Monday, July 6, 2015

The Jewish people return to their Homeland - The Land of Israel

Return to the Land of Israel

The re-birth of Israel is an unprecedented phenomenon in human history.

The yearning for the land of Israel never left the Jewish people.
  • We see it in Psalms that Jews constantly recited: "If I forget you, O Jerusalem ..." or "When the Lord brings about our return to Zion, we will be like dreamers..."
  • In the statements of the rabbis, such as his one by Rabbi Nachman of Breslav: "Wherever I go I'm always going to Israel."
  • We see it in Jewish poetry, such as that of Yehuda HaLevi: "My heart is in the East but I am in the most far West."
  • In holiday rituals: "Next year in Jerusalem."
  • And, of course, in countless blessings recited daily: "Have mercy, Lord our God, on Israel your people, on Jerusalem, your city, on Zion... Rebuild Jerusalem, your holy city, speedily in our days, and bring us there to rejoice in its rebuilding..."
In other words, the land of Israel was always a place in the minds of the Jews where the Jewish national potential could someday be fulfilled.
But, as a practical reality, this did not begin to happen in a significant way until the birth of modern Zionism, not as a religious, but as a political movement.
The re-birth of Israel is an unprecedented phenomenon in human history. That a people should go into exile, be dispersed, and yet survive for 2,000 years, that they should be a nation without a national homeland and come back again, that they should re-establish that homeland is a miraculous, singular event. No one ever did such a thing.
Brief Overview
Before we discuss the Jews' return to their homeland, let us then look back at history and review briefly what had been happening in the Land of Israel from the time that the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, (See Parts 35 thru 37.)
Subsequently, Jerusalem was leveled, rebuilt on the Roman model, and renamed Aeolia Capitolina. The land of Israel was renamed Palestine (after the extinct Philistines, some of the worst enemies of the Jews in ancient times).
From that time, Jews were barred from Jerusalem. The Byzantine Empire (the Constantinople-based Christian version of the Roman Empire) continued the earlier policy, and Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem until the Muslims conquered the Byzantines in 638 CE. (See Part 42.)
Once the Muslims took over the Land of Israel, they held onto it with the brief exception of the period of the Crusades. (See Part 45.)
The Turkish Ottoman Empire held onto power here the longest: from 1518 to 1917. Yet, during all this time, the Muslims generally treated the Holy Land as a backwater province. There was no attempt to make Jerusalem, which was quite run-down, an important capital city and only a few Muslim dynasties attempted to improve its infrastructure (save for Umayyads in the 7th century, the Mameluks in the 13th century the rebuilding of the walls of the city in 16th century during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.) Similarly, only limited building went on in the rest of the land, which was barren and not populated by many Arabs. The only major new city built was Ramle, which served as the Ottoman administrative center.
Mark Twain who visited Israel in 1867 described it like this in Innocents Abroad:
We traversed some miles of desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given 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 reached Tabor safely... We never saw a human being on the whole route. We pressed on toward the goal of our crusade, renowned Jerusalem. The further we went the hotter the sun got and the more rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary the landscape became... 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. No landscape exists that is more tiresome to the eye than that which bounds the approaches to Jerusalem... Jerusalem is mournful, dreary and lifeless. I would not desire to live here. It is a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes."
Early Migrations
During the time of the Muslims, life for the Jews here was for the most part easier than under the Christians.
In 1210, following the demise of the Crusaders, several hundred rabbis, known as the Ba'alei Tosefot, re-settled in Israel. This marked the emergence of the first Ashkenazic European community in Israel.
In 1263, the great Rabbi and scholar Nachmanides also known as the Ramban, established a small Sephardic community on Mount Zion which was outside the walls. (See Part 47.) Later, in the 1400s, that community moved inside the walls and they established the Ramban Synagogue which still exists today.
When Nachmanides came to Jerusalem there was already a vibrant Jewish community in Hebron, though the Muslims did not permit them entry into the Cave of the Machpela (where the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried). Indeed, this ban continued until the 20th century.
More Jews started to migrate to Israel following their expulsion from Spain in 1492. In the 16th century, large numbers of Jews migrated to the northern city of Tzfat (also known as Safed) and it became the largest Jewish population in Israel and the center of Jewish mysticism ― the Kabbalah.
In mid-1700s a student of the Ba'al Shem Tov by the name of Gershon Kitover started the first Hassidic community in Israel. This community was part of what was called Old Yishuv. (Today, when in the Old City of Jerusalem, you can visit the "Old Yishuv Court Museum" and learn some fascinating facts about it.)
Another very significant event in the growth of the Jewish community of Israel took place in the early 19th century. Between 1808 and 1812 three groups of disciples of the great rabbi Rabbi Eliyahu Kramer, the Vilna Gaon , numbering about 500 people, came to the land of Israel. Initially they settled in Tzfat in the Galilee, but after several disaster including a devastating earthquake, they settled in Jerusalem. Their impact was tremendous. They founded several new neighborhoods (including Mea Shearim) and set up numerous Kollels (Yeshivot where married men are paid a monthly stipend to study Torah). Their arrival revived the presence of Ashkenazi Jewry in Jerusalem, which for over 100 years had been mainly Sephardi and had a huge impact on the customs and religious practices of the religious community in Israel.
By 1880, there were about 40,000 Jews, living in the land of Israel among some 400,000 Muslims.[1]
