The Promised Land

The Promised Land

© David Burton 2023

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     The Middle East always seems to be in the news. Hardly a day passes without a story on something going on in Israel or related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Unfortunately, given the rapid-fire nature of much reporting these days, the discussion often lacks context.
     The case to be made on behalf of Israel is stronger today than it has ever been. After more than 75 years as the reconstituted State of Israel, the people and the nation have once again proven themselves to be unique, resourceful and a blessing to the human race.
     When presented with the facts, people of goodwill should understand the following issues faced by the State of israel and its people:
     (a) Israel’s seventy-five-year-long quest for peace and security;
     (b) the real dangers faced by Israel, a country no larger than New Jersey or Wales, two-thirds the size of Belgium, and one percent the size of Saudi Arabia, in a tumultuous, heavily armed neighborhood;
     (c) Israel’s unshakeable commitment to democracy, including free and fair elections, smooth transfers of power, civilian control over the military, freedom of speech, press, faith, and assembly, and an independent judiciary - all unique in the region;
     (d) the common thread of the threats of extremism and terrorism faced by both Israel and much of the modern world; and
     (e) Israel’s impressive, indeed pathbreaking, contributions to world civilization in such fields as science, medicine, technology, agriculture, and culture - contributions that are even more remarkable given the country’s relative youth and its heavy defense burden, but that, regrettably, are often neglected in the preoccupation with reporting on conflict and violence.
     No country’s historical record is perfect, and Israel, like other democratic nations, has made its share of mistakes. But acknowledging fallibility ought to be seen as a national strength, not a weakness. And Israel’s record can be compared favorably against that of any other country in the region, indeed well beyond the region, when it comes to dedication to democratic values.
     Israel has a proud and proven record about which the country’s friends shouldn’t hesitate to shout it from the rooftops. And this record began long before the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948.
     The Jewish people’s link to the land of Israel is incontrovertible and unbroken. It spans nearly four thousand years.
     Exhibit A for this connection is the Hebrew Bible. The Book of Genesis, the first of the five books of the Bible, recounts the story of Abraham, the covenantal relationship with the one God, and the move from Ur (in present-day Iraq) to Canaan, the region corresponding roughly to today's Israel. The Book of Numbers, the fourth book of the Bible, includes the following words: “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying send men to scout the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelite people.” This came during a forty-year-long journey of the Israelites in search not simply of a refuge, but of The Promised Land - the land we know today as Israel.
     And these are but two of many references to this land and its centrality to Jewish history and national identity.
     Exhibit B is any Jewish prayer book in use over the span of centuries anywhere in the world. The references in the liturgy to Zion, the land of Israel, are endless.[1]

     The Beginning

     The history of Israel goes back to ancient times and much of what we know about it comes from the Hebrew Bible. According to it, Israel’s origin starts with Abraham, who is considered the father of both Judaism (through his son Isaac) and Islam (through his son, Ishmael).[2]

     The Land of Israel is often referred to as "The Holy Land" or "The Promised Land". It is the birthplace of the Jewish people and Judaism. It is where the Israelites established and developed the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and is also thought to be the region of development for the completed form of the Hebrew Bible. Through the influence of Jewish prophets, many of whom were based in the Land of Israel, Jewish traditions came to serve as the basis of the Abrahamic religions. In the 1st century of the Common Era (CE), the Land of Israel also became the birthplace of Christianity, the world's most widespread religion. Throughout the course of human history, the Land of Israel has come under the sway or control of various polities, and as a result, it has historically hosted a wide variety of ethnic groups. In addition to the region's core significance to Judaism, it is regarded with an especially high degree of holiness in Christianity, Islam, Druzism, the Bahá'í Faith, and a variety of other religious movements whose fundamental theological values trace back to Abraham, the father of the Judaism.
     The oldest evidence of early humans in the territory of modern Israel, dating to 1.5 million years ago, was found in Ubeidiya near the Sea of Galilee. Flint tool artefacts have been discovered at Yiron, the oldest stone tools found anywhere outside Africa.
     In the Mount Carmel area at el-Tabun, and Es Skhul, Neanderthal and early modern human remains were found, showing the longest stratigraphic record in the region, spanning 600,000 years of human activity. The oldest fossils of anatomically modern humans found outside Africa are the Skhul and Qafzeh hominids, who lived in northern Israel 130,000 years ago.
     Archaeological evidence exists of the Canaanite presence in the Middle Bronze Age (2100–1550 BCE). There were probably independent or semi-independent city-states then. Cities were often surrounded by massive earthworks, resulting in the archeological tells (mounds or hills) common in the region today. In the late Middle Bronze Age, the Nile Delta in Egypt was settled by Canaanites who maintained close connections with Canaan.
     During the Late Bronze Age (1550–1300 BCE), there were Canaanite vassal states paying tribute to the New Kingdom of Egypt, which governed from Gaza. In 1557 BCE, Egyptian forces under the command of Pharaoh Thutmose III defeated a rebellious coalition of Canaanite vassal states led by Kadesh's king at the Battle of Megiddo.
     In the Late Bronze Age there was a period of civilizational collapse in the Middle East. Canaan fell into chaos, and Egyptian control ended. There is evidence that urban centers such as Hazor, Beit She'an, Megiddo, Ekron, Ashdod and Ashkelon were damaged or destroyed. Two groups appeared at this time, and are associated with the transition to the Iron Age: the Sea Peoples, particularly the Philistines, who migrated from the Aegean world and settled on the southern coast, and the Israelites, whose settlements dotted the highlands.
     The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel occurs in the Egyptian Merneptah Stele, erected for Pharaoh Merneptah (son of Ramesses II) c. 1309 BCE, which states "Israel is laid waste and his seed is not."
     Archeological evidence indicates that during the early Iron Age I, hundreds of small villages were established on the highlands of Canaan on both sides of the Jordan River, primarily in Samaria, north of Jerusalem.
     Modern scholars believe that the Israelites and their culture branched out of the Canaanite peoples and their cultures through the development of a distinct monotheistic religion.
     Canaan, as the region was known during the Bronze Age, was characterized by city-states that ultimately came under the rule of Egypt. Two Israelite kingdoms - Judah and Israel - emerged during the Iron Age, alongside a Philistine polity. In the following centuries, the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Empires conquered the region. The Ptolemies and the Seleucids vied for control over the region during the Hellenistic period. However, with the establishment of the Hasmonean dynasty, the local Jewish population maintained their independence for a century before being incorporated into the Roman Republic. As a result of the Jewish-Roman Wars in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, many Jews were killed, displaced or sold into slavery. Following the advent of Christianity, which was adopted by the Greco-Roman world under the influence of the Roman Empire, the region's demographics shifted towards newfound Christians, who replaced Jews as the majority of the population by the 4th century. However, shortly after Islam was consolidated across the Arabian Peninsula under Muhammad, Byzantine Christian rule over the Land of Israel was superseded by the Arab conquest of the Levant in the 7th century. From the 11th century to the 14th century, the Land of Israel became the center for intermittent religious wars between Christian and Muslim armies as part of the Crusades. In the 14th century, the Land of Israel became subject to the Mongol invasions and conquests, though these were locally routed by the Mamluk Sultanate, under whose rule it remained until the 16th century. The Mamluks were eventually defeated by the Ottoman Empire, and the region became an Ottoman province until the 20th century.
     The late 19th century saw the widespread consolidation of a Jewish nationalist movement known as Zionism. As part of this burgeoning movement and after 2,000 years, the number of Jews returning to the Land of Israel from the diaspora increased. During World War I, the Sinai and Palestine campaign of the Allies led to the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. Britain was granted control of the region by League of Nations mandate, in what became known as Mandatory Palestine. The British government publicly committed itself to the creation of a Jewish homeland with the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Arab nationalists opposed this policy, arbitrarily claiming Arab rights over the former Ottoman territories and seeking to prevent Jewish migration. As a result, Arab–Jewish tensions grew in the succeeding decades of British administration. Despite the vehement Arab hostility, the State of Israel came into being in May 1948.[3]


