorns (Der Jude im Dorn).”
The middle 19th century saw continued official harassment of the Jews, especially in Eastern Europe under Czarist influence. For example, in 1846, 80 Jews approached the governor in Warsaw to retain the right to wear their traditional dress, but were immediately rebuffed by having their hair and beards forcefully cut, at their own expense.
In America, even such influential figures as Walt Whitman tolerated bigotry toward the Jews. During his time as editor of the Brooklyn Eagle (1846-1848), the newspaper published historical sketches casting Jews in a bad light.
The Dreyfus Affair was an infamous antisemitic event of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery captain in the French Army, was accused in 1894 of passing secrets to the Germans. As a result of these charges, Dreyfus was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island. The actual spy, Marie Charles Esterhazy, was acquitted. The event caused great uproar among the French, with the public choosing sides on the issue of whether Dreyfus was actually guilty or not. mile Zola accused the army of corrupting the French justice system. However, general consensus held that Dreyfus was guilty: 80% of the press in France condemned him. This attitude among the majority of the French population reveals the underlying antisemitism of the time period.
Adolf Stoecker (18351909), the Lutheran court chaplain to Kaiser Wilhelm I, founded in 1878 an antisemitic, anti-liberal political party called the Christian Social Party. This party always remained small, and its support dwindled after Stoecker’s death, with most of its members eventually joining larger conservative groups such as the German National People’s Party.
Some scholars view Karl Marx’s essay On The Jewish Question as antisemitic, and argue that he often used antisemitic epithets in his published and private writings. These scholars argue that Marx equated Judaism with capitalism in his essay, helping to spread that idea. Some further argue that the essay influenced National Socialist, as well as Soviet and Arab antisemites. Marx himself had Jewish ancestry, and Albert Lindemann and Hyam Maccoby have suggested that he was embarrassed by it. Others argue that Marx consistently supported Prussian Jewish communities’ struggles to achieve equal political rights. These scholars argue that “On the Jewish Question” is a critique of Bruno Bauer’s arguments that Jews must convert to Christianity before being emancipated, and is more generally a critique of liberal rights discourses and capitalism. David McLellan and Francis Wheen argue that readers should interpret On the Jewish Question in the deeper context of Marx’s debates with Bruno Bauer, author of The Jewish Question, about Jewish emancipation in Germany. According to McLellan, Marx used the word Judentum colloquially, as meaning commerce, arguing that Germans must be emancipated from the capitalist mode of production not Judaism or Jews in particular.
Between 1900 and 1924, approximately 1.75 million Jews migrated to America, the bulk from Eastern Europe. Before 1900 American Jews had always amounted to less than 1% of America’s total population, but by 1930 Jews formed about 3.5%. This increase, combined with the upward social mobility of some Jews, contributed to a resurgence of antisemitism. In the first half of the 20th century, in the USA, Jews were discriminated against in employment, access to residential and resort areas, membership in clubs and organizations, and in tightened quotas on Jewish enrolment and teaching positions in colleges and universities. The lynching of Leo Frank by a mob of prominent citizens in Marietta, Georgia in 1915 turned the spotlight on antisemitism in the United States. The case was also used to build support for the renewal of the Ku Klux Klan which had been inactive since 1870.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Beilis Trial in Russia represented incidents of blood-libel in Europe. Christians used allegations of Jews killing Christians as a justification for the killing of Jews.
Antisemitism in America reached its peak during the interwar period. The pioneer automobile manufacturer Henry Ford propagated antisemitic ideas in his newspaper The Dearborn Independent (published by Ford from 1919 to 1927). The radio speeches of Father Coughlin in the late 1930s attacked Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and promoted the notion of a Jewish financial conspiracy. Some prominent politicians shared such views: Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency, blamed Jews for Roosevelt’s decision to abandon the gold standard, and claimed that “in the United States today, the Gentiles have the slips of paper while the Jews have the lawful money”.
In the early 1940s the aviator Charles Lindbergh and many prominent Americans led The America First Committee in opposing any involvement in the war against Fascism. During his July 1936 visit to Germany, Lindbergh wrote letters saying that there was “more intelligent leadership in Germany than is generally recognized”. The German American Bund held parades in New York City during the late 1930s, where members wore Nazi uniforms and raised flags featuring swastikas alongside American flags. Sometimes race riots, as in Detroit in 1943, targeted Jewish businesses for looting and burning.
In Germany, Nazism led Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, who came to power on 30 January 1933, instituted repressive legislation denying the Jews basic civil rights. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws prohibited sexual relations and marriages between “Aryans” and Jews as Rassenschande (“race disgrace”) and stripped all German Jews, even quarter- and half-Jews, from their citizenship, (their official title became “subjects of the state”). It instituted a pogrom on the night of 910 November 1938, dubbed Kristallnacht, in which Jews were killed, their property destroyed and their synagogues torched. Antisemitic laws, agitation and propaganda were extended to German-occupied Europe in the wake of conquest, often building on local antisemitic traditions. In the east the Third Reich forced Jews into ghettos in Warsaw, Krakw, Lvov, Lublin and Radom. After the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 a campaign of mass murder, conducted by the Einsatzgruppen, culminated from 1942 to 1945 in systematic genocide: the Holocaust. Eleven million Jews were targeted for extermination by the Nazis, and some six million were eventually killed.
Antisemitism was commonly used as an instrument for personal conflicts in the Soviet Union, starting from conflict between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky and continuing through numerous conspiracy-theories spread by official propaganda. Antisemitism in the USSR reached new heights after 1948 during the campaign against the “rootless cosmopolitan” (euphemism for “Jew”) in which numerous Yiddish-language poets, writers, painters and sculptors were killed or arrested. This culminated in the so-called Doctors’ Plot (19521953). Similar antisemitic propaganda in Poland resulted in the flight of Polish Jewish survivors from the country.
After the war, the Kielce pogrom and “March 1968 events” in communist Poland represented further incidents of antisemitism in Europe. The anti-Jewish violence in postwar Poland has a common theme of blood-libel rumours.
In 1965 Pope Paul VI issued a papal decree disbanding the cult of Simon of Trent, the shrine erected to him was dismantled, and Simon was decanonized.
Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, says that antisemitism is “deeply ingrained and institutionalized” in “Arab nations in modern times.”
In a 2011 survey by the Pew Research Center, all of the Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries polled held strongly negative views of Jews. In the questionnaire, only 2% of Egyptians, 3% of Lebanese Muslims, and 2% of Jordanians reported having a positive view of Jews. Muslim-majority countries outside the Middle East held similarly negative views, with 4% of Turks and 9% of Indonesians viewing Jews favorably.
According to a 2011 exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, United States, some of the dialogue from Middle East media and commentators about Jews bear a striking resemblance to Nazi propaganda. According to Josef Joffe of Newsweek, “anti-Semitismthe real stuff, not just bad-mouthing particular Israeli policiesis as much part of Arab life today as the hijab or the hookah. Whereas this darkest of creeds is no longer tolerated in polite society in the West, in the Arab world, Jew hatred remains culturally endemic.”
Muslim clerics in the Middle East have frequently referred to Jews as descendants of apes and pigs, which are conventional epithets for Jews and Christians.
According to professor Robert Wistrich, director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA), the calls for the destruction of Israel by Iran or by Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, or the Muslim Brotherhood, represent a contemporary mode of genocidal antisemitism.
Dean Phillip Bell documents and enumerates a number of categories and causes for anti-Jewish sentiment. He describes political, social, and pseudo-scientific efforts to separate Jews from “civil” society and notes that antisemitism was part of a larger attempt to differentiate status based on racial background. Bell writes, “Socio-psychological explanations focus on concepts of projected guilt and displaced aggression, the search for a scapegoat. Ethnic explanations associated marginalization, or negative representation of the Other, with perceived ethnic differences. Xenophobia ascribes anti-Jewish sentiment to broader concern over minority groups within a national or regional identity.
There are a number of antisemitic canards which are used to fuel and justify antisemitic sentiment and activities. These include conspiracy theories and myths such as: that Jews killed Christ, poisoned wells, killed Christian children to use their blood for making matzos (the Blood libel), or “made up” the Holocaust, plot to control the world (the Protocols of the Elders of Zion), harvest organs, and other invented stories. A number of conspiracy theories also include accusations that Jews control the media or global financial institutions.
A March 2008 report by the U.S. State Department found that there was an increase in antisemitism across the world, and that both old and new expressions of antisemitism persist. A 2012 report by the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor also noted a continued global increase in antisemitism, and found that Holocaust denial and opposition to Israeli policy at times was used to promote or justify blatant antisemitism.
In Egypt, Dar al-Fadhilah published a translation of Henry Ford’s antisemitic treatise, The International Jew, complete with distinctly antisemitic imagery on the cover.
On 5 May 2001, after Shimon Peres visited Egypt, the Egyptian al-Akhbar internet paper said that “lies and deceit are not foreign to Jews[…]. For this reason, Allah changed their shape and made them into monkeys and pigs.”
In July 2012, Egypt’s Al Nahar channel fooled actors into thinking they were on an Israeli television show and filmed their reactions to being told it was an Israeli television show. In response, some of the actors launched into antisemitic rants or dialogue, and many became violent. Actress Mayer El Beblawi said that “Allah did not curse the worm and moth as much as he cursed the Jews” while actor Mahmoud Abdel Ghaffar launched into a violent rage and said, “You brought me someone who looks like a Jew… I hate the Jews to death” after finding out it was a prank.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former president of Iran, has frequently been accused of denying the Holocaust.
In July, the winner of Iran’s first annual International Wall Street Downfall Cartoon Festival, jointly sponsored by the semi-state-run Iranian media outlet Fars News, was an antisemitic cartoon depicting Jews praying before the New York Stock Exchange, which is made to look like the Western Wall. Other cartoons in the contest were antisemitic as well. The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, condemned the cartoon, stating that “Here’s the anti-Semitic notion of Jews and their love for money, the canard that Jews ‘control’ Wall Street, and a cynical perversion of the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism,” and “Once again Iran takes the prize for promoting antisemitism.”
In 2004, Al-Manar, a media network affiliated with Hezbollah, aired a drama series, The Diaspora, which observers allege is based on historical antisemitic allegations. BBC correspondents who have watched the program says it quotes extensively from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Although Malaysia presently has no substantial Jewish population, the country has reportedly become an example of a phenomenon called “antisemitism without Jews.”
In his treatise on Malay identity, “The Malay Dilemma,” which was published in 1970, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad wrote: “The Jews are not only hooked-nosed… but understand money instinctively…. Jewish stinginess and financial wizardry gained them the economic control of Europe and provoked antisemitism which waxed and waned throughout Europe through the ages.”
The Malay-language Utusan Malaysia daily stated in an editorial that Malaysians “cannot allow anyone, especially the Jews, to interfere secretly in this country’s business… When the drums are pounded hard in the name of human rights, the pro-Jewish people will have their best opportunity to interfere in any Islamic country,” the newspaper said. “We might not realize that the enthusiasm to support actions such as demonstrations will cause us to help foreign groups succeed in their mission of controlling this country.” Prime Minister Najib Razak’s office subsequently issued a statement late Monday saying Utusan’s claim did “not reflect the views of the government.”
Antisemitism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The history of Israel encompasses the history of the Jews in the Land of Israel, as well as the history of the modern State of Israel. The area of modern Israel is small, about the size of Wales or half the size of Costa Rica, and is located roughly on the site of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah except that these ancient kingdoms also included what is now the West Bank. It is the birthplace of the Hebrew language spoken in Israel, and of the Abrahamic religions. It contains sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Druze and Bah’ Faith.
Although coming under the sway of various empires and home to a variety of ethnicities, the Land of Israel was predominantly Jewish until the 3rd century. The area became increasingly Christian after the 3rd century and then largely Muslim some centuries following the 7th century conquest until the middle of the 20th century. It was a focal point of conflict between Christianity and Islam between 1096 and 1291, and from the end of the Crusades until the British conquest in 1917 was part of the Syrian province of first the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and then (from 1517) the Ottoman Empire.
In the late-19th century, persecution of Jews, particularly in Europe, led to the creation of the Zionist movement. Following the British conquest of Syria, the Balfour Declaration in World War I and the formation of the Mandate of Palestine, Aliyah (Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel) increased and gave rise to ArabJewish tensions, and a collision of the Arab and Jewish nationalist movements. Israeli independence in 1948 was marked by massive migration of Jews from both Europe and the Muslim countries to Israel, and of Arabs from Israel leading to the extensive ArabIsraeli conflict. About 42% of the world’s Jews live in Israel today, the largest Jewish community in the world.
Since about 1970, the United States has become the principal ally of Israel. In 1979 an uneasy EgyptIsrael Peace Treaty was signed, based on the Camp David Accords. In 1993 Israel signed Oslo I Accord with the Palestine Liberation Organization and in 1994 IsraelJordan Treaty of Peace was signed. Despite efforts to establish peace between Israel and Palestinians, many of whom live in Israel or in Israeli-occupied territories, the conflict continues to play a major role in Israeli and international political, social and economic life.
The economy of Israel was initially primarily socialist and the country dominated by social democratic parties until the 1970s. Since then the Israeli economy has gradually moved to capitalism and a free market economy, partially retaining the social welfare system.
Between 2.6 and 0.9 million years ago, at least four episodes of hominine dispersal from Africa to the Levant are known, each culturally distinct. The flint tool artifacts of these early humans have been discovered on the territory of the current state of Israel, including, at Yiron, the oldest stone tools found anywhere outside Africa. Other groups include 1.4 million years old Acheulean industry, the Bizat Ruhama group and Gesher Bnot Yaakov.
In the Carmel mountain range at el-Tabun, and Es Skhul,Neanderthal and early modern human remains were found, including the skeleton of a Neanderthal female, named Tabun I, which is regarded as one of the most important human fossils ever found. The excavation at el-Tabun produced the longest stratigraphic record in the region, spanning 600,000 or more years of human activity, from the Lower Paleolithic to the present day, representing roughly a million years of human evolution.
During the 2nd millennium BC, Canaan, part of which later became known as Israel, was dominated by Egypt from c.1550 to c. 1180.
The first record of the name Israel (as ysrr) occurs in the Merneptah stele, erected for Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah c. 1209 BCE, “Israel is laid waste and his seed is not.”William Dever sees this “Israel” in the central highlands as a cultural and probably political entity, more an ethnic group rather than an organized state.
Ancestors of the Israelites may have included Semites native to Canaan and the Sea Peoples. McNutt says, “It is probably safe to assume that sometime during Iron Age I a population began to identify itself as ‘Israelite'”, differentiating itself from the Canaanites through such markers as the prohibition of intermarriage, an emphasis on family history and genealogy, and religion.
The first use of grapheme-based writing originated in the area, probably among Canaanite peoples resident in Egypt. All modern alphabetical writing systems are descended from this writing. Written evidence of the use of Classical Hebrew exists from about 1000 BCE. It was written using the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet.
Villages had populations of up to 300 or 400, which lived by farming and herding, and were largely self-sufficient; economic interchange was prevalent. Writing was known and available for recording, even in small sites. The archaeological evidence indicates a society of village-like centres, but with more limited resources and a small population.
The Hebrew Bible describes constant warfare between the Jews and other tribes, including the Philistines, whose capital was Gaza. The Bible states that King David founded a dynasty of kings and that his son Solomon built a Temple. Yigael Yadin’s excavations at Hazor, Megiddo, Beit Shean and Gezer uncovered structures that he and others have argued date from his reign, but others, such as Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman (who agree that Solomon was a historical king), argue that they should be dated to the Omride period, more than a century after Solomon. This building is not mentioned in surviving extra-biblical accounts. Possible references to the “House of David” have been found at two sites, the Tel Dan Stele and the Mesha Stele. Both David and Solomon are widely referenced in Jewish, Christian and Islamic texts.
Around 930 BCE, the kingdom split into a southern Kingdom of Judah and a northern Kingdom of Israel.
It is possible that an alliance between Ahab of Israel and Ben Hadad II of Damascus managed to repulse the incursions of the Assyrians, with a victory at the Battle of Qarqar (854 BCE). (see the Kurkh Monoliths). However, the Kingdom of Israel was eventually destroyed by Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III around 750 BCE. The Philistine kingdom was also destroyed. The Assyrians sent most of the northern Israelite kingdom into exile, thus creating the “Lost Tribes of Israel”. The Samaritans claim to be descended from survivors of the Assyrian conquest. An Israelite revolt (724722 BCE) was crushed after the siege and capture of Samaria by the Assyrian king Sargon II. Sargon’s son, Sennacherib, tried and failed to conquer Judah. Assyrian records say he leveled 46 walled cities and besieged Jerusalem, leaving after receiving extensive tribute.
Modern scholars believe that refugees from the destruction of Israel moved to Judah during the rule of King Hezekiah (ruler from 715 – 686 BCE), greatly expanding Jerusalem and leading to construction of the Siloam Tunnel which could provide water during a siege. The refugees brought with them new religious ideas which led, under King Josiah (ruler from 641 – 619), to the writing of the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua and to the accounts of the kingship of David and Solomon in the book of Kings. The books are known as Deuteronomist and considered to be a major key step in the emergence of Monotheism in Judah. They were written at a time that Assyria was weakened by the emergence of Babylon and may be a committing to text of more ancient verbal traditions.
In 586 BCE King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon conquered Judah. According to the Hebrew Bible, he destroyed Solomon’s Temple and exiled the Jews to Babylon. The defeat was also recorded by the Babylonians (see the Babylonian Chronicles). Babylonian and Biblical sources suggest that the Judean king, Jehoiachin, switched allegiances between the Egyptians and the Babylonians and that invasion was a punishment for allying with Babylon’s principal rival, Egypt. The exiled Jews may have been restricted to the elite.
Jehoiachin was eventually released by the Babylonians (see Jehoiachin’s Rations Tablets) and according to both the Bible and the Talmud, the Judean royal family (the Davidic line) continued as head of the exile in Babylon (the Exilarch).
In 538 BCE, Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon and took over its empire. Cyrus issued a proclamation granting subjugated nations (including the people of Judah) religious freedom (for the original text see the Cyrus Cylinder). According to the Hebrew Bible 50,000 Judeans, led by Zerubabel, returned to Judah and rebuilt the temple. A second group of 5,000, led by Ezra and Nehemiah, returned to Judah in 456 BCE although non-Jews wrote to Cyrus to try to prevent their return.
Scholars believe that the final Hebrew versions of the Torah and Books of Kings date from this period, that the returning Israelites adopted an Aramaic script (also known as the Ashuri alphabet), which they brought back from Babylon; this is the current Hebrew script. The Hebrew Calendar closely resembles the Babylonian calendar and probably dates from this period.
In 333 BCE, the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great defeated Persia and conquered the region. Sometime thereafter, the first translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, was begun in Alexandria. After Alexander’s death, his generals fought over the territory he had conquered. Judah became the frontier between the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Egypt, eventually becoming part of the Seleucid Empire in 198 BCE. In the 2nd century BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (ruler of the Seleucid Empire) tried to eradicate Judaism in favour of Hellenistic religion. This provoked the 174135 BCE Maccabean Revolt led by Judas Maccabeus (whose victory is celebrated in the Jewish festival of Hanukkah). The Books of the Maccabees describe the uprising and the end of Greek rule. A Jewish party called the Hasideans opposed both Hellenism and the revolt but eventually gave their support to the Maccabees. Modern interpretations see this period as a civil war between Hellenized and orthodox forms of Judaism.
The Hasmonean dynasty of (Jewish) priest-kings ruled Judea with the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes as the principal Jewish social movements. As part of the struggle against Hellenistic civilization, the Pharisee leader Simeon ben Shetach established the first schools based around meeting houses. This led to Rabbinical Judaism. Justice was administered by the Sanhedrin, which was a Rabbincal assembly and law court whose leader was known as the Nasi. The Nasi’s religious authority gradually superseded that of the Temple’s high priest (under the Hasmoneans this was the king).
In 125 BCE the Hasmonean King John Hyrcanus subjugated Edom and forcibly converted the population to Judaism. In 64 BCE the Roman general Pompey conquered Syria and intervened in the Hasmonean civil war in Jerusalem. In 47 BCE the lives of Julius Caesar and his protege Cleopatra were saved by 3,000 crack Jewish troops sent by King Hyrcanus II and commanded by Antipater, whose descendants Caesar made kings of Judea.
From 37 BCE to 6 CE, the Herodian dynasty, Jewish-Roman client kings, descended from Antipater, ruled Judea. Herod the Great considerably enlarged the temple (see Herod’s Temple), making it one of the largest religious structures in the world. Despite its fame, it was in this period that Rabbinical Judaism, led by Hillel the Elder, began to assume popular prominence over the Temple priesthood.
The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was granted special permission not to display an effigy of the emperor, becoming the only religious structure in the Roman Empire that did not do so. Special dispensation was granted for Jewish citizens of the Roman Empire to pay a tax to the temple.
Judea was made a Roman province in 6 CE. Following the next decades, though prosperous, the society suffered increasing tensions between Greco-Roman and Judean populations.
In 64 CE, the High Priest Joshua ben Gamla introduced a religious requirement for Jewish boys to learn to read from the age of 6. Over the next few hundred years this requirement became steadily more ingrained in Jewish traditions.
In 66 CE, the Jews of Judea rose in revolt against Rome, naming their new state as “Israel”. The events were described by the Jewish leader/historian Josephus, including the desperate defense of Jotapata, the siege of Jerusalem (6970 CE) and the desperate last stand at Masada under Eleazar ben Yair (7273 CE). Josephus estimated that over a million people died in the siege of Jerusalem. Jerusalem and the Temple lay in ruins. During the Jewish revolt, most Christians, at this time a sub-sect of Judaism, removed themselves from Judea. The rabbinical/Pharisee movement led by Yochanan ben Zakai, who opposed the Sadducee temple priesthood, made peace with Rome and survived. After the war Jews continued to be taxed in the Fiscus Judaicus, which was used to fund a temple to Jupiter.
From 115 to 117, Jews in Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, Mesopotamia and Lod rose in revolt against Rome. This conflict was accompanied by large-scale massacres of both Romans and Jews. Cyprus was severely depopulated and Jews banned from living there.
In 131, the Emperor Hadrian renamed Jerusalem “Aelia Capitolina” and constructed a Temple of Jupiter on the site of the former Jewish temple. Jews were banned from living in Jerusalem itself (a ban that persisted until the Arab conquest), and the Roman province, until then known as Iudaea Province, was renamed Palaestina, no other revolt led to a province being renamed. The names “Palestine” (in English) and “Filistin” (in Arabic) are derived from this. From 132 to 136, the Jewish leader Simon Bar Kokhba led another major revolt against the Romans, again renaming the country “Israel” (see Bar Kochba Revolt coinage). The Bar-Kochba revolt probably caused more trouble for the Romans than the more famous (and better documented) revolt of 70. The Christians refused to participate in the revolt and from this point the Jews regarded Christianity as a separate religion. The revolt was eventually crushed by Emperor Hadrian himself. Although uncertain, it is widely thought that during the Bar Kokhba revolt, when a rabbinical assembly decided which books could be regarded as part of the Hebrew Bible, the Jewish apocrypha were left out. A rabbi of this period, Simeon bar Yochai, is regarded as the author of the Zohar, the foundational text for Kabbalistic thought. However, modern scholars believe it was written in Medieval Spain.
After suppressing the Bar Kochba revolt, the Romans exiled the Jews of Judea, but not of Galilee and permitted a hereditary Rabbinical Patriarch (from the House of Hillel, based in Galilee) to represent the Jews in dealings with the Romans. The most famous of these was Judah haNasi who is credited with compiling the final version of the Mishnah (a massive body of Jewish religious texts interpreting the Bible) and with strengthening the educational demands of Judaism by requiring that illiterate Jews be treated as outcasts. As a result, many illiterate Jews may have converted to Christianity.
Jewish seminaries, such as those at Shefaram and Bet Shearim continued to produce scholars and the best of these became members of the Sanhedrin, which was located first at Tzippori and later at Tiberias. Before the Bar-Kochba uprising, an estimated 2/3 of the population of Gallilee and 1/3 of the coastal region were Jewish. In the Galillee, many Synagogues have been found dating from this period. However, persecution and the economic crisis that affected the Roman empire in the 3rd century led to further Jewish migration from Syria Palaestina to the more tolerant Persian Sassanid Empire, where a prosperous Jewish community with extensive seminaries existed in the area of Babylon.
Early in the 4th century, Constantinople became the capital of the East Roman Empire and Christianity was adopted as the official religion. The name Jerusalem was restored to Aelia Capitolina and it became a Christian city. Jews were still banned from living in Jerusalem, but were allowed to visit, and it is in this period that the surviving Western Wall of the temple became sacred. In 3512, another Jewish revolt in the Galilee erupted against a corrupt Roman governor. In 362, the last pagan Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate, announced plans to rebuild the Jewish Temple. He died while fighting the Persians in 363 and the project was discontinued.
The Roman Empire split in 390 CE and the region became part of the (Christian) East Roman Empire, known as the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine Christianity was dominated by the (Greek) Orthodox Church. In the 5th century, the Western Roman Empire collapsed leading to Christian migration into the Roman province of Palaestina Prima and development of a Christian majority. Jews numbered 1015% of the population, concentrated largely in the Galilee. Judaism was the only non-Christian religion tolerated, but there were bans on Jews building new places of worship, holding public office or owning slaves. Several Samaritan Revolts erupted in this period, resulting in the decrease of Samaritan community from about a million to a near extinction. Sacred Jewish texts written in Palestine at this time are the Gemara (400), the Jerusalem Talmud (500) and the Passover Haggadah.
In 611, Sassanid Persia invaded the Byzantine Empire and, after a long siege, Khosrau II captured Jerusalem in 614, with Jewish help, including possibly the Jewish Himyarite Kingdom in Yemen. Jews were left to govern Jerusalem when the Persians took over. The Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius, promised to restore Jewish rights and received Jewish help in defeating the Persians, but he soon reneged on the agreement after reconquering Palaestina Prima, issuing an edict banning Judaism from the Byzantine Empire. (Egyptian) Coptic Christians took responsibility for this broken pledge and fasted in penance.
According to Muslim tradition, in 620 Muhammed was taken on spiritual journey from Mecca to the “farthest mosque”, whose location many consider to be the Temple Mount, returning the same night. In 634636 the Arabs conquered Palaestina Prima and renamed it Jund Filastin, ending the Byzantine ban on Jews living in Jerusalem. Over the next few centuries, Islam replaced Christianity as the dominant religion of the region.
From 636 until the beginning of the Crusades, Jund Filastin was ruled first by Medinah-based Rashidun Caliphs, then by the Damascus-based Umayyad Caliphate and after that the Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphs. In 691, Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik (685705) constructed the Dome of the Rock shrine on the Temple Mount. Jews consider it to contain the Foundation Stone (see also Holy of Holies), which is the holiest site in Judaism. A second building, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, was also erected on the Temple Mount in 705.
Between the 7th and 11th centuries, Jewish scribes, called the Masoretes and located in Galilee and Jerusalem, established the Masoretic Text, the final text of the Hebrew Bible.
In 1099, the first crusade took Jerusalem and established a Catholic kingdom, known as the Kingdom of Jerusalem. During the conquest, both Muslims and Jews were indiscriminately massacred or sold into slavery. The murder of Jews began as the Crusaders traveled across Europe and continued when they reached the Holy Land. Ashkenazi orthodox Jews still recite a prayer in memory of the death and destruction caused by the Crusades.