One of the major figures of this time period was Moses Montefiore (1784 to 1887) ― the first Jew to be knighted in Britain.
Montefiore had made his fortune with the Rothschilds, who struck it rich in the Napoleonic Wars. They used carrier pigeons and they knew about the victory at Waterloo before anyone else; this is how they made a killing on the English stock market.
With his fortune made by age 40, Montefiore embarked on a career in philanthropy, becoming a tireless worker for the Jewish community of Israel.
At that time, most of the Jews then lived in what is now called the Old City of Jerusalem, specifically in what is now called the "Moslem Quarter." The main entrance to the city for the Jews was through Damascus Gate and of the many synagogues in Jerusalem, many f them were in the "Moslem Quarter" close to the site where the Temple stood on Mount Moriah.
The city was hugely overcrowded and sanitary conditions were terrible, but due to the lawlessness of that time, people were afraid to built homes and live outside.
Montefiore built the first settlement outside the walls of the Old City, called "Yemin Moshe" in 1858. He opened the door and more neighborhoods were built in the New City. One of the earliest ones, built in 1875, was Mea Shearim (which, contrary to popular opinion does not mean "Hundred Gates" but "Hundredfold" as in Genesis 26:12.)
Besides Montefiore, another extremely important personality in this period of time was Baron Edmond de Rothschild (1845 to 1934).
Rothschild was a man who more than anyone else, financially made the re-settlement of Jews in the land of Israel possible. During his lifetime he spent 70 million francs of his own money on various agricultural settlements (Rosh Pina, Zichron Yacov, Pardes Hannah to name but a few) and business enterprises such as the Carmel Winery for example. So important and generous was Rothschild that he was nicknamed HaNadiv HaYaduah, "The Famous Contributor."
Although Rothschild was quite assimilated and disconnected from the Jewish yearning for the land, he was greatly influenced by Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever, who was one of the first religious Zionists from Poland.
Mohilever converted Rothschild to his ideology and from that point on the rich banker began to look at Israel as an "investment." He made it possible for thousands of Jews to return to the land and survive here in those days.
Early Political Zionism
We do not see the appearance of political Zionism until late in the 19th century as a reaction to the intolerable persecution of the Jews of Russia.
The early political Zionists, being largely secular (many had in fact been born into observant homes and then later dropped their observance), did not feel a special yearning for Israel rooted in tradition or religion, rather they felt that the Land of Israel was the only place where Jews could create a national identity, regain their pride and productivity, and hopefully escape the horrible anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia and other places.
One of the main organizations involved in early political Zionism was called Hibbat Zion "the love of Zion" founded in 1870. (Its members were called Hovevei Zion, "lovers of Zion.")
A major personality among the Hovevi Zion was Judah Leob Pinsker (1821-1891). A Polish doctor, Pinsker started out as one of the Maskilim, a group which wanted their fellow Jews to drop Judaism and merge with Russian culture in the hope that if Jews were socially accepted, then Russian anti-Semitism would disappear. (See Part 56.) But after the pogroms following the assassination of Czar Alexander in 1881, he and many other of the Maskilimcame to the conclusion that their efforts were futile and anti-Semitism was never going to disappear. Like Theodor Herzl later, Pinsker was shocked at the depth of European anti-Semitism. The only solution, he came to believe, was for Jews to live in their own national homeland. Pinsker published his ideas in a pamphlet called "Auto-Emancipation." In it he penned these memorable words:
"We must reconcile ourselves to the idea that the other nations, by reason of their inherent natural antagonism, will forever reject us."
First Aliyah
In 1882, another important organization was formed in Russia. It was calledBilu, an acronym of the opening words from verse in Isaiah (2:5): Beit Yaacov lechu Venelech meaning, "House of Jacob, come, let us go...
Bilu was very active in the early settlement movement, what came to be called the "First Aliyah" ― the first large migration of Jews from Russia and Romania to the Land of Israel.
Aliyah means "ascent." To migrate to Israel ― to make aliyah ― means to come from a low place and to "go up." (In antiquity the term Aliyah referred to a trip to Jerusalem to visit the Temple, usually during one of the pilgrim festivals: Passover, Shavuot or Succoth, and implied more than a trip up to the mountains surrounding Jerusalem but more importantly to go up to the holiest place on earth ― the Temple.)
The year 1882 marked the first such aliyah, when Jews began to arrive in the land of Israel in droves ― some 30,000 Jews came in two waves between 1882-1891 and founded 28 new settlements.
(Among these new settlements was Hadera, which has been so much in the news lately as the repeated target of vicious terrorist attacks.)
Hundreds of thousands of acres were purchased by these early Zionists from absentee Arab landowners who usually lived elsewhere in the Middle East. The majority of the lands purchased were in areas that were neglected and considered un-developable ― such as the sandy coastal plain or the swampy; malaria infested Hula Valley in the north. Amazingly, and with much effort, these early settlers made the barren land bloom again and drained the swamps. [2]
What drove many of these early immigrants was an idealism that was captured by Zev Dugnov, a member of Bilu:
My final purpose is to take possession of Palestine and to restore to the Jews the political independence for which they have now been denied for two thousand years. Don't laugh. It is not a mirage. It does not matter if that splendid day will come in 50 years' time or more. A period of 50 years is no more than a moment of time for such an undertaking.
In fact, it would take 66 years. Meanwhile, Jews would continue to come, reclaim the land and build a strong political movement demanding back their ancient homeland.