     Zionism has been and still is the quest for national self-determination of the Jewish people. Although the yearning for a Jewish homeland dates back thousands of years and is given expression in classic Jewish texts, it also stems from a more contemporary reality.
     Theodor Herzl, considered the father of modern Zionism, was a secular Jew and Viennese journalist who became appalled at the blatant anti-Semitism fueling the infamous Dreyfus case in France. Herzl came to the conclusion that Jews could never enjoy full equality as a minority in European societies, since the sad legacy of centuries of anti-Semitism was too deeply embedded. Therefore, he called for the establishment of a Jewish state.
     Herzl’s vision was endorsed by the British foreign secretary, Lord Balfour, who issued a statement, (known ever since as The Balfour Declaration) on November 2, 1917 that reads as follows:
     "His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
     In 1922, the League of Nations, entrusted Britain with a mandate for Palestine, that recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine.” NOTE THAT THIS RECOGNITION WAS FOR THE CONNECTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE WITH PALESTINE AND NOT OF THE ARAB PEOPLE WITH PALESTINE!
     Only in such a Zionist state, would Jews not have to rely on the “goodwill” of others to determine their destiny. This Zionist vision fired the imagination of many Jews around the world who came to and settled in what was then a generally desolate Palestine, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, out of idealistic convictions, and who laid the foundation for the modern State of Israel.
     From the late seventh century until the early twentieth century, the Arabs and Muslims of the region had the opportunity to make the Holy Land into something grand and notable. Instead, they showed their complete disdain for the land by letting it deteriorate and sink into ever-increasing desolation. Speaking of that desolation, the American author and humorist Mark Twain visited the area in 1867. This is how he described the Palestine of the Muslim Ottoman Empire:
     “ . . . [A] desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds - a silent mournful expanse . . . A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action . . . We never saw a human being on the whole route . . . There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.
     Contrast this Arab/Muslim indifference to the Land of Israel with that of the Jews. Fast-forward for a moment to Israel today, where any visitor to Israel can see the miraculous transformation of the land, as forests have been lovingly planted, the soil was irrigated and tilled, and cities and towns were built. All of this modern rebirth of the land of Israel has been inspired and carried out through the zeal, sweat, tears and blood of the Zionists. Notably, it is a fact that, under the leadership and sweat of the Zionists, Palestine/Israel was the only country on the face of the earth to end the 1900s with more trees than at the start of the 20th century.
     Even to this day, Israel’s adversaries maliciously twist the meaning of Zionism - the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people - and try to present it as a demonic force. Moreover, they seek to depict the area as having been developed by the local Arabs, who were somehow shoved aside by the arriving Jews. Such claims are demonstrably false! The larger goal of these Israel-haters and Jew-haters is to undermine Israel’s raison d’être and isolate the Jewish nation from the community of nations.
     The Arabs/Muslims of the world have repeatedly attempted to brand Zionism as racism. This is a telling example of the pot calling the kettle black. The Arab nations formally define themselves by their ethnicity, i.e., Arab, thus excluding non-Arab ethnic groups, such as Berbers and Kurds. The same is true for religion. Islam is the official religion in all but one of the Arab countries (Lebanon), thus marginalizing the non-Islamic faiths, particularly Christian minorities. In this vein, it’s well worth remembering the comments of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., on anti-Zionism:
     “And what is anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friends, because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism . . . Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews - make no mistake about it.
     It is also important to stress that non-Jews have not been excluded from Israel’s nation-building. To the contrary, in 2015, one-fifth of Israel’s citizens were non-Jews, including approximately1.7 million Arabs, and Arabic is one of three official national languages – Hebrew, Arabic and English.
     Israel’s Jewish population has always reflected enormous national, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity, which became even more pronounced in the 1980s, when Israel began rescuing tens of thousands of black Jews from drought-stricken Ethiopia. The eloquent comments at the time of Julius Chambers, the director-general of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, bear repeating:
     “Were the victims of Ethiopian famine white, countless nations might have offered them refuge. But the people dying every day of starvation in Ethiopia and the Sudan are black, and in a world where racism is officially deplored by virtually every organized government, only one non-African nation has opened its doors and its arms. The quiet humanitarian action of the State of Israel, action taken entirely without regard to the color of those being rescued, stands as a condemnation of racism far more telling than mere speeches and resolutions.[1]


     The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem is the same as the link between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel – it is a link that has existed since the time of King David and is a link that cannot be broken.