In 1187, the Ayyubid Sultan Saladin defeated the Crusaders in the Battle of Hattin (above Tiberias), taking Jerusalem and most of the former Kingdom of Jerusalem. Saladin’s court physician was Maimonides, whose work had an enormous influence on Judaism. Maimonides was buried in Tiberias. A Crusader state centred round Acre survived in weakened form for another century.
From 1260 to 1291 the area became the frontier between Mongol invaders (occasional Crusader allies) and the Mamluks of Egypt. The conflict impoverished the country and severely reduced the population. Sultan Qutuz of Egypt eventually defeated the Mongols in the Battle of Ain Jalut (near Ein Harod), and his successor (and assassin), Baibars, eliminated the last Crusader Kingdom of Acre in 1291, thereby ending the Crusades.
Egyptian Mamluk Sultan, Baibars (12601277), conquered the region and the Mamluks ruled it until 1517, regarding it as part of Syria. In Hebron, Baibars banned Jews from worshiping at the Cave of the Patriarchs (the second holiest site in Judaism); the ban remained in place until its conquest by Israel 700 years later.
The collapse of the Crusades was followed by increased persecution and expulsions of Jews in Europe. Expulsions began in England (1290) and were followed by France (1306). In Spain, persecution of the highly integrated and successful Jewish community began, including massacres and forced conversions. During the Black Death, many Jews were murdered after being accused of poisoning wells. The completion of the Christian reconquest of Spain led to expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497. These were the wealthiest and most integrated Jewish communities in Europe. Many Jews converted to Christianity, however many secretly practised Judaism and prejudice against converts (regardless of their sincerity) persisted, leading many former Jews to move to the New World (see History of the Jews in Latin America). Most of the expelled Spanish Jews moved to North Africa, Poland, to the Ottoman Empire and to the region of Bilad a-Sham, which roughly corresponds to the ancient Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy). In Italy, Jews living in the Papal States were required to live in ghettos (see Cum nimis absurdum). The last compulsory Ghetto, in Rome, was abolished in the 1880s.
Under the Mamluks, the area was a province of Bilad a-Sham (Syria). It was conquered by Turkish Sultan Selim I in 151617, becoming a part of the province of Ottoman Syria for the next four centuries, first as the Damascus Eyalet and later as the Syria Vilayet (following the Tanzimat reorganization of 1864).
From the Middle Ages on, there was small scale individual Jewish migration to the Land of Israel, which tended to increase when persecution was bad elsewhere. The Jewish population was concentrated in Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Tiberias, known in Jewish tradition as the Four Holy Cities. In the 16th century, following a wave of Spanish immigration, Safed became a centre for study of the Kabbalah. However economic decline and conflict between the Druze and the Ottomans, led to the community’s gradual decline by the mid-17th century. In 1660, a Druze revolt led to the destruction of the major Old Yishuv cities of Safed and Tiberias. In 1663 Sabbatai Zevi settled in Jerusalem, proclaiming himself to be the Jewish Messiah. He acquired a large number of followers before going to Istanbul in 1666, where the Sultan forced him to covert to Islam. In the late 18th century a local Arab sheikh Zahir al-Umar created a de facto independent Emirate in the Galilee. Ottoman attempts to subdue the Sheikh failed, but after Zahir’s death the Ottomans restored their rule in the area.
In 1799 Napoleon briefly occupied the country and planned a proclamation inviting Jews to create a state. The proclamation was shelved following his defeat at Acre. In 1831, Muhammad Ali of Egypt conquered Ottoman Syria and decided to revive and resettle much of its regions. His conscription policies led to a popular Arab revolt in 1834, resulting in major casualties for the local Arab peasants, and massacres of Christian and Jewish communities by the rebels. Following the revolt, Muhammad Pasha, the son of Muhammad Ali, expelled nearly 10,000 of the local peasants to Egypt, while bringing loyal Arab peasants from Egypt and discharged soldiers to settle the coastline of Ottoman Syria. Northern Jordan Valley was settled by his Sudanese troops.
In 1838 there was another revolt by the Druze. In 1839 Moses Montefiore met with Muhammed Pasha in Egypt and signed an agreement to establish 100-200 Jewish villages in the Damascus Eyalet of Ottoman Syria, but in 1840 the Egyptians withdrew before the deal was implemented, returning the area to Ottoman governorship. In 1844, Jews constituted the largest population group in Jerusalem and by 1890 an absolute majority in the city, but as a whole the Jewish population made up far less than 10% of the country. In 1868, the Ottomans banished the Bah’u’llh, one of the founders of the Bah’ Faith, to Acre where he is buried, and the movement subsequently established its global administrative centre in nearby Haifa. In 1874, Ottoman reforms led to the area of Jerusalem gaining special status as the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem.
During the 19th century, Jews in Western Europe were increasingly granted citizenship and equality before the law; however, in Eastern Europe, they faced growing persecution and legal restrictions, including widespread pogroms. Half the world’s Jews lived in the Russian Empire, where they were regarded as a separate national group and restricted to living in the Pale of Settlement. National groups in the Empire, such as the Poles, Lithuanians and Ukrainians were agitating for independence and regarded as aliens the Jews, who were usually the only non-Christian minority and spoke a distinct language (Yiddish). An independent Jewish national movement first began to emerge in the Russian Empire and the millions of Jews who were fleeing the country (mostly to the USA) carried the seeds of this nationalism wherever they went.
In 1870, an agricultural school, the Mikveh Israel, was founded near Jaffa by the Alliance Israelite Universelle, a French Jewish association. In 1878, “Russian” Jewish emigrants established the village of Petah Tikva, followed by Rishon LeZion in 1882. “Russian” Jews established the Bilu and Hovevei Zion (“Love of Zion”) movements to assist settlers and these created additional communities that, unlike the traditional Ashkenazi-Jewish communities, sought to be self-reliant rather than dependent on donations from abroad. Existing Ashkenazi-Jewish communities were concentrated in the Four Holy Cities, extremely poor and lived on donations from Europe. The new migrants avoided these communities and tended to create small agricultural settlements. In Jaffa a vibrant commercial community developed in which Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews inter-mingled. Many early migrants left due to difficulty finding work and the early settlements often remained dependent on foreign donations. Despite the difficulties, more settlements arose and the community continued to grow.
The new migration was accompanied by a revival of the Hebrew language and attracted Jews of all kinds; religious, secular, nationalists and left-wing socialists. Socialists aimed to reclaim the land by becoming peasants or workers and forming collectives. In Zionist history, the different waves of Jewish settlement are known as “aliyah”. During the First Aliyah, between 1882 and 1903, approximately 35,000 Jews moved to what is now Israel. The first wave coincided with a wave of Jewish migration and Messianism among Yemenite Jews and Bukharan Jews. By 1890, Jews were a majority in Jerusalem, although the country as a whole was populated mainly by Muslim (settled and nomad Bedouins) and Christian Arabs.
In 1896 Theodor Herzl published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), in which he asserted that the solution to growing antisemitism in Europe (the so-called “Jewish Question”) was to establish a Jewish state. In 1897, the Zionist Organisation was founded and the First Zionist Congress proclaimed its aim “to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law.” However, Zionism was regarded with suspicion by the Ottoman rulers and was unable to make major progress.
Between 1904 and 1914, around 40,000 Jews settled in Southern Syria (the Second Aliyah). In 1908 the Zionist Organisation set up the Palestine Bureau (also known as the “Eretz Israel Office”) in Jaffa and began to adopt a systematic Jewish settlement policy. Migrants were mainly from Russia (which then included part of Poland), escaping persecution. The first Kibbutz, Degania, was founded by nine Russian socialists in 1909. In 1909 residents of Jaffa established the first entirely Hebrew-speaking city, Ahuzat Bayit (later renamed Tel Aviv). Hebrew newspapers and books were published, Hebrew schools, Jewish political parties and workers organizations were established.
During World War I, most Jews supported the Germans because they were fighting the Russians who were regarded as the Jews’ main enemy. In Britain, the government sought Jewish support for the war effort for a variety of reasons including an erroneous antisemitic perception of “Jewish power” over the Ottoman Empire’s Young Turks movement, and a desire to secure American Jewish support for US intervention on Britain’s behalf.
There was already sympathy for the aims of Zionism in the British government, including the Prime Minister Lloyd George. In late 1917, the British Army drove the Turks out of Southern Syria, and the British foreign minister, Lord Balfour, sent a public letter to Lord Rothschild, a leading member of his party and leader of the Jewish community. The letter subsequently became known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It stated that the British Government “view[ed] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. The declaration provided the British government with a pretext for claiming and governing the country. New Middle Eastern boundaries were decided by an agreement between British and French bureaucrats. The agreement gave Britain control over what parties would begin to call “Palestine”. This appellation would remain uncontroversial until the rise of Anti-Zionism in the 1940s.
A Jewish Legion composed largely of Zionist volunteers organized by Jabotinsky and Trumpeldor participated in the British invasion. It also participated in the failed Gallipoli Campaign. A Zionist spy network provided the British with details of Ottoman troops.
The British Mandate (in effect, British rule) of Palestine, including the Balfour Declaration, was confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922 and came into effect in 1923. The boundaries of Palestine initially included modern Jordan, which was removed from the territory by Churchill a few years later. Britain signed a treaty with the United States (which did not join the League of Nations) in which the United States endorsed the terms of the Mandate.
Between 1919 and 1923, another 40,000 Jews arrived in Palestine, mainly escaping the post-revolutionary chaos of Russia (Third Aliyah), as over 100,000 Jews were massacred in this period in Ukraine and Russia. Many of these immigrants became known as “pioneers” (halutzim), experienced or trained in agriculture and capable of establishing self-sustaining economies. The Jezreel Valley and the Hefer Plain marshes were drained and converted to agricultural use. Land was bought by the Jewish National Fund, a Zionist charity that collected money abroad for that purpose. A mainly socialist underground Jewish militia, Haganah (“Defense”), was established to defend outlying Jewish settlements.
The French victory over the Arab Kingdom of Syria and the Balfour Declaration led to the emergence of Palestinian Nationalism and Arab rioting in 1920 and 1921. In response, the British authorities imposed immigration quotas for Jews. Exceptions were made for Jews with over 1,000 pounds in cash (roughly 100,000 pounds at year 2000 rates) or Jewish professionals with over 500 pounds. The Jewish Agency issued the British entry permits and distributed funds donated by Jews abroad. Between 1924 and 1929, 82,000 more Jews arrived (Fourth Aliyah), fleeing antisemitism in Poland and Hungary, and because the United States Immigration Act of 1924 now kept Jews out. The new arrivals included many middle-class families who moved into towns and established small businesses and workshopsalthough lack of economic opportunities meant that approximately a quarter later left. The first electricity generator was built in Tel Aviv in 1923 under the guidance of Pinhas Rutenberg, a former Commissar of St Petersburg in Russia’s pre-Bolshevik Kerensky Government. In 1925 the Jewish Agency established the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Technion (technological university) in Haifa.
From 1928, the democratically elected Va’ad Leumi (Jewish National Council or JNC) became the main institution of the Palestine Jewish community (“Yishuv”) and included non-Zionist Jews. As the Yishuv grew, the JNC adopted more government-type functions, such as education, health care and security. With British permission, the Va’ad raised its own taxes and ran independent services for the Jewish population. From 1929 its leadership was elected by Jews from 26 countries.
In 1929 tensions grew over the Kotel (Wailing Wall), a narrow alleyway where Jews were banned from using chairs or any furniture (many of the worshipers were elderly). The Mufti claimed it was Muslim property and that the Jews were seeking control of the Temple Mount. This (and general animosity) led to the August 1929 Palestine riots. The main victims were the ancient Jewish community at Hebron, which came to an end. The riots led to right-wing Zionists establishing their own militia in 1931, the Irgun Tzvai Leumi (National Military Organization, known in Hebrew by its acronym “Etzel”).
Zionist political parties provided private education and health care: the General Zionists, the Mizrahi and the Socialist Zionists, each established independent health and education services and operated sports organizations funded by local taxes, donations and fees (the British administration did not invest in public services). During the whole interwar period, the British, appealing to the terms of the Mandate, rejected the principle of majority rule or any other measure that would give the Arab population, who formed the majority of the population, control over Palestinian territory.
In 1933, the Jewish Agency and the Nazis negotiated the Ha’avara Agreement (transfer agreement), under which 50,000 Jews would be transferred to Palestine. The Jews possessions were confiscated and in return the Nazis allowed the Ha’avara organization to purchase 14 million pounds worth of German goods for export to Palestine (which was used to compensate the immigrants). The Nazis did not normally allow Jews to leave with any money or to take more than two suitcases. The agreement was controversial and the Labour Zionist leader who negotiated the agreement, Haim Arlosoroff, was assassinated in Tel Aviv in 1933. The assassination was a long source of anger between the Zionist left and Zionist right. Arlosoroff once dated Magda Goebbels and may have been assassinated by the Nazis to hide the connection, which only emerged recently. In Palestine, Jewish immigration (and the Ha’avara goods) helped the economy to flourish. A port and oil refineries were built at Haifa and there was a growth of industrialization in the predominantly agricultural Palestinian economy.
Between 1929 and 1938, 250,000 Jews arrived in Palestine (Fifth Aliyah). 174,000 arrived between 1933 and 1936, after which the British increasingly restricted immigration. The influx contributed to the 1933 Palestine riots. Migration was mostly from Europe and included professionals, doctors, lawyers and professors from Germany. As a consequence German architects of the Bauhaus school made Tel-Aviv the world’s only city with purely Bauhaus neighborhoods and Palestine had the highest per-capita percentage of doctors in the world.
As Fascist regimes emerged across Europe, persecution of Jews massively increased, and Jews reverted to being non-citizens deprived of civil and economic rights, subject to arbitrary persecution. Significantly antisemitic governments came to power in Poland (from 1935 the government boycotted Jews), Hungary, Romania and the Nazi created states of Croatia and Slovakia, while Germany annexed Austria and the Czech territories.
Jewish immigration and Nazi propaganda contributed to the large-scale 19361939 Arab revolt in Palestine, a largely nationalist uprising directed at ending British rule. The head of the Jewish Agency, Ben-Gurion, responded to the Arab Revolt with a policy of “Havlagah”self-restraint and a refusal to be provoked by Arab attacks in order to prevent polarization. The Etzel group broke off from the Haganah in opposition to this policy.
The British responded to the revolt with the Peel Commission (193637), a public inquiry that recommended that an exclusively Jewish territory be created in the Galilee and western coast (including the population transfer of 225,000 Arabs); the rest becoming an exclusively Arab area. The two main Jewish leaders, Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion, had convinced the Zionist Congress to approve equivocally the Peel recommendations as a basis for more negotiation. The plan was rejected outright by the Palestinian Arab leadership and they renewed the revolt, which caused the British to appease the Arabs, and to abandon the plan as unworkable.
Testifying before the Peel Commission, Weizmann said “There are in Europe 6,000,000 people … for whom the world is divided into places where they cannot live and places where they cannot enter.” In 1938, the US called an international conference to address the question of the vast numbers of Jews trying to escape Europe. Britain made its attendance contingent on Palestine being kept out of the discussion. No Jewish representatives were invited. The Nazis proposed their own solution: that the Jews of Europe be shipped to Madagascar (the Madagascar Plan).
With millions of Jews trying to leave Europe and every country in the world closed to Jewish migration, the British decided to close Palestine. The White Paper of 1939, recommended that an independent Palestine, governed jointly by Arabs and Jews, be established within 10 years. The White Paper agreed to allow 75,000 Jewish immigrants into Palestine over the period 194044, after which migration would require Arab approval. Both the Arab and Jewish leadership rejected the White Paper. In March 1940 the British High Commissioner for Palestine issued an edict banning Jews from purchasing land in 95% of Palestine. Jews now resorted to illegal immigration: (Aliyah Bet or “Ha’apalah”), often organized by the Mossad Le’aliyah Bet and the Irgun. Very few Jews managed to escape Europe between 1939 and 1945. Those caught by the British were mostly sent to Mauritius.
During the 2nd World War, the Jewish Agency worked to establish a Jewish army that would fight alongside the British forces. Churchill supported the plan but British Military and government opposition led to its rejection. The British demanded that the number of Jewish recruits match the number of Palestinian Arab recruits, but few Arabs would fight for Britain, and the Palestinian leader, the Mufti of Jerusalem, joined the Nazis in Europe.
In May 1941, the Palmach was established to defend the Yishuv against the planned Axis invasion through North Africa. The British refusal to provide arms to the Jews, even when Rommel’s forces were advancing through Egypt in June 1942 (intent on occupying Palestine) and the 1939 White Paper, led to the emergence of a Zionist leadership in Palestine that believed conflict with Britain was inevitable. Despite this, the Jewish Agency called on Palestine’s Jewish youth to volunteer for the British Army (both men and women). 30,000 Palestinian Jews and 6,000 Palestinian Arabs enlisted in the British armed forces during the war. In June 1944 the British agreed to create a Jewish Brigade that would fight in Italy.
Approximately 1.5 million Jews around the world served in every branch of the allied armies, mainly in the Soviet and U.S. armies. 200,000 Jews died serving in the Soviet army alone. Many of these war veterans later volunteered to fight for Israel or were active in its support.
A small group (about 200 activists), dedicated to resisting the British administration in Palestine, broke away from the Etzel (which advocated support for Britain during the war) and formed the “Lehi” (Stern Gang), led by Avraham Stern. In 1943, the USSR released the Revisionist Zionist leader Menachem Begin from the Gulag and he went to Palestine, taking command of the Etzel organization with a policy of increased conflict against the British. At about the same time Yitzhak Shamir escaped from the camp in Eritrea where the British were holding Lehi activists without trial, taking command of the Lehi (Stern Gang).
Jews in the Middle East were also affected by the war. Most of North Africa came under Nazi control and many Jews were used as slaves. The 1941 pro-Axis coup in Iraq was accompanied by massacres of Jews. The Jewish Agency put together plans for a last stand in the event of Rommel invading Palestine (the Nazis planned to exterminate Palestine’s Jews).
Between 1939 and 1945, the Nazis, aided by local forces, led systematic efforts to kill every person of Jewish extraction in Europe (The Holocaust), causing the deaths of approximately 6 million Jews. A quarter of those killed were children. The Polish and German Jewish communities, which played an important role in defining the pre-1945 Jewish world, mostly ceased to exist. In the United States and Palestine, Jews of European origin became disconnected from their families and roots. Sepharadi and Mizrahi Jews, who had been a minority, became a much more significant factor in the Jewish world. Those Jews who survived in central Europe, were displaced persons (refugees); an Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, established to examine the Palestine issue, surveyed their ambitions and found that over 95% wanted to migrate to Palestine.
In the Zionist movement the moderate Pro-British (and British citizen) Weizmann, whose son died flying in the RAF, was undermined by Britain’s anti-Zionist policies. Leadership of the movement passed to the Jewish Agency in Palestine, now led by the anti-British Socialist-Zionist party (Mapai) and led by David Ben-Gurion. In the diaspora, U.S. Jews now dominated the Zionist movement.
The British Empire was severely weakened by the war. In the Middle East, the war had made Britain conscious of its dependence on Arab oil. British firms controlled Iraqi oil and Britain ruled Kuwait, Bahrain and the Emirates. Shortly after VE Day, the Labour Party won the general election in Britain. Although Labour Party conferences had for years called for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, the Labour government now decided to maintain the 1939 White Paper policies.
Illegal migration (Aliyah Bet) became the main form of Jewish entry into Palestine. Across Europe Bricha (“flight”), an organization of former partisans and ghetto fighters, smuggled Holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe to Mediterranean ports, where small boats tried to breach the British blockade of Palestine. Meanwhile, Jews from Arab countries began moving into Palestine overland. Despite British efforts to curb immigration, during the 14 years of the Aliyah Bet, over 110,000 Jews entered Palestine. By the end of World War II, the Jewish population of Palestine had increased to 33% of the total population.
In an effort to win independence, Zionists now waged a guerrilla war against the British. The main underground Jewish militia, the Haganah, formed an alliance called the Jewish Resistance Movement with the Etzel and Stern Gang to fight the British. In June 1946, following instances of Jewish sabotage, the British launched Operation Agatha, arresting 2700 Jews, including the leadership of the Jewish Agency, whose headquarters were raided. Those arrested were held without trial.
In Poland, the Kielce Pogrom (July 1946) led to a wave of Holocaust survivors fleeing Europe for Palestine. Between 1945 and 1948, 100,000120,000 Jews left Poland. Their departure was largely organized by Zionist activists in Poland under the umbrella of the semi-clandestine organization Berihah (“Flight”).Berihah was also responsible for the organized emigration of Jews from Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, totaling 250,000 (including Poland) Holocaust survivors. The British imprisoned the Jews trying to enter Palestine in the Atlit detainee camp and Cyprus internment camps. Those held were mainly Holocaust survivors, including large numbers of children and orphans. In response to Cypriot fears that the Jews would never leave (since they lacked a state or documentation) and because the 75,000 quota established by the 1939 White Paper had never been filled, the British allowed the refugees to enter Palestine at a rate of 750 per month.
The unified Jewish resistance movement broke up in July 1946, after Etzel bombed the British Military Headquarters in the King David Hotel killing 91 people. In the days following the bombing, Tel Aviv was placed under curfew and over 120,000 Jews, nearly 20% of the Jewish population of Palestine, were questioned by the police. In the U.S., Congress criticized British handling of the situation and delayed loans that were vital to British post-war recovery. By 1947 the Labour Government was ready to refer the Palestine problem to the newly created United Nations.
On 2 April 1947, the United Kingdom requested that the question of Palestine be handled by the General Assembly. The General Assembly created a committee, United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), to report on “the question of Palestine”. In July 1947 the UNSCOP visited Palestine and met with Jewish and Zionist delegations. The Arab Higher Committee boycotted the meetings. During the visit the British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin ordered an illegal immigrant ship, the Exodus 1947, to be sent back to Europe. The migrants on the ship were forcibly removed by British troops at Hamburg.
The principal non-Zionist Orthodox Jewish (or Haredi) party, Agudat Israel, recommended to UNSCOP that a Jewish state be set up after reaching a religious status quo agreement with Ben-Gurion regarding the future Jewish state. The agreement would grant exemption to a quota of yeshiva (religious seminary) students and to all orthodox women from military service, would make the Sabbath the national weekend, promised Kosher food in government institutions and would allow them to maintain a separate education system.
The majority report of UNSCOP proposed “an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem” …, the last to be under “an International Trusteeship System”. On 29 November 1947, in Resolution 181 (II), the General Assembly adopted the majority report of UNSCOP, but with slight modifications. The Plan also called for the British to allow “substantial” Jewish migration by 1 February 1948.
Neither Britain nor the UN Security Council took any action to implement the resolution and Britain continued detaining Jews attempting to enter Palestine. Concerned that partition would severely damage Anglo-Arab relations, Britain denied UN representatives access to Palestine during the period between the adoption of Resolution 181 (II) and the termination of the British Mandate. The British withdrawal was finally completed in May 1948. However, Britain continued to hold Jews of “fighting age” and their families on Cyprus until March 1949.
The General Assembly’s vote caused joy in the Jewish community and discontent among the Arab community. Violence broke out between the sides. From January 1948, operations became increasingly militarized, with the intervention of a number of Arab Liberation Army regiments inside Palestine, each active in a variety of distinct sectors around the different coastal towns. They consolidated their presence in Galilee and Samaria.Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni came from Egypt with several hundred men of the Army of the Holy War. Having recruited a few thousand volunteers, he organized the blockade of the 100,000 Jewish residents of Jerusalem. The Yishuv tried to supply the city using convoys of up to 100 armoured vehicles, but largely failed. By March, almost all Haganah’s armoured vehicles had been destroyed, the blockade was in full operation, and hundreds of Haganah members who had tried to bring supplies into the city were killed.
Up to 100,000 Arabs, from the urban upper and middle classes in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem, or Jewish-dominated areas, evacuated abroad or to Arab centres eastwards. This situation caused the US to withdraw their support for the Partition plan, thus encouraging the Arab League to believe that the Palestinian Arabs, reinforced by the Arab Liberation Army, could put an end to the plan for partition. The British, on the other hand, decided on 7 February 1948 to support the annexation of the Arab part of Palestine by Transjordan.
David Ben-Gurion reorganized Haganah and made conscription obligatory. Every Jewish man and woman in the country had to receive military training. Thanks to funds raised by Golda Meir from sympathisers in the United States, and Stalin’s decision to support the Zionist cause, the Jewish representatives of Palestine were able to purchase important arms in Eastern Europe.
Ben-Gurion gave Yigael Yadin the responsibility to plan for the announced intervention of the Arab states. The result of his analysis was Plan Dalet, in which Haganah passed from the defensive to the offensive. The plan sought to establish Jewish territorial continuity by conquering mixed zones. Tiberias, Haifa, Safed, Beisan, Jaffa and Acre fell, resulting in the flight of more than 250,000 Palestinian Arabs. The situation pushed the leaders of the neighbouring Arab states to intervene.
On 14 May 1948, on the day the last British forces left from Haifa, the Jewish People’s Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum and proclaimed the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.
Immediately following the declaration of the new state, both superpower leaders, U.S. President Harry S. Truman and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, recognized the new state. The Arab League members Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq refused to accept the UN partition plan and proclaimed the right of self-determination for the Arabs across the whole of Palestine. The Arab states marched their forces into what had, until the previous day, been the British Mandate for Palestine, starting the first ArabIsraeli War. The Arab states had heavy military equipment at their disposal and were initially on the offensive. On 29 May 1948, the British initiated United Nations Security Council Resolution 50 declaring an arms embargo on the region. Czechoslovakia violated the resolution supplying the Jewish state with critical military hardware to match the (mainly British) heavy equipment and planes already owned by the invading Arab states. On 11 June, a month-long UN truce was put into effect.
Following independence, the Haganah became the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The Palmach, Etzel and Lehi were required to cease independent operations and join the IDF. During the ceasefire, Etzel attempted to bring in a private arms shipment aboard a ship called “Altalena”. When they refused to hand the arms to the government, Ben-Gurion ordered that the ship be sunk. Several Etzel members were killed in the fighting.
Large numbers of Jewish immigrants, many of them World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors, now began arriving in the new state of Israel, and many joined the IDF.
After an initial loss of territory by the Jewish state and its occupation by the Arab armies, from July the tide gradually turned in the Israelis’ favour and they pushed the Arab armies out and conquered some of the territory that had been included in the proposed Arab state. At the end of November, tenuous local ceasefires were arranged between the Israelis, Syrians and Lebanese. On 1 December King Abdullah announced the union of Transjordan with Arab Palestine west of the Jordan; only Britain recognized the annexation.
Israel signed armistices with Egypt (24 February), Lebanon (23 March), Jordan (3 April) and Syria (20 July). No actual peace agreements were signed. With permanent ceasefire coming into effect, Israel’s new borders, later known as the Green Line, were established. These borders were not recognized by the Arab states as international boundaries. The IDF had overrun Galilee, Jezreel Valley, West Jerusalem, the coastal plain and the Negev. The Syrians remained in control of a strip of territory along the Sea of Galilee originally allocated to the Jewish state, the Lebanese occupied a tiny area at Rosh Hanikra, and the Egyptians retained the Gaza strip and still had some forces surrounded inside Israeli territory. Jordanian forces remained in occupation of the West Bank, where the British had stationed them before the war. Jordan annexed the areas it occupied while Egypt kept Gaza as an occupied zone.