[1]For detailed information on the demographics of Palestine during the Ottoman and British Mandates periods see: Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial ― The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine. (Harper & Row, 1984)

[2]The Hula Valley was not drained until the 1950s.

Rise of Islam

Mohammed reacted with anger when Jews refused to recognize him as the last of the prophets.

In the previous chapter, we discussed at length the Jewish impact on intellectual Rome prior to the advent of Christianity. Similarly, Jews living on the Arabian Peninsula impacted positively on their Arab neighbors.
During the days of Jewish clashes with the Roman Empire, Jews fled to areas outside the control of Rome and founded many towns and villages in Arabia. One very famous town, almost certainly founded by Jews, was Yathrib. Today Yathrib is better known as Medina and is considered Islam's second holiest city (after Mecca).
As in Rome, the local Jews attracted significant numbers of converts to their way of life and many more admirers.
M. Hirsch Goldberg, in the Jewish Connection (p. 33), sums up the story before the early 600's:
In Arabia, whole tribes converted to Judaism, including two kinds of the Himyarites. French Bible critic Ernest Renan remarked that 'only a hair's breadth prevented all Arabia from becoming Jewish.'
One of those impressed by the Jews' uncompromising devotion to monotheism was a young trader named Mohammed ibn Abdallah.
In the early stages, Mohammed was greatly impressed by the Jews.
Although his travels had exposed him to Christianity and he was clearly influenced by it, he found aspects of it troublesome ― in particular, the doctrine of the Trinity did not seem strictly monotheistic in his eyes. He is recorded as having said:
Unbelievers are those that say, 'Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary' ... Unbelievers are those that say, 'Allah is one of three.' There is but one God. If they do not desist from so saying, those of them that disbelieve shall be sternly punished.(Koran, Sura 5:71-73)
However, there is no doubt that in the early stages of his spiritual awakening, Mohammed came to be greatly impressed by the Jews. Writes S.D. Goiten inJews and Arabs (pp. 58-59):
"The intrinsic values of the belief in one God, the creator of the world, the God of justice and mercy, before whom everyone high and low bears personal responsibility, came to Muhammad ― as he never ceased to emphasize ― from Israel."
He clearly had some knowledge of the Torah as later he would quote Moses (though usually not accurately) more than one hundred times in the Koran, the record of his teachings which became the holy book of his newfound religion. Of the 25 prophets listed in the Koran, 19 are from Jewish scripture, and many ritual laws, as well as civil laws, of Islam parallel Judaism ― circumcision and prohibition against eating pork, for example.
Children of Ishmael
Mohammed believed the ancient tradition that the Arabs were the other children of Abraham ― through the line of his son Ishmael by the Egyptian maidservant Hagar ― and that they had forgotten the teachings of monotheism they had inherited ages ago. He saw his mission as bringing them back. Paul Johnson, in his History of the Jews (p. 167), explains:
What he [Mohammed] seems to have wished to do was to destroy the polytheistic paganism of the oasis culture by giving the Arabs Jewish ethical monotheism in a language they could understand and in terms adapted to their ways. He accepted the Jewish God and their prophets, the idea of fixed law embodied in scripture ― the Koran being an Arabic substitute for the Bible ― and the addition of an Oral Law applied in religious courts.
There is no argument that the Arab world into which Mohammed was born was badly in need of moral values and social reform. The Mecca of his day was a central place of pagan worship. The Arab tribesmen of the region worshipped a pantheon of gods there, including Al-Lat, the sun goddess, and Al-Uzza, a goddess associated with the planet Venus, both of whom were daughters of the chief deity, known as Al-Ilah, (Allah) or "the God."
The Kaaba shrine encloses the famous black meteorite, a former site of pagan worship.
The Kaaba, the shrine enclosing the famous black meteorite which was worshipped in Mecca before Mohammed's time, was also a site for an altar where blood sacrifices were offered to these and other gods.
The morality of the neighboring tribesmen could, charitably, be described as chaotic. Huston Smith, in his classic The Religions of Man, (p. 219) goes so far as to call the Arab society before the advent of Mohammed "barbaric." Tribal loyalties were paramount; other than that, nothing served to mitigate the blood feuds, drunken brawls and orgies that the harsh life of the desert gave sway to.
Mohammed's Vision
Mohammed was repelled by the cruel and crude reality around him. In the year 610, at the age of 40, he escaped to a desert cave where, according to Muslim tradition, he experienced a series of mystical visions, including revelations from the Angel Gabriel. He returned from the desert imbued with a spiritual mission to transform the pagan society around him.
Preaching an end to licentiousness and need for peace, justice and social responsibility, Muhammad advocated improving the lot of slaves, orphans, women and the poor, and replacing tribal loyalties with the fellowship of a new monotheistic faith ― which he called Islam, meaning "surrender to God." (One who submits is a Muslim.)
Islam, according to Mohammed, was built on five pillars:
  • Faith in one God ("there is no God but Allah")
  • Prayer (five times a day)
  • Charity (2.5% of one's income)
  • Pilgrimage to Mecca called Haj (once in a lifetime)
  • Fasting (a fast lasting from dawn to dusk for 30 days during the month ofRamadan)
Another fundamental principle of Islam is Jihad. ( While most people think the term Jihad means holy war the actual meaning of Jihad is "struggle" and can be used to refer to both the internal struggle between good and evil that occurs with in all of us as well as external struggle between the world of the Muslim (dhar al Islam) and the world of the non-Muslim called the World of War (dhar al Hare). The earliest use of the term Jihad as mentioned in 7th century Islamic law codes (sharia) refers to external struggle against the non-Islamic world.) (1)
Initially, he attracted very few followers. After three years, Mohammed had barely forty converts. But, imbued with a passion that has been the hallmark of the truly great visionaries of the world, Mohammed would not give up. And, little by little, he built a steady following of committed loyalists.