     For millennia, the territory around Jerusalem had been considered the Jewish homeland, originally encompassing the joint kingdoms of Juda and Israel that had been founded by King David. Around 1000 BCE, David conquered Jerusalem and made it the capital of his kingdom; he brought the Ark of the Covenant there, making it a religious center, as well. David's son, King Solomon, had a fabulous temple built in the city, and for centuries Jerusalem flourished as the land of Israel's spiritual and cultural center. Through the long and tumultuous history of the Jews, they never stopped considering Jerusalem to be the single most important and holiest of cities.
     The region also has spiritual meaning for Christians because it was here that Jesus Christ lived, traveled, preached and died. Jerusalem is especially sacred because it was in this city that Jesus died on the cross and, Christians believe, rose from the dead. The sites that he visited, and especially the site believed to be his tomb, made Jerusalem the most important objective for medieval Christian pilgrimages.
     Muslims see religious value in the area because it is where monotheism originated, and they recognize Islam's monotheistic heritage from Judaism. Jerusalem was originally the place toward which Muslims turned in prayer, until it was changed to Mecca in the 620s CE. Even since then, Jerusalem has retained significance to Muslims because it is conjectured that King Solomon's Holy Temple was the site of Muhammad's night journey and ascension.[4]

     Jerusalem has represented not only the geographical center of the Jewish people, but also the spiritual and metaphysical heart of their faith and identity. No matter where Jews pray, they always face in the direction of Jerusalem. Indeed, the relationship between Jerusalem and the Jewish people is entirely unique in the annals of history.
     Jerusalem was the site of the two Holy Temples - the first was built by King Solomon during the tenth century BCE and was destroyed in 586 BCE during the Babylonian conquest, The second Temple was built less than a century later. It was refurbished by King Herod and then destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans.
     For the Jewish people, Jerusalem has the centrality and significance expressed by the psalmist who wrote: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither; let my tongue stick to my palate if I cease to think of thee, if I do not keep Jerusalem in memory even at my happiest hour.” For over three thousand years, Jews at the Passover Seder each and every year have repeated the words: “Next year in Jerusalem.”
     Though in forced exile from their homeland and their Holy City for nearly nineteen hundred years, Jews never stopped yearning for the Land of Zion and Jerusalem. It is written in the Book of Isaiah: “For the sake of Zion I will not be silent; for the sake of Jerusalem I will not be still . . .”
     Let us remember that, throughout the diaspora, in addition to expressing this yearning in prayer, there were always Jews who lived in the Land of Israel, and especially in Jerusalem, although there were often threats to their physical safety. Indeed, since the nineteenth century, Jews have constituted a majority of Jerusalem’s population. For example, Jews constituted 61.9% of Jerusalem’s population in 1892.
     The historical and religious link of the Jewish people to Jerusalem (and Israel) is especially important in modern times because there are those who seek to rewrite history and assert that Jews are “foreign occupiers” or “colonialists” with no actual ties to the Land of Israel. Such attempts to deny Israel’s legitimacy are demonstrably false and are nothing more than outrageous lies and vile propaganda!
     These “deniers” entirely ignore the “inconvenient” fact that when Jerusalem was under Muslim (i.e., Ottoman and, later, Jordanian) rule, it was always nothing more than a backwater. Then, it was never a political, religious, or economic center. For example, when Jerusalem was in Jordanian hands from 1948 to 1967, virtually no Arab leader visited there, and no one from the ruling House of Saud in Saudi Arabia came to pray at the supposedly holy Al-Aksa Mosque in eastern Jerusalem.[1]

     The Rebirth of the State of Israel

     Shortly after its founding in 1945, the United Nations (UN) took an interest in the future of mandatory Palestine, then under British rule. A UN commission, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), recommended to the General Assembly a partition of the land between the Jews and the Arabs. Neither side would get all it sought, but a division would recognize that there were two populations in the land - one Jewish, the other Arab - each meriting a state of its own.
     On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly, by a vote of 33 in favor, 14 opposed, and 10 abstaining, adopted Resolution 181, known as the “Partition Plan”. Acceptance of the Partition Plan would have meant the establishment of two states, but the surrounding Arab countries and the local Arab population vehemently rejected the proposal. They refused to recognize a Jewish claim to any part of the land and chose war to drive the Jews out.
     On May 15, 1948, the modern State of Israel was founded. The very next day, the armies of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria attacked the fledgling Jewish state, seeking its destruction.
     In the course of the war launched by these neighboring Arab nations, many local Arabs fled Israel because Arab leaders called on them to do so or threatened them if they did not. Many left out of fear of the fighting and some were compelled to leave by Israeli forces. Importantly, hundreds of thousands of Arabs ended up staying in Israel and became citizens of the newly formed State of Israel.[1]

     The Peoples of Israel

     The State of Israel had a population of approximately 9,506,100 inhabitants as of May 2022. Some 73.9% were Jews of all backgrounds (about 7,021,000), 21.1% were Arab of any religion other than Jewish (about 2,007,000), while the remaining 5% (about 478,000 individuals) were defined as "others", including people of Jewish ancestry deemed non-Jewish by religious law and persons of non-Jewish ancestry who are family members of Jewish immigrants (neither of which are registered at the Ministry of Interior as Jews), Christian non-Arabs, Muslim non-Arabs and all other residents who have neither an ethnic nor religious classification.[5]

