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Both historical And Biblical Revisionism and self aggrandizement

Reader comment on item: Gaza's Not the Key, Philadelphi Is
in response to reader comment: A Sting that will keep stinging

Submitted by sara (United States), Dec 3, 2012 at 20:19


Rather than address your ridiculously foolish comments about what you believe is stated in Islam as to the State of Israel, I wil only refer to your factually ignorant statement about the origin of the word "gaza' or in Hebrew Aza). In fact, the place is described in the Bible, thousands of years ago. It is a distinct location and the description matches where it is today. In Hebrew the word means 'strong'. It is, and always was , a real place in the Old Testament and has historical record and great importance for Jews.

The Arabs only came upon it in recent centuries. What is definite is that it has NOTHING to do with the word 'sting' in Arabic. How amusing !

In Bible versions:

people of Gaza: NIV

a city A Philistine town 5 km east of the Mediterranean and 60 west of Hebron
a town on the western coast of the territory of Judah
a town and the region it controled
residents of the town of Gaza

strong; a goat


The four thousand year old association of Jewish life in Gaza is little remembered in today's world. Of course people know of the biblical story of Samson being blinded by the now extinct Philistines and how he brought down the temple to their gods in Gaza. But very few have any idea of the rich Jewish history in the following millennia.

In the Second millennium BC, Gaza served as an administrative city and residence of the Egyptian governor of Canaan. The bible tells us that the Jewish patriarch, Isaac, dug wells in Gerar, an ancient site between Beer Sheba and Gaza, and in the 13th century BC the Philistines or Caphorites (Cretans) annihilated the Avite inhabitants of Gaza and made the city the largest of their five centers. After the Israelite Exodus from Egypt and entry into the Promised Land, the tribe of Judah was given Gaza as a possession but did not include it fully in their territory. The bible reports in Joshua 15.47 and Judges 1:18 how the city of Gaza, and those of Ekron, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Gat became a possession of Israel but how some of them were among those places 'lying in the remaining country,' i.e., not fully possessed by the Israelites.

Down the centuries, Gaza was captured by Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, followed by Persians and later still by Alexander the Great who incorporated it into his growing empire in the 5th century BC. The strategic territory, lying as it does at the crossroads of two continents, Africa and Asia, has repeatedly fallen since earliest times to invading armies.

In 167 BC, Judah Maccabee led his Jewish fighters to victory over the Syrian-Greek pagan king, Antiochus Epiphanies. Jerusalem was liberated and the defiled Temple cleansed. The miracle of this event is now celebrated by Jews during the festival of Hanukah. But it was the Hasmonean king, Yochanan, who liberated Gaza in 145 BC. He was the brother of Judah the Maccabee and it was their other brother, Simon, who sent Jews to repopulate Gaza and its environs.

In the Book of Maccabees: 1:15, it says:

"Not a strange land have we conquered, and not over the possessions of strangers have we ruled, but of the inheritance of our Fathers that was in the hands of the enemy and conquered by them unlawfully. And as for us, when we had the chance, we returned to ourselves the inheritance of our Fathers."

The Roman general, Pompey, conquered Judea in the First century BC and made Gaza a free "polis" but in 61 AD the Roman Governor, Gavinius, evicted the Jews. In the subsequent war against Roman occupation of Judea, between 67 and 70 AD, Jewish forces again liberated the town and its environs before suffering defeat at the hands of Rome's legions.

Continuing Roman excesses against the Jews led to the Second Jewish Revolt under the command of the charismatic Bar Kochba, known in Aramaic as Son of a Star. The Emperor Hadrian's legions destroyed the Jewish state in 135 AD, decimating the Jewish population in an enormous slaughter, and sending thousands into slavery and exile from the Roman slave markets of Gaza.

Under the subsequent harsh Byzantine rule, Gaza's restored Jewish community nevertheless managed to flourish and during the 4th century Gaza served as the primary port of commerce for the Jews of the Holy Land.