The more followers he attracted, the more attention, and with it, the more hostility. The merchants of Mecca, whose livelihood depended on the pagan sites and rites of the city, weren't going to be easily displaced. A murder plot was hatched, but Mohammed escaped just in the nick of time.
While persecution of the Muslims was mounting in Mecca, the city of Yithrab was experiencing problems of internal strife and a delegation decided that the fiery preacher from Mecca would be the man to bring order to chaos. After winning the pledge of city representatives to worship only Allah, Mohammed agreed to migrate. His journey to Yithrab in the year 622 CE, the year 1 of the Islamic calendar, was immortalized as the Hegira.
Thus his life was saved and a new horizon opened for his teachings. It was in Yithrab ― heretofore to be known as Medina, "the city of the prophet" ― that Islam took hold in a major way.
Once he had made Medina his stronghold, Mohammed mobilized an army of 10,000 men and, in 630 CE, moved against Mecca, meaning to purify the Kaaba and turn it into a center of worship of the one God, Allah.
His success is legendary. Two years later, when he died all of Arabia was under Muslim control.
Mohammed and the Jews
The one problem Mohammed had faced in Medina ― and elsewhere ― were the Jews, who were not prepared to accept his Arab version of Judaism. In the same way they had previously rejected Christianity, so too did they reject Islam.
It must be pointed out, however, that Jews had a lot less problems with Islam than they did with Christianity. Islam was purely monotheistic, whereas Christianity incorporated a lot of pagan mythology into itself. Islam did not claim that Mohammad was "god" or "son of God" or that God came in three parts. Islam followed many Jewish laws and customs, unlike Christianity which disavowed the law of the Torah in favor of faith in Jesus.
Agreement was that Abraham was the father of both Jews and Arabs.
The most important agreement was that Abraham was the father of both the Jews (through his son Isaac) and the Arabs (through his son Ishmael). This made the two peoples half-brothers. But the chief disagreement came on the issue whether Mohammed was indeed the last of the prophets to be sent by God and that his word was the final revelation. The Jews found the idea unthinkable since prophecy had end long before and the words of the Torah could never be superseded.
Their rejection was painful to Mohammed who reacted with hostility toward the Jews and took great pains to pointedly separate Islam from its Jewish roots. The holiest day of the week was changed to Friday; direction of prayers was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca; most of the Jewish dietary laws were excised from Islam with the exception of the slaughter rituals, prohibition on pork and consumption of blood.
Further, Mohammad maintained that the Jews had distorted their own Bible: Abraham did not attempt to sacrifice Isaac to God at Mount Moriah, one of the hills of Jerusalem; rather, Abraham took Ishmael to Mecca, where he offered to sacrifice him to Allah on the Black Stone of Kaaba.
If Jews had previously rebuffed Mohammed's claims to prophecy, they now openly sneered at what they considered a complete fabrication. This only made things worse. Mohammed's anger and curses against the Jews are recorded in the Koran:
  • "And humiliation and wretchedness were stamped upon them, and they were visited with wrath from God." (Sura 2:61)
  • "Of all men you will certainly find the Jews ... to be the most intense in hatred of those who believe." (Sura 5:85)
  • "Vendors are they of error and are desirous that you go astray from the way ... But God has cursed them for their unbelief." (Sura 4:48-49)
Mohammed's anger toward the Jews was not just rhetoric. The period from 622 C.E. until Mohammed's death in 632 C.E. was punctuated by periods of intense anti-Jewish violence as he systematically expelled, plundered and even slaughtered the Jewish tribes of Nadir, Khaybar and Banu Qurayza who lived in and around Mecca. Mohammed's victories of the Jews are discussed in great length in Sura 59 of the Koran.
After Mohammed's death some of his followers would interpret such statements as license to purge the world of the Jews. Other Muslims would concentrate more on the commonality of heritage and belief that Mohammed had also emphasized, and they would treat the Jews a bit better . (We will see how in future chapters of this series.)
At the time of Mohammed's death in 632, Arabia was united and poised forjihad, the "holy war" or "holy struggle" to bring the world to Allah. Shortly, it moved with a fearsome power against the Byzantine and Persian empires.
What did that mean for the Jews?
Answers Rabbi Berel Wein in Echoes of Glory (p. 299):
Most Jewish historians (until the recent revisionist-historians) are convinced that the Byzantine Church would have attempted to eradicated Judaism totally if the Church itself had not been defeated and its plan for hegemony in Asia Minor and the Mediterranean basin thwarted by the rising tide of Islam. Thus the coming of Islam may be seen as a providential occurrence that allowed the Jews to slip between the cracks Islam made in Byzantine Church persecution. However, as is the case in all historic 'gifts' in Jewish history, the rise of Islam would prove to be only a mixed blessing for Israel.
Jews were classified as ahl al-dhimma, "protected people," and were allowed to live in Islamic countries without being forced to convert. But a whole code of law applied to them, most of it designed to set them apart, humiliate and emphasize their inferior status.
For example, a Jew could never have his head higher than a Muslim. So if a Jew was walking along, and a Muslim passed by, the Jew had to step into the gutter in deference to the Muslim's superior status. A Jew could never testify against a Muslim in court (which basically meant there was no justice for Jews). A Jew could not have a house of worship that was higher than a mosque, which is why (for example) the Four Sephardic Synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem are subterranean. It should be noted that throughout history some of these laws were not uniformly enforced, and there were periods of time when Jews living in Muslim countries were openly persecuted and others when they were treated very well.
Next we are going to look at one important Jewish community, which at least for a time, flourished under Muslim domination.
1. For a good explanation of the concept of Jihad see: Bernard Lewis, The Middle East-A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years.(New York, 1995), 233-8.