     Jews today constitute about 3/4 of the total population of Israel. About 1/5 of the population consists of Arabs, almost all of whom are “Palestinians” from Sunni Muslim or Christian communities. Druze and other ethnic Arabs who do not consider themselves “Palestinians” make up a small fraction of the total population.
     The Jewish population is diverse. Jews from Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, North America, and Latin America have been immigrating to this area since the late 19th century. Differing in ethnic origin and culture, they brought with them languages and customs from a variety of countries. The Jewish community today includes survivors of the Holocaust, offspring of those survivors, and émigrés escaping anti-Semitism. The revival of Hebrew as a common language and a strong Israeli national consciousness have facilitated the assimilation of newcomers to Israel.
     Religious or Orthodox Jewry in Israel constitutes a significant and articulate section of the population. As such, it is often at odds with a strong secular sector that seeks to prevent religious bodies and authorities from dominating national life. The two main religious-ethnic groupings are those Jews from central and eastern Europe and their descendants who follow the Ashkenazic traditions and those Jews from the Mediterranean region and North Africa who follow the Sephardic traditions. Until recently, it was generally true that the Sephardim tended to be poorer, less educated, and less represented in higher political office than the Ashkenazim.
     The Karaites are a Jewish sect that emerged in the early Middle Ages. Several thousand members live in Ramla, and more recently in Beersheba and Ashdod. Like other religious minorities, they have their own religious courts and communal organizations. Considered part of Jewish society, they have maintained their separate identity by resisting intermarriage and preserving their religious rites based on the Torah as the sole source of religious law.
     Samaritans trace their roots to those Jews not dispersed when the Assyrians conquered Israel in the 8th century BCE. About half of the few hundred surviving members of the Samaritan community live near Tel Aviv in the town of Holon. The rest live on Mount Gerizim near Nablus in the West Bank. They preserve their separate religious and communal organizations and speak Arabic but pray in an archaic form of Hebrew. They participate in national life as part of the Jewish section of the population.
     Arabs constitute the largest single minority in Israel, and, though most are Muslims of the Sunni branch, Arab Christians form a significant minority, particularly in the Galilee region in northern Israel. Arabs, whether Christian, Muslim, or Druze, speak Levantine Arabic. An increasing number avail themselves of higher education within Israel’s public schools and colleges, and many younger Arabs are bilingual in Hebrew and Arabic. Arabs are full Israeli citizens with political and civil rights that are equal to those of Israel’s Jewish citizens, with the exception of limitations on military service. Many Arabs participate actively in the Israeli political process, and several Arab political parties have members in the Israeli Knesset.
     Most Arabs living in Israel today refer to themselves as “Palestinians”. Under the British Mandate, they were known as Palestinian Arabs while Jews were identified as Palestinian Jews
     The overwhelming majority of Israel’s Muslims are Arabs. Like all other religious communities, Muslims enjoy considerable autonomy in dealing with matters of personal status. They have separate religious courts for issues such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. The state oversees their religious institutions. Israel’s Bedouins, roughly one-tenth of the Arab population, are exclusively Muslim.
     Most Christians in Israel are Arabs, and Christian communities in Israel, regardless of ethnicity, have a wide degree of autonomy in religious and communal affairs. The Greek Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are the largest denominations, and most of them are found in Jerusalem. Apart from the Greek Orthodox church, which has a patriarchate in Jerusalem, each church is dependent to a degree on a supreme hierarch abroad. These communities include Roman Catholics and Uniates (Melchites, Maronites, Chaldean Catholics, Syrian Catholics, and Armenian Catholics). Jerusalem also has a Russian Orthodox community. The Evangelical, Episcopal, and Lutheran churches are small and primarily Arabic-speaking.
     The Druze, who live in villages in the Galilee and around Mount Carmel, have traditionally formed a closed tight-knit community and practice a secretive religion founded in 11th-century Fatimid Egypt. Though Israeli Druze maintain contact with coreligionists in Lebanon and Syria, members of each group adhere to the authority of their country of residence. Israel has recognized the Druze as a separate Arab community since 1957, and Israeli Druze serve in the Israeli armed forces. Druze have traditionally been agriculturists, but younger members have found employment throughout the economy.
     The Baha'i faith, a universal religion founded in Iran in the mid-19th century, is the only religion other than Judaism to have its world center in Israel. A teaching center, archive building, shrine, and administrative headquarters are located on Mount Carmel in Haifa. There are a few hundred adherents in Israel, most of whom are employed at the Baha'i center in Haifa.
     The Circassians, who are Sunni Muslims, emigrated from the Caucasus in the 1870s. They number a few thousand and live in villages in the Galilee, preserving their native language and traditions. Older Circassians speak Arabic as well as the Circassian language, but members of the younger generation speak Hebrew. The men serve in the Israeli armed forces.[6]

     Clearly, the Land of Israel is a Holy Land! And just as clearly, no country in the Middle East is as tolerant of so many religious denominations as Israel!

     Arabs/Muslims and the Land of Israel

     There never was any connection between the Land of the Jews and the Arabs and Muslims of the region! The Arabs and the Muslims ignored the Jewish homeland completely as evidenced by Mark Twain’s description of the condition of the land when he visited it in 1867. They never even named the territory. The name Palestine comes not from the Arabs/Muslims but from the Romans who designated the area Palaestina from which the modern name Palestine is derived.

     Syria Palaestina was a Roman province in the Palestine region between the early 2nd and late 4th centuries CE. At the time, Judaea was a Roman province which incorporated the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea, and extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Judea. The name "Judaea" was derived from the Kingdom of Judah of the 6th century BCE.
     During the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, Judaea became the epicenter of a series of unsuccessful large-scale Jewish rebellions against Rome, known as the Jewish-Roman Wars. The First Jewish-Roman War (66-73 CE) resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Two generations later, the Bar Kokhba Revolt (142-146 CE) erupted. Judea's countryside was devastated, and many were killed, displaced or sold into slavery. Following the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt, Jerusalem was rebuilt as a Roman colony under the name of Aelia Capitolina, and the province of Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina.[7]

     The Geography of Israel

     Israel is a small country. The total area of the State of Israel is 8,630 square miles, just slightly bigger than the state of New Jersey.[2] The country has a diverse climate with snowy mountains in the northeast and the desert in the south. Jordan and Syria border Israel to the east. Lebanon serves as the northern border and Egypt borders it in the south.
     More than half of the population of Israel lives on the narrow coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea to the west. The Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan is the lowest point on the Earth's surface at 1,365 feet below sea level. The water is so salty and rich in mineral deposits that no plants or animals can survive there. The water is warm year-round.
     In the south and east, the land is hot and dry. The Negev Desert in southern Israel receives only 1 inch of rain a year. In the north, the Galilee is known to have the most fertile farmland in the country.[8]

     Israel is a narrow country at the junction of Asia and Africa. The greatest distance east to west is about 65 miles. It takes only about seven hours to drive its 280-mile north-south length.
     The topography ranges from the rugged mountainous desert in the Dead Sea area to the flat coastal plain where Tel Aviv and Caesarea are located. The Negev Desert, Judean Hills, and the higher hills and mountains of the Galilee add to the variety of the country’s landscape. Over thousands of years, the rains have carved spectacular wadis or ravines in the permeable clay terrain of the remote desert areas. There are many natural caves, which were carved by the flow of rivers and subterranean waterways. Alongside rocky deserts, pleasant fields roll with wheat, olive trees, and grapevines.
     Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source in the northeast of Israel. The country has many natural parks, such as Ein Gedi near the Dead Sea, where one can find hills, forest, desert, and waterfalls in the same area. The highest points in Israel are Mt. Hermon, at almost 9,000 feet in the Golan Heights and Mt. Meron, at almost 4,000 feet. The only ski resort in the Middle East is located atop Mt. Hermon.
     The lowest point in israel is also the lowest point on Earth - the Dead Sea.[9]

     Foods of Israel

     Food in Israel is extremely diverse and generally very good.[2] Jewish and Israeli cooking has traditionally reflected the influences of the foods of the nations around the world in which Jews had been scatted for thousands of years. From places like Russia, France, Spain, England Germany came dishes like borscht and dumplings. From the middle East came falafel and shakshuka. Other ethnic dishes came from places like Ethiopia, Yemen, India and China. Wherever the displaced Jew went, he appropriated and modified the foods of the countries in which he lived. Today, Jewish/Israeli cooking reflects this diversity.

