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The Fighting in the Middle East

For the time being, a war in the Middle East has been averted.  A new agreement was signed.  Apparently, Hamas has agreed to not fire missiles at Israel and Israel will relax the embargo against Gaza.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

If you so desire, you can be a Christian or a Muslim and still be an Israeli citizen.  The head of the Israeli supreme court is a Muslim.  There are Israeli Muslims in the Israeli diplomatic service, as well as the Israeli Defense Forces.  The Bahai religion has their headquarters in Tel Aviv.  It is much easier, however, to become an Israeli citizen if you are Jewish.  Why?  Is this fair?

Let me assume that you have studied some European history.  If you did, then you might know of all the times that Jews have been expelled from various European countries.  Mostly, the local rulers were pushed by the Catholic Church to expel the Jews (or have them convert to Christianity).  As they were expelled from one country, they were invited by another.

Hatred of the Jews is very much a part of the New Testament and the Catholic Church taught that it was the Jews who killed Jesus.  They conveniently skipped the fact that Jesus, the disciples, and the first Christians were all Jews.  According to Christian mythology, Jesus was put on earth to be killed.  On the other hand, the Jews were quite a peaceful people and they were quite loyal to the local ruler, they were industrious, and they paid their taxes without protest.  Hence, there was reason to throw them out (they killed a fellow Jew — which was part of God’s plan) — and reason to keep them (they paid their taxes).

In England, for example, Jews were expelled in 1290.  From then until 1655 there are no records of Jews in England.  Interestingly, William Shakespeare, the English poet and playwright lived from 1564 to 1616.  Among his other plays, he wrote, “The Merchant of Venice” which is anti-Semitic in nature.  This is interesting since, in all likelihood, Shakespeare never knowingly came in contact with a member of the Jewish faith.  There weren’t any in England.

So, Jews throughout the ages were invited and then expelled from European countries.  Things began to get better during the Age of Enlightenment which started at about the year 1650.  The enlightenment philosophy greatly influenced the American Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments of the Constitution).

Finally, in the year 1894 a French army officer, Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of spying for the Germans.  He was imprisoned, but a couple of years after his imprisonment he was given a new trial.  By 1906 it was demonstrated that all charges were false.  It was actually the military judge who sentenced him that was the guilty party.  Dreyfus served in the French army through the whole of World War I, and retired as a Lieutenant-Colonel.

Many people in France openly expressed the opinion that it was easy to convict Dreyfus because he was a Jew.

This was too much for a lot of European Jews.  They decided that no matter how they tried, they would never be accepted as true citizens in any Christian-majority country.  The migration of European Jews to Israel began.

Jews have lived in Israel since biblical times.  The American author Samuel Clemens (you might be more familiar with his pen name, Mark Twain) visited the area that was to become Israel in 1867.  He described it as, “A desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds. A silent, mournful expanse, 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 a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country”.

There were no masses of people.  The region simply would not support them.  As Jews migrated to the land they brought their own ingenuity and European farming technology.  Before long they were growing crops and supporting themselves.  Arabs, seeking employment and trying to better themselves and their families, migrated to Israel as well.

As anti-Semitism reared its ugly head in the form of the Nazis, Jewish immigration increased.  After World War II, the European Jews who were still alive understandably did not want to go back to their homes.  Most wanted to go to the United States or Palestine.  Tension started between the Muslims and the Jews.    The United Nations drew borders to create a Jewish country (Israel) and a Muslim country (Palestine).  The Jewish leadership wrote their laws in such a manner that any Jew facing persecution would be welcome in Israel.  That is the way it was in 1948 and that is the way it still is today.  Is it fair?  Well that may depend on who you ask.

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One comment on “The Fighting in the Middle East

  1. Not to oversimplify, but throughout history the big fish always ate the little fish. That seems the pattern of human history. Religion, politics, philosophy, etc., these are just excuses, rationalizations, used to justify the pattern of human greed. The Jews were the little fish for centuries. Today they have nukes and they do not intend to be the little fish anymore. The Palestinians have nothing. They must now be content with being the little fish.. At the current pace of Israeli expansion, within one hundred years there will no more Palestine.

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