The Crusades

The Crusaders came to liberate the Holy Land from the "infidels" - and woe to any Jew who stood in their way.

As long as the Byzantine (Eastern) Empire, with its seat in Constantinople, dominated the Christian Church, it maintained the balance of power between the bishop of Constantinople and the bishop of Rome. But when it began to crumble, Rome began to assert itself.
As we will see, the Crusades originated with Rome. However, before we can discuss the Crusades and how they impacted the Jews, we must first set the stage and go back in history.
Ever since the 4th century, the Western (Rome-based) Empire had been shrinking considerably, thanks to the Goths and Franks. It finally disappeared altogether in 476. The resulting vacuum in the economic, legal and administrative infrastructure led to a state of chaos. The Church, aligning itself with the Franks, stepped in to restore order.
Consciously modeling its bureaucratic framework on the model of the old, the Church created titles and administrative positions which people were used to. It's not by accident that the pope (from the Latin papa or "father") was called pontiff (from pontifex maximus or "chief priest") ― a title previously reserved for the Roman emperor.
Today we remember the period of time when the Church ruled Western Europe with an iron hand as the "Dark Ages," although more charitable historians will call it the "Middle Ages."
With its well-organized bureaucracy, the Church found itself assuming a position of paramount importance in the evolution of feudalism in European society.
Feudalism has its roots in all the warring that was going on in this period of time. To support the cavalry, the kings gave their soldiers estates of land farmed by dependent laborers. It was a huge pyramid with the majority of the population at the bottom, working as serfs or virtual slaves for somebody else.
Feudal serfs worked at backbreaking labor, dawn to dusk. They usually lived in absolute filth and squalor. It is impossible for us to imagine today the conditions and the deprivations of this time period.
The Church's role in the feudal system was quite ironic. Not only didn't the Church fight this injustice, the Church helped to create it, and profited handsomely from it.
The Church supported the inequality of the feudal system through its various dogmatic formulations, which strongly implied that God Himself wants things this way, that poverty has great spiritual value, and that the king is a divinely ordained human being whose authority cannot be questioned.
Why? Because the Church was "a major player" in the feudal game. Early in its history, the Church started to acquire land. At first, the Church took over the properties of pagan temples and temple priests. But it continued to expand it holdings, until it became by far the biggest landowner in Europe, collecting huge amounts of taxes from the hapless peasants.
Oxford scholar Henry Phelps-Brown in Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality (p. 33) suggests that the Church, while it embodied monotheism, had yet to rid itself of the old Hellenistic pagan tendencies:
Thus Christianity itself, and the views on wealth and power that came down from it, did not challenge the inequality of the secular world. They rather upheld it... In this way they followed the main drift of the pagan philosophies. The inequality of human capacity was obvious, the need for subordination inescapable.
As the Church's empire grew in size so did its need for more money to support it. While the Crusades were launched in part to curb the growth of the Islam Empire, a key motivation was to gain new lands and wealth for the growing population of Europe(1). They offered an outlet for the ambitions of land-hungry knights and noblemen.
The ostensible reason given at the time, however, was the reclamation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem from the Muslims and saving the Eastern Christian Empire of Byzantium from the Seljuk Turks. This church had been originally built on the site identified in the 4th century by Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine, as the site where Jesus was buried following his crucifixion.
(This church still stands today, after being rebuilt by the Crusaders; it is a focal point of Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem although Protestant Christian denominations contend that it is not the site of Jesus' burial.)
The "Noble" Quest
To our Western minds, reared on the Hollywood version of so much history, the Crusades mean noble knights rescuing damsels in distress. Oy vey ― is that ever a lie.
Now, it's true that there were knights, and there were kings(2), and there was a chivalric ideal. And that King Richard the Lionhearted, a Crusade leader, (who was incidentally one of the worst kings England ever had) was definitely a macho warrior. But that's pretty much where it ends.
The Crusades turned into campaigns of slaughter, rape, and pillage, and woe to the poor Jews in the way. Indeed, the Crusades mark the first large-scale European mob violence directed against Jews which is going to become, unfortunately, the pattern for the next hundreds of years. The later pogroms are just going to be a repeat of this idea.
The Jews were not the only ― and in fact, not the primary ― victims of the Crusaders. Muslims were. All the brutality directed toward them devastated the Arab peoples economically, pushed the Islamic world to be more reactionary and closed, and contributed to Arab hatred of the West.
(Why do Arabs paint the doors of their houses blue to this day? To ward off the evil eye. Why blue? One explanation is that it was the color of the blue-eyed northern Europeans that came to slay them.)
There were altogether ten Crusades covering a swath of time between the 11th through the 13th centuries:
  • The First Crusade, 1095-1099, saw the taking of Jerusalem from the Muslims, the slaughter of both the Muslim and Jewish populations of the city, and the establishment of the Crusader-run Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (which lasted only until 1187).
  • The Second Crusade, 1147-1149, was organized to help the Christians to recover lands which they lost to the Turks, but it ended in dismal failure.
  • The Third Crusade 1189-1192 was organized after Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt, recaptured Jerusalem. This is the Crusade in which King Richard the Lionhearted figured. It was a failure.
  • The Fourth Crusade, 1202-1204, saw the capture of Constantinople, which at the time was occupied by Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox Christians, who did not recognize the authority of the Roman Pope.
  • The Children's Crusade, 1212, sent thousands of children for the Holy Land, where they were captured by Muslims only to be sold as slaves or to die of hunger or disease.
  • The Fifth Crusade, 1217-21, was aimed at Egypt, but failed.
  • Four more Crusades mounted in the 13th century failed to reverse the Muslim gains. In 1291 the last Crusader stronghold at Acco fell.
That's the picture in a nutshell. Now we can look in greater detail at the aspects of the Crusades which most impacted on the Jews.
(For anyone interested in knowing more about specific Crusades, the authoritative source is a book by H.E. Mayer, called The Crusades, published Oxford University Press.)
Infidel Cleansing
Pope Urban II mounted the first campaign, in part in response to a plea for help from Christians in Constantinople who were besieged by the Muslims. Its aim was to beat back the "infidels" (as Christians called their fellow monotheists) and to recapture the Holy Land. In his sermon the Pope declared:
A grave report has come has come from the lands of Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople that a people from the kingdom of the Persians, a foreign race, a race absolutely alien to God...has invaded the land of those Christians [and] has reduced the people with sword, rapine and fire...