     After the second World War, Israel found itself surrounded by enemies, and faced the the problem of absorbing 100,000 immigrants a year. As the face of the new nation changed, a new culinary picture gradually emerged. The wave of immigration was comprised not only of displaced survivors of the Holocaust, but of Jews from all over the Middle East. With each ethnic group came different styles of eating and cooking.
     The massive immigration was a strain on the economy, so the period from 1948 to 1958 was a time of government-regulated food rationing. Women cooked with wild greens from the fields; new foods, like Ben-Gurion’s “Israeli couscous,” were introduced to satisfy the needs of the multicultural population; and surplus vegetables, like eggplant, were ingeniously used to simulate meat. Israel’s canning industry increased production, supplying canned tomato paste and puree, hummus, tahina, and mayonnaise in tubes.
     As the fertility of the land increased, so did the excitement of creating food to meet the needs of the growing population. “Israel is unique . . . Within a small area, for example, a subtropical climate exists - near the Sea of Galilee, where mangoes, kiwis and bananas can grow - alongside a temperate climate in the mountains of Galilee and the Golan, where cherries and apples grow.”
     The diversity of Israeli agriculture also has been affected by the constantly changing population; the European population that developed in the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s was accustomed to eating apples, plums, and cherries, while later immigrants from Middle Eastern countries liked to eat and grow grapes, olives, and dates.
     Because of the lack of a deep agricultural tradition, farmers on the kibbutzim [agricultural collectives] were ready to accept new techniques and experiment with new fruits and vegetables, unlike in some other countries, where for generations farmers had been tilling the soil in the same way and people had the same diet.
     New fruits and vegetables had an increasing presence in the local market, and ambitious young chefs began to take advantage of their novelty.
     When the Golan Heights were annexed in 1967, apples - one of the few fruits that the Israelis were not adept at growing - were planted there and thrived in the cold nights and the high, dry altitude. Israelis also had the same success with grapes at the Golan Heights Winery, close to the Syrian border. These new varietals were of a much higher quality than Baron de Rothschild’s plantings had been at his low-lying coastal wineries a hundred years earlier. The Golan Heights Winery introduced its first vintage in 1983 from grapes planted ten years earlier. These kosher wines have been winning silver and gold medals in international competitions ever since.
     Throughout the Middle East, where emotions run high, politics also plays a major role in the complicated global market. Since the 1980s, for example, when all trade with Iran was blocked, Israel has become the main exporter of Iranian variants of mint, parsley, and other herb seeds for Iranian-American growers.
     In recent decades, with a general rise in disposable income and the elimination of travel taxes imposed on the struggling economy, Israelis have become open to new experiences in travel and food. After their two-year mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), many young Israeli soldiers go abroad, most frequently to travel in East Asia or Latin America and to spend some time working in the United States. Many of these young people return home with new culinary tastes. A number of them have become chefs, schooled in international cuisine and influential in the development of modern Israeli cooking.
     Despite their global lifestyles, the new Israeli chefs still cultivate a link to the foods of the Old Testament. Grapes, dates, lentils, and chickpeas are but a few of the ancient ingredients that have captured their imaginations in producing signature dishes. With constant waves of immigration, Israel is rapidly incorporating the native cuisines of its new populations.
     The story of Israeli food is not just a Jewish story — its recipes cross borders more easily than people do. It is also the story of a land that has overcome harsh natural deprivation to bring forth new agricultural produce. Because it constantly incorporates so much from the rest of the world, Israel may never boast of one “cuisine,” but it will always retain a rich mixture of fine tastes. It reflects the modern mosaic of the country, embracing the culinary influences of its Arab neighbors and accommodating the varied tastes of the world’s Jews.[10]

     Refugees From the Arab-Israeli Conflict

     Little attention has been paid to the incontrovertible fact that there have been two refugee populations created by the Arab-Israeli conflict, not one. While world attention has focused on the so-called “Palestinian” refugees, the plight of hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries has been largely ignored.
     The size of these two groups is believed to be roughly the same. But there was one profound difference - Israel (and other Western countries) immediately absorbed the Jewish refugees, while the “Palestinian” refugees were placed in camps by their Arab brethren and these "Palestinian” refugees have been deliberately kept in the camps for generation after generation as a matter of calculated Arab policy - and with the complicity of the United Nations.
     Think about this: Israel withdrew entirely from Gaza in 2005, but there are still eight UN-run refugee camps there. Why? Gaza is under “Palestinian”, not Israeli, control, yet it seems that dismantling the camps would mean abandoning a hallowed symbol of “Palestinian" resistance and replacing it with the normality of everyday existence.
     To this day in 2023, some 75 years after the first Arab-Israeli war, there is no comparable situation in the world. The “Palestinian” refugees have been cynically exploited in this way for over seven decades. Until now, only one Arab country – Jordan - has offered citizenship to significant numbers of “Palestinian” refugees. The other twenty Arab countries, with their vast territory and sharing a common language, religion, and ethnic roots with the “Palestinians”, have refused to do so. Instead, they wanted to foster hatred of Israel and they therefor have continued to use the refugees as a lethal weapon in the ongoing struggle against Israel.
     Where was the Arab sympathy for their brothers in the newly created State of Israel from 1948 to 1967 when Jordan occupied and controlled Judea and Samaria (renamed the West Bank) and Egypt occupied and controlled the Gaza Strip?
     Rather than consider sovereignty for the local Arab population and the “Palestinian” refugees who settled there, Egyptian authorities imposed harsh military rule. Meanwhile, the West Bank and the eastern half of Jerusalem were governed by Jordan. Again, there was no move to create an independent "Palestinian" state. To the contrary, Jordan annexed the territory, a step recognized by only two countries in the world, Britain and Pakistan.
     In 1964, during this period of occupation, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded. Its aim was not the creation of a “Palestinian” state in the areas then under Egyptian (i.e., Gaza) and Jordanian (i.e., West Bank) authority, but rather the elimination of Israel and the founding of an Arab "Palestinian" state in the whole of what they called "Palestine".
     Article 15 of the PLO Charter clearly articulated this goal: “The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national duty to repulse the Zionist, imperialist invasion from the great Arab homeland and to purge the Zionist presence from Palestine.[1]

     Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights

     On 16 May 1967, Cairo Radio announced: “The existence of Israel has continued too long. The battle has come in which we shall destroy Israel.” On the same day, Egypt demanded the withdrawal of UN peace-keeping forces that had been stationed in Gaza and Sharmel-Sheikh since 1957. Three days later, the UN, to its everlasting shame, announced it would comply with the Egyptian demand.
     On 19 May, Cairo Radio said: “This is our chance, Arabs, to deal Israel a mortal blow of annihilation . . .” On 23 May, Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser declared his intention to block the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, thus effectively severing Israel’s vital trade links with East Africa and Asia. Israel replied that under international law this was a casus belli, an act of war. On 27 May, Nasser said that “our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel.” On 30 May, Jordan’s King Hussein placed Jordanian forces under Egyptian control. Egyptian, Iraqi, and Saudi troops were sent to Jordan. On 2 June, Iraq’s leader added his thoughts: “We are resolved, determined, and united to achieve our clear aim of wiping Israel off the map.” On 3 June, Cairo Radio hailed the impending Muslim holy war of annihilation agains the Jewish state.
     On 5 June 1967, Israel, surrounded by far more numerous and heavily-armed Arab forces likely to attack at any moment, launched a preemptive strike. Within six days, Israel defeated its adversaries and, in the process, captured land on the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian fronts. Israel had made strenuous and well-documented efforts, via UN channels, to persuade King Hussein to stay out of the war. The Jordanian king foolishly ignored the israeli offer of peace.
     Shortly after the Six-Day War, Israel signaled a desire to exchange land for peace with its Arab neighbors. While Israel was unprepared to relinquish the eastern half of Jerusalem - which contained Judaism’s holiest sites and which, in blatant violation of the terms of the 19648 Israeli-Jordanian armistice agreement, had been entirely off limits to Israel for nearly nineteen year - it was eager to exchange the seized territories for a comprehensive settlement. But Israel’s overtures were rebuffed.
     An unmistakable response came from Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, where Arab leaders gathered to issue a resolution on 1 September 1967, announcing the three noes: “no peace, no recognition, and no negotiation” with Israel.[1]