Following the ceasefire declaration, Britain released over 2,000 Jewish detainees it was still holding in Cyprus and recognized the state of Israel. On 11 May 1949, Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations. Out of an Israeli population of 650,000, some 6,000 men and women were killed in the fighting, including 4,000 soldiers in the IDF. According to United Nations figures, 726,000 Palestinians had fled or were evicted by the Israelis between 1947 and 1949. Except in Jordan, the Palestinian refugees were settled in large refugee camps in poor, overcrowded conditions. In December 1949, the UN (in response to a British proposal) established an agency (UNRWA) to provide aid to the Palestinian refugees. It became the largest single UN agency and is the only UN agency that serves a single people.
A 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, met first in Tel Aviv then moved to Jerusalem after the 1949 ceasefire. In January 1949, Israel held its first elections. The Socialist-Zionist parties Mapai and Mapam won the most seats (46 and 19 respectively), but not an outright majority. Mapai’s leader, David Ben-Gurion, was appointed Prime Minister. The Knesset elected Chaim Weizmann as the first (largely ceremonial) President of Israel. Hebrew and Arabic were made the official languages of the new state. All governments have been coalitionsno party has ever won a majority in the Knesset. From 1948 until 1977 all governments were led by Mapai and the Alignment, predecessors of the Labour Party. In those years Labour Zionists, initially led by David Ben-Gurion, dominated Israeli politics and the economy was run on primarily socialist lines.
Within three years (1948 to 1951), immigration doubled the Jewish population of Israel and left an indelible imprint on Israeli society. Overall, 700,000 Jews settled in Israel during this period. Some 300,000 arrived from Asian and North African nations as part of the Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries. Among them, the largest group (over 100,000) was from Iraq. The rest of the immigrants were from Europe, including more than 270,000 who came from Eastern Europe, mainly Romania and Poland (over 100,000 each). Nearly all the Jewish immigrants could be described as refugees, however only 136,000 who immigrated to Israel from Central Europe, had international certification because they belonged to the 250,000 Jews registered by the allies as displaced after World War II and living in Displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria and Italy.
In 1950 the Knesset passed the Law of Return, which granted to all Jews and those of Jewish ancestry, and their spouses, the right to settle in Israel and gain citizenship. That year, 50,000 Yemenite Jews (99%) were secretly flown to Israel. In 1951 Iraqi Jews were granted temporary permission to leave the country and 120,000 (over 90%) opted to move to Israel. Jews also fled from Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. By the late sixties, about 500,000 Jews had left Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Over the course of twenty years, some 850,000 Jews from Arab countries (99%) relocated to Israel (680,000), France and the Americas. The land and property left behind by the Jews (much of it in Arab city centres) is still a matter of some dispute. Today there are about 9,000 Jews living in Arab states, of whom 75% live in Morocco and 15% in Tunisia.
Between 1948 and 1958, the population of Israel rose from 800,000 to two million. During this period, food, clothes and furniture had to be rationed in what became known as the Austerity Period (Tkufat haTsena). Immigrants were mostly refugees with no money or possessions and many were housed in temporary camps known as ma’abarot. By 1952, over 200,000 immigrants were living in tents or prefabricated shacks built by the government. Israel received financial aid from private donations from outside the country (mainly the United States). The pressure on the new state’s finances led Ben-Gurion to sign a reparations agreement with West Germany. During the Knesset debate some 5,000 demonstrators gathered and riot police had to cordon the building. Israel received several billion marks and in return agreed to open diplomatic relations with Germany.
At the end of 1953, Ben-Gurion retired to Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev.
History of Israel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Gaza Strip (;Arabic: Qi azzah [qt azza]), or simply Gaza, is a pene-exclave region of the State of Palestine on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 kilometers (6.8mi) and Israel on the east and north along a 51km (32mi) border. Gaza is part of the Palestinian territories, which also includes the West Bank and are claimed by the State of Palestine.
The territory is 41 kilometers (25mi) long, and from 6 to 12 kilometers (3.7 to 7.5mi) wide, with a total area of 365 square kilometers (141sqmi). With around 1.8 million Palestinians on some 360 square kilometers, Gaza belongs by far among the regions with the highest population density of the world, approaching that of Hong Kong. Gaza has an annual population growth rate of 2.91% (2014 est.), the 13th highest in the world, and is often referred to as overcrowded. There is a limited capability to construct new homes and facilities for this growth.
Due to the blockade, the population is not free to leave or enter the Gaza Strip, nor to import or export goods. Hence, Gaza is often referred to as “the world’s largest open-air prison”.Sunni Muslims make up the predominant part of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip.
After a violent intra-Palestinian battle in 2007 followed by Hamas’ takeover of Gaza and the expulsion of Fatah-allied officials and security members from Gaza, Hamas established a Hamas Government in place of the Palestinian Authority Government appointed by President Abbas.
The Hamas government of 2012 was the second Palestinian Hamas-dominated government, ruling over the Gaza Strip, since the split of the Palestinian National Authority in 2007. The second Hamas government was announced on early September 2012. The reshuffle of the previous government was approved by Gaza-based Hamas MPs from the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) or parliament. Seven new ministers were appointed to the new government. Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh said the new government’s priorities would be “ending the siege and easing the problems of citizens, especially with regard to electricity and water.”
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, also known as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is a Palestinian militant organization operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The group has been labelled as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel. Iran is a major financial supporter of the PIJ. Islamic Jihad is the second largest militant Islamic group in Gaza with 8,000 fighters present in the Gaza strip. In June 2013, the Islamic Jihad broke ties with Hamas leaders after Hamas police fatally shot the commander of Islamic Jihad’s military wing.
On September 25, 2014, Hamas agreed to let the Palestinian Authority resume control over the Gaza Strip and its border crossings with Egypt and Israel.
A “military occupation occurs when a belligerent state invades the territory of another state with the intention of holding the territory at least temporarily. While hostilities continue, the occupying state is prohibited by International Law from annexing the territory or creating another state out of it, but the occupying state may establish some form of military administration over the territory and the population. Under the Martial Law imposed by this regime, residents are required to obey the occupying authorities and may be punished for not doing so. Civilians may also be compelled to perform a variety of nonmilitary tasks for the occupying authorities, such as the repair of roads and buildings, provided such work does not contribute directly to the enemy war effort.”
Human Rights Watch has advised the UN Human Rights Council that it views Israel as a de facto occupying power in the Gaza Strip, even though Israel has no military or other presence, because the Oslo Accord authorizes Israel to control the airspace and the territorial sea. Other NGOs and other pro-Israel entities have been reported to contest that specific view.
In his statement on the 20082009 IsraelGaza conflict, Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur wrote that international humanitarian law applied to Israel “in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.”Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, Oxfam, the International Committee of the Red Cross, The United Nations, the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Fact Finding Mission to Gaza, international human rights organizations, US government websites, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and a significant number of legal commentators (Geoffrey Aronson, Meron Benvenisti, Claude Bruderlein, Sari Bashi and Kenneth Mann, Shane Darcy and John Reynolds, Yoram Dinstein, John Dugard, Marc S. Kaliser, Mustafa Mari, Iain Scobbie, and Yuval Shany maintain that Israel’s extensive direct external control over Gaza, and indirect control over the lives of its internal population mean that Gaza remained occupied.
In 2012, the co-founder of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, stated that Gaza was no longer occupied.
In as much as it does not exercise effective control or authority over any land or institutions in the Gaza Strip, Israel states that the Gaza Strip is no longer subject to the former military occupation.Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel Tzipi Livni stated in January 2008: “Israel got out of Gaza. It dismantled its settlements there. No Israeli soldiers were left there after the disengagement.” After Israel withdrew in 2005, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declared that the legal status of the areas slated for evacuation had not changed, and this lack of clarity continued after Operation Cast Lead to stop rocket fire into Israel and weapons smuggling into the Gaza strip. Israel has alternately restricted or allowed goods and people to cross the terrestrial border and handles vicariously the movement of goods in or out of Gaza by air or sea. Israel largely provides for Gaza’s water supply, electricity and communications infrastructure.
The economy of the Gaza Strip is severely hampered by Egypt and Israel’s almost total blockade, the high population density, limited land access, strict internal and external security controls, the effects of Israeli military operations, and restrictions on labor and trade access across the border. Per capita income (PPP) was estimated at US$3,100 in 2009, a position of 164th in the world. Seventy percent of the population is below the poverty line according to a 2009 estimate. Gaza Strip industries are generally small family businesses that produce textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale modern industries in an industrial center. Israel supplies the Gaza Strip with electricity.
The main agricultural products are olives, citrus, vegetables, Halal beef, and dairy products. Primary exports are citrus and cut flowers, while primary imports are food, consumer goods, and construction materials. The main trade partners of the Gaza Strip are Israel and Egypt.
The EU described the Gaza economy as follows: “Since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 and following the closure imposed by Israel, the situation in the Strip has been one of chronic need, de-development and donor dependency, despite a temporary relaxation on restrictions in movement of people and goods after the Gaza flotilla raid in 2010. The closure has effectively cut off access for exports to traditional markets in Israel, transfers to the West Bank and has severely restricted imports. Exports are now down to 2% of 2007 levels.”
According to Sara Roy, one senior IDF officer told an UNWRA official in 2015 that Israel’s policy towards the Gaza Strip consisted of:”No development, no prosperity, no humanitarian crisis.
Economic output in the Gaza Strip declined by about one-third between 1992 and 1996. This downturn was attributed to Israeli closure policies and to a lesser extent, corruption and mismanagement by Yasser Arafat. Economic development has been hindered by Israel refusing to allow the operation of a sea harbour. A harbour was planned to be built in Gaza City with help from France and The Netherlands, but the project was bombed by Israel in 2001. Israel said that the reason for bombing was that Israeli settlements were being shot from the construction site at the harbour. As a result, international transports (both trade and aid) had to go through Israel, which was hindered by the imposition of generalized border closures. These also disrupted previously established labor and commodity market relationships between Israel and the Strip. A serious negative social effect of this downturn was the emergence of high unemployment.
Israel’s use of comprehensive closures decreased over the next few years. In 1998, Israel implemented new policies to ease security procedures and allow somewhat freer movement of Gazan goods and labor into Israel. These changes led to three years of economic recovery in the Gaza Strip, disrupted by the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada in the last quarter of 2000. Before the second Palestinian uprising in September 2000, around 25,000 workers from the Gaza Strip (about 2% of the population) used to work in Israel on daily basis.
The Second Intifada led to a steep decline in the economy of Gaza, which was heavily reliant upon external markets. Israel, which had begun by occupation by helping Gazans to plant some 618,000 trees in 1968, and improve seed selection, over the first 3 years period of the second intifada destroyed 10% of its agricultural land, and uprooted 226,000 trees. The population became largely dependent on humanitarian assistance, primarily from UN agencies.
The al-Aqsa Intifada triggered tight IDF closures of the border with Israel, as well as frequent curbs on traffic in Palestinian self-rule areas, severely disrupting trade and labor movements. In 2001, and even more so in early 2002, internal turmoil and Israeli military measures led to widespread business closures and a sharp drop in GDP. Civilian infrastructure, such as the Palestine airport, was destroyed by Israel. Another major factor was a drop in income due to reduction in the number of Gazans permitted entry to work in Israel. After the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the flow of a limited number of workers into Israel resumed, although Israel said it would reduce or end such permits due to the victory of Hamas in the 2006 parliamentary elections.
The Israeli settlers of Gush Katif built greenhouses and experimented with new forms of agriculture. These greenhouses provided employment for hundreds of Gazans. When Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005, more than 3,000 (about half) of the greenhouses were purchased with $14 million raised by former World Bank president James Wolfensohn, and given to Palestinians to jump-start their economy. The rest were demolished by the departing settlers before there were offered a compensation as an inducement to leave them behind. The effort faltered due to limited water supply, Palestinian looting, restrictions on exports and corruption in the Palestinian Authority. Many Palestinian companies repaired the greenhouses damaged and looted by he Palestinians after Israeli withdrawal.
In 2005, after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Gaza businessmen envisaged a “magnificent future.” $1.1 million was invested in an upscale restaurant, Roots, and plans were made to turn one of the Israeli settlements into a family resort.
The European Union states: “Gaza has experienced continuous economic decline since the imposition of a closure policy by Israel in 2007. This has had serious social and humanitarian consequences for many of its 1.7 million inhabitants. The situation has deteriorated further in recent months as a result of the geo-political changes which took place in the region in the course of 2013, particularly in Egypt and its closure of the majority of smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza as well as increased restrictions at Rafah.” Israel, the United States, Canada, and the European Union have frozen all funds to the Palestinian government after the formation of a Hamas-controlled government after its democratic victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. They view the group as a terrorist organization, and have pressured Hamas to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and make good on past agreements. Prior to disengagement, 120,000 Palestinians from Gaza were employed in Israel or in joint projects. After the Israeli withdrawal, the gross domestic product of the Gaza Strip declined. Jewish enterprises shut down, work relationships were severed and job opportunities in Israel dried up. After the 2006 elections, fighting broke out between Fatah and Hamas, which Hamas won in the Gaza Strip on 14 June 2007. Israel imposed a blockade, and the only goods permitted into the Strip through the land crossings were goods of a humanitarian nature, and these were permitted in limited quantities.
An easing of Israel’s closure policy in 2010 resulted in an improvement in some economic indicators, although exports were still restricted. According to the Israeli Defense Forces and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the economy of the Gaza Strip improved in 2011, with a drop in unemployment and an increase in GDP. New malls opened and local industry began to develop. This economic upswing has led to the construction of hotels and a rise in the import of cars. Wide-scale development has been made possible by the unhindered movement of goods into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing and tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The current rate of trucks entering Gaza through Kerem Shalom is 250 trucks per day. The increase in building activity has led to a shortage of construction workers. To make up for the deficit, young people are being sent to learn the trade in Turkey.
In 2012, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said that Gaza’s economic situation has improved and Gaza has become self-reliant “in several aspects except petroleum and electricity” despite Israel’s blockade. Zahar said that Gaza’s economic conditions are better than those in the West Bank. In 2014 the EU’s opinion was: “Today, Gaza is facing a dangerous and pressing humanitarian and economic situation with power outages across Gaza for up to 16 hours a day and, as a consequence, the closure of sewage pumping operations, reduced access to clean water; a reduction in medical supplies and equipment; the cessation of imports of construction materials; rising unemployment, rising prices and increased food insecurity. If left unaddressed, the situation could have serious consequences for stability in Gaza, for security more widely in the region as well as for the peace process itself.”
Usually, diesel for Gaza came from Israel, but in 2011, Hamas started to buy cheaper fuel from Egypt, bringing it via a network of underground tunnels, and refused to allow it from Israel.
In early 2012, due to internal economic disagreement between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas Government in Gaza, decreased supplies from Egypt and through tunnel smuggling, and Hamas’ refusal to ship fuel via Israel, the Gaza Strip plunged into a fuel crisis, bringing increasingly long electricity shut downs and disruption of transportation. Egypt had attempted for a while to stop the use of underground tunnels for delivery of Egyptian fuel purchased by Palestinian authorities, and had severely reduced supply through the tunnel network. As the crisis broke out, Hamas sought to equip the Rafah terminal between Egypt and Gaza for fuel transfer, and refused to accept fuel to be delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza.
In mid-February 2012, as the crisis escalated, Hamas rejected an Egyptian proposal to bring in fuel via the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and Gaza to reactivate Gazas only power plant. Ahmed Abu Al-Amreen of the Hamas-run Energy Authority refused it on the grounds that the crossing is operated by Israel and Hamas’ fierce opposition to the existence of Israel. Egypt cannot ship diesel fuel to Gaza directly through the Rafah crossing point, because it is limited to the movement of individuals.
In early March 2012, the head of Gaza’s energy authority stated that Egypt wanted to transfer energy via the Kerem Shalom Crossing, but he personally refused it to go through the “Zionist entity” (Israel) and insisted that Egypt transfer the fuel through the Rafah Crossing, although this crossing is not equipped to handle the half-million liters needed each day.
In late March 2012, Hamas began offering carpools for people to use Hamas state vehicles to get to work. Many Gazans began to wonder how these vehicles have fuel themselves, as diesel was completely unavailable in Gaza, ambulances could no longer be used, but Hamas government officials still had fuel for their own cars. Many Gazans said that Hamas confiscated the fuel it needed from petrol stations and used it exclusively for their own purposes.
Egypt agreed to provide 600,000 liters of fuel to Gaza daily, but it had no way of delivering it that Hamas would agree to.
In addition, Israel introduced a number of goods and vehicles into the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom Crossing, as well as the normal diesel for hospitals. Israel also shipped 150,000 liters of diesel through the crossing, which was paid for by the Red Cross.
In April 2012, the issue was resolved as certain amounts of fuel were supplied with the involvement of the Red Cross, after the Palestinian Authority and Hamas reached a deal. Fuel was finally transferred via the Israeli Kerem Shalom Crossing, which Hamas previously refused to transfer fuel from.
Most of the Gaza Strip administration funding comes from outside as an aid, with large portion delivered by UN organizations directly to education and food supply. Most of the Gaza GDP comes as foreign humanitarian and direct economic support. Of those funds, the major part is supported by the U.S. and the European Union. Portions of the direct economic support have been provided by the Arab League, though it largely has not provided funds according to schedule. Among other alleged sources of Gaza administration budget is Iran.
A diplomatic source told Reuters that Iran had funded Hamas in the past with up to $300 million per year, but the flow of money had not been regular in 2011. “Payment has been in suspension since August”, said the source.
On January 2012, some diplomatic sources said that Turkey promised to provide Haniyeh’s Gaza Strip administration with $300 million to support its annual budget.
On April 2012, the Hamas government in Gaza approved its budget for 2012, which was up 25% year-on-year over 2011 budget, indicating that donors, including Iran, benefactors in the Islamic world and Palestinian expatriates, are still heavily funding the movement. Chief of Gaza’s parliament’s budget committee Jamal Nassar said the 2012 budget is $769 million, compared to $630 million in 2011.
The Gaza Strip is located in the Middle East (at 3125N 3420E / 31.417N 34.333E / 31.417; 34.333Coordinates: 3125N 3420E / 31.417N 34.333E / 31.417; 34.333). It has a 51 kilometers (32mi) border with Israel, and an 11km (7mi) border with Egypt, near the city of Rafah. Khan Yunis is located 7 kilometers (4.3mi) northeast of Rafah, and several towns around Deir el-Balah are located along the coast between it and Gaza City. Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun are located to the north and northeast of Gaza City, respectively. The Gush Katif bloc of Israeli localities used to exist on the sand dunes adjacent to Rafah and Khan Yunis, along the southwestern edge of the 40 kilometers (25mi) Mediterranean coastline. Al Deira beach is a popular venue for surfers.
The Gaza Strip has an arid climate, with mild winters, and dry, hot summers subject to drought. The terrain is flat or rolling, with dunes near the coast. The highest point is Abu ‘Awdah (Joz Abu ‘Auda), at 105 meters (344ft) above sea level. Natural resources include arable land (about a third of the strip is irrigated), and recently discovered natural gas. Environmental problems include desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne diseases; soil degradation; and depletion and contamination of underground water resources. The Gaza Strip is largely dependent on water from Wadi Gaza, which is also a resource for Israel.
Natural resources of Gaza include arable landabout a third of the strip is irrigated. Recently, natural gas was discovered. Environmental problems include desertification; salination of fresh water; water-borne disease; soil degradation; lack of adequate sewage treatment; and depletion and contamination of underground water resources. The Gaza Strip is largely dependent on water from Wadi Gaza, which also supplies Israel.
Gaza’s marine gas reserves extend 32 kilometres from the Gaza Strip’s coastline and were calculated at 35 BCM.
In 2010 approximately 1.6 million Palestinians lived in the Gaza Strip, almost 1.0 million of them UN-registered refugees. The majority of the Palestinians descend (the Palestinians are the only refugee group to have ever been given hereditary refugee status) from refugees who were driven from or left their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Strip’s population has continued to increase since that time, one of the main reasons being a total fertility rate of 4.24 children per woman (2014 est). In a ranking by total fertility rate, this places Gaza 34th of 224 regions.
Most of the inhabitants are Sunni Muslims, with an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 Arab Christians, making the region 99.8percent Sunni Muslim and 0.2percent Christian.
Before the Hamas takeover in 2007, approximately 500 women from the former Soviet Union lived in Gaza.
In 2011 the United Nations body UNESCO stopped funding a children’s magazine sponsored by the Palestinian National Authority (Zayzafouna) that had commended Nazi Germany’s killing of Jews. It deplored this publication as contrary to its principles of building tolerance and respect for human rights and human dignity.
A March 2008 report by Palestinian Center for Policy & Survey Research (PSR) reported that 67% of Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip supported and 31% opposed armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel.
From 1987 to 1991, during the First Intifada, Hamas campaigned for the wearing of the hijab head-cover and for other measures (such as the promotion of polygamy, segregating women from men and insisting they stay at home). In the course of this campaign, women who chose not to wear the hijab were verbally and physically harassed by Hamas activists, leading to hijabs being worn “just to avoid problems on the streets”.
In October 2000, Islamic extremists burned down the Windmill Hotel, owned by Basil Eleiwa, when they learned it had served alcohol.
Since Hamas took over in 2007, attempts have been made by Islamist activists to impose “Islamic dress” and to require women to wear the hijab. The government’s “Islamic Endowment Ministry” has deployed Virtue Committee members to warn citizens of the dangers of immodest dress, card playing and dating. However, there are no government laws imposing dress and other moral standards, and the Hamas education ministry reversed one effort to impose Islamic dress on students. There has also been successful resistance[by whom?] to attempts by local Hamas officials to impose Islamic dress on women.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Hamas-controlled government stepped up its efforts to “Islamize” Gaza in 2010, efforts it says included the “repression of civil society” and “severe violations of personal freedom.”
Palestinian researcher Khaled Al-Hroub has criticized what he called the “Taliban-like steps” Hamas has taken: “The Islamization that has been forced upon the Gaza Stripthe suppression of social, cultural, and press freedoms that do not suit Hamas’s view[s]is an egregious deed that must be opposed. It is the reenactment, under a religious guise, of the experience of [other] totalitarian regimes and dictatorships.” Hamas officials denied having any plans to impose Islamic law. One legislator stated that “[w]hat you are seeing are incidents, not policy” and that “we believe in persuasion”.
In October 2012 Gaza youth complained that security officers had obstructed their freedom to wear saggy pants and to have haircuts of their own choosing, and that they faced being arrested. Youth in Gaza are also arrested by security officers for wearing shorts and for showing their legs, which have been described by youth as embarrassing incidents, and one youth explained that “My saggy pants did not harm anyone.” However, a spokesman for Gaza’s Ministry of Interior denied such a campaign, and denied interfering in the lives of Gaza citizens, but explained that “maintaining the morals and values of the Palestinian society is highly required”.
Iran was the largest state supporter of Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood also gave support, but these political relationships have recently been disrupted following the Arab Spring by Iranian support for and the position of Hamas has declined as support diminishes.
In addition to Hamas, a Salafist movement began to appear about 2005 in Gaza, characterized by “a strict lifestyle based on that of the earliest followers of Islam”. As of 2015, there are estimated to be only “hundreds or perhaps a few thousand” Salafists in Gaza. However, the failure of Hamas to lift the Israeli blockade of Gaza despite thousands of casualties and much destruction during 2008-9 and 2014 wars has weakened Hamas’s support and led some in Hamas to be concerned about the possibility of defections to the Salafist “Islamic State”.
The movement has clashed with Hamas on a number of occasions. In 2009, a Salafist leader, Abdul Latif Moussa, declared an Islamic emirate in the town of Rafah, on Gaza’s southern border. Moussa and 19 other people were killed when Hamas forces stormed his mosque and house. In 2011, Salafists abducted and murdered a pro-Palestinian Italian activist, Vittorio Arrigoni. Following this Hamas again took action to crush the Salafist groups.
The Gaza Museum of Archaeology was established by Jawdat N. Khoudary in 2008.
In 2010, illiteracy among Gazan youth was less than 1%. In 2012, there were five universities in the Gaza Strip and eight new schools are under construction. According to UNRWA figures, there are 640 schools in Gaza: 383 government schools, 221 UNRWA schools and 36 private schools, serving a total of 441,452 students.
In 2010, Al Zahara, a private school in central Gaza introduced a special program for mental development based on math computations. The program was created in Malaysia in 1993, according to the school principal, Majed al-Bari.
The Community College of Applied Science and Technology (CCAST) was established in 1998 in Gaza City. In 2003, the college moved into its new campus and established the Gaza Polytechnic Institute (GPI) in 2006 in southern Gaza. In 2007, the college received accreditation to award BA degrees as the University College of Applied Sciences (UCAS). In 2010, the college had a student population of 6,000 in eight departments offering over 40 majors.
In June 2011, some Gazans, upset that UNRWA did not rebuild their homes that were lost in the Second Intifada, blocked UNRWA from performing its services and shut down UNRWA’s summer camps. Gaza residents also closed UNRWA’s emergency department, social services office and ration stores.
In Gaza, there are hospitals and additional healthcare facilities. Because of the high number of young people the mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world, at 0.315% per year. The infant mortality rate is ranked 105th highest out of 224 countries and territories, at 16.55 deaths per 1,000 births. The Gaza Strip places 24th out of 135 countries according to Human Poverty Index.
A study carried out by Johns Hopkins University (U.S.) and Al-Quds University (in Abu Dis) for CARE International in late 2002 revealed very high levels of dietary deficiency among the Palestinian population. The study found that 17.5% of children aged 659 months suffered from chronic malnutrition. 53% of women of reproductive age and 44% of children were found to be anemic. After the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip health conditions in Gaza Strip faced new challenges. World Health Organization (WHO) expressed its concerns about the consequences of the Palestinian internal political fragmentation; the socioeconomic decline; military actions; and the physical, psychological and economic isolation on the health of the population in Gaza. In a 2012 study of the occupied territories, the WHO reported that roughly 50% of the young children and infants under two years old and 39.1% of pregnant women receiving antenatal services care in Gaza suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. The organization also observed chronic malnutrition in children under five “is not improving and may be deteriorating.”
Dr. Mohammed Abu Shaban, director of the Blood Tumors Department in Al-Rantisy Hospital in Gaza witnessed an increase in blood cancer. In March 2010 the department had seen 55 cases that year, compared to 20 to 25 cases normally seen in an entire year.[dubious discuss]According to the United Nations Development Programme, the average life expectancy in the Gaza Strip is 72.
According to Palestinian leaders in the Gaza Strip, the majority of medical aid delivered are “past their expiration date.” Mounir el-Barash, the director of donations in Gaza’s health department, claims 30% of aid sent to Gaza is used.
Gazans who desire medical care in Israeli hospitals must apply for a medical visa permit. In 2007, State of Israel granted 7,176 permits and denied 1,627.
In 2012, two hospitals funded by Turkey and Saudi Arabia were under construction.