Let those who in the past have been accustom to spread private war so vilely among the faithful advance against the infidels... Let those who were formally brigands now become soldiers of Christ; those who once waged war against their brothers... fight lawfully against barbarians; those who until now have been mercenaries for a few coins achieve eternal rewards. (3)
To sweeten the pie, the Pope promised those that signed up that there would be plenty of booty, not to mention the spiritual benefit of having all your sins forgiven by God.
The Pope received an enthusiastic response. An armed force of 15,000 ― including 5,000 knights and the rest infantry ― set off wearing a large red cross on their outer garments (hence their name Crusaders from the Latin word meaning "cross," though they called themselves "pilgrims").
A peasant force also joined in. As these peasants started marching through Europe (in advance of the knights and their army), they needed to eat, and eat they did by pillaging the countryside. As they were marching along they got the idea that they might as well get rid of the infidels in their midst ― namely the Jews.
Here is one eyewitness account of an attack on the Jewry of Mainz in May of 1096. This comes from The First Crusade by August Krey, and it is a letter written by a Jew who survived:
The Jews of the city, knowing of the slaughter of their brethren fled in hope of safety to the Bishop of Ruthard. They put an infinite treasure in his guard and trust having much faith in his protection. He placed the Jews in a very spacious hall in his own house that they might remain safe and sound in a very secure and strong place.
But ... the band held council, and after sunrise attacked the Jews in the hall with arrows and lances, breaking down the bolts in the doors. They killed the Jews, about 700 in number who in vain resisted the force of an attack of so many thousands. They killed the women also and with their sword pierced tender children whatever age and sex...
This is how about 30%-50% of the Jewish community of Europe met its end. Some 10,000 Jews of an estimated population of about 20,000-30,000 were slaughtered by Crusaders mobs.
Fall of Jerusalem
After conquering Antioch in Turkey, the Crusaders got to Jerusalem, many of their number gone due to the heavy fighting along the way.
At the gates of Jerusalem, fighting in the blistering sun heating up their heavy impregnable armor, many more of the knights died.
In Part 44, in our discussion of Rashi, we mentioned the French nobleman Godfrey du Bouillon. Godfrey ― plus Raymond of Guilles, Raymond of Flanders, and Robert of Normandy ― besieged the gates of Jerusalem which at that time had a significant population of Jews. Their forces breached the walls and poured into the city.
(Incidentally, the Crusader cry of "Hep! Hep!" originated at this time. It was an acronym for the Latin of "Jerusalem Has Fallen." With time it became "Hip, Hip, Hooray!" ― a cheer that Jews never use.)
What happened after the Crusaders entered the city?
We have one account from Ibn Al Kalanisi, the Moslem chronicler, describing hair-raising behavior of unnecessary brutality-Thousand of Muslim men, women and children were slaughtered. The poor Jews had all huddled together in a synagogue and this is where the Crusaders found them, set the place on fire, and burned them alive. One of the Crusaders, Raymond of Aguilers joyfully recounted:
With the fall of Jerusalem and its towers one could see marvelous work. Some of the pagans were mercifully beheaded, others pierced by arrows plunged from towers, and yet others, tortured for a long time, were burned to death in searing flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet lay in the houses and streets, and men and knights were sunning to and fro over corpses. (4)
The Crusaders, once they conquered Jerusalem, embarked on a vast building effort all over Israel. The ruins of the many fortresses and churches they built can be visited today. (Most of these were destroyed by the Muslims once they reclaimed their earlier holdings, in fear that the Crusaders would return.)
The Crusaders established special orders of military monks to look after this kingdom. Those that interest us in particular are the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitalers.
The Knights Templars were stationed on the Temple Mount (hence their name). Interestingly, Knights Templars did not destroy the Dome of the Rock (though the Crusaders did destroy all the mosques that they did not turn into churches). Why? They thought it was the "Temple of Solomon," and that the nearby Al Aksa mosque was the "Palace of Solomon." (See Jerusalem: An Archeological Biography by Hershel Shanks, p. 238-239.)
So what did they do? They removed the crescent from the top of the Dome of the Rock, replaced it with a cross, and called the place Templum Domini, "Temple of God." They turned the El Aksa mosque, as well as the vaulted space below the mosque, into a monastery. Consistent with their other errors, they called this space, which had been built by Herod ― "Solomon's Stables."
(These so-called stables have been recently been renovated by the MuslimWakf (Muslim religious authority) and transformed into another mosque amid enormous archeological devastation, which the government of Israel felt powerless to stop.)
The Knights Hospitalers were supposed to provide hospitality to the large numbers of Christian pilgrims who would come down and visit the Christian holy sites, and to care for the sick among them. (Thus we see the word for hospitality became synonymous with a place of care for the sick ― hospice or hospital.)
The Knights Hospitalers built their main complex near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a logical place for it. Another complex ― consisting of church, hospice and hospital ― was built in what is today the heart of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City Jerusalem near the main staircase going down to the Western Wall. This ruin has been preserved and is a tourist attraction. Nearby Crusader buildings have been renovated and are in use as apartments, schools and shops. (See Jerusalem Architecture by David Kroyanker, p. 37-43.)
Needless to say, the Knights Hospitalers did not provide hospitality to Jews. In fact, they brought in Christian Arab tribes to help populate the city with Christians.
But Jews always yearned to be part of the holy city. One such Jew, who braved the Crusader occupation of the Holy Land, was none other than the famed poet and writer Judah HaLevi (whose work The Kuzari we discussed in Part 44).
Judah HaLevi managed to reach the city, but was trampled to death by a Christian Arab horseman just outside one of the city gates. As he lay dying, he is said to have recited one of his own poems: "Zion, shall I see you ... I shall cherish your stones and kiss them, and your earth will be sweeter than honey to my taste." (See Martin Gilbert, Jerusalem: An Illustrated Atlas, p. 21.)
Sultan Saladin
The reign of the Crusaders over the Holy Land was short lived. In less than one hundred years, in fact in 1187, the Crusaders are conquered by Sultan Saladin of Egypt (whose family, by-the-way was employing Maimonides as their physician as we saw in Part 44).
Sultan Saladin beat the Crusaders at what was one of the most important battles in the medieval history of the Middle East ― at the Horns of Hattin, which is northwest of the Sea of Galilee. There Saladin very skillfully managed to lure the Crusaders out into the open. In the middle of the summer and burning heat, they found themselves vastly outmaneuvered and outnumbered, and this is how Saladin destroyed them.
Even though they lost Jerusalem, the Crusaders didn't give up. They mounted campaign after campaign to recoup the Holy Land. They never did get Jerusalem back, (although the Moslems did grant them access to Christian holy sites there). Finally, in 1291, the last Crusader stronghold ― in Acco (also known as Acre) ― fell.(5)
Today we have amazing ruins from the Crusader period all over Israel. Some of the most massive and impressive are in Caesarea, Acco, Tiberias and in Belvoir (near the battle site of Hattin). If you should happen to visit any of these sites, keep in mind while admiring them, what the Crusaders did to the Jews.