     Defining Israel’s Final Borders

     Let it be clearly understood that the 1948 delineation of the State of Israel’s border was never an internationally recognized boundary, but rather only a “green line” on a map that identified the armistice line marking the positions held at the end of Israel’s War of Independence in 1949. The United States recognized this critically important fact when President George W. Bush wrote to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, on 15 April 2004, that “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of the final-status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.[1]

     For three quarters of a century, the “Palestinians” have had the opportunity to live in peace with the State of Israel. They have repeatedly refused to do so. Instead, they have continually engaged in murder, terror and destruction with the avowed objective of destroying Israel and eliminating all Jews from the region! For the past seventy five years, Israel has offered the ”Palestinians” a state of their own. They have repeatedly refused to accept the offers. The time has come when the “Palestinians” and the world must accept the fact that the opportunity for establishing a “Palestinian State” has passed. The “Palestinians” have forfeited their opportunity for an independent state by their continuing resort to violence and their obstinate refusal to live in peace with the Jewish state. At best, they can now choose to live in peace within the borders of the modern State of Israel, or they can choose to face the consequences of continuing to oppose peace. The “Palestinians” need to be made to realize that they have squandered more than seven decades and numerous chances to build an independent state – alongside the State Israel, not in place of it.

     Israel Has Never Been Interested in Territorial Expansion

     Throughout its modern history, Israel has consistently shown that it has no interest in territorial conquest and expansion by force of arms.

     In 1967, with the exception of the Golan Heights, Israel withdrew from all Syrian territory into which it had advanced after being attacked and invaded at the start of the Yom Kippur War. Israel retained the Golan Heights to prevent further unwarranted attacks and harassment of Israeli farmers by Syria from the strategic Heights of the Golan.

     In 1967, after recapturing territory in Samaria and Judea, including Eastern Jerusalem, which had been captured by Jordan in 1948, Israel did not cross the Jordan River and attempt to acquire territory in the Kingdom of Jordan. Having defeated the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, Israel was quite capable of defeating the remainder of the Jordanian army and taking possession of whatever area east of the Jordan River that it desired.

     Following the Yom Kippur War, Israel yielded the vast expanse of the Sinai (approximately 23,000 square miles, or more than twice the size of Israel proper), which had provided a critical strategic buffer zone between itself and Egypt. Israel also gave up valuable oil fields which it had discovered in the Sinai, a big sacrifice for a country with no other natural resources to speak of at the time. It closed important air force bases that had been constructed and it dismantled Jewish enclaves in Sinai.

     After having to enter Lebanon and battle the Iranian- and Syrian-backed terrorists that had been attacking northern Israel for years, Israel twice withdrew its armed forces from that country without retaining so much as one square inch of that nation’s territory.

     In 2005, Israel totally withdrew from the Gaza Strip and turned over the entire area to the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). In doing so, Israel ended its presence in the Gaza Strip, which it had occupied since the Six Day War of 1967. Over the course of 38 years, Israel had established some 21 settlements across the coastal enclave with approximately 9,000 settlers.[11]

     In all of these cases, Israel demonstrated its unquenchable thirst for peace, its willingness to take substantial risks and make sacrifices, and its scrupulous commitment to fulfilling the terms of its agreements. When else in modern history has a country victorious in a war for its very survival relinquished so much land and other tangible strategic assets in pursuit of peace?

     The “Palestinians” Have Never Been a Peace Partner

     Israel’s total disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the brainchild of Isaeli Prime Minister Sharon, not only provided a potential new start to the peace process, but also gave the "Palestinians", under the leadership of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, an historic opportunity for self-governance. Would they begin to establish a peaceful civil society without the widespread corruption, violence, and anarchy so endemic in the past? Or would Gaza end up as an essentially lawless area, hospitable primarily to terrorists and their friends? Would the “Palestinians” aspire to build a model state living quietly alongside Israel, or would they use Gaza as a new platform for firing missiles and organizing attacks against neighboring Israel?
     Nearly two decades later, tragically, the answer is in. Abbas and his allies were violently ousted from Gaza by Hamas, which took over complete control of the area in 2007. Abbas has not been to Gaza since. Hamas, recognized as a terrorist group by the U.S. and E.U., has received support from Iran, diverted supplies to military purposes, launched countless rockets at Israel, built infiltration tunnels, repeatedly angered neighboring Egypt, and denied residents the chance to pursue serious political, social, and economic development.
     All along, a key test for the leadership of President Abbas has been the challenge posed by terror groups operating within "Palestinian" society. Without firm and consistent action in confronting the enemies of an accord, including Hamas with which Abbas forged a coalition in 2015, the chances for moving ahead successfully on the peace front have totally diminished. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority can never establish its centrality if armed groups have the luxury of operating both as political factions and separate militia groups.
     There’s one other important point. If, after the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority had begun to introduce the values of tolerance and coexistence into the school curriculum, perhaps the generation of young terrorists we have seen in recent years might have acted differently. But, instead, they were fed a steady diet of incitement, hatred, vilification, and demonization of Jews, Judaism, Israel, and Zionism. They were led to believe that there could be no higher calling for Arabs and Muslims than so-called martyrdom and the killing of as many detested Jews - the “sons of monkeys and pigs,” as some spokesmen regularly refer to the Jews — as possible.
     And this teaching has been reinforced by the drumbeat of hatred pouring out of mosques during Friday sermons, the popularity of notoriously anti-Semitic books and the use of “Palestinian” media as a mouthpiece for incitement. When “Palestinian” schools, the media, and the mosques stop this outpouring of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, then chances for building a foundation of true peace will increase.
     Israelis, however, have learned the painful lessons of history. Peace without secure and defensible borders can be tantamount to national suicide. And who knows better than the citizens of Israel, who include Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as refugees from communist lands and Arab extremism, how dangerous it can be to let one’s guard down too quickly, too easily.
     Israelis cannot simply ignore, say, Iran’s repeated calls for Israel’s annihilation and its ambition, sooner or later, to acquire weapons of mass destruction; Syria’s chaos, death toll, and collapse as a unitary state; Hezbollah’s arsenal of tens of thousands of missiles in southern Lebanon capable of reaching most of Israel; and the blood-curdling calls heard in Gaza and the West Bank for “martyrs” to attack Israel. Israelis live in a particularly rough neighborhood. It must act in its own best interests, No one else will do it for them.[1]

     Even in 2023, the “Palestinians” continue to demonstrate that they never have been , still are not, and never will be real “peace partners.”