The Gaza Strip has been home to a significant branch of the contemporary Palestinian art movement since the mid 20th century. Notable artists include painters Ismail Ashour, Shafiq Redwan, Bashir Senwar, Majed Shalla, Fayez Sersawi, Abdul Rahman al Muzayan and Ismail Shammout, and media artists Taysir Batniji (who lives in France) and Laila al Shawa (who lives in London). An emerging generation of artists is also active in nonprofit art organizations such as Windows From Gaza and Eltiqa Group, which regularly host exhibitions and events open to the public.
In 2010, Gaza inaugurated its first Olympic-size swimming pool at the As-Sadaka club. The opening ceremony was held by the Islamic Society. The swimming team of as-Sadaka holds several gold and silver medals from Palestinian swimming competitions.
The Oslo Accords ceded control of the airspace and territorial waters to Israel. Any external travel from Gaza requires cooperation from either Egypt or Israel.
Salah al-Din Road (also known as the Salah ad-Deen Highway) is the main highway of the Gaza Strip and extends over 45km (28mi), spanning the entire length of the territory from the Rafah Crossing in the south to the Erez Crossing in the north. The road is named after the 12th-century Ayyubid general Salah al-Din.
Former railway: see Palestine Railways#Railway in the Gaza Strip
The Port of Gaza has been an important and active port since antiquity. Despite plans under the Oslo Peace Accords to expand the port, it has been under a blockade since Hamas was elected as a majority party in the 2006 elections. Both the Israeli Navy and Egypt enforce the blockade, which continues currently and has limited many aspects of life in Gaza, especially, according to Human Rights Watch, the movement of people and commerce, with exports being most affected. The improvement and rebuilding of infrastructure is also negatively impacted by these sanctions. Plans to expand the port were halted after the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada.
The Yasser Arafat International Airport opened on 24 November 1998 after the signing of the Oslo II Accord and the Wye River Memorandum. It was closed by Israel in October 2000. Its radar station and control tower were destroyed by Israel Defense Forces aircraft in 2001 during the al-Aqsa Intifada, and bulldozers razed the runway in January 2002. The only remaining runway is at the Gaza Airstrip. However, the airspace over Gaza may be restricted by the Israeli Air Force as the Oslo Accords authorized.
The Gaza Strip has rudimentary land line telephone service provided by an open-wire system, as well as extensive mobile telephone services provided by PalTel (Jawwal) and Israeli providers such as Cellcom. Gaza is serviced by four internet service providers that now compete for ADSL and dial-up customers.
Most Gaza households have a radio and a TV (70%+), and approximately 20% have a personal computer. People living in Gaza have access to FTA satellite programs, broadcast TV from the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, the Israel Broadcasting Authority, and the Second Israeli Broadcasting Authority.
Gaza was part of the Ottoman Empire, before it was occupied by the United Kingdom (1918-1948), Egypt (1948-1967), and then Israel, which in 1994 granted the Palestinian Authority in Gaza limited self-governance through the Oslo Accords. Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been de facto governed by Hamas, which claims to represent the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian people.
The territory is still considered to be occupied by Israel by the United Nations, International human rights organisations, and the majority of governments and legal commentators, despite the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza and additional restrictions placed on Gaza by Egypt. Israel maintains direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza’s air and maritime space, and six of Gaza’s seven land crossings. It reserves the right to enter Gaza at will with its military and maintains a no-go buffer zone within the Gaza territory. Gaza is dependent on Israel for its water, electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities.
The Gaza Strip acquired its current northern and eastern boundaries at the cessation of fighting in the 1948 war, confirmed by the IsraelEgypt Armistice Agreement on 24 February 1949. Article V of the Agreement declared that the demarcation line was not to be an international border. At first the Gaza Strip was officially administered by the All-Palestine Government, established by the Arab League in September 1948. All-Palestine in the Gaza Strip was managed under the military authority of Egypt, functioning as a puppet state, until it officially merged into the United Arab Republic and dissolved in 1959. From the time of the dissolution of the All-Palestine Government until 1967, the Gaza Strip was directly administered by an Egyptian military governor.
Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the Six-Day War in 1967. Pursuant to the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, the Palestinian Authority became the administrative body that governed Palestinian population centers while Israel maintained control of the airspace, territorial waters and border crossings with the exception of the land border with Egypt which is controlled by Egypt. In 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip under their unilateral disengagement plan.
In July 2007, after winning the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Hamas became the elected government. In 2007 Hamas expelled the rival party Fatah from Gaza. This broke the Unity Government between Gaza Strip and the West Bank, creating two separate governments for the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
In 2014, following reconciliation talks, Hamas and Fatah formed a Palestinian unity government within the West Bank and Gaza. Rami Hamdallah became the coalition’s Prime Minister and has planned for elections in Gaza and the West Bank. In July 2014, a set of lethal incidents between Hamas and Israel led to the 2014 IsraelGaza conflict.
Following the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, the territory has been subjected to a blockade, maintained by Israel and Egypt, with Israel arguing that it is necessary to impede Hamas from rearming and to restrict Palestinian rocket attacks and Egypt preventing Gaza residents from entering Egypt. The blockades by Israel and Egypt extends to drastic reductions in basic construction materials, medical supplies, and food stuffs.[unreliable source?] Under the blockade, Gaza is viewed by some critics as an “open-air prison”.
The Palestine Mandate was based on the principles contained in Article 22 of the draft Covenant of the League of Nations and the San Remo Resolution of 25 April 1920 by the principal Allied and associated powers after the First World War. The mandate formalized British rule in the southern part of Ottoman Syria from 19231948.
On 22 September 1948, towards the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the All-Palestine Government was proclaimed in the Egyptian-occupied Gaza City by the Arab League. It was conceived partly as an Arab League attempt to limit the influence of Transjordan in Palestine. The All-Palestine Government was quickly recognized by six of the then seven members of the Arab League: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, but not by Transjordan. It was not recognized by any country outside the Arab League.
After the cessation of hostilities, the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement of 24 February 1949 established the separation line between Egyptian and Israeli forces, and established what became the present boundary between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Both sides declared that the boundary was not an international border. The southern border with Egypt continued to be the international border which had been drawn in 1906 between the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire.
Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip or Egypt were issued All-Palestine passports. Egypt did not offer them citizenship. From the end of 1949, they received aid directly from UNRWA. During the Suez Crisis (1956), the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula were occupied by Israeli troops, who withdrew under international pressure. The government was accused of being little more than a faade for Egyptian control, with negligible independent funding or influence. It subsequently moved to Cairo and dissolved in 1959 by decree of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser.
After the dissolution of the All-Palestine Government in 1959, under the excuse of pan-Arabism, Egypt continued to occupy the Gaza Strip until 1967. Egypt never annexed the Gaza Strip, but instead treated it as a controlled territory and administered it through a military governor. The influx of over 200,000 refugees from former Mandatory Palestine, roughly a quarter of those who fled or were expelled from their homes during, and in the aftermath of, the 1948 ArabIsraeli War into Gaza resulted in a dramatic decrease in the standard of living. Because the Egyptian government restricted movement to and from the Gaza Strip, its inhabitants could not look elsewhere for gainful employment.
In June 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israel Defense Forces captured the Gaza Strip.
Subsequent to this military victory, Israel created the first settlement bloc in the Strip, Gush Katif, in the southwest corner of the Strip near Rafah and the Egyptian border on a spot where a small kibbutz had previously existed for 18 months between 1946-48. In total, between 1967 and 2005, Israel established 21 settlements in Gaza, comprising 20% of the total territory.
In March 1979, Israel and Egypt signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. Among other things, the treaty provided for the withdrawal by Israel of its armed forces and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula, which Israel had captured during the Six-Day War. The Egyptians agreed to keep the Sinai Peninsula demilitarized. The final status of the Gaza Strip, and other relations between Israel and Palestinians, was not dealt with in the treaty. Egypt renounced all territorial claims to territory north of the international border. The Gaza Strip remained under Israeli military administration until 1994. During that time, the military was responsible for the maintenance of civil facilities and services.
After the EgyptianIsraeli Peace Treaty 1979, a 100-meter-wide buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt known as the Philadelphi Route was established. The international border along the Philadelphi corridor between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is 7 miles (11km) long. With the Agreement on Movement and Access, known as the Rafah Agreement, in 2005, Israel ended its presence in the Philadelphi Route and transferred responsibility for security arrangements to Egypt and the PA under the supervision of the EU. The Egyptian army has since destroyed some Gaza Strip smuggling tunnels “in order to fight any element of terrorism”, according to an Egyptian security official. The Gaza border crossing into Egypt remains under the full control of Egypt. Egypt has alternately restricted or allowed goods and people to cross that terrestrial border.
In September 1992, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin told a delegation from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy “I would like Gaza to sink into the sea, but that won’t happen, and a solution must be found.”
In May 1994, following the Palestinian-Israeli agreements known as the Oslo Accords, a phased transfer of governmental authority to the Palestinians took place. Much of the Strip (except for the settlement blocs and military areas) came under Palestinian control. The Israeli forces left Gaza City and other urban areas, leaving the new Palestinian Authority to administer and police those areas. The Palestinian Authority, led by Yasser Arafat, chose Gaza City as its first provincial headquarters. In September 1995, Israel and the PLO signed a second peace agreement, extending the Palestinian Authority to most West Bank towns.
Palestinian Authority rule under the leadership of Arafat suffered from serious mismanagement and corruption scandals. For example, exorbitant bribes were demanded for allowing goods to pass in and out of the Gaza Strip, while heads of the Preventive Security Service apparatus profited from their involvement in the gravel import and cement and construction industries, such as the Great Arab Company for Investment and Development, the al-Motawaset Company, and the al-Sheik Zayid construction project.
Between 1994 and 1996, Israel built the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier to improve security in Israel. The barrier was largely torn down by Palestinians at the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000.
The Second Intifada broke out in September 2000 with waves of protest, civil unrest and bombings against Israeli military and civilians, many of them perpetrated by suicide bombers. The Second Intifada also marked the beginning of rocket attacks and bombings of Israeli border localities by Palestinian guerrillas from Gaza Strip, especially by the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad movements.
Between December 2000 and June 2001, the barrier between Gaza and Israel was reconstructed. A barrier on the Gaza Strip-Egypt border was constructed starting in 2004. The main crossing points are the northern Erez Crossing into Israel and the southern Rafah Crossing into Egypt. The eastern Karni Crossing used for cargo, closed down in 2011. Israel controls the Gaza Strip’s northern borders, as well as its territorial waters and airspace. Egypt controls Gaza Strip’s southern border, under an agreement between it and Israel. Neither Israel or Egypt permits free travel from Gaza as both borders are heavily militarily fortified. “Egypt maintains a strict blockade on Gaza in order to isolate Hamas from Islamist insurgents in the Sinai.”
In February 2005, the Knesset approved a unilateral disengagement plan and began removing Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005. All Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and the joint Israeli-Palestinian Erez Industrial Zone were dismantled, and 9,000 Israelis, most living in Gush Katif, were forcibly evicted.
On 12 September 2005, the Israeli cabinet formally declared an end to Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip.
“The Oslo Agreements gave Israel full control over Gaza’s airspace, but established that the Palestinians could build an airport in the area…” and the disengagement plan states that: “Israel will hold sole control of Gaza airspace and will continue to carry out military activity in the waters of the Gaza Strip.” “Therefore, Israel continues to maintain exclusive control of Gaza’s airspace and the territorial waters, just as it has since it occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967.”Human Rights Watch has advised the UN Human Rights Council that it (and others) consider Israel to be the occupying power of the Gaza Strip because Israel controls Gaza Strip’s airspace, territorial waters and controls the movement of people or goods in or out of Gaza by air or sea. The EU considers Gaza to be occupied. Israel also withdrew from the Philadelphi Route, a narrow strip of land adjacent to the border with Egypt, after Egypt agreed to secure its side of the border. Under the Oslo Accords, the Philadelphi Route was to remain under Israeli control to prevent the smuggling of weapons and people across the Egyptian border, but Egypt (under EU supervision) committed itself to patrolling the area and preventing such incidents. Israel maintained control over the crossings in and out of Gaza, and the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza was monitored by special surveillance cameras.
Gaza Strip – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jewish history (or the history of the Jewish people) is the history of the Jews, and their religion and culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism as a religion first appears in Greek records during the Hellenistic period and the earliest mention of Israel is inscribed on the Merneptah Stele dated 12131203 BCE, religious literature tells the story of Israelites going back at least as far as c. 1500 BCE. The Jewish diaspora began with the Assyrian conquest and continued on a much larger scale with the Babylonian conquest. Jews were also widespread throughout the Roman Empire, and this carried on to a lesser extent in the period of Byzantine rule in the central and eastern Mediterranean. In 638 CE the Byzantine Empire lost control of the Levant. The Arab Islamic Empire under Caliph Omar conquered Jerusalem and the lands of Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. The Golden Age of Jewish culture in Spain coincided with the Middle Ages in Europe, a period of Muslim rule throughout much of the Iberian Peninsula. During that time, Jews were generally accepted in society and Jewish religious, cultural, and economic life blossomed.
During the Classical Ottoman period (13001600), the Jews, together with most other communities of the empire, enjoyed a certain level of prosperity. In the 17th century, there were many significant Jewish populations in Western Europe. During the period of the European Renaissance and Enlightenment, significant changes occurred within the Jewish community. Jews began in the 18th century to campaign for emancipation from restrictive laws and integration into the wider European society. During the 1870s and 1880s the Jewish population in Europe began to more actively discuss immigration back to Israel and the re-establishment of the Jewish Nation in its national homeland. The Zionist movement was founded officially in 1884. Meanwhile, the Jews of Europe and the United States gained success in the fields of the science, culture and the economy. Among those generally considered the most famous were scientist Albert Einstein and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. A disproportionate number of Nobel Prize winners at this time were Jewish, as is still the case.
In 1933, with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany, the Jewish situation became more severe. Economic crises, racial anti-Semitic laws, and a fear of an upcoming war led many Jews to flee from Europe to Palestine, to the United States and to the Soviet Union. In 1939 World War II began and until 1941 Hitler occupied almost all of Europe, including Polandwhere millions of Jews were living at that timeand France. In 1941, following the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Final Solution began, an extensive organized operation on an unprecedented scale, aimed at the annihilation of the Jewish people, and resulting in the persecution and murder of Jews in political Europe, inclusive of European North Africa (pro-Nazi Vichy-North Africa and Italian Libya). This genocide, in which approximately six million Jews were murdered methodically and with horrifying cruelty, is known as The Holocaust or Shoah (Hebrew term). In Poland, three million Jews were murdered in gas chambers in all concentration camps combined, with one million at the Auschwitz concentration camp alone.
In 1945 the Jewish resistance organizations in Palestine unified and established the Jewish Resistance Movement. The movement began attacking the British authority. David Ben-Gurion proclaimed on May 14, 1948, the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel to be known as the State of Israel. Immediately afterwards all neighbouring Arab states attacked, yet the newly formed IDF resisted. In 1949 the war ended and the state of Israel started building the state and absorbing massive waves of hundreds of thousands of Jews from all over the world. Today (2014), Israel is a parliamentary democracy with a population of over 8 million people, of whom about 6 million are Jewish. The largest Jewish communities are in Israel and the United States, with major communities in France, Argentina, Russia, England, and Canada. For statistics related to modern Jewish demographics see Jewish population.
The history of the Jews and Judaism can be divided into five periods: (1) ancient Israel before Judaism, from the beginnings to 586 BCE; (2) the beginning of Judaism in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE; (3) the formation of rabbinic Judaism after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE; (4) the age of rabbinic Judaism, from the ascension of Christianity to political power under the emperor Constantine the Great in 312 CE to the end of the political hegemony of Christianity in the 18th century; and (5), the age of diverse Judaisms, from the French and American Revolutions to the present.
The history of the early Jews, and their neighbors, is mainly that of the Fertile Crescent and east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It begins among those people who occupied the area lying between the Nile, Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Surrounded by ancient seats of culture in Egypt and Babylonia, by the deserts of Arabia, and by the highlands of Asia Minor, the land of Canaan (roughly corresponding to modern Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Lebanon) was a meeting place of civilizations. The land was traversed by old-established trade routes and possessed important harbors on the Gulf of Aqaba and on the Mediterranean coast, the latter exposing it to the influence of other cultures of the Fertile Crescent.
According to the Jewish sacred writings, which became the Hebrew Bible, Jews are descended from the ancient people of Israel who settled in the land of Canaan between the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Ancient Hebrew writings describe the “Children of Israel” as descendants of common ancestors, including Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob. Religious literature suggests that the nomadic travels of the Hebrews centered around Hebron in the first centuries of the second millennium BCE, apparently leading to the establishment of the Cave of the Patriarchs as their burial site in Hebron. The Children of Israel consisted of twelve tribes, each descended from one of Jacob’s twelve sons, Reuven, Shimon, Levi, Yehuda, Yissachar, Zevulun, Dan, Gad, Naftali, Asher, Yosef, and Benyamin.
Religious texts tell the story of Jacob and his twelve sons, who left Canaan during a severe famine and settled in Goshen of northern Egypt. While in Egypt their descendants were said to be enslaved by the government led by the Egyptian Pharaoh, although there is no independent evidence of this having occurred. After some 400 years of slavery, YHWH, the God of Israel, sent the Hebrew prophet Moses of the tribe of Levi to release the Israelites from bondage. According to the Bible, the Hebrews miraculously emigrated out of Egypt (an event known as the Exodus), and returned to their ancestral homeland in Canaan. This event marks the formation of Israel as a political nation in Canaan, in 1400 BCE.
However, archaeology reveals a different story of the origins of the Jewish people: they did not necessarily leave the Levant. The archaeological evidence of the largely indigenous origins of Israel in Canaan, not Egypt, is “overwhelming” and leaves “no room for an Exodus from Egypt or a 40-year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness”. Many archaeologists have abandoned the archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus as “a fruitless pursuit”. A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has arguably found no evidence that can be directly related to the Exodus narrative of an Egyptian captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness, leading to the suggestion that Iron Age Israelthe kingdoms of Judah and Israelhas its origins in Canaan, not Egypt: The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains in the local Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite. Almost the sole marker distinguishing the “Israelite” villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether this can be taken as an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute.
According to the Bible, after their emancipation from Egyptian slavery, the people of Israel wandered around and lived in the Sinai desert for a span of forty years before conquering Canaan in 1400 BCE under the command of Joshua. While living in the desert, according to the Biblical writings, the nation of Israel received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai from YHWH, carried by Moses. This marked a beginning for normative Judaism, and contributed to the formation of the first Abrahamic religion. After entering Canaan, portions of the land were given to each of the twelve tribes of Israel. For several hundred years, the Land of Israel was organized into a confederacy of twelve tribes ruled by a series of Judges. After that, notes the Bible, came the Israelite monarchy. In 1000 BCE, the monarchy was established under Saul, and continued under King David and his son, Solomon. During the reign of David, the already existing city of Jerusalem became the national and spiritual capital of Israel. Solomon built the First Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. However, the tribes were fracturing politically. Upon his death, a civil war erupted between the ten northern Israelite tribes, and the tribes of Judah (Simeon was absorbed into Judah) and Benjamin in the south. The nation split into the Kingdom of Israel in the north, and the Kingdom of Judah in the south. Israel was conquered by the Assyrian ruler Tiglath-Pileser III in the 8th century BCE. There is no commonly accepted historical record of the fate of the ten northern tribes, sometimes referred to as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, although speculation abounds.
After revolting against the new dominant power and an ensuing siege, the Kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonian army in 587 BCE and the First Temple was destroyed. The elite of the kingdom and many of their people were exiled to Babylon, where the religion developed outside their traditional temple. Others fled to Egypt. After the fall of Jerusalem, Babylonia (modern day Iraq), would become the focus of Judaism for more than a thousand years. The first Jewish communities in Babylonia started with the exile of the Tribe of Judah to Babylon by Jehoiachin in 597 BCE as well as after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Many more Jews migrated to Babylon in 135 CE after the Bar Kokhba revolt and in the centuries after. Babylonia, where some of the largest and most prominent Jewish cities and communities were established, became the center of Jewish life all the way up to the 13th century. By the first century, Babylonia already held a speedily growing population of an estimated 1,000,000 Jews, which increased to an estimated 2 million  between the years 200 CE – 500 CE, both by natural growth and by immigration of more Jews from the Land of Israel, making up about 1/6 of the world Jewish population at that era. It was there that they would write the Babylonian Talmud in the languages used by the Jews of ancient BabyloniaHebrew and Aramaic.
The Jews established Talmudic Academies in Babylonia, also known as the Geonic Academies, which became the center for Jewish scholarship and the development of Jewish law in Babylonia from roughly 500 CE to 1038 CE. The two most famous academies were the Pumbedita Academy and the Sura Academy. Major yeshivot were also located at Nehardea and Mahuza.
After a few generations and with the conquest of Babylonia in 540 BC by the Persian Empire, some adherents led by prophets Ezra and Nehemiah, returned to their homeland and traditional practices. Other Jews did not permanently return and remained in exile and developed somewhat independently outside of the Land of Israel, especially following the Muslim conquests of the Middle East in the 7th century CE.
Following their return to Jerusalem after the return from the exile (in the now commonly called post-exilic period) and with Persian approval and financing, construction of the Second Temple was completed in 516 BCE under the leadership of the last three Jewish Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
Hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean world was, at the time, shifting to the classical civilizations and away from the Egyptians, Syrians, and Persians. Some Canaanites had already become Phoenicians and colonized areas of the southern Mediterranean, and they went on to found the Carthaginian Empire. Greeks, meanwhile, were beginning to probe eastwards.
After the death of the last Jewish prophet and while still under Persian rule, the leadership of the Jewish people passed into the hands of five successive generations of zugot (“pairs of”) leaders. They flourished first under the Persians and then under the Greeks. As a result, the Pharisees and Sadducees were formed. Under the Persians then under the Greeks, Jewish coins were minted in Judea as Yehud coinage.
In 332 BCE, the Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great of Macedon. After his demise, and the division of Alexander’s empire among his generals, the Seleucid Kingdom was formed.
Greek culture was spread eastwards by the Alexandrian conquests. The Levant was not immune to this cultural spread. During this time, currents of Judaism were influenced by Hellenistic philosophy developed from the 3rd century BCE, notably the Jewish diaspora in Alexandria, culminating in the compilation of the Septuagint. An important advocate of the symbiosis of Jewish theology and Hellenistic thought is Philo.
A deterioration of relations between hellenized Jews and orthodox Jews led the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes to impose decrees banning certain Jewish religious rites and traditions. Consequently, the orthodox Jews revolted under the leadership of the Hasmonean family (also known as the Maccabees). This revolt eventually led to the formation of an independent Jewish kingdom, known as the Hasmonaean Dynasty, which lasted from 165 BCE to 63 BCE. The Hasmonean Dynasty eventually disintegrated as a result of civil war between the sons of Salome Alexandra, Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II. The people, who did not want to be governed by a king but by theocratic clergy, made appeals in this spirit to the Roman authorities. A Roman campaign of conquest and annexation, led by Pompey, soon followed.
Judea had been an independent Jewish kingdom under the Hasmoneans, but was conquered by the Roman general Pompey in 63 BCE and reorganized as a client state. (Roman expansion was going on in other areas as well, and would continue for more than a hundred and fifty years.) Later, Herod the Great was appointed “King of the Jews” by the Roman Senate, supplanting the Hasmonean dynasty. Some of his offspring held various positions after him, known as the Herodian dynasty. Briefly, from 4 BCE to 6 CE, Herod Archelaus ruled the tetrarchy of Judea as ethnarch, the Romans denying him the title of King. After the Census of Quirinius in 6 CE, the Roman province of Judaea was formed as a satellite of Roman Syria under the rule of a prefect (as was Roman Egypt) until 41 CE, then procurators after 44 CE. The empire was often callous and brutal in its treatment of its Jewish subjects, see Anti-Judaism in the pre-Christian Roman Empire. In 66 CE, the Jews began to revolt against the Roman rulers of Judea. The revolt was defeated by the future Roman emperors Vespasian and Titus. In the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the Romans destroyed much of the Temple in Jerusalem and, according to some accounts, plundered artifacts from the temple, such as the Menorah. Jews continued to live in their land in significant numbers, the Kitos War of 115117 CE nothwithstanding, until Julius Severus ravaged Judea while putting down the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132136 CE. 985 villages were destroyed and most of the Jewish population of central Judaea was essentially wiped out, killed, sold into slavery, or forced to flee. Banished from Jerusalem, except for the day of Tisha B’Av, the Jewish population now centred on Galilee and initially in Yavne. Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina and Judea was renamed Syria Palestina, to spite the Jews by naming it after their ancient enemies, the Philistines. Jews were only allowed to visit Aelia Capitolina on the day of Tisha B’Av.
The Jewish diaspora began with the Assyrian conquest and continued on a much larger scale with the Babylonian conquest, in which the Tribe of Judah was exiled to Babylonia along with the dethroned King of Judah, Jehoiachin, in the 6th Century BCE, and was taken into captivity in 597 BCE. The exile continued after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Many more Jews migrated to Babylon in 135 CE after the Bar Kokhba revolt and in the centuries after.
Many of the Judaean Jews were sold into slavery while others became citizens of other parts of the Roman Empire. The book of Acts in the New Testament, as well as other Pauline texts, make frequent reference to the large populations of Hellenised Jews in the cities of the Roman world. These Hellenised Jews were affected by the diaspora only in its spiritual sense, absorbing the feeling of loss and homelessness that became a cornerstone of the Jewish creed, much supported by persecutions in various parts of the world. The policy encouraging proselytism and conversion to Judaism, which spread the Jewish religion throughout the Hellenistic civilization, seems to have subsided with the wars against the Romans.
Of critical importance to the reshaping of Jewish tradition from the Temple-based religion to the rabbinic traditions of the Diaspora, was the development of the interpretations of the Torah found in the Mishnah and Talmud.
In spite of the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt, a significant number of Jews remained in the Land of Israel. The Jews who remained there went through numerous experiences and armed conflicts against consecutive foreign occupiers. Some of the most famous and important Jewish texts were composed in Israeli cities at this time. The completion of the Mishnah, the system of niqqud, and the compilation of the Jerusalem Talmud are examples.
In this period the tannaim and amoraim were active, rabbis who organized and debated the Jewish oral law. The decisions and opinions of the tannaim are contained in the Mishnah, Beraita, Tosefta, and various Midrash compilations. The Mishnah was completed shortly after 200 CE, probably by Judah haNasi. The commentaries of the amoraim upon the Mishnah are compiled in the Jerusalem Talmud, which was completed around 400 CE, probably in Tiberias.
In 351 CE, the Jewish population in Sepphoris, under the leadership of Patricius, started a revolt against the rule of Constantius Gallus, brother-in-law of Emperor Constantius II. The revolt was eventually subdued by Gallus’ general, Ursicinus.
According to Jewish tradition, in 359 CE Hillel II created the Hebrew calendar based on the lunar year. Until then, the entire Jewish community outside the land of Israel depended on the calendar sanctioned by the Sanhedrin; this was necessary for the proper observance of the Jewish holy days. However, danger threatened the participants in that sanction and the messengers who communicated their decisions to distant communities. As the religious persecutions continued, Hillel determined to provide an authorized calendar for all time to come.