It is interesting to note that in 1967, archaeologists discovered the beautiful mosaic floor of a 6th century synagogue situated on the Gaza seashore, attesting to the size and prominence of the Jewish community of the time.

The great medieval kabbalist Rabbi Avraham Azoulai lived in Gaza where he authored his famed work, Hesed L'Avraham, along with a commentary on the Torah (the first five books of the bible). The Jewish inhabitants made Gaza a great center of study and towns and villages from Rafah to Yavne sprung up as centers of Talmudic learning.

Many Jews fled to Gaza at the end of the 15th century where they joined the Jewish community by working in various trades after escaping from the ravages of the Catholic Inquisition.

During the 17th century, Gaza was again home to a thriving Jewish community, which boasted its share of prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Israel Najara, author of Kah Ribbon Olam, the popular hymn sung in Jewish homes around the world every Sabbath. He served as Gaza's Chief Rabbi until his death in 1625. This century also saw the rise in Gaza of Shabbetai Zvi's pseudo messianic movement.

The great scholar, Rabbi Yaakov Emden, ruled centuries ago that Gaza is an intrinsic part of the Jewish people's national heritage. "Gaza and its environs are absolutely considered part of the Land of Israel," he wrote in his work, Mor U'ketziyah, adding, "there is no doubt that it is a mitzvah (commandment and blessing) to live there, as in any other part of the Land of Israel."

Over the millennia Jews have been expelled from Gaza by many different conquerors but have always managed to return. The Crusaders killed many Gazan Jews, leaving few survivors. Ottoman Turks ruled a vast empire from 1517 to 1917, including the geographical backwater known as Palestine. They also frequently expelled the Jewish residents but then allowed them to return. This pattern has continued for centuries.

Napoleon, marching through Gaza from Egypt in 1799 failed to restrain many of his French soldiers who were joined by local Arabs in abusing the Jewish residents. As a result of Arab persecution, the ancient Jewish presence in Gaza and the near by villages died out in the first years of the 19th century only to return yet again in the 1870s.

In August 1929, when Arab rioters threatened to slaughter Gaza's Jews -- as they had in Hebron -- the British army under the Palestine Mandate forced the community to evacuate their homes. In October 1946, on the night following Yom Kippur, the Gaza Jewish community of Kfar Darom was established on land corresponding to the biblical Jewish village of Darom. It lasted just a year and a half until the outbreak of Israel's War of Independence in 1948, when Egypt overran the Gaza Strip and occupied it.

In June 1967, in a war of self-defense, Israel liberated Gaza from Egyptian occupation, making it possible once again for Jews to reside there. In 2001, during Palestinian Authority control under Yasser Arafat and his Fatah organization, Kassam rocket attacks began to pound the restored Jewish communities in Gaza.

After Arafat's death, rocket fire continued under his Fatah successor, Mahmoud Abbas. But in 2005, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon forcefully evicted from their homes the nearly 10,000 Jewish villagers and farmers from Gaza as part of the Disengagement Plan. At the time, Sharon explained the purpose of the Israeli pull-out:

"These steps will increase security for the residents of Israel and relieve the pressure on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and security forces in fulfilling the difficult tasks they are faced with. The Disengagement Plan is meant to grant maximum security and minimize friction between Israelis and Palestinians."

Sharon had believed that by removing the flourishing Jewish villages and farms from Gaza, the Arab residents would build a civilized and peaceful society, thus proving to both Israel and the world that they could live in peace with the Jewish state. It was not to be and Sharon's hopes now lie shattered.

In an election pushed by Condoleezza Rice, the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza voted eagerly for Hamas and against Fatah knowing full well that Hamas fundamentalist ideology calls for the destruction of Israel or any non-Muslim state existing in territory previously conquered in the name of Allah. Hamas will thus never live in peace with Israel, a Jewish state, even though the Jews are the indigenous and native people of the region and predate Islam by millennia.