     On the night before Passover in 2023, sirens went off in Israel as terrorists launched a total of 16 rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israel.
     Israel’s security establishment blamed the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group for the attack. Since the beginning of the year, about 60 rockets had been launched from Gaza towards Israel.
     “The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for all terror activity emanating from the Gaza Strip and it will face the consequences of the security violations against Israel,” the army said in a statement.[12]

     The Two-State Solution is Dead!

     There is no Arab “Palestinian” people and there never was an Arab “Palestine.” It all is a fraud. There never was an Arab political entity of “Palestine” and never a “Palestinian Arab nation.” The dizzying repetition of that Big Lie for so many decades has caused people who should know better to speak of a “Two-State Solution.” But that very notion is illogical, absurd, nonsensical.
     Look at the map of the region. Gaza is on one side, and Judea-Samaria (the “West Bank”) is utterly separate. Those two regions are not one entity. Even now, Gaza is ruled by Hamas terrorists, and the “Palestine Authority” is run by Abu Mazen (aka Mahmoud Abbas) and Fatah terrorists. They regularly hate and kill each other. So it is not about a “Two State Solution” but rather a “Three Country Quagmire.”
     Given that no “Palestinian” extremist would allow any single Jew to live there, how exactly would 500,000 Jews be uprooted from their homes in Judea and Samaria, plus another 325,000 Jews from Jerusalem’s eastern neighborhoods? Would the “Two State Solution” be to send in stormtroopers, round-up and shove Jews onto cattle cars, and force-march them into concentration camps? What exactly would be the plan for uprooting 800,000 Jews from the lands Israel liberated in 1967, more than half a century ago?
     None of this “Two State Solution” makes any sense once one actually thinks beyond a meaningless phrase.
     The entire “Palestine” myth is built on one Big Lie after another. The New York Times even supported the Big Lie by publishing an op-ed piece asserting that Jesus was a “Palestinian Arab.” The deniers of the truth and the spreaders of the Big Lie have tricked untold numbers of gullible people and a new generation of campus ignoramuses into believing the Big Lie that there was an Arab country called “Palestine” and the corollary to that Big Lie that there ever was an ancient Arab people called “The Palestinians”.
     There were no Arab Muslims in the Bible. Open any Bible. Every sentence proves it. Indeed, there was no Islam until Mohammed more than half a millennium after the birth of Christ. For the two thousand years after the Romans renamed Israel Palaestina, the expression “Land of Palestine” was synonymous with the Land of Israel. Israel’s Jews were recognized as the “Palestinians.” There never was a “Palestinian Arab” nation; no Arabs called themselves “The Palestinians.” There never was an Arab political entity called “Palestine.”
     Open an Encyclopedia pre-dating 1964, and look up “Palestine.” Identify the name of any Arab Muslim who was ever the “King of Palestine,” the “Sheikh of Palestine,” the “Emperor of Palestine,” the “Prime Minister of Palestine,” or the “President of Palestine.” Name a “Palestinian” painter of note, or a “Palestinian” soccer team. There never was an Arab anything called “Palestine,” no coinage, no currency - and there never was an Arab people called "Palestinians". Any statement otherwise is a lie and a fraud on a society that easily can be fooled when the mass media decides to partner in a Big Lie.
     The advocates of the “The Big Lie” claim there never was a Jewish Holy Temple on Mount Zion. Open your Jewish Bible. I Kings 6-7. Look in the Christian Bible: Matthew 21. Luke 2. John 2. Yet today’s Grand Mufti of Jerusalem preaches that there never was a Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Abu Mazen (aka Mahmoud Abbas), Holocaust Denier and leader of the PA, likewise denies all such history. That Big Lie not only negates Judaism but also Christianity’s core narrative of the life of Jesus.
     And the irony of their Holocaust denial and Jerusalem Temple denial is that there never was an Arab country or people called “Palestine.”
     Prior to 1948, “Palestine” always meant “Israel.” The American organization that raised money for the Irgun - the Jewish underground that fought alongside the Haganah when England would not allow Jewish refugees from Hitler, fleeing desperately on ships like the “Exodus” to find sanctuary in Israel - was the American League for a Free Palestine. The English-language Jewish daily newspaper in Israel before the State of Israel was established in 1948 was the Palestine Post. The United Jewish Appeal before 1948 was the United Palestine Appeal. Indeed, Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, titles him the Chief Rabbi of Palestine.
     Until 1964, Arabs never undertook to establish their own “Palestine” in either Judea-Samaria (the “West Bank”) or in Gaza - even though they controlled both regions for two decades from 1948-1967 (Jordan occupied Judea-Samaria and Egypt held Gaza.). When the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964, the “Palestine” they wanted to “liberate” was the entire country of Israel. They harbored no designs or interest at all on the “West Bank” or Gaza because Arabs occupied those regions. Rather, they defined “Palestine” as the the entire pre-1967 Israel.
     Only after Egypt, Syria, and Jordan allied for war in 1967 to drive the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea - and lost Judea-Samaria and Gaza in their ensuing debacle - did a new revamped “Palestine Myth” emerge. Only then - suddenly - did the “Palestine” myth change: Now the PLO suddenly wanted Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and Gaza. Suddenly, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were “Palestine.”
     Indeed, why do the Arabs call Judea and Samaria the “West Bank”? Do people call Jersey City or Hoboken or Secaucus the “West Bank” even though those cities lie on the west bank of the Hudson River? Why call Jewish cities in Judea and Samaria the “West Bank” when they are nowhere near the Jordan River? Answer: Because, through all of Arab history, Arabs never had any name for the region because it was not theirs. They had names for Egypt, for Lebanon, but no name for Judea and Samaria. They would sound laughable if they were to proclaim: “Judea belongs to Arabs because there never were Jews in Judea.” Indeed, “Judea” is named for the Jewish tribe of Judah, the tribe of Nachshon, Calev, David and Solomon, that was apportioned that region by Joshua.
     Christians find that Luke 17:11 discusses Jesus in Samaria and that John 4:1-4 discusses Jesus going from Judea to the Galilee by way of Samaria. Nowhere in the Jewish Bible - nor in the Christian Bible - is the region, the very heartland of Israel, called the “West Bank.” That name is utter nonsense. So, the Arabs call it “The West Bank” even though all the remainder of that region is known by Biblical names: Lebanon, Tyre, Sidon, Damascus, Hebron, Bethlehem, Galilee, Beersheba, Jerusalem. Yet, after all the millennia, the Arabs never had reason to use the names, Judea and Samaria.
     “One picture is worth a thousand words.” The flag of Abu Mazen’s PA depicts the “Palestine” the "Palestinians" seek as the entire State of Israel. The same are true of the flags of Hamas, that of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, that of the “General Command” and the flag of Palestine Islamic Jihad. Each flag depicts their definition of “Palestine”: not a country comprised of the “West Bank” and Gaza, but rather, composed of the entirety of Israel. That is what they mean when they chant: “From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea / ‘Palestine’ Will Be Free.” That is what they mean when they talk of a Two—State Solution.
     It has been the dream of Jew-haters from Adolf Hitler to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and their ilk: an Israel free of all Jews. After two thousand years of driving Jews out of European countries and yelling “Go to Israel!” now they would declare Judea and Samaria as the one place on earth barred to Jewish residence.
     Facts remain facts. Jews, Catholics, and Protestants all have access to Biblical narratives that tell a profound truth: There never ever was an Arab country called “Palestine,” and there never ever was an Arab people who called themselves “The Palestinians” until the past century. Their claims are bogus. Their lies are brazen.
     May the day speedily arrive when the Israeli Government finally will extend sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, just as it did in uniting Jerusalem and in annexing the Golan Heights. No one is going to uproot and displace nearly a million Jews from their homes in cities throughout Judea and Samaria. No one is going to remove Jews from Hebron, where the bones of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah repose. No one is going to remove Jews from the region where Rachel’s Tomb stands. No one is going to ethnically cleanse Jews out of the regions where Isaiah, Amos, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel prophesied.
     The opinions of the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab and Muslim World, and the Russia-China-North Korea Axis no longer matter. That is the result of Israel having been the target of their one-sided, viciously unfair and biased attacks for more than seventy years: Israelis and those who support Israel throughout the world learned decades ago to tune out their endless condemnations.[13]