In 363, shortly before launching his campaign against the Sassanid Empire, Julian II, the last pagan Roman Emperor, allowed the Jews to return to “holy Jerusalem which you have for many years longed to see rebuilt” and to rebuild the Temple. But, Julian’s campaign against the Persians failed and he was killed in battle on June 26, 363. The Temple was not rebuilt.
After the fall of Jerusalem, Babylonia (modern day Iraq), would become the focus of Judaism for more than a thousand years. The first Jewish communities in Babylonia started with the exile of the Tribe of Judah to Babylon by Jehoiachin in 597 BCE as well as after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Many more Jews migrated to Babylon in 135 CE after the Bar Kokhba revolt and in the centuries after. Babylonia, where some of the largest and most prominent Jewish cities and communities were established, became the center of Jewish life all the way up to the 13th century. By the first century, Babylonia already held a speadily growing population of an estimated 1,000,000 Jews, which increased to an estimated 2 million between the years 200 CE and 500 CE, both by natural growth and by immigration of more Jews from the Land of Israel, making up about 1/6 of the world Jewish population at that era. It was there that they would write the Babylonian Talmud in the languages used by the Jews of ancient Babylonia: Hebrew and Aramaic. The Jews established Talmudic Academies in Babylonia, also known as the Geonic Academies (“Geonim” meaning “splendour” in Biblical Hebrew or “geniuses”), which became the center for Jewish scholarship and the development of Jewish law in Babylonia from roughly 500 CE to 1038 CE. The two most famous academies were the Pumbedita Academy and the Sura Academy. Major yeshivot were also located at Nehardea and Mahuza. The Talmudic Yeshiva Academies became a main part of Jewish culture and education, and Jews continued on establishing Yeshiva Academies in Western and Eastern Europe, North Africa, and in the centuries later on to America and other countries around the world where Jews lived in the Diaspora. Talmudic study in Yeshiva academies continue today with the establishment of a large number of Yeshiva academies, most of them located in The United States and Israel.
These Talmudic Yeshiva academies of Babylonia followed the era of the Amoraim (“expounders”)the sages of the Talmud who were active (both in the Land of Israel and in Babylon) during the end of the era of the sealing of the Mishnah and until the times of the sealing of the Talmud (220CE 500CE), and following the Savoraim (“reasoners”)the sages of Beth midrash (Torah study places) in Babylon from the end of the era of the Amoraim (5th century) and until the beginning of the era of the Geonim. The Geonim (Hebrew: ) were the presidents of the two great rabbinical colleges of Sura and Pumbedita, and were the generally accepted spiritual leaders of the worldwide Jewish community in the early medieval era, in contrast to the Resh Galuta (Exilarch) who wielded secular authority over the Jews in Islamic lands. According to traditions, the Resh Galuta were descendants of Judean kings, which is why the kings of Parthia would treat them with much honour.
For the Jews of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the yeshivot of Babylonia served much the same function as the ancient Sanhedrin. That is, as a council of Jewish religious authorities. The academies were founded in pre-Islamic Babylonia under the Zoroastrian Sassanid dynasty and were located not far from the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon, which at that time was the largest city in the world. After the conquest of Persia in the 7th Century, the academies subsequently operated for four hundred years under the Islamic caliphate. The first gaon of Sura, according to Sherira Gaon, was Mar bar Rab Chanan, who assumed office in 609. The last gaon of Sura was Samuel ben Hofni, who died in 1034; the last gaon of Pumbedita was Hezekiah Gaon, who was tortured to death in 1040; hence the activity of the Geonim covers a period of nearly 450 years.
One of principal seats of Babylonian Judaism was Nehardea, which was then a very large city made up mostly of Jews. A very ancient synagogue, built, it was believed, by King Jehoiachin, existed in Nehardea. At Huzal, near Nehardea, there was another synagogue, not far from which could be seen the ruins of Ezra’s academy. In the period before Hadrian, Akiba, on his arrival at Nehardea on a mission from the Sanhedrin, entered into a discussion with a resident scholar on a point of matrimonial law (Mishnah Yeb., end). At the same time there was at Nisibis (northern Mesopotamia), an excelling Jewish college, at the head of which stood Judah ben Bathyra, and in which many Judean scholars found refuge at the time of the persecutions. A certain temporary importance was also attained by a school at Nehar-Peod, founded by the Judean immigrant Hananiah, nephew of Joshua ben Hananiah, which school might have been the cause of a schism between the Jews of Babylonia and those of Judea-Israel, had not the Judean authorities promptly checked Hananiah’s ambition.
Jews were also widespread throughout the Roman Empire, and this carried on to a lesser extent in the period of Byzantine rule in the central and eastern Mediterranean. The militant and exclusive Christianity and caesaropapism of the Byzantine Empire did not treat Jews well, and the condition and influence of diaspora Jews in the Empire declined dramatically.
It was official Christian policy to convert Jews to Christianity, and the Christian leadership used the official power of Rome in their attempts. In 351 CE the Jews revolted against the added pressures of their Governor, Constantius Gallus. Gallus put down the revolt and destroyed the major cities in the Galilee area where the revolt had started. Tzippori and Lydda (site of two of the major legal academies) never recovered.
In this period, the Nasi in Tiberias, Hillel II, created an official calendar, which needed no monthly sightings of the moon. The months were set, and the calendar needed no further authority from Judea. At about the same time, the Jewish academy at Tiberius began to collate the combined Mishnah, braitot, explanations, and interpretations developed by generations of scholars who studied after the death of Judah HaNasi. The text was organized according to the order of the Mishna: each paragraph of Mishnah was followed by a compilation of all of the interpretations, stories, and responses associated with that Mishnah. This text is called the Jerusalem Talmud.
The Jews of Judea received a brief respite from official persecution during the rule of the Emperor Julian the Apostate. Julian’s policy was to return the kingdom to Hellenism and he encouraged the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem. As Julian’s rule lasted briefly from 361 to 363, the Jews could not rebuild sufficiently before Roman Christian rule was restored over the Empire. Beginning in 398 with the consecration of St. John Chrysostom as Patriarch, the Christian rhetoric against Jews continued to rise; he preached sermons with titles such as “Against the Jews” and “On the Statues, Homily 17,” in which John preaches against “the Jewish sickness”. Such heated language contributed to a climate of Christian distrust and hate toward the large Jewish settlements, such as those in Antioch and Constantinople.
In the beginning of the 5th century, the Emperor Theodosius issued a set of decrees establishing official persecution against Jews. Jews were not allowed to own slaves, build new synagogues, hold public office or try cases between a Jew and a non-Jew. Intermarriage between Jew and non-Jew was made a capital offense, as was a Christian converting to Judaism. Theodosius did away with the Sanhedrin and abolished the post of Nasi. Under the Emperor Justinian, the authorities further restricted the civil rights of Jews, and threatened their religious privileges. The emperor interfered in the internal affairs of the synagogue, and forbade, for instance, the use of the Hebrew language in divine worship. Those who disobeyed the restrictions were threatened with corporal penalties, exile, and loss of property. The Jews at Borium, not far from Syrtis Major, who resisted the Byzantine General Belisarius in his campaign against the Vandals, were forced to embrace Christianity, and their synagogue was converted to a church.
Justinian and his successors had concerns outside the province of Judea, and he had insufficient troops to enforce these regulations. As a result, the 5th century was a period when a wave of new synagogues were built, many with beautiful mosaic floors. Jews adopted the rich art forms of the Byzantine culture. Jewish mosaics of the period portray people, animals, menorahs, zodiacs, and Biblical characters. Excellent examples of these synagogue floors have been found at Beit Alpha (which includes the scene of Abraham sacrificing a ram instead of his son Isaac along with a zodiac), Tiberius, Beit Shean, and Tzippori.
The precarious existence of Jews under Byzantine rule did not long endure, largely for the explosion of the Muslim religion out of the remote Arabian peninsula (where large populations of Jews resided, see History of the Jews under Muslim Rule for more). The Muslim Caliphate ejected the Byzantines from the Holy Land (or the Levant, defined as modern Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) within a few years of their victory at the Battle of Yarmouk in 636. Numerous Jews fled the remaining Byzantine territories in favour of residence in the Caliphate over the subsequent centuries.
The size of the Jewish community in the Byzantine Empire was not affected by attempts by some emperors (most notably Justinian) to forcibly convert the Jews of Anatolia to Christianity, as these attempts met with very little success. Historians continue to research the status of the Jews in Asian Minor during the Byzantine rule. (for a sample of views, see, for instance, J. Starr The Jews in the Byzantine Empire, 6411204; S. Bowman, The Jews of Byzantium; R. Jenkins Byzantium; Averil Cameron, “Byzantines and Jews: Recent Work on Early Byzantium”, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 20 (1996)). No systematic persecution of the type endemic at that time in Western Europe (pogroms, the stake, mass expulsions, etc.) has been recorded in Byzantium. Much of the Jewish population of Constantinople remained in place after the conquest of the city by Mehmet II.
Sometime in the 7th or 8th century, the Khazars, a Turkic tribe (who for some three centuries [c. 650965] dominated the vast area extending from the Volga-Don steppe lands to the eastern Crimea and the northern Caucasus), seem to have converted to Judaism. The completeness of this conversion is unclear. There had been a Jewish population in the Crimea since the Hellenistic era, and the conversions may have been reinforced by Jewish migrants entering the region, who had emigrated from areas of Byzantine rule.
Perhaps in the 4th century, the Kingdom of Semien, a Jewish nation in modern Ethiopia was established, lasting until the 17th century.
In 638 CE the Byzantine Empire lost control of the Levant. The Arab Islamic Empire under Caliph Omar conquered Jerusalem and the lands of Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. As a political system, Islam created radically new conditions for Jewish economic, social, and intellectual development.Caliph Omar permitted the Jews to reestablish their presence in Jerusalemafter a lapse of 500 years. Jewish tradition regards Caliph Omar as a benevolent ruler and the Midrash (Nistarot de-Rav Shimon bar Yoai) refers to him as a “friend of Israel.”
According to the Arab geographer Al-Muqaddasi, the Jews worked as “the assayers of coins, the dyers, the tanners and the bankers in the community”. During the Fatimid period, many Jewish officials served in the regime. Professor Moshe Gil documents that at the time of the Arab conquest in the 7th century CE, the majority of the population was Jewish.
During this time Jews were lived in thriving communities all across ancient Babylonia. In the Geonic period (6501250 CE), the Babylonian Yeshiva Academies were the chief centers of Jewish learning; the Geonim (meaning either “Splendor” or “Geniuses”) who were the heads of these schools, were recognized as the highest authorities in Jewish law.
The Golden Age of Jewish culture in Spain coincided with the Middle Ages in Europe, a period of Muslim rule throughout much of the Iberian Peninsula. During that time, Jews were generally accepted in society and Jewish religious, cultural, and economic life blossomed.
A period of tolerance thus dawned for the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula, whose number was considerably augmented by immigration from Africa in the wake of the Muslim conquest. Especially after 912, during the reign of Abd-ar-Rahman III and his son, Al-Hakam II, the Jews prospered, devoting themselves to the service of the Caliphate of Cordoba, to the study of the sciences, and to commerce and industry, especially to trading in silk and slaves, in this way promoting the prosperity of the country. Jewish economic expansion was unparalleled. In Toledo, Jews were involved in translating Arabic texts to the Romance languages, as well as translating Greek and Hebrew texts into Arabic. Jews also contributed to botany, geography, medicine, mathematics, poetry and philosophy.
‘Abd al-Rahman’s court physician and minister was Hasdai ben Isaac ibn Shaprut, the patron of Menahem ben Saruq, Dunash ben Labrat, and other Jewish scholars and poets. Jewish thought during this period flourished under famous figures such as Samuel Ha-Nagid, Moses ibn Ezra, Solomon ibn Gabirol Judah Halevi and Moses Maimonides. During ‘Abd al-Rahman’s term of power, the scholar Moses ben Enoch was appointed rabbi of Crdoba, and as a consequence al-Andalus became the center of Talmudic study, and Crdoba the meeting-place of Jewish savants.
The Golden Age ended with the invasion of the Reconquista and the invasion of the Almohades. The major Jewish presence in Iberia continued until the Jews were forcibly expelled en masse due to the edict of expulsion by Christian Spain in 1492 and a similar decree by Christian Portugal in 1496.
In 1099, Jews helped the Arabs to defend Jerusalem against the Crusaders. When the city fell, the Crusaders gathered many Jews in a synagogue and set it on fire. In Haifa, the Jews almost single-handedly defended the town against the Crusaders, holding out for a month, (JuneJuly 1099). At this time there were Jewish communities scattered all over the country, including Jerusalem, Tiberias, Ramleh, Ashkelon, Caesarea, and Gaza. As Jews were not allowed to hold land during the Crusader period, they worked at trades and commerce in the coastal towns during times of quiescence. Most were artisans: glassblowers in Sidon, furriers and dyers in Jerusalem.
During this period, the Masoretes of Tiberias established the niqqud, a system of diacritical signs used to represent vowels or distinguish between alternative pronunciations of letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Numerous piyutim and midrashim were recorded in Palestine at this time.
Maimonides wrote that in 1165 he visited Jerusalem and went to the Temple Mount, where he prayed in the “great, holy house”. Maimonides established a yearly holiday for himself and his sons, the 6th of Cheshvan, commemorating the day he went up to pray on the Temple Mount, and another, the 9th of Cheshvan, commemorating the day he merited to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
In 1141 Yehuda Halevi issued a call to Jews to emigrate to the land of Israel and took on the long journey himself. After a stormy passage from Crdoba, he arrived in Egyptian Alexandria, where he was enthusiastically greeted by friends and admirers. At Damietta, he had to struggle against his heart, and the pleadings of his friend alfon ha-Levi, that he remain in Egypt, where he would be free from intolerant oppression. He started on the rough route overland. He was met along the way by Jews in Tyre and Damascus. Jewish legend relates that as he came near Jerusalem, overpowered by the sight of the Holy City, he sang his most beautiful elegy, the celebrated “Zionide” (Zion ha-lo Tish’ali). At that instant, an Arab had galloped out of a gate and rode him down; he was killed in the accident.
In the years 12601516, the land of Israel was part of the Empire of the Mamluks, who ruled first from Turkey, then from Egypt. War, uprisings, bloodshed and destruction followed the Maimonides. Jews suffered persecution and humiliation, but the surviving records note at least 30 Jewish urban and rural communities at the opening of the 16th century.
Nahmanides is recorded as settling in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1267. He moved to Acre, where he was active in spreading Jewish learning, which was at that time neglected in the Holy Land. He gathered a circle of pupils around him, and people came in crowds, even from the district of the Euphrates, to hear him. Karaites were said to have attended his lectures, among them Aaron ben Joseph the Elder. He later became one of the greatest Karaite authorities. Shortly after Nahmanides’ arrival in Jerusalem, he addressed a letter to his son Nahman, in which he described the desolation of the Holy City. At the time, it had only two Jewish inhabitantstwo brothers, dyers by trade. In a later letter from Acre, Nahmanides counsels his son to cultivate humility, which he considers to be the first of virtues. In another, addressed to his second son, who occupied an official position at the Castilian court, Nahmanides recommends the recitation of the daily prayers and warns above all against immorality. Nahmanides died after reaching seventy-six, and his remains were interred at Haifa, by the grave of Yechiel of Paris.
Yechiel had emigrated to Acre in 1260, along with his son and a large group of followers. There he established the Tamudic academy Midrash haGadol d’Paris. He is believed to have died there between 1265 and 1268. In 1488 Obadiah ben Abraham, commentator on the Mishnah, arrived in Jerusalem; this marked a new period of return for the Jewish community in the land.
During the Middle Ages, Jews were generally better treated by Islamic rulers than Christian ones. Despite second-class citizenship, Jews played prominent roles in Muslim courts, and experienced a “Golden Age” in Moorish Spain about 9001100, though the situation deteriorated after that time. Riots resulting in the deaths of Jews did however occur in North Africa through the centuries and especially in Morocco, Libya and Algeria, where eventually Jews were forced to live in ghettos.
During the 11th century, Muslims in Spain conducted pogroms against the Jews; those occurred in Cordoba in 1011 and in Granada in 1066. During the Middle Ages, the governments of Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen enacted decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues. At certain times, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in some parts of Yemen, Morocco and Baghdad. The Almohads, who had taken control of much of Islamic Iberia by 1172, surpassed the Almoravides in fundamentalist outlook. They treated the dhimmis harshly. They expelled both Jews and Christians from Morocco and Islamic Spain. Faced with the choice of death or conversion, many Jews emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled south and east to the more tolerant Muslim lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.
According to the American writer James Carroll, “Jews accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors had not intervened, there would be 200 million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13 million.”
Jewish populations have existed in Europe, especially in the area of the former Roman Empire, from very early times. As Jewish males had emigrated, some sometimes took wives from local populations, as is shown by the various MtDNA, compared to Y-DNA among Jewish populations. These groups were joined by traders and later on by members of the diaspora. Records of Jewish communities in France (see History of the Jews in France) and Germany (see History of the Jews in Germany) date from the 4th century, and substantial Jewish communities in Spain were noted even earlier.
The historian Norman Cantor and other 20th-century scholars dispute the tradition that the Middle Ages was a uniformly difficult time for Jews. Before the Church became fully organized as an institution with an increasing array of rules, early medieval society was tolerant. Between 800 and 1100, an estimated 1.5 million Jews lived in Christian Europe. As they were not Christians, they were not included as a division of the feudal system of clergy, knights and serfs. This means that they did not have to satisfy the oppressive demands for labor and military conscription that Christian commoners suffered. In relations with the Christian society, the Jews were protected by kings, princes and bishops, because of the crucial services they provided in three areas: financial, administrative and medical.
Christian scholars interested in the Bible consulted with Talmudic rabbis. As the Roman Catholic Church strengthened as an institution, the Franciscan and Dominican preaching orders were founded, and there was a rise of competitive middle-class, town-dwelling Christians. By 1300, the friars and local priests staged the Passion Plays during Holy Week, which depicted Jews (in contemporary dress) killing Christ, according to Gospel accounts. From this period, persecution of Jews and deportations became endemic. Around 1500, Jews found relative security and a renewal of prosperity in present-day Poland.
After 1300, Jews suffered more discrimination and persecution in Christian Europe. As Catholics were forbidden by the church to loan money for interest, some Jews became prominent moneylenders. Christian rulers gradually saw the advantage of having such a class of people who could supply capital for their use without being liable to excommunication. As a result, the money trade of western Europe became a specialty of the Jews. But, in almost every instance when Jews acquired large amounts through banking transactions, during their lives or upon their deaths, the king would take it over.  Jews became imperial “servi camer”, the property of the King, who might present them and their possessions to princes or cities.
Jews were frequently massacred and exiled from various European countries. The persecution hit its first peak during the Crusades. In the First Crusade (1096) flourishing Jewish communities on the Rhine and the Danube were utterly destroyed; see German Crusade, 1096. In the Second Crusade (1147) the Jews in France were subject to frequent massacres. They were also subjected to attacks by the Shepherds’ Crusades of 1251 and 1320. The Crusades were followed by massive expulsions, including (in 1290) the banishing of all English Jews; in 1396 100,000 Jews were expelled from France; and in 1421, thousands were expelled from Austria. Over this time many Jews in Europe, either fleeing or being expelled, migrated to Poland, where they prospered into another Golden Age.
Historians who study modern Jewry have identified four different paths by which European Jews were “modernized” and thus integrated into the mainstream of European society. A common approach has been to view the process through the lens of the European Enlightenment as Jews faced the promise and the challenges posed by political emancipation. Scholars that use this approach have focused on two social types as paradigms for the decline of Jewish tradition and as agents of the sea changes in Jewish culture that led to the collapse of the ghetto. The first of these two social types is the Court Jew who is portrayed as a forerunner of the modern Jew, having achieved integration with and participation in the proto-capitalist economy and court society of central European states such as the Habsburg Empire. In contrast to the cosmopolitan Court Jew, the second social type presented by historians of modern Jewry is the maskil, (learned person), a proponent of the Haskalah (Enlightenment). This narrative sees the maskil’s pursuit of secular scholarship and his rationalistic critiques of rabbinic tradition as laying a durable intellectual foundation for the secularization of Jewish society and culture. The established paradigm has been one in which Ashkenazic Jews entered modernity through a self-conscious process of westernization led by “highly atypical, Germanized Jewish intellectuals”. Haskalah gave birth to the Reform and Conservative movements and planted the seeds of Zionism while at the same time encouraging cultural assimilation into the countries in which Jews resided. At around the same time that Haskalah was developing, Hasidic Judaism was spreading as a movement that preached a world view almost opposed to the Haskalah.
In the 1990s, the concept of the “Port Jew” has been suggested as an “alternate path to modernity” that was distinct from the European Haskalah. In contrast to the focus on Ashkenazic Germanized Jews, the concept of the Port Jew focused on the Sephardi conversos who fled the Inquisition and resettled in European port towns on the coast of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Eastern seaboard of the United States.
Court Jews were Jewish bankers or businessmen who lent money and handled the finances of some of the Christian European noble houses. A corresponding historical term is Jewish Bailiff. See also shtadlan.
Examples of what would be later called court Jews emerged when local rulers used services of Jewish bankers for short-term loans. They lent money to nobles and in the process gained social influence. Noble patrons of court Jews employed them as financiers, suppliers, diplomats and trade delegates. Court Jews could use their family connections, and connections between each other, to provision their sponsors with, among other things, food, arms, ammunition and precious metals. In return for their services, court Jews gained social privileges, including up to noble status for themselves, and could live outside the Jewish ghettos. Some nobles wanted to keep their bankers in their own courts. And because they were under noble protection, they were exempted from rabbinical jurisdiction.
From medieval times, court Jews could amass personal fortunes and gained political and social influence. Sometimes they were also prominent people in the local Jewish community and could use their influence to protect and influence their brethren. Sometimes they were the only Jews who could interact with the local high society and present petitions of the Jews to the ruler. However, the court Jew had social connections and influence in the Christian world mainly through his Christian patrons. Due to the precarious position of Jews, some nobles could just ignore their debts. If the sponsoring noble died, his Jewish financier could face exile or execution.
During the European Renaissance, the worst of the expulsions occurred following the reconquista of Andalus, as the Moorish or Arab Islamic government of Spain was known. With the ejection of the last Muslim rulers from Granada in 1492, the Spanish Inquisition followed and the entire Spanish population of around 200,000 Sephardic Jews were expelled. This was followed by expulsions in 1493 in Sicily (37,000 Jews) and Portugal in 1496. The expelled Spanish Jews fled mainly to the Ottoman Empire, Holland, and North Africa, others migrating to Southern Europe and the Middle East.
The Port Jew describes Jews who were involved in the seafaring and maritime economy of Europe, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries. Helen Fry suggests that they could be considered to have been “the earliest modern Jews”. According to Fry, Port Jews often arrived as “refugees from the Inquisition” and the expulsion of Jews from Iberia. They were allowed to settle in port cities as merchants granted permission to trade in ports such as Amsterdam, London, Trieste and Hamburg. Fry notes that their connections with the Jewish Diaspora and their expertise in maritime trade made them of particular interest to the mercantilist governments of Europe. Lois Dubin describes Port Jews as Jewish merchants who were “valued for their engagement in the international maritime trade upon which such cities thrived”. Sorkin and others have characterized the socio-cultural profile of these men as marked by a flexibility towards religion and a “reluctant cosmopolitanism that was alien to both traditional and ‘enlightened’ Jewish identities”.
During the Classical Ottoman period (13001600), the Jews, together with most other communities of the empire, enjoyed a certain level of prosperity. Compared with other Ottoman subjects, they were the predominant power in commerce and trade as well in diplomacy and other high offices. In the 16th century especially, the Jews were the most prominent under the millets, the apogee of Jewish influence could arguably be the appointment of Joseph Nasi to Sanjak-bey (governor, a rank usually only bestowed upon Muslims) of the island of Naxos.
At the time of the Battle of Yarmuk when the Levant passed under Muslim Rule, thirty Jewish communities existed in Haifa, Shchem, Hebron, Ramleh, Gaza, Jerusalem, and many in the north. Safed became a spiritual centre for the Jews and the Shulchan Aruch was compiled there as well as many Kabbalistic texts. The first Hebrew printing press, and the first printing in Western Asia began in 1577.
Jews lived in the geographic area of Asia Minor (modern Turkey, but more geographically either Anatolia or Asia Minor) for more than 2,400 years. Initial prosperity in Hellenistic times had faded under Christian Byzantine rule, but recovered somewhat under the rule of the various Muslim governments that displaced and succeeded rule from Constantinople. For much of the Ottoman period, Turkey was a safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution, and it continues to have a small Jewish population today. The situation where Jews both enjoyed cultural and economical prosperity at times but were widely persecuted at other times was summarised by G.E. Von Grunebaum:
It would not be difficult to put together the names of a very sizeable number of Jewish subjects or citizens of the Islamic area who have attained to high rank, to power, to great financial influence, to significant and recognized intellectual attainment; and the same could be done for Christians. But it would again not be difficult to compile a lengthy list of persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, attempted forced conversions, or pogroms.
In the 17th century, there were many significant Jewish populations in Western Europe. The relatively tolerant Poland had the largest Jewish population in Europe that dated back to 13th century and enjoyed relative prosperity and freedom for nearly four hundred years; however the calm situation there ended when Polish and Lithuanian Jews were slaughtered in the hundreds of thousands by the cossacks during Chmielnicki uprising (1648) and by the Swedish wars (1655). Driven by these and other persecutions, Jews moved back to Western Europe in the 17th century. The last ban on Jews (by the English) was revoked in 1654, but periodic expulsions from individual cities still occurred, and Jews were often restricted from land ownership, or forced to live in ghettos.
With the Partition of Poland in the late 18th century, the Jewish population was split between the Russian Empire, Austro-Hungary, and Prussia, which divided Poland for themselves.
During the period of the European Renaissance and Enlightenment, significant changes occurred within the Jewish community. The Haskalah movement paralleled the wider Enlightenment, as Jews began in the 18th century to campaign for emancipation from restrictive laws and integration into the wider European society. Secular and scientific education was added to the traditional religious instruction received by students, and interest in a national Jewish identity, including a revival in the study of Jewish history and Hebrew, started to grow. Haskalah gave birth to the Reform and Conservative movements and planted the seeds of Zionism while at the same time encouraging cultural assimilation into the countries in which Jews resided. At around the same time another movement was born, one preaching almost the opposite of Haskalah, Hasidic Judaism. Hasidic Judaism began in the 18th century by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, and quickly gained a following with its more exuberant, mystical approach to religion. These two movements, and the traditional orthodox approach to Judaism from which they spring, formed the basis for the modern divisions within Jewish observance.
At the same time, the outside world was changing, and debates began over the potential emancipation of the Jews (granting them equal rights). The first country to do so was France, during the French Revolution in 1789. Even so, Jews were expected to integrate, not continue their traditions. This ambivalence is demonstrated in the famous speech of Clermont-Tonnerre before the National Assembly in 1789:
We must refuse everything to the Jews as a nation and accord everything to Jews as individuals. We must withdraw recognition from their judges; they should only have our judges. We must refuse legal protection to the maintenance of the so-called laws of their Judaic organization; they should not be allowed to form in the state either a political body or an order. They must be citizens individually. But, some will say to me, they do not want to be citizens. Well then! If they do not want to be citizens, they should say so, and then, we should banish them. It is repugnant to have in the state an association of non-citizens, and a nation within the nation…
Hasidic Judaism is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith. Hasidism comprises part of contemporary Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, alongside the previous Talmudic Lithuanian-Yeshiva approach and the Oriental Sephardi tradition.