Will the pattern that has existed for thousands of years continue; a sequence of Jewish exile from Gaza, followed by inevitable restoration? Those Jews who were driven out by the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon and his successor, Ehud Olmert, now wait as refugees for the opportunity to again return.

One such Israeli refugee from Gaza, Rachel Saperstein, addressed the Jerusalem Conference recently held in Israel. Now 68 years of age, she lives with her husband, a disabled terror victim, in a run down camp along with five hundred other Jewish families driven from their homes located throughout the Gaza Strip.

In her speech, she lamented that not a thing now grows in the village she was forced to abandon during the Disengagement Plan. The greenhouses that were given freely to the Palestinian Arabs have largely been trashed but those still in use yield nothing.

"We know the reason why," she suggests. "Only when the Jews return to their land will the land bring forth its bounty. No Israeli government is to give away any of our land ever again ... This is my message."

Despite Gaza's rich Jewish history little is known of it to most people. The events unfolding today in Gaza now take preeminence, clouding perceptions that might otherwise be better shaped through the historical perspective of millennia.

Victor Sharpe on "Gaza's Rich Jewish History"


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Reader comments (101) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Egypt Plans for Corridor Help Ceasefire [53 words]DaveAug 30, 2014 05:54217507
5No mention of Palestine in Quran, only Israel. [31 words]MariaJan 4, 2014 03:07212464
3Here is an example of an Egyptian jihadist [184 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 20, 2013 17:29203717
2How do Egyptian jihadists get to Syria? [227 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 20, 2013 07:49203692
2Egyptian jihadists are fighting in Syria [76 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 19, 2013 08:15203643
7"Akhwanet masr" a new term in Morsi's Egypt [272 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 18, 2013 18:00203618
1Killing the goose that laid the golden eggs! Morsi and the Sawiris family [275 words]dhimmi no moreMar 6, 2013 09:53203618
2Sawiris is back in Egypt [116 words]dhimmi no moreMay 5, 2013 09:17203618
2Egypt will again allow the tunnel for rocket smuggling to attack Jews ! [88 words]Phil GreendFeb 18, 2013 12:05203612
1Omar Morsi and his papa big Morsi [169 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 17, 2013 10:51203584
The roots [69 words]PermReaderDec 14, 2012 11:59201453
1to whom who is interest in the meaning of Gaza in Arabic [77 words]slayhyDec 11, 2012 22:11201361
3Plagiarism? And the word Gaza does not mean neither sting or puncture and you are either ignorant or a liar [332 words]dhimmi no moreDec 15, 2012 11:10201361
2The word Gaza is not an Arabic word and this is what we are told in Arabic dictionaries [185 words]dhimmi no moreDec 15, 2012 11:27201361
3Teaching Arabic to wannabe Arabs and the word gaza again! [325 words]dhimmi no moreDec 15, 2012 15:19201361
3Gaza and argument from slang! And more Komidyya Islamiyya [220 words]dhimmi no moreDec 15, 2012 15:28201361
exhaust yourself [38 words]slayhyDec 15, 2012 21:42201361
7The meaning of the word Ghaza from Arabic/Arabic dictionaries [538 words]dhimmi no moreDec 16, 2012 07:59201361