     Peace in the Middle East is Possible

     On 26 March 1979, in a ceremony at the White House, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed a historic peace agreement, ending three decades of hostilities between Egypt and Israel and establishing diplomatic and commercial ties between the two nations.
     Less than two years earlier, in an unprecedented move for an Arab leader, Sadat traveled to Jerusalem, Israel to seek a permanent peace settlement with Egypt’s Jewish neighbor after decades of conflict. Sadat’s visit, in which he met with Begin and spoke before Israel’s parliament, was met with outrage in most of the Arab world. Despite criticism from Egypt’s regional allies, Sadat continued to pursue peace with Begin, and in September 1978 the two leaders met again in the United States, where they negotiated an agreement with U.S. President Jimmy Carter at Camp David, Maryland. The Camp David Accords, the first peace agreement between the state of Israel and one of its Arab neighbors, laid the groundwork for diplomatic and commercial relations. Seven months later, a formal peace treaty was signed.[14]

     Israel and Jordan reached an historic peace agreement in 1994. With this peace agreement, Israel demonstrated its deep yearning for peace and readiness to take the steps necessary to achieve it, including border adjustments and water-sharing arrangements called for by Amman.
     Spurred by the examples of, first, Egypt and, later, Jordan, a number of other Arab countries began exploring links with Israel. The most forthcoming was Mauritania, which became the third Arab state to establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel, though a subsequent change in government there brought the ties to an abrupt end. Others, such as Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Tunisia, stopped short of full recognition, but for a time at least, openly sought political or economic ties. And some other Arab countries, which prefer to operate below the radar, have developed points of contact with Israel. These have taken a variety of forms, especially in recent years and spurred by shared concerns about Iran’s regional ambitions and assertiveness, but rarely see the light of day.[1]

     In September of 2020, the Abraham Accords came into being. These accords are a series of joint normalization statements - initially between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Mediated by the United States, the initial announcement of August 14, 2020, concerned only Israel and the United Arab Emirates before the announcement of a follow-up agreement between Israel and Bahrain on September 11, 2020. On September 15, 2020, the official signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords was hosted by the United States at the White House. As part of the dual agreements, both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recognized Israel's sovereignty, enabling the establishment of full diplomatic relations. The name of the Abraham Accords is rooted in the common belief of the Abrahamic religions - particularly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - regarding the role of Abraham as a patriarch.
     Israel's establishment of diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain marked the first instance of Arab–Israeli normalization since 1994, when the Israel–Jordan peace treaty came into effect.
     Later, in December 2020, Morocco joined the accords and normalized relations with Israel. In January 2021, Sudan joined the Abraham Accords and normalized relations with Israel. On January 6, 2021, Sudan officially signed the Abraham Accords Declaration. While Sudan signed the declarative section of the agreement, it did not sign the corresponding document with Israel, unlike the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. As of February 2023, negotiations were continuing towards normalization.[15]

     Peace in the Middle East is Possible!

  1. Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, David Harris, American Jewish Committee (AJC), December 2015.
  2. How to Visit Israel Like a Pro: 20 Essential Travel Tips, Anda, Travel Notes & Beyond, 11 March 2023.
  3. History of Israel, Wikipedia, Accessed 2 April 2023.
  4. The Holy Land, Melissa Snell, ThoughtCo, 7 February 2019.
  5. Demographics of Israel, Wikipedia, Accessed 1 April 2023.
  6. People of Israel, Britannica, Accessed 1 April 2023.
  7. Syria Palaestina, Wikipedia, Accessed 29 March 2023.
  8. Israel, National Geographic Kids, Accessed 1 April 2023.
  9. Israel Geography, Country Reports, Accessed 1 April 2023.
  10. The Evolution of Israeli Cuisine, Joan Nathan, My Jewish Learning, Accessed 29 March 2023.
  11. Remembering Israel's 'disengagement' from Gaza, Rebecca Stead, Middle East Monitor, 15 August 2019.
  12. Gaza Terrorists Fire 16 Rockets at Israel; IDF Hits Hamas Targets, United With Israel, 5 April 2023.
  13. Never, Ever was a Palestinian State, Rabbi Dov Fischer, Jewish Press, 27 March 2023.
  14. Israel-Egypt peace agreement signed,, 29 March 2021.
  15. Abraham Accords, Wikipedia, Accessed 1 April 2023.


  8 June 2023 {ARTICLE 578; ISRAEL_77}    
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