It was founded in 18th-century Eastern Europe by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov as a reaction against overly legalistic Judaism. Opposite to this, Hasidic teachings cherished the sincerity and concealed holiness of the unlettered common folk, and their equality with the scholarly elite. The emphasis on the Immanent Divine presence in everything gave new value to prayer and deeds of kindness, alongside Rabbinic supremacy of study, and replaced historical mystical (kabbalistic) and ethical (musar) asceticism and admonishment with optimism, encouragement, and dailyfervour. This populist emotional revival accompanied the elite ideal of nullification to paradoxical Divine Panentheism, through intellectual articulation of inner dimensions of mystical thought. The adjustment of Jewish values sought to add to required standards of ritual observance, while relaxing others where inspiration predominated. Its communal gatherings celebrate soulful song and storytelling as forms of mystical devotion.
Though persecution still existed, emancipation spread throughout Europe in the 19th century. Napoleon invited Jews to leave the Jewish ghettos in Europe and seek refuge in the newly created tolerant political regimes that offered equality under Napoleonic Law (see Napoleon and the Jews). By 1871, with Germanys emancipation of Jews, every European country except Russia had emancipated its Jews.
Despite increasing integration of the Jews with secular society, a new form of anti-Semitism emerged, based on the ideas of race and nationhood rather than the religious hatred of the Middle Ages. This form of anti-Semitism held that Jews were a separate and inferior race from the Aryan people of Western Europe, and led to the emergence of political parties in France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary that campaigned on a platform of rolling back emancipation. This form of anti-Semitism emerged frequently in European culture, most famously in the Dreyfus Trial in France. These persecutions, along with state-sponsored pogroms in Russia in the late 19th century, led a number of Jews to believe that they would only be safe in their own nation. See Theodor Herzl and History of Zionism.
During this period, Jewish migration to the United States (see American Jews) created a large new community mostly freed of the restrictions of Europe. Over 2 million Jews arrived in the United States between 1890 and 1924, most from Russia and Eastern Europe. A similar case occurred in the southern tip of the continent, specifically in the countries of Argentina and Uruguay.
During the 1870s and 1880s the Jewish population in Europe began to more actively discuss immigration back to Israel and the re-establishment of the Jewish Nation in its national homeland, fulfilling the biblical prophecies relating to Shivat Tzion. In 1882 the first Zionist settlementRishon LeZionwas founded by immigrants who belonged to the “Hovevei Zion” movement. Later on, the “Bilu” movement established many other settlements in the land of Israel.
The Zionist movement was founded officially after the Kattowitz convention (1884) and the World Zionist Congress (1897), and it was Theodor Herzl who began the struggle to establish a state for the Jews.
After the First World War, it seemed that the conditions to establish such a state had arrived: The United Kingdom captured Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, and the Jews received the promise of a “National Home” from the British in the form of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, given to Chaim Weizmann.
In 1920 the British Mandate of Palestine began and the pro-Jewish Herbert Samuel was appointed High Commissioner in Palestine, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was established and several big Jewish immigration waves to Palestine occurred. The Arab co-inhabitants of Palestine were hostile to increasing Jewish immigration however, and began to oppose Jewish settlement and the pro-Jewish policy of the British government by violent means.
Arab gangs began performing violent acts and murders on convoys and on the Jewish population. After the 1920 Arab riots and 1921 Jaffa riots, the Jewish leadership in Palestine believed that the British had no desire to confront local Arab gangs over their attacks on Palestinian Jews. Believing that they could not rely on the British administration for protection from these gangs, the Jewish leadership created the Haganah organization to protect their farms and Kibbutzim.
Major riots occurred during the 1929 Palestine riots and the 19361939 Arab revolt in Palestine.
Due to the increasing violence the United Kingdom gradually started to backtrack from the original idea of a Jewish state and to speculate on a binational solution or an Arab state that would have a Jewish minority.
Meanwhile, the Jews of Europe and the United States gained success in the fields of the science, culture and the economy. Among those generally considered the most famous were scientist Albert Einstein and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. A disproportionate number of Nobel Prize winners at this time were Jewish, as is still the case. In Russia, many Jews were involved in the October Revolution and belonged to the Communist Party.
In 1933, with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany, the Jewish situation became more severe. Economic crises, racial anti-Semitic laws, and a fear of an upcoming war led many Jews to flee from Europe to Palestine, to the United States and to the Soviet Union.
In 1939 World War II began and until 1941 Hitler occupied almost all of Europe, including Polandwhere millions of Jews were living at that timeand France. In 1941, following the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Final Solution began, an extensive organized operation on an unprecedented scale, aimed at the annihilation of the Jewish people, and resulting in the persecution and murder of Jews in political Europe, inclusive of European North Africa (pro-Nazi Vichy-North Africa and Italian Libya). This genocide, in which approximately six million Jews were murdered methodically and with horrifying cruelty, is known as The Holocaust or Shoah (Hebrew term). In Poland, more than one million Jews were murdered in gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp alone.
The massive scale of the Holocaust, and the horrors that happened during it, heavily affected the Jewish nation and world public opinion, which only understood the dimensions of the Holocaust after the war. Efforts were then increased to establish a Jewish state in Palestine.
In 1945 the Jewish resistance organizations in Palestine unified and established the Jewish Resistance Movement. The movement began attacking the British authority. Following the King David Hotel bombing, Chaim Weizmann, president of the WZO appealed to the movement to cease all further military activity until a decision would be reached by the Jewish Agency. The Jewish Agency backed Weizmann’s recommendation to cease activities, a decision reluctantly accepted by the Haganah, but not by the Irgun and the Lehi. The JRM was dismantled and each of the founding groups continued operating according to their own policy.
The Jewish leadership decided to center the struggle in the illegal immigration to Palestine and began organizing massive amount of Jewish war refugees from Europe, without the approval of the British authorities. This immigration contributed a great deal to the Jewish settlements in Israel in the world public opinion and the British authorities decided to let the United Nations decide upon the fate of Palestine.
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181(II) recommending partitioning Palestine into an Arab state, a Jewish state and the City of Jerusalem. The Jewish leadership accepted the decision but the Arab League and the leadership of Palestinian Arabs opposed it. Following a period of civil war the 1948 ArabIsraeli War started.
In the middle of the war, after the last soldiers of the British mandate left Palestine, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed on May 14, 1948, the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel to be known as the State of Israel. In 1949 the war ended and the state of Israel started building the state and absorbing massive waves of hundreds of thousands of Jews from all over the world.
Jewish history – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
IslamicJewish relations started in the 7th century CE with the origin and spread of Islam in the Arabian peninsula. The two religions share similar values, guidelines, and principles. Islam also incorporates Jewish history as a part of its own. Muslims regard the Children of Israel as an important religious concept in Islam. Moses, the most important prophet of Judaism, is also considered a prophet and messenger in Islam. Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual, and his life is narrated and recounted more than that of any other prophet. There are approximately forty-three references to the Israelites in the Quran (excluding individual prophets), and many in the Hadith. Later rabbinic authorities and Jewish scholars such as Maimonides discussed the relationship between Islam and Jewish law. Maimonides himself, it has been argued, was influenced by Islamic legal thought.
Because Islam and Judaism share a common origin in the Middle East through Abraham, both are considered Abrahamic religions. There are many shared aspects between Judaism and Islam; Islam was strongly influenced by Judaism in its fundamental religious outlook, structure, jurisprudence and practice. Because of this similarity, as well as through the influence of Muslim culture and philosophy on the Jewish community within the Islamic world, there has been considerable and continued physical, theological, and political overlap between the two faiths in the subsequent 1,400 years.
The term Semitic is due to the legendary derivation of the peoples so called from Shem, son of Noah (Gen. x, 1).Hebreaic and Arabian peoples are generally classified as Semitic, a concept derived from Biblical accounts of the origins of the cultures known to the ancient Hebrews. Those closest to them in culture and language were generally deemed to be descended from their forefather Shem, one of the sons of Noah. Enemies were often said to be descendants of his cursed nephew Canaan, grandson of Noah, son of Ham. Modern historians confirm the affinity of ancient Hebrews and Arabs based on characteristics that are usually transmitted from parent to child, such as genes and habits, with the most well-studied criterion being language. Similarities between Semitic languages (including Hebrew and Arabic) and their differences with those spoken by other adjacent people confirm the common origin of Hebrews and Arabs among other Semitic nations.
Around the 12th century BCE, Judaism developed as a monotheistic religion. According to Jewish tradition, the history of Judaism begins with the Covenant between God and Abraham, who is considered a Hebrew. (The first Hebrew being Eber, a forefather of Abraham.) The Hebrew Bible occasionally refers to Arvi peoples (or variants thereof), translated as “Arab” or “Arabian” deriving from “Arava” plain, the dwellers of plains. Some Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula are considered descendants of Ismael, the first son of Abraham. While the commonly held view among historians, most Westerners and some lay Muslims is that Islam originated in Arabia with Muhammad’s first recitations of the Qur’an in the 7th century CE. In Islam`s view, the Qur’an itself asserts that it was Adam who is the first Muslim (in the sense of believing in God and surrendering to God and God’s commands). Islam also shares many traits with Judaism (as well as with Christianity), like the belief in and reverence for common prophets, such as Moses and Abraham, who are recognized in all three Abrahamic religions.
Judaism and Islam are known as “Abrahamic religions”. The first Abrahamic religion was Judaism as practiced in the wilderness of the Sinai peninsula subsequent to the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and continuing as the Hebrews entered the land of Canaan to conquer and settle it. The kingdom eventually split into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah prior to the Babylonian Exile, at the beginning of the 1st millennium CE. The firstborn son of Abraham, Ishmael, is considered by Muslims to be the Father of the Arabs. Abraham’s second son Isaac is called Father of the Hebrews. In Islamic tradition Isaac is viewed as the grandfather of all Israelites and the promised son of Ibraham from his barren wife Sarah. In the Hadith, Muhammad says that some forty thousand prophets and messengers came from Abraham’s seed, most of these being from Isaac, and that the last one in this line was Jesus. In the Jewish tradition Abraham is called Avraham Avinu or “Our Father Abraham”. For Muslims, he is considered an important prophet of Islam (see Ibrahim) and the ancestor of Muhammad through Ishmael. Ibraham is called the Friend of God in Islam and is regarded as one of the prophets of Islam alongside Noah, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, among others. The narrative of his life in the Quran is similar to that seen in the Tanakh 
In the course of Muhammad’s proselytizing in Mecca, he initially viewed Christians and Jews (both of whom he referred to as “People of the Book”) as natural allies, sharing the core principles of his teachings, and anticipated their acceptance and support. Ten years after his first revelation in Mount Hira, a delegation consisting of the representatives of the twelve important clans of Medina pledged to physically protect Muhammad and invited him as a neutral outsider to Medina to serve as chief arbitrator for the entire community, which had been fighting with each other for around a hundred years and was in need of an authority.
Among the things Muhammad did in order to settle down the longstanding grievances among the tribes of Medina was drafting a document known as the Constitution of Medina. The community defined in the Constitution of Medina had a religious outlook but was also shaped by the practical considerations and substantially preserved the legal forms of the old Arab tribes. Muhammad also adopted some features of the Jewish worship and customs such as fasting on the Yom Kippur day. According to Alford Welch, the Jewish practice of having three daily prayer rituals appears to have been a factor in the introduction of the Islamic midday prayer but that Muhammad’s adoption of facing north towards Qiblah (position of Jerusalem – Islam’s first Qiblah or direction of prayer, which subsequently changed to face the Kabah in Mecca) when performing the daily prayers however was also practiced among other groups in Arabia.
Many Medinans converted to the faith of the Meccan immigrants, particularly pagan and polytheist tribes, but there were fewer Jewish converts. The Jews rejected Muhammad’s claim to prophethood, and further argued that some passages in the Qur’an contradicted with the Torah. Their opposition was due to political as well as religious reasons, as many Jews in Medina had close links with Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy, who was partial to the Jews and would have been Medina’s prince if not for Muhammad’s arrival.
Mark Cohen adds that Muhammad appeared “centuries after the cessation of biblical prophecy” and “couched his message in a verbiage foreign to Judaism both in its format and rhetoric.”Maimonides, a Jewish scholar, referred to Muhammad as a false prophet. Moreover, Maimonides asserted that Muhammad’s claim to prophethood was in itself what disqualified him, because it contradicted the prophecy of Moses, the Torah and the Oral Tradition. His argument further asserted that Muhammad being illiterate also disqualified him from being a prophet.
In the Constitution of Medina, Jews were given equality to Muslims in exchange for political loyalty and were allowed to practice their own culture and religion. However, as Muhammad encountered opposition from the Jews, Muslims began to adopt a more negative view on the Jews, seeing them as something of a fifth column. Jewish violations of the Constitution of Medina, by aiding the enemies of the community, finally brought on major battles of Badr and Uhud which resulted in Muslim victories and the exile of the Banu Qainuqa and Banu Nadir, two of the main three Jewish tribes from Medina.
Both regard many people as being prophets with exceptions. Both unlike Christianity teach Eber, Job, and Joseph were prophets. However, according to one sage in Judaism the whole story attributed to Job was an allegory and Job never actually existed. Rashi, a Jewish commentator on the Hebrew Scriptures quotes a text dating to 160CE, which is also quoted in the Talmud on his commentary on Genesis 10 to show that Eber was a prophet.
Jews have often lived in predominantly Islamic nations. Since many national borders have changed over the fourteen centuries of Islamic history, a single community, such as the Jewish community in Cairo, may have been contained in a number of different nations over different periods.
In the Iberian Peninsula, under Muslim rule, Jews were able to make great advances in mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, chemistry and philology. This era is sometimes referred to as the Golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula.
Traditionally Jews living in Muslim lands, known (along with Christians) as dhimmis, were allowed to practice their religion and to administor their internal affairs but subject to certain conditions. They had to pay the jizya (a per capita tax imposed on free, adult non-Muslim males) to the Muslim government but is exempted from paying the zakat (a tax imposed on free, adult Muslim males). Dhimmis were prohibited from bearing arms or giving testimony in most Muslim court cases, for there were many Sharia laws which did not apply to Dhimmis, who practiced Halakha. A common misconception is that of the requirement of distinctive clothing, which is a law not taught by the Qur’an or hadith but allegedly invented by the Sunni in early medieval Baghdad. Jews rarely faced martyrdom or exile, or forced compulsion to change their religion, and they were mostly free in their choice of residence and profession. The notable examples of massacre of Jews include the killing or forcible conversion of them by the rulers of the Almohad dynasty in Al-Andalus in the 12th century. Notable examples of the cases where the choice of residence was taken away from them includes confining Jews to walled quarters (mellahs) in Morocco beginning from the 15th century and especially since the early 19th century. Most conversions were voluntary and happened for various reasons. However, there were some forced conversions in the 12th century under the Almohad dynasty of North Africa and al-Andalus as well as in Persia.
The medieval Volga state of Khazaria converted to Judaism, whereas its subject Volga Bulgaria converted to Islam.
Islam accepts converts, and spreading Dawah to other religious adherents including Jews. In modern times, some notable converts to Islam from a Jewish background include Muhammad Asad (b. Leopold Weiss), Abdallah Schleifer (b. Marc Schleifer), Youssef Darwish, Layla Morad and Maryam Jameelah (b. Margret Marcus). More than 200 Israeli Jews converted to Islam between 2000 and 2008.
Historically, in accordance with traditional Islamic law, Jews generally enjoyed freedom of religion in Islamic states as People of the Book. However, certain rulers did historically enact forced conversions for political reasons and religious reasons in regards to youth and orphans. A number of groups who converted from Judaism to Islam have remained Muslim, while maintaining a connection to and interest in their Jewish heritage. These groups include the anusim or Daggataun of Timbuktu who converted in 1492, when Askia Muhammed came to power in Timbuktu and decreed that Jews must convert to Islam or leave, and the Chala, a portion of the Bukharan Jewish community who were pressured and many times forced to convert to Islam.
In Persia, during the Safavid dynasty of the 16th and 17th centuries, Jews were forced to proclaim publicly that they had converted to Islam, and were given the name Jadid-al-Islam (New Muslims). In 1661, an Islamic edict was issued overturning these forced conversions, and the Jews returned to practicing Judaism openly. Jews in Yemen also suffered under Islam, which persecution reached its climax in the 17th century when nearly all Jewish communities in Yemen were given the choice of either converting to Islam or of being banished to a remote desert area, and which later became known as the Mawza Exile. Similarly, to end a pogrom in 1839, the Jews of Mashhad were forced to convert en masse to Islam. They practiced Judaism secretly for over a century before openly returning to their faith. At the turn of the 21st century, around 10,000 lived in Israel, another 4,000 in New York City, and 1,000 elsewhere. (See Allahdad incident.)
In Turkey, the claimed messiah Sabbatai Zevi was forced to convert to Islam in 1668. Most of his followers abandoned him, but several thousand converted to Islam as well, while continuing to see themselves as Jews. They became known as the Dnmeh (a Turkish word for a religious convert). Some Donmeh remain today, primarily in Turkey.
Judaism does not proselytize, and often discourages conversion to Judaism; maintaining that all people have a covenant with God, and instead encourages non-Jews to uphold the Seven Laws which it believes were given to Noah. Conversions to Judaism are therefore relatively rare, including those from the Islamic world. One famous Muslim who converted to Judaism was Ovadyah, famous from his contact with Maimonides.Reza Jabari, an Iranian flight attendant who hijacked the air carrier Kish Air flight 707 between Tehran and the resort island of Kish in September 1995, and landed in Israel converted to Judaism after serving four-and-a-half years in an Israeli prison. He settled among Iranian Jews in the Israeli Red Sea resort town of Eilat. Another such case includes Avraham Sinai, a former Hezbollah fighter who, after the Israel-Lebanon War ended, fled to Israel and converted from Islam to become a religious and practicing Jew.
Iran contains the largest number of Jews among Muslim countries and Uzbekistan and Turkey have the next largest communities. Iran’s Jewish community is officially recognized as a religious minority group by the government, and, like the Zoroastrians, they were allocated a seat in the Iranian parliament. In 2000 it was estimated that at that time there were still 3035,000 Jews in Iran, other sources put the figure as low as 2025,000. They can not emigrate out of Iran, since the government only allows one family member to leave and be out of the country at a time. A Jewish businessman was hanged for helping Jews emigrate.
In present times, the Arab-Israeli conflict is a defining event in the relationship between Muslims and Jews. The State of Israel was proclaimed on 14 May 1948, one day before the expiry of the British Mandate of Palestine. Not long after, five Arab countriesEgypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraqattacked Israel, launching the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. After almost a year of fighting, a ceasefire was declared and temporary borders, known as the Green Line, were instituted. Jordan annexed what became known as the West Bank and Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip. Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations on 11 May 1949. During the course of the hostilities, 711,000 Arabs, according to UN estimates, fled or were expelled. The following decades saw a similar Jewish exodus from Arab lands where 800,000-1,000,000 Jews were forcibly expelled or fled from Arab nations due to persecution.
The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj iek has argued that the term Judeo-Muslim to describe the middle-east culture against the western Christian culture would be more appropriate in these days, claiming as well a reduced influence from the Jewish culture on the western world due to the historical persecution and exclusion of the Jewish minority. (Though there is also a different perspective on Jewish contributions and influence.)
A Judaeo-Christian-Muslim concept thus refers to the three main monotheistic religions, commonly known as the Abrahamic religions. Formal exchanges between the three religions, modeled on the decades-old Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue groups, became common in American cities following the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo accords.
Following 9/11, there was a breakdown in interfaith dialogue that included mosques, due to the increased attention to Islamic sermons in American mosques, that revealed anti-Jewish and anti-Israel outbursts by previously respected Muslim clerics and community leaders.
One of the countrys most prominent mosques is the New York Islamic Cultural Center, built with funding from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia. Its imam, Mohammad Al-Gamei’a, disappeared two days after 9/11.
Back in Egypt, he was interviewed on an Arabic-language Web site, charging that the “Zionist media” had covered up Jewish responsibility for the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He agreed with Osama bin Laden’s accusations in bin Laden’s Letter to America, claiming that Jews were guilty of “disseminating corruption, heresy, homosexuality, alcoholism, and drugs.” And he said that Muslims in America were afraid to go to the hospital for fear that some Jewish doctors had “poisoned” Muslim children. “These people murdered the prophets; do you think they will stop spilling our blood? No,” he said.
Since 2007, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, led by Rabbi Marc Schneier and Russell Simmons has made improving Muslim-Jewish Relations their main focus. They have hosted the National Summit of Imams and Rabbis in 2007, the Gathering of Muslim and Jewish Leaders in Brussels in 2010 and in Paris in 2012, and three Missions of Muslim and Jewish Leaders to Washington D.C.. Each November the Foundation hosts the Weekend of Twinning which encourages Muslims and Jews, Imams and Rabbis, Mosques and synagogues, and Muslim and Jewish organizations to hold joint programming inspired by the commonalities between Muslims and Jews.
The interview was published 4 October on a Web site affiliated with Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, Islam’s most respected theological academy. Immediately after 9/11, Imam Al-Gamei’a had presided over an interfaith service at his mosque. At the service the imam was quoted as saying, “We emphasize the condemnation of all persons, whoever they be, who have carried out this inhuman act.” The Reverend James Parks Morton, president of the Interfaith Center of New York, who attended the service, called Imam Al-Gamei’a’s subsequent comments “astonishing.” “It makes interfaith dialogue all the more important,” Reverend Morton said.
Post 9/11 remarks made by Muslim leaders in Cleveland and Los Angeles also led to the suspension of longstanding Muslim-Jewish dialogues. Some Jewish community leaders cite the statements as the latest evidence that Muslim-Jewish dialogue is futile in today’s charged atmosphere. John Rosove, senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood, and other Jewish participants withdrew from the three-year-old Muslim-Jewish dialogue group after one of the Muslim participants, Salam al-Marayati of MPAC, suggested in a radio interview that Israel should be put on the list of suspects behind the 11 September attacks. However, in January 2011, MPAC member Wael Azmeh and Temple Israel engaged in an interfaith dialogue.
In Cleveland, Jewish community leaders put Muslim-Jewish relations on hold after the spiritual leader of a prominent mosque appeared in (a 1991) videotape …aired after 9/11 by a local TV station. Imam Fawaz Damra calls for “directing all the rifles at the first and last enemy of the Islamic nation and that is the sons of monkeys and pigs, the Jews.” The revelation was all the more shocking since Imam Damra had been an active participant in local interfaith activities.
Good Jewish-Muslim relations continue in Detroit, which has the nation’s largest Arab-American community. Jewish organizations there have established good relations with a religious group called the Islamic Supreme Council of North America.
In Los Angeles there has been a formation of an interfaith think tank through the partnership of neighboring institutions the University of Southern California, The Hebrew Union College, and Omar Foundation. The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement has an extensive online resource center with scholarly works on similar topics from Muslim and Jewish perspectives. The Center of Muslim-Jewish Engagement has begun to launch an interfaith religious text-study group to build bonds and form a positive community promoting interfaith relations.
There are many common aspects between Islam and Judaism. As Islam developed it gradually became the major religion closest to Judaism, both of them being strictly Monotheist religious traditions originating in a Semitic Middle Eastern culture. As opposed to Christianity, which originated from interaction between ancient Greek and Hebrew cultures, Islam is similar to Judaism in its fundamental religious outlook, structure, jurisprudence and practice. There are many traditions within Islam originating from traditions within the Hebrew Bible or from postbiblical Jewish traditions. These practices are known collectively as the Isra’iliyat.
The Qur’an speaks extensively about the Children of Israel (Ban Isr’l) and recognizes that the Jews (al-Yahd) are, according to lineage, descendants of Prophet Abraham through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. They were chosen by Allah for a mission: “And We chose them, purposely, above (all) creatures.” [Srah al-Dukhn: 32] Allah raised among them many Prophets and bestowed upon them what He had not bestowed upon many others: “And (remember) when Musa said unto his people: O my people! Remember Allah’s favor unto you, how He placed among you Prophets, and He made you Kings, and gave you that (which) He gave not to any (other) of (His) creatures.” [Srah al-M’idah: 20] He, also, exalted them over other nations of the earth and granted them many favors: “O Children of Israel! Remember My favor wherewith I favored you and how I preferred you to (all) creatures.” [Srah al-Baqarah: 47] They were chosen by God for a mission (44:32) and God raised among them many Prophets and bestowed upon them what He had not bestowed upon many others (5:20).
Islam and Judaism share the idea of a revealed Scripture. Even though they differ over the precise text and its interpretations, the Hebrew Torah and the Muslim Qur’an share a lot of narrative as well as injunctions. From this, they share many other fundamental religious concepts such as the belief in a day of Divine Judgment. Reflecting the vintage of the religions, the Torah is traditionally in the form of a scroll and the Qur’an in the form of a codex.
Muslims commonly refer to Jews (and Christians) as fellow “People of the Book”: people who follow the same general teachings in relation to the worship of the one God worshipped by Abraham – Allah. The Qur’an distinguishes between “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians), who should be tolerated even if they hold to their faiths, and idolaters (polytheists) who are not given that same degree of tolerance (See Al-Baqara, 256). Some restrictions for Muslims are relaxed, such as Muslim males being allowed to marry a woman from the “People of the Book” (Qur’an, 5:5), or Muslims being allowed to eat Kosher meat.
Judaism and Islam are unique in having systems of religious law based on oral tradition that can override the written laws and that does not distinguish between holy and secular spheres. In Islam the laws are called Sharia, In Judaism they are known as Halakha. Both Judaism and Islam consider the study of religious law to be a form of worship and an end in itself.
The most obvious common practice is the statement of the absolute unity of God, which Muslims observe in their five times daily prayers (salat), and Jews state at least twice (Shema Yisrael), along with praying 3 times daily. The two faiths also share the central practices of fasting and almsgiving, as well as dietary laws and other aspects of ritual purity. Under the strict dietary laws, lawful food is called Kosher in Judaism and Halal in Islam. Both religions prohibit the consumption of pork. Halal restrictions are similar to a subset of the Kashrut dietary laws, so all kosher foods are considered halal, while not all halal foods are Kosher. Halal laws, for instance, do not prohibit the mixing of milk and meat or the consumption of shellfish, each of which are prohibited by the kosher laws, with the exception that in the Shia Islam belief shellfish, mussel, things like that and other fish without scales are not considered halal.
Both Islam and traditional Judaism ban homosexuality and forbid human sexual relations outside of marriage and necessitate abstinence during the wife’s menstruation. Both Islam and Judaism practice circumcision for males.
Islam and Judaism both consider the Christian doctrine of the trinity and the belief of Jesus being God as explicitly against the tenets of monotheism. Idolatry and the worship of graven images is likewise forbidden in both religions. Both faiths believe in angels and demons; Jewish demonology mentions ha-Satan and Muslim demonology mentions Al-Shai’tan. Many angels also possess similar names and roles in both Judaism and Islam. Neither religion subscribes to the concept of original sin and both religions traditionally view homosexuality as sinful. Narrative similarities between Jewish texts and the Hadith have also been noted. For example, both state that Potiphar’s wife was named Zuleika.