3Our dear slayhy is running away! I'm shocked [234 words]dhimmi no moreDec 17, 2012 06:19201361
3Vendu! [137 words]dhimmi no moreDec 17, 2012 18:57201361
2Failure to understand language [79 words]DougJan 22, 2013 17:09201361
Merci [1 words]Zerty ZertyJul 16, 2014 18:53201361
2A Sting that will keep stinging [151 words]slayhyDec 2, 2012 19:32201111
5Both historical And Biblical Revisionism and self aggrandizement [1725 words]saraDec 3, 2012 20:19201111
Only when the Jews return to their land will the land bring forth its bounty. [222 words]Makr al KidyaDec 3, 2012 21:02201111
3a bit of history [307 words]slayhyDec 3, 2012 22:20201111
4a pin prick [56 words]Irvin ShiffmanDec 4, 2012 00:47201111
God's will shall prevail [63 words]slayhyDec 4, 2012 21:04201111
5ZERO historical connection between the Phillistines and 'Palestine' [667 words]saraDec 4, 2012 21:15201111
more history of the Jews [193 words]slayhyDec 4, 2012 21:46201111
Zero connection between the Philistines and 'Palestine' [23 words]HiberniaDec 5, 2012 15:36201111
2Say what? Moses was pre-Judaic? [311 words]saraDec 5, 2012 17:38201111
1Hibernia, Phillistines origins [98 words]saraDec 5, 2012 17:42201111
The right to have freedom from occupation force [155 words]slayhyDec 5, 2012 18:37201111
you made a mistake [33 words]slayhyDec 5, 2012 19:00201111
a challenge is a challenge [564 words]slayhyDec 5, 2012 20:14201111
The father of Mary [79 words]slayhyDec 5, 2012 20:23201111
Scriptures are from god and who denies them is not a believer [102 words]slayhyDec 5, 2012 20:48201111
Facts for you [105 words]slayhyDec 5, 2012 20:54201111
1God's will has prevailed [58 words]Irvin ShiffmanDec 6, 2012 04:06201111
5Sorry Slayhy, History trumps your biased 'data' [285 words]saraDec 6, 2012 16:36201111
4Challenge Failed [124 words]saraDec 6, 2012 16:49201111
look farther than your nose [22 words]slayhyDec 6, 2012 17:52201111
ran out of fuel [38 words]slayhyDec 6, 2012 17:55201111
backward is awkward [60 words]slayhyDec 6, 2012 18:00201111
3a bit of facts for you [125 words]slayhyDec 6, 2012 21:44201111
Well said [4 words]A readerDec 7, 2012 00:07201111
Delusional [136 words]DEBORAH THE JUDGEDec 9, 2012 12:20201111
8The amazing Muslim mind [399 words]dhimmi no moreDec 9, 2012 13:25201111
5When is the next buraq flight? [199 words]dhimmi no moreDec 9, 2012 13:35201111
6Liar or ignorant so which one is it? No the word Gaza does not mean sting as our dear slayhy says [566 words]dhimmi no moreDec 9, 2012 14:12201111
4Atrocious Arabic by wannabe Arabs [87 words]dhimmi no moreDec 9, 2012 14:19201111
A lecture for free [115 words]slayhyDec 9, 2012 18:35201111
just pour rire [17 words]slayhyDec 9, 2012 19:07201111
I ADMIT [39 words]slayhyDec 9, 2012 19:11201111
4our dear slayhy al-tablighee your masters the Arabs do not call Europeans: The Romans! Your claim is bogus [491 words]dhimmi no moreDec 10, 2012 07:08201111
people's [29 words]DEBORAH THE JUDGEDec 10, 2012 08:51201111
3Our dear slayhy admits! And as if we kuffar did not know [286 words]dhimmi no moreDec 11, 2012 07:31201111
Dhimmi the wanabe arabic fluent speaker [34 words]IssamDec 11, 2012 10:25201111
3It is Juste Pour Rire and you need to stick to Urdu our dear slayhy al-tablighee [198 words]dhimmi no moreDec 11, 2012 12:49201111
6Allah is a Zionist! Oh my evidence? The Qur'an [920 words]dhimmi no moreDec 11, 2012 13:01201111
The name Gaza is inaccurate anyway [284 words]saraDec 11, 2012 20:51201111