1) It is a mistake to view contemporary Muslim hostility to the West as a by-product of the Crusades and Christian Europe's invasion of the Middle East. It is important to remember that the Muslim world initiated the conflict with its invasion of Spain in 711, their attempt to conquer France in 732 (The Battle of Tours) and it's numerous attempt to conquer Constantinople-These Islamic military campaigns drew their legitimacy from the Islamic concept of Jihad –the Islamic imperative to place the whole world under Moslem sovereignty make the whole world dhar al-Islam - The World of Islam (see Part 42 ). For a good overview of a history of the spread of Islam see: Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism .(New Haven: Yale University Press), 2006
2) No European Kings participated in the First Crusade, but it did attract the cream of the nobility of Western Europe: France, Germany and Italy, most of whom were of Norman extraction.
3) From the contemporary accounts of Robert the Monk and Fulcher of Chartres as quoted in The First Crusade-A New History, by Thomas Asbridge, Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 33-36.
4)Thomas Asbridge, The First Crusade - A New History, (Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 316.
5) It's interesting to note that following the Crusades successive Muslim dynasties left much of the coastal plain of Israel (between Jaffa and Haifa) desolate out of a lingering fear that the Crusaders might one day return. This turned out to be a blessing for the early Zionist movement in the late 19th and 20th centuries as they were able to purchase large tracts of land and settle the coastal plain. Today this coastal paln contains cities such as Tel Aviv, Petach Tikva, Herzelia, Kfar Saba, Raanana, Netanya , Hadera, Pardes Hanna and Zikron Yaacov.