There is a small bone in the body at the base of the spinal column called the Luz bone (known by differing traditions as either the coccyx or the seventh cervical vertebra) from which the body will be rebuilt at the time of resurrection, according to Muslims and Jews who share the belief that this bone does not decay. Muslim books refer to this bone as “^Ajbu al-Thanab” ( ). Rabbi Joshua Ben Hananiah replied to Hadrian, as to how man revived in the world to come, “From Luz, in the back-bone”.
There was a great deal of intellectual cultural diffusion between Muslim and Jewish rationalist philosophers of the medieval era, especially in Muslim Spain.
One of the most important early Jewish philosophers influenced by Islamic philosophy is Rav Saadia Gaon (892942). His most important work is Emunoth ve-Deoth (Book of Beliefs and Opinions). In this work Saadia treats of the questions that interested the Mutakallimun so deeply such as the creation of matter, the unity of God, the divine attributes, the soul, etc. and he criticizes the philosophers severely.
The 12th century saw the apotheosis of pure philosophy. This supreme exaltation of philosophy was due, in great measure, to Ghazali (10581111) among the Arabs, and to Judah ha-Levi (1140) among the Jews. Like Ghazali, Judah ha-Levi took upon himself to free religion from the shackles of speculative philosophy, and to this end wrote the Kuzari, in which he sought to discredit all schools of philosophy alike.
Maimonides endeavored to harmonize the philosophy of Aristotle with Judaism; and to this end he composed the work, Dalalat al-airin (Guide for the Perplexed) known better under its Hebrew title Moreh Nevuchim which served for many centuries as the subject of discussion and comment by Jewish thinkers. In this work, Maimonides considers creation, the unity of God, the attributes of God, the soul, etc., and treats them in accordance with the theories of Aristotle to the extent in which these latter do not conflict with religion. For example, while accepting the teachings of Aristotle upon matter and form, he pronounces against the eternity of matter. Nor does he accept Aristotle’s theory that God can have a knowledge of universals only, and not of particulars. If He had no knowledge of particulars, He would be subject to constant change. Maimonides argues: “God perceives future events before they happen, and this perception never fails Him. Therefore there are no new ideas to present themselves to Him. He knows that such and such an individual does not yet exist, but that he will be born at such a time, exist for such a period, and then return into non-existence. When then this individual comes into being, God does not learn any new fact; nothing has happened that He knew not of, for He knew this individual, such as he is now, before his birth” (Moreh, i.20). While seeking thus to avoid the troublesome consequences certain Aristotelian theories would entail upon religion, Maimonides could not altogether escape those involved in Aristotle’s idea of the unity of souls; and herein he laid himself open to the attacks of the orthodox.
Arabic philosophy also found a following with the Jews, to whom belongs the honor of having transmitted it to the Christian world. A series of eminent men such as the Tibbons, Narboni, and Gersonides joined in translating the Arabic philosophical works into Hebrew and commenting upon them. The works of Ibn Roshd especially became the subject of their study, due in great measure to Maimonides, who, in a letter addressed to his pupil Joseph ben Judah, spoke in the highest terms of Ibn Roshd’s commentary.
In a response, Maimonides discusses the relationship between Judaism and Islam:
The Ishmaelites are not at all idolaters; [idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts; and they attribute to God a proper unity, a unity concerning which there is no doubt. And because they lie about us, and falsely attribute to us the statement that God has a son, is no reason for us to lie about them and say that they are idolaters … And should anyone say that the house that they honor [the Kaaba] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship, then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven … [Regarding] the Ishmaelites today idolatry has been severed from the mouths of all of them [including] women and children. Their error and foolishness is in other things which cannot be put into writing because of the renegades and wicked among Israel [i.e., apostates]. But as regards the unity of God they have no error at all.
Saadia Gaon’s commentary on the Bible bears the stamp of the Mutazilites; and its author, while not admitting any positive attributes of God, except these of essence, endeavors to interpret Biblical passages in such a way as to rid them of anthropomorphism. The Jewish commentator, Abraham ibn Ezra, explains the Biblical account of Creation and other Scriptural passages in a philosophical sense. Nahmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman), too, and other commentators, show the influence of the philosophical ideas current in their respective epochs. This salutary inspiration, which lasted for five consecutive centuries, yielded to that other influence alone that came from the neglected depths of Jewish and of Neoplatonic mysticism, and which took the name of Kabbalah.
In the early days of Islam, according to Islamic sources, a Jewish tribe of Arabia had broken the peace treaty with the early Muslims, resulting in a short conflict, which ended with the tribe’s expulsion from Arabia. Since then, relations remained mostly peaceful under Islamic rule, with the exception of rare Jewish persecutions such as the 1033 Fez massacre, 1066 Granada massacre and 1834 looting of Safed. In the 20th century, the Zionist ideology was created, which wanted to re-establish a Jewish homeland in historic Israel, within the land of Canaan British mandate of Palestine. This created tensions between the Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs, leading to, beginning in 1947, a civil war and the subsequent expulsion of many non-Jewish Palestinians. In 1948, the state of Israel was declared, and shortly after its declaration of independence, the Arab States declared war on Israel, in which the Israelis were victorious. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, twelve more wars were fought between the Arab States and Israel. These wars and conflicts were more political and nationalistic than religious but the ArabIsraeli conflict has weakened IslamicJewish relations severely.
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Palestine, region, Asia Palestine (pl`stn), historic region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, at various times comprising parts of modern Israel, the West Bank and Gaza (recognized internationally by nations as independent Palestine), Jordan, and Egypt; also known as the Holy Land. The name is derived from a word meaning “land of the Philistines.” This article discusses mainly the geography and the history of Palestine until the United Nations took up the Palestine problem in 1947; for the economy and later history, see IsraelIsrael , officially State of Israel, republic (2005 est. pop. 6,277,000, including Israelis in occupied Arab territories), 7,992 sq mi (20,700 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea. ….. Click the link for more information. , JordanJordan, officially Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, kingdom (2005 est. pop. 5,760,000), 35,637 sq mi (92,300 sq km), SW Asia. It borders on Israel and the West Bank in the west, on Syria in the north, on Iraq in the northeast, and on Saudi Arabia in the east and south. ….. Click the link for more information. , and Palestinian AuthorityPalestinian Authority (PA) or Palestinian National Authority, interim self-government body responsible for areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip under Palestinian control. ….. Click the link for more information. , West BankWest Bank, territory, formerly part of Palestine, after 1949 administered by Jordan, since 1967 largely occupied by Israel (2005 est. pop. 2,386,000), 2,165 sq mi (5,607 sq km), west of the Jordan River, incorporating the northwest quadrant of the Dead Sea. ….. Click the link for more information. , and Gaza StripGaza Strip , (2007 pop. 1,416,543) rectangular coastal area, c.140 sq mi (370 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea adjoining Egypt and Israel, in what was formerly SW Palestine, now officially administered by the Palestinian Authority. ….. Click the link for more information. .
In the Bible, Palestine is called Canaan before the invasion of Joshua; the usual Hebrew name is Eretz Israel [land of Israel]. Palestine is the Holy Land of Jews, having been promised to them by God according to the Bible; of Christians because it was the scene of Jesus’ life; and of Muslims because they consider Islam to be the heir of Judaism and Christianity and because Jerusalem is the site, according to Muslim tradition, of Muhammad’s ascent to heaven. The Holy Land derives its special character from being a place of pilgrimage. Shrines, shared in common by several religions, cluster most numerously in and about Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Hebron.
Palestine’s boundaries, never constant, always included at least the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. So defined, the region is c.140 mi (225 km) long and c.30 to c.70 mi (50115 km) wide. Outside these bounds were such biblical lands as EdomEdom , Idumaea, or Idumea , mountainous country, called also Mt. Seir. According to the Book of Genesis, it was given to Esau, also called Edom, and his descendants. It extended along the eastern border of the Arabah valley, from the Dead Sea to Elat. ….. Click the link for more information. , GileadGilead , in the Bible.
1 Eponym of the Gileadites, grandson of Manasseh.
3 Jephthah’s father.
4 City near Mizpah, denounced by Hosea.
5 Fertile, mountainous region, NE of the Dead Sea. ….. Click the link for more information. , MoabMoab , ancient nation located in the uplands E of the Dead Sea, now part of Jordan. The area is unprotected from the east, hence its history is a chain of raids by the Bedouin. ….. Click the link for more information. , and Hauran. The British mandate of Palestine (192048) included also the Negev, a c.100-mile-long (160-km) desert stretching S to the Gulf of Aqaba.
From east to west, Palestine proper comprises three geographic zones: the depressionnorthernmost extension of the Great Rift Valleyin which lies the Jordan River, Lake Hula, the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias), the Dead Sea, and the Arabah, a dry valley S of the Dead Sea; a ridge rising steeply to the west of this cleft; and a coastal plain c.12 mi (20 km) wide. In N Palestine the ridge is interrupted by the Plain of Esdraelon (Jezreel) and the connecting valley of Bet Shean (Beisan), the most fertile part of the region. The highland area to the north is called GalileeGalilee , region, N Israel, roughly the portion north of the plain of Esdraelon. Galilee was the chief scene of the ministry of Jesus. The Sea of Galilee (see Galilee, Sea of), the countryside, and the townsCana, Capernaum, Tiberias, Nazarethare repeatedly referred ….. Click the link for more information. , its chief centers being ZefatZefat , town (1994 pop. 21,600), NE Israel. One of Israel’s four holy cities, it has a thriving artists’ colony and many museums and ancient synagogues. Ceramics, diamonds, and handicrafts are produced in the town, which has a large Orthodox Jewish population. Founded c.A.D. ….. Click the link for more information. and NazarethNazareth , town (1993 pop. 53,500), N Israel, in Galilee. As the home of Jesus, it is a great pilgrimage and tourist center. Nazareth is also the trade center for an agricultural region. The town’s manufactures include processed food, cigarettes, and pottery. ….. Click the link for more information. , near which rises Mt. Tabor. To the south of the Plain of Esdraelon the broad ridge stretches unbroken to the Negev. First there are the hills of SamariaSamaria , city, ancient Palestine, on a hill NW of modern-day Nablus (Shechem). The site is now occupied by a village, Sabastiyah (West Bank). Samaria (named for Shemer, who owned the land) was built by King Omri as the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel in the early 9th ….. Click the link for more information. , with northward prongs (to the east Gilboa and to the west Mt. Carmel) fronting on the Bay of Acre. The center of Samaria is NablusNablus , Heb. Shechem, city (2003 est. pop. 127,000), the West Bank. It is the market center for a region where wheat and olives are grown and sheep and goats are grazed. Manufactures include soap made from olive oil and colorful shepherds’ coats. ….. Click the link for more information. , which lies between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. The mountains of JudaeaJudaea or Judea [Lat. from Judah], region, Greco-Roman name for S Palestine. It varied in size in different periods. In the time of Jesus it was both part of the province of Syria and a kingdom ruled by the Herods. ….. Click the link for more information. are W of the Dead Sea. In Judaea are JerusalemJerusalem , Heb. Yerushalayim, Arab. Al Quds, city (1994 pop. 578,800), capital of Israel. It is situated on a ridge 2,500 ft (760 m) high that lies west of the Dead Sea and the Jordan River. ….. Click the link for more information. , BethlehemBethlehem [Heb.,=house of bread or house of Lahm, a goddess], Arab. Bayt Lahm, town (2003 est. pop. 28,000), in the West Bank. It is traditionally considered the birthplace of Jesus and is one of the world’s great shrines. ….. Click the link for more information. , and HebronHebron, Arab. Al-Khalil, city (2003 est. pop. 155,000), the West Bank. Hebron is situated at an altitude of 3,000 ft (910 m) in a region where grapes, cereal grains, and vegetables are grown. ….. Click the link for more information. . Well to the south, in the Negev, lies BeershebaBeersheba [Heb.,=seven wells or well of the oath], city (1994 pop. 147,900), S Israel, principal city of the Negev Desert. It is the trade center for surrounding settlements and for Bedouins, who hold a weekly market in Beersheba. Construction is the city’s main industry. ….. Click the link for more information. .
The towns of the coastal plain are AkkoAkko or Acre , Fr. Saint-Jean d’Acre, Arab. Acca, city (1994 pop. 45,300), NW Israel, a port on the Bay of Haifa (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea). Its manufactures include iron and steel, chemicals, and textiles. The city was captured (A.D. ….. Click the link for more information. (Acre), HaifaHaifa , city (1994 pop. 246,700), NW Israel, a port on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of Mt. Carmel. Haifa is the chief city of N Israel and the country’s principal oil refining center. ….. Click the link for more information. , NetanyaNetanya , city (1994 pop. 144,900), W central Israel, on the Mediterranean Sea; also spelled Nathania. It is a beach resort and the trade center for agricultural settlements in the region. Diamond cutting and polishing and citrus packing are the chief industries. ….. Click the link for more information. , and the twin cities of Tel AvivTel Aviv , city (1994 pop. 355,200), W central Israel, on the Mediterranean Sea. Oficially named Tel AvivJaffa, it is Israel’s commercial, financial, communications, and cultural center and the core of its largest metropolitan area. ….. Click the link for more information. and JaffaJaffa , Heb. Yafo, part of Tel Aviv, W central Israel, on the Mediterranean Sea. Originally a Phoenician city, Jaffa has been historically important largely because of its port (which was closed in 1965, when the port of Ashdod was completed). ….. Click the link for more information. . Near Tel Aviv are Petah TiqwaPetah Tiqwa , town (1994 pop. 152,000), W central Israel. Its industries produce textiles, plastics, processed foods, tires and other rubber products, and soap. There are extensive citrus groves on the outskirts, and building stone is quarried nearby. ….. Click the link for more information. , LodLod , city (1994 pop. 51,200), central Israel. It is also known as Lydda. Its manufactures include paper products, chemicals, oil products, electronic equipment, processed food, and cigarettes. ….. Click the link for more information. , RamlaRamla or Ramleh [Arab.,=sand], town (1994 pop. 57,300), central Israel, in a farming area. Ramla may be the biblical Ramathaim-zophim, but more probably it was founded (c.716) by the Arabs. ….. Click the link for more information. , and RehovotRehovot or Rehoboth , town (1994 pop. 84,900), central Israel. It is the trade center for a large citrus-growing area, and its industries include fruit packing and the production of citrus concentrates. ….. Click the link for more information. . To the south is GazaGaza, Ghazzah , or Ghuzzeh , town (2003 est. pop. 380,000), principal city and administrative center of the Gaza Strip, SW Asia, on the Philistia plain between the Mediterranean Sea and W Israel. ….. Click the link for more information. . The various sections of the plain are named the Valley of Zebulun, or Plain of Acre, S of Akko; Sharon, S of Mt. Carmel; and the Shephelah, or Philistia, in the extreme south.
Agriculture in the Jordan valley centers around Lake Hula and the Sea of Galilee. The chief town is TiberiasTiberias , town (1994 pop. 36,400), NE Israel, on the Sea of Galilee, 682 ft (208 m) below sea level. It is one of the four holy cities of Judaism and a trade center for agricultural settlements. A resort town, Tiberias has hotels, a hot springs spa, and a lake port. ….. Click the link for more information. . Farther south the valley is too narrow to be of much use, except for providing water power, and there is only one city, JerichoJericho [Heb.,=fragrant, or city of the moon god], Arab. Ariha, town (2003 est. pop. 19,000), West Bank, in the Jordan valley N of the Dead Sea; nearby is the site of the ancient city of Jericho. ….. Click the link for more information. , E of Jerusalem. The surfacec.1,300 ft (400 m) below sea levelof the Dead Sea, into which the Jordan empties, is the lowest spot on the earth’s surface.
The earliest known inhabitants of Palestine were of the same group as the Neanderthal inhabitants of Europe. By the 4th millennium B.C. Palestine was inhabited by herders and farmers. It was in the 3d millennium that most of the towns known in historical times came into existence. They became centers of trade for Egyptian and Babylonian goods. During the 2d millennium, Palestine was ruled by the Hyksos and by the Egyptians. Toward the end of this period Moses led the Hebrew people (see JewsJews [from Judah], traditionally, descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, whose tribe, with that of his half-brother Benjamin, made up the kingdom of Judah; historically, members of the worldwide community of adherents to Judaism. ….. Click the link for more information. ) out of Egypt, across the Sinai, and into Palestine.
Around 1200 B.C., the Philistines (“Sea Peoples”) invaded the southern coastland and established a powerful kingdom (see PhilistiaPhilistia , region of SW ancient Palestine, comprising a coastal strip along the Mediterranean and a portion of S Canaan. The chief cities of Philistia were Gaza, Ashqelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath; strategically located on the great commercial route from Egypt to Syria, they ….. Click the link for more information. ). The Hebrews were subject to the Philistines until c.1000 B.C., when an independent Hebrew kingdom was established under SaulSaul, first king of the ancient Hebrews. He was a Benjamite and anointed king by Samuel. Saul’s territory was probably limited to the hill country of Judah and the region to the north, and his proximity to the Philistines brought him into constant conflict with them. ….. Click the link for more information. , who was succeeded by DavidDavid, d. c.970 B.C., king of ancient Israel (c.1010970 B.C.), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure. ….. Click the link for more information. and then by SolomonSolomon, d. c.930 B.C., king of the ancient Hebrews (c.970c.930 B.C.), son and successor of David. His mother was Bath-sheba. His accession has been dated to c.970 B.C. According to the Bible. ….. Click the link for more information. . After the expansionist reign of Solomon (c.950 B.C.), the kingdom broke up into two states, Israel, with its capital at Samaria, and Judah, under the house of David, with its capital at Jerusalem. The two kingdoms were later conquered by expanding Mesopotamian states, Israel by AssyriaAssyria , ancient empire of W Asia. It developed around the city of Ashur, or Assur, on the upper Tigris River and south of the later capital, Nineveh. Assyria’s Rise
The nucleus of a Semitic state was forming by the beginning of the 3d millennium B.C. ….. Click the link for more information. (c.720 B.C.) and Judah by BabyloniaBabylonia , ancient empire of Mesopotamia. The name is sometimes given to the whole civilization of S Mesopotamia, including the states established by the city rulers of Lagash, Akkad (or Agade), Uruk, and Ur in the 3d millennium B.C. ….. Click the link for more information. (586 B.C.).
In 539 B.C. the Persians conquered the Babylonians. The Jewish Temple, destroyed by the Babylonians, was rebuilt (516 B.C.). Under Persian rule Palestine enjoyed considerable autonomy. Alexander the Great of Macedon, conquered Palestine in 333 B.C. His successors, the Ptolemies and Seleucids, contested for Palestine. The attempt of the Seleucid Antiochus IVAntiochus IV (Antiochus Epiphanes) , d. 163 B.C., king of Syria (175 B.C.163 B.C.), son of Antiochus III and successor of his brother Seleucus IV. His nephew (later Demetrius I) was held as a hostage in Rome, although still claiming the throne. ….. Click the link for more information. (Antiochus Epiphanes) to impose Hellenism brought a Jewish revolt under the MaccabeesMaccabees or Machabees , Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon. ….. Click the link for more information. , who set up a new Jewish state in 142 B.C. The state lasted until 63 B.C., when Pompey conquered Palestine for Rome.
Palestine at the time of Jesus was ruled by puppet kings of the Romans, the Herods (see HerodHerod, dynasty reigning in Palestine at the time of Jesus. As a dynasty the Herods depended largely on the power of Rome. They are usually blamed for the state of virtual anarchy in Palestine at the beginning of the Christian era.
Antipater (fl. c.65 B.C. ….. Click the link for more information. ). When the Jews revolted in A.D. 66, the Romans destroyed the Temple (A.D. 70). Another revolt between A.D. 132 and 135 was also suppressed (see Bar Kokba, SimonBar Kokba, Simon, or Simon Bar Cochba [Heb.,=son of the star], d. A.D. 135, Hebrew hero and leader of a major revolt against Rome under Hadrian (132135). He may have claimed to be a Messiah; the Talmud relates that Akiba ben Joseph credited him with this title. ….. Click the link for more information. ), Jericho and Bethlehem were destroyed, and the Jews were barred from Jerusalem. When Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity (312), Palestine became a center of Christian pilgrimage, and many Jews left the region. Palestine over the next few centuries generally enjoyed peace and prosperity until it was conquered in 614 by the Persians. It was recovered briefly by the Byzantine Romans, but fell to the Muslim Arabs under caliph Umar by the year 640.
At this time (during the Umayyad rule), the importance of Palestine as a holy place for Muslims was emphasized, and in 691 the Dome of the Rock was erected on the site of the Temple of Solomon, which is claimed by Muslims to have been the halting station of Muhammad on his journey to heaven. Close to the Dome, the Aqsa mosque was built. In 750, Palestine passed to the Abbasid caliphate, and this period was marked by unrest between factions that favored the Umayyads and those who preferred the new rulers.
In the 9th cent., Palestine was conquered by the Fatimid dynasty, which had risen to power in North Africa. The Fatimids had many enemiesthe Seljuks, Karmatians, Byzantines, and Bedouinsand Palestine became a battlefield. Under the Fatimid caliph al Hakim (9961021), the Christians and Jews were harshly suppressed, and many churches were destroyed. In 1099, Palestine was captured by the Crusaders (see CrusadesCrusades , series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. First Crusade Origins
In the 7th cent., Jerusalem was taken by the caliph Umar. ….. Click the link for more information. ), who established the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Crusaders were defeated by SaladinSaladin , Arabic Salah ad-Din, 1137?1193, Muslim warrior and Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, the great opponent of the Crusaders, b. Mesopotamia, of Kurdish descent. ….. Click the link for more information. at the battle of Hittin (1187), and the Latin Kingdom was ended; they were finally driven out of Palestine by the Mamluks in 1291. Under Mamluk rule Palestine declined.
In 1516 the Mamluks were defeated by the Ottoman Turks. The first three centuries of Ottoman rule isolated Palestine from outside influence. In 1831, Muhammad Ali, the Egyptian viceroy nominally subject to the Ottoman sultan, occupied Palestine. Under him and his son the region was opened to European influence. Ottoman control was reasserted in 1840, but Western influence continued. Among the many European settlements established, the most significant in the long run were those of Jews, Russian Jews being the first to come (1882).
In the late 19th cent. the Zionist movement was founded (see ZionismZionism, modern political movement for reconstituting a Jewish national state in Palestine. Early Years
The rise of the Zionist movement in the late 19th cent. ….. Click the link for more information. ) with the goal of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and dozens of Zionist colonies were founded there. At the start of the Zionist colonization of Palestine in the late 19th cent., the rural people were Arab peasants (fellahin). Most of the population were Muslims, but in the urban areas there were sizable groups of Arab Christians (at Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem) and of Jews (at Zefat, Tiberias, Jerusalem, Jericho, and Hebron).
At the same time Arab nationalism was developing in the Middle East in opposition to Turkish rule. In World War I the British, with Arab aid, gained control of Palestine. In the Balfour Declaration (1917) the British promised Zionist leaders to aid the establishment of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, with due regard for the rights of non-Jewish Palestinians. However, the British had also promised Arab leaders to support the creation of independent Arab states. The Arabs believed Palestine was to be among these, an intention that the British later denied.
In 1919 there were about 568,000 Muslims, 74,000 Christians, and 58,000 Jews in Palestine. The first Arab anti-Zionist riots occurred in Palestine in 1920. The League of Nations approved the British mandate in 1922, although the actual administration of the area had begun in 1920. As part of the mandate Britain was given the responsibility for aiding the Jewish homeland and fostering Jewish immigration there. The British stressed that their policy to aid the homeland did not include making all Palestine the homeland, but rather that such a home should exist within Palestine and that there were economic limits on how many immigrants should be admitted (1922 White Paper).
In the 1920s, Jewish immigration was slight, but the Jewish communities made great economic progress. In 1929 there was serious Jewish-Arab violence occasioned by a clash at the Western, or Wailing, Wall in Jerusalem. A British report found that Arabs feared the economic and political consequences of continued Jewish immigration with its attendant land purchases. Zionists were angered when a new White Paper (1930) urged limiting immigration, but they were placated by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald (1931).
The rise of Nazism in Europe during the 1930s led to a great increase in immigration. Whereas there were about 5,000 immigrants authorized in 1932, about 62,000 were authorized in 1935. Arabs conducted strikes and boycotts; a general strike in 1936, organized by Haj Amin al Husayni, mufti of Jerusalem, lasted six months. Some Arabs acquired weapons and formed a guerrilla force. The Peel commission (1937), finding British promises to Zionists and Arabs irreconcilable, declared the mandate unworkable and recommended the partition of Palestine into Jewish, Arab, and British (largely the holy places) mandatory states. The Zionists reluctantly approved partition, but the Arabs rejected it, objecting particularly to the proposal that the Arab population be forcibly transferred out of the proposed Jewish state.
The British dropped the partition idea and announced a new policy (1939 White Paper). Fifteen thousand Jews a year would be allowed to immigrate for the next five years, after which Jewish immigration would be subject to Arab acquiescence; Jewish land purchases were to be restricted; and within 10 years an independent, binational Palestine would be established. The Zionists were shocked by what they considered a betrayal of the Balfour Declaration. The Arabs also rejected the plan, demanding instead the immediate creation of an Arab Palestine, the prohibition of further immigration, and a review of the status of all Jewish immigrants since 1918.
The outbreak of World War II prevented the implementation of the plan, except for the restriction on land transfers. The Zionists and most Arabs supported Britain in the war (although Haj Amin al Husayni was in Germany and negotiated Palestine’s future with Hitler), but tension inside Palestine increased. The Haganah, a secret armed group organized by the Jewish Agency, and the Irgun and the Stern Gang, terrorist groups, were active. British officials were killed by the terrorists. The horrible plight of European Jewry led influential forces in the United States to lobby for support of an independent Jewish state, and President Truman requested that Britain permit the admission of 100,000 Jews. Illegal immigration, often involving survivors of Hitler’s death camps, took place on a large scale. The independent Arab states organized the Arab League to exert internationally what pressure they could against the Zionists.
An Anglo-American commission recommended (1946) that Britain continue administering Palestine, rescind the land-transfer restrictions, and admit 100,000 Jews, and that the underground Jewish armed groups be disbanded. A plan for autonomy for Jews and Arabs within Palestine was discussed at a London conference (1947) of British, Arabs, and Zionists, but no agreement could be reached. The British, declaring their mandate unworkable and despairing of finding a solution, turned the Palestine problem over to the United Nations (Feb., 1947). At that time there were about 1,091,000 Muslims, 614,000 Jews, and 146,000 Christians in Palestine.
The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine devised a plan to divide Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a small internationally administered zone including Jerusalem, and the General Assembly adopted the recommendations on Nov. 29, 1947. The Jews accepted the plan; the Arabs rejected it. As the British began to withdraw early in 1948, Arabs and Jews prepared for war (see Arab-Israeli WarsArab-Israeli Wars, conflicts in 194849, 1956, 1967, 197374, and 1982 between Israel and the Arab states. Tensions between Israel and the Arabs have been complicated and heightened by the political, strategic, and economic interests in the area of the great powers. ….. Click the link for more information. ).