3The word Gaza does not mean Sting! [430 words]dhimmi no moreDec 12, 2012 08:17201111
5Issam the wannabe Arab and teaching Arabic and Arabic vocalization and transliteration to wannabe Arabs [428 words]dhimmi no moreDec 12, 2012 09:04201111
3Teaching Arabic to wannabe Hijazi Arabs [160 words]dhimmi no moreDec 12, 2012 09:28201111
Interesting topic, this Gaza word [261 words]DEBORAH THE JUDGEDec 12, 2012 09:39201111
3Our dear Hava and his avatar Issam read and laugh [255 words]dhimmi no moreDec 12, 2012 09:58201111
Aza- why it was changed and when [87 words]saraDec 12, 2012 18:26201111
3What is a tablighee? [130 words]dhimmi no moreDec 12, 2012 19:16201111
Interesting background on Gaza/ Aza [410 words]saraDec 13, 2012 17:38201111
1Gaza does not mean sting as slayhy told us [162 words]dhimmi no moreDec 15, 2012 07:34201111
3Gaza is not an Arabic word [1123 words]dhimmi no moreDec 15, 2012 08:40201111
1More gems from our dear Slayhy [184 words]dhimmi no moreDec 15, 2012 11:18201111
3Excellent investigative work, DNM! [184 words]MotkeDec 17, 2012 09:40201111
3Old civilizations are not conjured away [529 words]dhimmi no moreDec 18, 2012 08:51201111
Gaza not the Key .Philadelphi is [100 words]Nenette GrunbergDec 1, 2012 21:42201101
2Peace process, lol [117 words]Irvin ShiffmanNov 30, 2012 20:14201084
Take back Gaza... [24 words]Kevin BjornsonNov 30, 2012 18:47201083
4New realm [152 words]Michael KerjmanNov 29, 2012 10:31201051
1A Comprehensive change of Strategy [424 words]Ron ThompsonNov 28, 2012 16:57201027
Ask the Vietnamese how much American guarantees are worth [38 words]Ahad haamoratsimNov 28, 2012 12:56201022
1The Bane of the Gazan Experience (Zephaniah 2:1-5) [552 words]M. ToveyNov 28, 2012 11:45201017
Twilight time for USA and Israel? [77 words]john w mcginleyNov 28, 2012 09:50201015
1cold occupation [115 words]mythNov 28, 2012 06:05201010
Bring in the Drones [159 words]Makr al KidyaDec 3, 2012 02:01201010
1Is there any hope for peace? [128 words]PrashantNov 28, 2012 00:20201003
5Peace??? Ha [126 words]Zeron BibbleNov 29, 2012 07:49201003
Do you believe what you write? [302 words]JamaLDec 3, 2012 07:38201003
3'Historical' Palestine [170 words]saraDec 3, 2012 20:28201003
1Palestinians and other displaced people [165 words]PrashantDec 4, 2012 02:36201003
I know my facts [261 words]JamaLDec 4, 2012 03:49201003
2Until you are 98%, you are in minority [133 words]PrashantDec 5, 2012 00:13201003
1Keirsey Temperament [95 words]PJNov 27, 2012 23:36201001
Israel would be best served by leaving Hamas alone (as long as Hamas does not attack again) [313 words]KenNov 27, 2012 23:32201000
Stopping the attacks from Gaza is to OWN Philadelphi Route-corridor [142 words]NuritGNov 27, 2012 21:10200997
1Why threaten? Just take it back. [37 words]Abu NudnikNov 27, 2012 20:17200995
2Only Israel Will Do the Job [134 words]Builders of ZionNov 27, 2012 20:08200994
Israel Will Have the Help of Her Eternal Almighty Sovereign [242 words]M. ToveyDec 6, 2012 15:34200994
Gaza's Not the Key, Philadelphi Is [192 words]JudithNov 27, 2012 18:46200993
4You are right. [32 words]Mohammed Al-shehriNov 27, 2012 18:09200992
Prevention is better than war [426 words]R.B.Nov 27, 2012 17:25200991

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Mark my comment as a response to Both historical And Biblical Revisionism and self aggrandizement by sara

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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