See M. Avi-Yonah, A History of the Holy Land (tr. 1969); Esco Foundation for Palestine, Palestine: A Study of Jewish, Arab, and British Policies (2 vol., 1947, repr. 1970); J. C. Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine (1950, repr. 1968); J. W. Parkes, The Emergence of the Jewish Problem, 18781939 (1946, repr. 1970) and Whose Lands? A History of the Peoples of Palestine (1971); A. Schalit, ed., The Hellenistic Age: Political History of Jewish Palestine from 332 B.C.E. to 67 B.C.E. (1972); M. Russell, Palestine (1985); J. Murphy-O’Connor, The Holy Land: An Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700 (1986); I. Abu-Lughod, ed., The Transformations of Palestine (2d ed. 1987); T. Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate (2000); B. Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 19471949 (1987) and The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (2004); S. K. Farsoun, Culture and Customs of the Palestinians (2004); G. Krmer, A History of Palestine: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Founding of the State of Israel (2002, tr. 2008); R. Davis and M. Kirk, ed., Palestine and the Palestinians in the 21st Century (2013).
1.the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in which most of the biblical narrative is located
2.the province of the Roman Empire in this region
3.the former British mandatory territory created by the League of Nations in 1922 (but effective from 1920), and including all of the present territories of Israel and Jordan between whom it was partitioned by the UN in 1948
a historical region in southwest Asia.
Historical sketch. Archaeological data indicate that Palestine was settled in the Paleolithic. The Mesolithic Natufian culture flourished here between the tenth and eighth millennia B.C. The area was settled by Canaanite tribes in the third millennium B.C. In the 18th century B.C., Palestine was conquered by the Hyksos, who in turn were defeated by the Egyptians in the 16th century B.C. While under Egyptian rule, the area was also influenced by the culture of Babylon.
The conquest of Palestine by ancient Hebrew tribes began in the 13th century B.C. In the 12th century the coast was conquered by the Philistines (Old Hebrew, Pelishtim), who gave their name to the entire region. In the 11th century B.C., ancient Hebrew tribes founded the Kingdom of Israel and Judah on the remaining territory; the kingdom was ruled first by Saul and later by David and Solomon. Around 928 B.C., the kingdom was divided into the Kingdom of Israel in the north, which lasted until 722 B.C., and the Kingdom of Judah in the south, which survived until 586 B.C. In 722 the Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrian king Sargon II, who destroyed its capital, Samaria, and exiled most of the population to remote provinces in Assyria. In 587586 B.C. the Kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II and became the province of Judea. Jerusalem was burned, and many inhabitants were taken captive.
After the conquest of Babylon by the Persians in 539 B.C., Palestine became part of the Achaemenid state. In 332 B.C., it was incorporated into Alexander the Greats empire. In the third and second centuries, the area was ruled first by the Egyptian Ptolemies (from 301 B.C.) and later by the Syrian Seleucids (from 200 B.C.). In 167 B.C., Judas Maccabeus led a popular uprising in Judea against the political and religious oppression and heavy taxation of the Seleucids. The revolt resulted in the founding of the independent Hasmonean state in 142 B.C., named after the Hasmonean dynasty.
A Roman protectorate was established in 63 B.C., and in A.D. 6 the area became a Roman province ruled by a procurator. Several large, fierce popular revolts broke out against Roman rule: the Jewish War of 6673, Bar Kochbas Rebellion of 132135, and uprisings in the mid-second and third centuries.
In 395, Palestine became part of Byzantium. In 640 it was conquered by the Arabs, and under the Umayyads it was one of the more privileged provinces. During the disintegration of the Abbasid Caliphate, the area fell under the control of the Egyptian Tulunid, Ikhshidid, and Fatimid dynasties. During the First Crusade (109699), Palestine was conquered by the Crusaders, who founded the Kingdom of Jerusalem on the territory. In 1187, the Crusaders were expelled by the Egyptian sultan Salah-al-Din, and most of Palestine was annexed to Ayyubid, and later Mameluke, Egypt. Palestine remained under Mameluke control until the Turks conquered it in 1516. From 1750 until 1775 much of the area, under the rule of Sheikh Zahir Al-Umar, was virtually independent of the Ottoman Empire.
In the 19th century the anti-Turkish liberation movement in Palestine intensified, and uprisings broke out in Jerusalem, Nab-lus, and Bethlehem in 1825 and in Nablus and elsewhere in 1830. From 1832 until 1841, Palestine was ruled by the Egyptian pasha Muhammad Ali, who centralized the government, and curbed feudal lawlessness and Bedouin raids, all of which promoted economic development. However, oppressive taxation and the introduction of military conscription provoked anti-Egyptian revolts in 1834 and 184041.
In the mid-19th century, particularly after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the strategic and economic importance of Palestine increased, and the European powers competed for influence in the region. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the imperialist powers made use of Zionism, the reactionary chauvinistic ideology of the Jewish bourgeoisie, in their struggle for control over Palestine. One of Zionisms chief aims was the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, where Jews from various countries could resettle.
During World War I, British troops occupied Palestine. On Nov. 2, 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, promising to promote the creation of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. At the San Remo Conference in April 1920, Great Britain received a mandate to govern Palestine, which was ratified by the League of Nations in July 1922. In September 1922, Great Britain created the mandate of Transjordan, out of part of Palestine. The Balfour Declaration did not extend to Transjordan.
After seizing key positions in the economy and political life of Palestine, Great Britain encouraged Jewish colonization and Zionist activity, as well as the influx of Jewish capital, linked with imperialist monopolies. To further its aims, Great Britain promoted Jewish immigration, and 452,000 Jewish immigrants arrived in Palestine between 1919 and May 1948. Under British protection, Zionist organizations received various concessions in Palestine and bought up the best land, forcibly driving away the Arab peasants (fellahin). All authority was concentrated in the hands of the British high commissioner, who headed the Palestinian government, consisting of British bureaucrats. Also operating in Palestine was the Jewish Agency, ostensibly an advisory body under the British high commissioner. In practice the agency exercised broad powers in matters of colonization and immigration and regulated the economic and political activity of the Jewish community. As the Zionist organizations grew stronger, they sought to free themselves from British supervision.
British colonial policy, resting on cooperation with the Zionists, caused growing discontent among the Arabs. Armed rebellions against the British colonialists and the Zionist colonization of Palestine broke out in 1920, 1929, 1933, and from 1936 to 1939. The Socialist Workers Party of Palestine was founded in 1919; two years later it was renamed the Palestine Communist Party. The party called for a joint struggle of the Jewish and Arab laboring masses against British imperialism and for the liberation of Palestine from British colonial domination, to be followed by the creation of an Arab-Jewish independent state.
Seeking to weaken the national liberation struggle of the Palestinian Arabs and to retain control over Zionist policies, Great Britain announced in the late 1930s that it would limit and then end Jewish immigration and would restrict the acquisition of land by Zionist organizations. Dissatisfied with British policy, the Zionists shifted their strategy toward an alliance with the USA by exploiting Anglo-American controversies and the American oil monopolies efforts to entrench themselves in the Near East.
After World War II, the struggle of the peoples of Palestine to abolish the British mandate intensified. In 1947 the British government was obliged to refer the question of Palestine to the UN. On Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the abolition of the British mandate, the withdrawal of British troops from Palestine, and the creation of two independent states on its territoryone Arab and the other Jewisheconomically tied to each other. Jerusalem was designated an independent administrative unit with a special international government under UN direction. In view of the realities of the situation, the Soviet Union voted for the resolution.
On May 14, 1948, part of Palestine was proclaimed the state of Israel. The Arab people of Palestine, however, were unable to exercise their right to create an Arab state because the Zionists, Western imperialist circles, and reactionary forces in the Arab countries provoked the Arab-Israeli War of 194849. Boundary lines were established under the 1949 truce between Israel and the neighboring Arab states. As a result of the war, Israel seized more than half of the area that the UN General Assembly had designated for the creation of an Arab state (6,700 sq km), as well as the western part of Jerusalem. Eastern Palestinethe West Bank of the Jordan Riverand eastern Jerusalem were annexed by Jordan in 1950, and the Gaza Strip came under the control of Egypt. Israeli armed forces drove more than 900,000 Arabs from the conquered territory. The problem of the Palestinian refugees arose as one aspect of the Palestinian problem, which can only be resolved by guaranteeing the lawful national rights of all the Arab people of Palestine.
In June 1967, Israel committed another aggression against the neighboring Arab countries, occupying not only the entire territory of the former Palestine mandate but also the Sinai Peninsula, belonging to Egypt, and Syrias Golan Heights. The problem of the Palestinian refugees, numbering more than 1.5 million persons in 1974 according to UN sources, became more acute. Palestinian Arabs in the Palestinian resistance movement, directed by the Palestine Liberation Organization, are struggling to eliminate the consequences of the Israeli aggression of 1967 and to achieve a just solution to the Palestinian problem through a political resolution of the Near East crisis that would ensure the lawful rights of the Arab people of Palestine.
M. A. KOROSTOVTSEV (to the fourth century), I. M. SMILIANSKAIA (fourth century to 1914), and E. A. LEBEDEV (since 1914)
Architecture and fine and applied art. Palestinian art originated in the Mesolithic (Natufian culture). Art objects discovered in the ancient settlement of Jericho date from the pre-ceramic Neolithic period (seventh and sixth millennia B.C.). Pottery from the fifth millennium B.C. is adorned with engraved or painted geometrical designs.
The Chalcolithic age (fourth millennium B.C.) is represented by the ruins of fortified settlements at Beisan (Beth-Shean) and Megiddo, where the remains of apsidal dwellings have been discovered, as well as by subterranean dwellings near Beersheba. Painted and glazed red and gray pottery, ivory figurines, and jewelry have been found. Especially noteworthy are the wall paintings at Tulaylat al-Ghusul.
In the third and second millennia B.C., when Palestine was settled by the Canaanites, urban settlements developed, of which the most important were Jerusalem, Jericho, Beisan, Megiddo, and Lachish (Tell el-Duweir). These towns had fortifications of stone or adobe, stone temples similar in layout to Syrian and Phoenician temples, and water tunnels. Among art works discovered in the towns were reliefs, sculpture in the round similar to that of Syria, figurines, and ceramic vessels in the shape of birds and other animals. The most important structure at the time of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (second half of the tenth to sixth century B.C.) was the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem (tenth century B.C.), known from descriptions in the Bible. Glyptics, seals with depictions of birds and beasts, were well developed.
Tombs with frescoes in the burial chambers, such as those at Mareshah, first appeared in the Hellenistic period and continued to be built until the fourth century A.D. The remains of temples (for example, the temple of Dionysus in Beisan), theaters (Beisan and Caesarea), aqueducts, and dwellings, often adorned with mosaics and sculpture, have survived from the Roman period. Marble sarcophagi with funeral busts and reliefs have also survived. Synagogues combining features of local, Roman, and Syrian architecture were built in the second to fourth centuries A.D. The best example of this style is the synagogue at Capernaum (Kefar-Nahum). Basilicas, monasteries, churches, and fortifications have survived from Byzantine times.
After conquering Palestine in the seventh century, the Arabs introduced mosques and madrasahs. Outstanding examples of Arab architecture and art are the mosques of Kubbet es-Sakhra and al-Aksa in Jerusalem and the palace of Khirbat al-Mafjar. The principal architectural works from the time of the Crusaders (11th to 13th centuries) are castles (Caesarea) and fortresses.
Outstanding architectural achievements from the period of Turkish rule, which lasted from the 16th to the early 20th century, are the synagogue in Safad (mid-16th century) and the mosque in Jaffa (1810). With the influx of Jewish immigrants into Palestine beginning in the late 19th century, the artistic traditions of various countries began to influence the indigenous culture. Initially, private and public buildings were built in the eclectic style, but later contemporary Western European architectural forms were adopted by such architects as E. Mendelsohn and R. Kaufman. A Jewish style, employing themes from Jewish history and literature, evolved in professional art. Gradually, the arrival of artists who had received their training in many different countries resulted in the coexistence of a variety of styles in the arts, ranging from academic realism to abstract art.
Palestine | Article about Palestine by The Free Dictionary
The recent eruption of violence between Israelis and Palestinians saw its highest one-day death toll on Friday as the clashes spread for the first time to the Gaza Strip.
Six Palestinians were killed and 60 injured when Israeli soldiers fired across the border atprotesters along the fence dividing the coastal enclave from Israel, Palestinian medical sources said.
According to Israels military, about 200 Palestinians gathered at the fence in northern Gaza, throwing rocks and rolling burning tires toward Israeli troops, who fired to halt their advance.
The seventh death came near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, where a 19-year-old Palestinian, whom police said had stabbed an Israeli policeman, was fatally shot.
Events elsewhere also appeared to reflect the rapidly unraveling situation as the rash of stabbing attacks continued, putting Israelis on edge and causing many to buy pepper spray and other means of self defense, according to local media.
A Jewish teenager was stabbed and slightly injured by a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem, which was relatively calm amid restrictions on Palestinian access to the citys Al Aqsa mosque, a focal point of the recent clashes. The heavy Israeli police deployment continued and metal detectors were installed at entrances to the Old City.
After days of back-to-back stabbing attacks against Jewish Israelis, anti-Arab sentiment erupted in the southern Israel town of Dimona, where a Jewish teenager stabbed a Bedouin Arab and three Palestinians, reportedly saying that all Arabs are terrorists.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack and warned that those using violence and breaking the law from whatever side would be dealt with severely.
The backlash was evident in other places as well, both on the streets and in social media where Jewish and Arab Israelis frequently confront one another during crises.An Israeli television crew with an Arab journalist was assaulted late Thursday in Afula while covering the heated aftermath of a stabbing attack.
Arab citizens of Israel were enraged Friday over the shooting of a Muslim woman in Afula. According to Israeli media, the 30-year-old mother and graduate student from Nazareth tried to stab an Israeli soldier. A video showed her waving a knife while surrounded by several police and soldiers, then being shot, raising questions about the incident.
Lawmaker Yousef Jabareen, an Arab Israeli, called for an investigation of the incident, saying it was clear as daylight that the woman did not pose an immediate threat that justified shooting.
Our blood has become forfeit, he said in a statement, accusing Netanyahu and his government of responsibility.
Cat-and-mouse clashes between Palestinianprotesters and Israeli troops continued throughout the West Bank, where hundreds of Palestinians have been reported injured in recent days, mostly from rubber bullets and tear gas but some from live ammunition.
In Ramallah, hundreds attended the funeral of Muhannad Halabi, who was shot to death Saturday after killing two Jewish men in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Special correspondents Rushdi Abu Alouf in Gaza City and Maher Abukahter in Ramallah contributed to this report.
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Violence between Israelis, Palestinians spreads to Gaza; 7 …
The conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Zionist (now Israeli) Jews is a modern phenomenon, dating to the end of the nineteenth century. Although the two groups have different religions (Palestinians include Muslims, Christians and Druze), religious differences are not the cause of the strife. The conflict began as a struggle over land. From the end of World War I until 1948, the area that both groups claimed was known internationally as Palestine. That same name was also used to designate a less well-defined Holy Land by the three monotheistic religions. Following the war of 19481949, this land was divided into three parts: the State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River) and the Gaza Strip.
It is a small areaapproximately 10,000 square miles, or about the size of the state of Maryland. The competing claims to the territory are not reconcilable if one group exercises exclusive political control over all of it. Jewish claims to this land are based on the biblical promise to Abraham and his descendants, on the fact that the land was the historical site of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judea, and on Jews need for a haven from European anti-Semitism. Palestinian Arab claims to the land are based on their continuous residence in the country for hundreds of years and the fact that they represented the demographic majority until 1948. They reject the notion that a biblical-era kingdom constitutes the basis for a valid modern claim. If Arabs engage the biblical argument at all, they maintain that since Abrahams son Ishmael is the forefather of the Arabs, then Gods promise of the land to the children of Abraham includes Arabs as well. They do not believe that they should forfeit their land to compensate Jews for Europes crimes against Jews.
The Land and the People
In the nineteenth century, following a trend that emerged earlier in Europe, people around the world began to identify themselves as nations and to demand national rights, foremost the right to self-rule in a state of their own (self-determination and sovereignty). Jews and Palestinians both started to develop a national consciousness and mobilized to achieve national goals. Because Jews were spread across the world (in diaspora), the Jewish national movement, or Zionist trend, sought to identify a place where Jews could come together through the process of immigration and settlement. Palestine seemed the logical and optimal place because it was the site of Jewish origin. The Zionist movement began in 1882 with the first wave of European Jewish immigration to Palestine.
At that time, the land of Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. This area did not constitute a single political unit, however. The northern districts of Acre and Nablus were part of the province of Beirut. The district of Jerusalem was under the direct authority of the Ottoman capital of Istanbul because of the international significance of the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem as religious centers for Muslims, Christians and Jews. According to Ottoman records, in 1878 there were 462,465 subject inhabitants of the Jerusalem, Nablus and Acre districts: 403,795 Muslims (including Druze), 43,659 Christians and 15,011 Jews. In addition, there were perhaps 10,000 Jews with foreign citizenship (recent immigrants to the country) and several thousand Muslim Arab nomads (Bedouin) who were not counted as Ottoman subjects. The great majority of the Arabs (Muslims and Christians) lived in several hundred rural villages. Jaffa and Nablus were the largest and economically most important towns with majority-Arab populations.
Until the beginning of the twentieth century, most Jews living in Palestine were concentrated in four cities with religious significance: Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Tiberias. Most of them observed traditional, orthodox religious practices. Many spent their time studying religious texts and depended on the charity of world Jewry for survival. Their attachment to the land was religious rather than national, and they were not involved inor supportive ofthe Zionist movement that began in Europe and was brought to Palestine by immigrants. Most of the Jews who emigrated from Europe lived a more secular lifestyle and were committed to the goals of creating a modern Jewish nation and building an independent Jewish state. By the outbreak of World War I (1914), the population of Jews in Palestine had risen to about 60,000, about 36,000 of whom were recent settlers. The Arab population in 1914 was 683,000.
The British Mandate in Palestine
By the early years of the twentieth century, Palestine had become a trouble spot of competing territorial claims and political interests. The Ottoman Empire was weakening, and European powers were strengthening their grip on areas along the eastern Mediterranean, including Palestine. During 19151916, as World War I was underway, the British high commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, secretly corresponded with Husayn ibn Ali, the patriarch of the Hashemite family and Ottoman governor of Mecca and Medina. McMahon convinced Husayn to lead an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany against Britain and France in the war. McMahon promised that if the Arabs supported Britain in the war, the British government would support the establishment of an independent Arab state under Hashemite rule in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine. The Arab revolt, led by Husayns son Faysal and T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), was successful in defeating the Ottomans, and Britain took control over much of this area during World War I.
But Britain made other promises during the war that conflicted with the Husayn-McMahon understandings. In 1917, the British foreign minister, Lord Arthur Balfour, issued a declaration (the Balfour Declaration) announcing his governments support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. A third promise, in the form of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, was a secret deal between Britain and France to carve up the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire and divide control of the region.
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Primer on Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict …
Mandatory Palestine (Arabic: Filasn; Hebrew: (“) Pltn (EY), where “EY” indicates “Eretz Yisrael” (Land of Israel)) was a geopolitical entity under British administration, carved out of Ottoman Southern Syria after World War I. British civil administration in Palestine operated from 1920 until 1948. During its existence it was known simply as Palestine, but, in retrospect, as distinguishers, a variety of other names and descriptors including Mandatory or Mandate Palestine, also British Palestine and the British Mandate of Palestine, have been used to refer to it.
During the First World War an Arab uprising and British campaign led by General Edmund Allenby, the British Empire’s commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, drove the Turks out of the Levant, a part of which was the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. The United Kingdom had agreed in the McMahonHussein Correspondence that it would honour Arab independence if they revolted against the Ottomans. The two sides had different interpretations of this agreement. In the event, the UK and France divided up the area under the SykesPicot Agreement, an act of betrayal in the opinion of the Arabs. Further confusing the issue was the Balfour Declaration promising support for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine. After the war ended, a military administration, named Occupied Enemy Territory Administration, was established in the captured territory of the former Ottoman Syria. The British sought legitimacy for their continued control of the region and this was achieved by obtaining a mandate from the League of Nations in June 1922. The formal objective of the League of Nations Mandate system was to administer parts of the defunct Ottoman Empire, which had been in control of the Middle East since the 16th century, “until such time as they are able to stand alone.” The civil Mandate administration was formalized with the League of Nations’ consent in 1923 under the British Mandate for Palestine, which covered two administrative areas. The land west of the Jordan River, known as Palestine, was under direct British administration until 1948, while the land east of the Jordan was a semi-autonomous region known as Transjordan, under the rule of the Hashemite family from the Hijaz, and gained independence in 1946.
The divergent tendencies regarding the nature and purpose of the mandate are visible already in the discussions concerning the name for this new entity. According to the Minutes of the Ninth Session of the League of Nations’ Permanent Mandate Commission:
During the British Mandate period the area experienced the ascent of two major nationalist movements, one among the Jews and the other among the Arabs. The competing national interests of the Arab and Jewish populations of Palestine against each other and against the governing British authorities matured into the Arab Revolt of 19361939 and the Jewish insurgency in Palestine before culminating in the Civil War of 19471948. The aftermath of the Civil War and the consequent 1948 ArabIsraeli War led to the establishment of the 1949 cease-fire agreement, with partition of the former Mandatory Palestine between the newborn state of Israel with a Jewish majority, the West Bank annexed by the Jordanian Kingdom and the Arab All-Palestine Government in the Gaza Strip under the military occupation of Egypt.
Following its occupation by British troops in 19171918, Palestine was governed by the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration. In July 1920, the military administration was replaced by a civilian administration headed by a High Commissioner. The first High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, a Zionist recent cabinet minister, arrived in Palestine on 20 June 1920, to take up his appointment from 1 July.
Following the arrival of the British, Muslim-Christian Associations were established in all the major towns. In 1919 they joined to hold the first Palestine Arab Congress in Jerusalem. Its main platforms were a call for representative government and opposition to the Balfour Declaration.
The Zionist Commission was formed in March 1918 and was active in promoting Zionist objectives in Palestine. On 19 April 1920, elections were held for the Assembly of Representatives of the Palestinian Jewish community. The Zionist Commission received official recognition in 1922 as representative of the Palestinian Jewish community.
One of the first actions of the newly installed civil administration in 1921 had been to grant Pinhas Rutenberga Jewish entrepreneurconcessions for the production and distribution of wired electricity. Rutenberg soon established an Electric Company whose shareholders were Zionist organizations, investors, and philanthropists. Palestinian-Arabs saw it as proof that the British intended to favor Zionism. The British administration claimed that electrification would enhance the economic development of the country as a whole, while at the same time securing their commitment to facilitate a Jewish National Home through economic – rather than political – means.
Samuel tried to establish self-governing institutions in Palestine, as required by the mandate, but was frustrated by the refusal of the Arab leadership to co-operate with any institution which included Jewish participation. When Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Kamil al-Husayni died in March 1921, High Commissioner Samuel appointed his half-brother Mohammad Amin al-Husseini to the position. Amin al-Husseini, a member of the al-Husayni clan of Jerusalem, was an Arab nationalist and Muslim leader. As Grand Mufti, as well as the other influential positions that he held during this period, al-Husseini played a key role in violent opposition to Zionism. In 1922, al-Husseini was elected President of the Supreme Muslim Council which had been created by Samuel in December 1921. The Council controlled the Waqf funds, worth annually tens of thousands of pounds and the orphan funds, worth annually about 50,000, as compared to the 600,000 in the Jewish Agency’s annual budget. In addition, he controlled the Islamic courts in Palestine. Among other functions, these courts were entrusted with the power to appoint teachers and preachers.
The 1922 Palestine Order in Council established a Legislative Council, which was to consist of 23 members: 12 elected, 10 appointed, and the High Commissioner. Of the 12 elected members, eight were to be Muslim Arabs, two Christian Arabs and two Jews. Arabs protested against the distribution of the seats, arguing that as they constituted 88% of the population, having only 43% of the seats was unfair.Elections were held in February and March 1923, but due to an Arab boycott, the results were annulled and a 12-member Advisory Council was established.
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Mandatory Palestine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gaza,Arabic Ghazzah, Hebrew Azza, GazaOneArmedMancity and principal urban centre of the Gaza Strip, southwestern Palestine. Formerly the administrative headquarters for the Israeli military forces that occupied the Gaza Strip, the city came under Palestinian control in 2005.
Records exist indicating continuous habitation at the site for more than three millennia, the earliest being a reference by Pharaoh Thutmose III (18th dynasty; 15th century bc). It is also mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna tablets, the diplomatic and administrative records of ancient Egypt. After 300 years of Egyptian occupation, the Peleset (Philistines), one of the Sea Peoples, settled the city and surrounding area. Gaza became an important centre of the Philistine Pentapolis (league of five cities). There the biblical hero Samson perished while toppling the temple of the god Dagon. Because of its strategic position on the Via Maris, the ancient coastal road linking Egypt with Palestine and the lands beyond, Gaza experienced little peace in antiquity; it fell, successively, to the Israelite king David and to the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians. Alexander the Great met stiff resistance there, and, after conquering it, he sold its inhabitants into slavery. Throughout its history it was a prosperous trade centre. In Hellenistic and Roman times the harbour, about 3 miles (5 km) from the city proper, was called Neapolis (Greek: New City).
In ad 635 the Arabs took Gaza, and it became a Muslim city. Gaza has long been an important centre of Islamic tradition and is the reputed site of the burial place of Hshim ibn Abd Manf, great-grandfather of the Prophet Muammad, and the birthplace of al-Shfi (767820), founder of the Shfiite school of Muslim legal interpretation. The city declined during the Crusades and never regained its former importance. After the sultan Saladin (al al-Dn) defeated the Crusaders occupying the region at the Battle of an (1187), Gaza reverted to Muslim control; it passed to the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century. In World War I it was stoutly defended by the Turks and was not taken by British forces until November 1917.
After the war Gaza became part of mandated Palestine, and a small coastal port (fishing, lighterage) was operated on the coast. When the Palestine partition plan was promulgated by the United Nations (1947), Gaza was assigned to what was to be an Arab state. That state, however, was not set up, and Gaza was occupied in 1948 by Egyptians. At the time of the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian armistice (February 1949), Egypt held Gaza and its environs, a situation that resulted in the creation of the Gaza Strip. (See Arab-Israeli wars.) Egypt did not annex the city and territory but administered it through a military governor. Gaza and its surroundings have continued to be greatly overpopulated by Palestinian Arab refugees.
During the Sinai campaign of November 1956, Gaza and its environs were taken by Israeli troops, but international pressure soon forced Israel to withdraw. Reoccupied by Israel in the Six-Day War (June 1967), the city remained under Israeli military administration until 1994, when a phased transfer of governmental authority to the Palestinians got under way. In 2005 Israel completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, handing over control of the region to the Palestinians.
Long a prosperous citrus centre, Gaza also has extensive truck farms within the city limits. Dark pottery, food products, and finished textiles are manufactured; the city has a long-standing textile industry. Sites of interest include at the harbour an early Byzantine mosaic floor (6th century ad), evidently of a synagogue, showing King David playing the harp and dressed as the Greek hero Orpheus. Pop. (2005 est.) 479,400.
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Gaza | city, Gaza Strip | Britannica.com