Pale of Settlement

This area of Russia where Jews were most oppressed gave rise to amazing achievements.

The Napoleonic Enlightenment, which emancipated the Jews of Western Europe, did not make it to Eastern Europe where most Jews lived in the 18th-19th centuries.
The largest concentration of Jews ― about 5 million ― was located there, representing 40% of the Jewish population worldwide.
From 1791 until 1915, the majority of Jews living in Eastern Europe were confined by the Czars of Russia ― starting with Catherine the Great ― to an area known as the "Pale of Settlement" (meaning "borders of settlement"). The Pale consisted of 25 provinces that included Ukraine, Lithuania, Belorussia, Crimea, and part of Poland (which had been partitioned between Russia, Prussia, and Austria in 1772).
The western side of what had formally been Poland was absorbed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This western half of Poland (which contained important Jewish communities such as those located in Galicia) contained a smaller, but not insignificant, number of Jews. The physical and economic situation of these Jews of the eastern Austro-Hungarian Empire was generally much better than their fellow Jews living in western end of Czarist Russia.
The Jews of Russia were specifically expelled from Moscow and St. Petersburg and forced into the Pale. Later they were also expelled from rural areas within the Pale and forced to live only in shtetls.
Despite the oppression some amazing things happened in the Pale.
For one thing, charity ― tzedakah, which in Hebrew means "justice" ― thrived, as Jews helped each other. The historian Martin Gilbert writes in his Atlas of Jewish History that no province in the Pale had less than 14% of Jews on relief, and Lithuanian and Ukrainian Jews supported as much as 22% of their poor population:
"Among the charitable societies organized by Jews were those to supply poor students with clothes, soldiers with kosher food, the poor with free medical treatment, poor brides with dowries, and orphans with technical education."
This was an incredibly sophisticated social welfare system. In times of great hardship, no Jew was abandoned.
This caring for each other did not escape the notice of non-Jews.
In fact, as far back as the Middle Ages Rabbis had instituted takanot (rabbinic enactments) which forbade conversion to Judaism.1 The primary fear was that there would be an anti-Semitic backlash against the Jews for "stealing" a Christian from his faith, but there was also another reason. Why would a Christian want to convert to Judaism-which could possibly lead to arrest and execution? They realized that no Jew ever starved to death in the street, whereas if you were a Christian peasant you could easily starve to death in the street because no one was going to take care of you. The government wasn't going to do it and the Church wasn't going to do it. Even though the Jewish community gave charity to their Gentile neighbors the rabbis didn't want Judaism being flooded by insincere converts who were trying to save their lives by becoming Jews and benefiting from the Jewish social welfare system.
Torah Learning
Another amazing thing that happened in the Pale, despite the oppression, was the creation of the modern Yeshiva (school for Torah study).
Torah studies (as we saw in Part 52) was a "luxury" largely not available to the masses of Eastern European Jewry in the 18th century and had become a preserve of the elite.
In 1803, Rabbi Chaim ben Isaac of Volozhin (1749-1821), a student of the Vilna Ga'on, set about to revolutionize the concept of the Yeshiva. Most yeshivas during this period were small institutions of learning supported by individual towns in which they were based. Rabbi Chaim proposed to found a large institution, for the top students, and supported by many communities.
He sent letters to the chief rabbis of cities throughout Europe asking them to send to him their best students to study at his yeshiva in Volozhin, Lithuania, (which was later named Etz Chaim ― "Tree of Life" ― in honor of its founder) where he promised to provide them with financial support, top teachers, and a high-level standardized curriculum. The response to his letter was very positive and a large number of students were sent to the Volozhin Yeshiva, which eventually enrolled 450 students.
Unfortunately, the Volozhin Yeshiva didn't last too long as the Czarist government of Russia saw what was going on and tried to force it to adopt a more secular curriculum as part of making it less Jewish. It was closed by the Czarist government in 1879 and was reopened in 1881. While the Volozhin Yeshiva was able to yield to some of the demands of the Czarist government, the demand that all faculty members have diplomas from recognized Russian educational institutions in order to teach "Russian language and culture" was not acceptable. And so, the yeshiva was closed in 1892 by Russian inspectors and its students exiled.
Although it had been in operation less than 100 years, it had become the model and inspiration for the modern yeshiva. By the time the Volozhin closed, other yeshivas based on its models were already in operation, many started by the students of the Volozhin. A letter written in 1865 by Rabbi David Moses of Krynki, a former student of the Volozhin, attests to greatness of Rabbi Chaim and the Yeshiva he founded.
...the yeshiva of Volozhin is the mother and source of all the yeshivot and Talmud Torahs in the world. The latter are as pipes which come from the source... before our holy rabbi (Rabbi Chaim) founded the "house of God" the world was empty, literally without form; it was void, for even the term yeshiva was unknown, let alone what activities took place in one... Were it not for the fact that our holy rabbi founded his yeshiva, the Torah would have-God forbid-been forgotten to Israel. 2
Another major educational innovation of the period was the founding of the Beis Yaakov School for girls. The school was founded by Sarah Schnirer in Cracow, Poland in 1918 and later developed in a large education network that spread to both America and Israel.
The Mussar Movement
During the same period of time that saw the re-birth of Torah studies there arose in the Pale a new emphasis on what should be the primary focus of those studies. The impetus came from a very important movement within Judaism called the Mussar Movement ("Morality Movement").
Its founder was a most unusual man, Rabbi Israel Lipkin of Salant (1810-1883), better known as Rabbi Israel Salanter.
Many stories are told about his goodness. Among the most famous is the story of his disappearance one Yom Kippur from his synagogue. As the congregation fretted for his safety, delaying services until he arrived, one young mother took the opportunity to rush back home to check on her baby, which she had left alone. There she found the rabbi, rocking the cradle. Hearing the baby crying, he had stopped to comfort it, putting the needs of another human being ahead of his personal spiritual fulfillment.
Rabbi Salanter, though the epitome of kindness, could also be confrontational when the question of ethics or morality was at stake. Such was his stance, when he learned that a poor widow's two sons were drafted into the Russian Army, because a rich man had bribed the officials so that his son would not be taken. He confronted the entire community in the synagogue regarding the matter in order to win justice for the widow.
Rabbi Salanter was driven to establish the study of morality and ethics as a distinct subject within the larger curriculum of study in the yeshiva. He felt that the over emphasis on Talmudic study had neglected the methodology of developing one's relationship to God or in becoming a better person in relationship to one's fellows. The 18th century work by the Kabbalist Moshe Chaim Luzatto ― The Path of the Just‘ ― was adopted as the "manual" of the Mussar movement.
At the time that Rabbi Salanter initiated Mussar studies, his system was controversial simply because it was new. Orthodox Jews were worried at first that this might be another type of "reform" and the time spent on Mussar study would detract from the time spent on Talmud study.
But the Mussar movement overcame their misgivings and its teachings are now central to the curricula of many yeshivas.
The most famous of the yeshivas specializing in Mussar studies were the Navaradok Yeshiva, founded by Rabbi Joseph of Navaradok in 1896, a disciple of Rabbi Salanter and the Slobodka Yeshiva founded in 1863 by Rabbi Nassan Tzvi Finkel (which moved to Hebron, Israel, and when destroyed by the Arabs, to Jerusalem and Bnei Brak)
Other yeshivas, many of which were founded by the graduates of the Volozhin Yeshiva and which incorporated the teachings of Rabbi Salanter and the Mussar Movement, were:
  • the Mir founded in 1815 (the great yeshiva which migrated to Shanghai during the Holocaust and eventually relocated in Jerusalem and Brooklyn)
  • Telshe founded in 1875 (now in Cleveland, Ohio)
  • Slutzk founded in 1896 (now in Lakewood, New Jersey).
  • Pressburg founded in 1807 by Rabbi Moses Sofer (the Chatam Sofer) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, (today called Bratislava in Slovakia) was the largest and most influential Yeshiva in Central Europe.
Forced Secularization
While most of the students studying in the yeshivot accepted and embraced the Mussar movement after an initial hesitation, the non-Orthodox continued to oppose it.
Chief among the opponents was a group called the Maskilim ("the Enlightened Ones"), who opposed traditional Judaism in any way, shape or form.
This was the group that aided the Czarist government in the closing of the Volozhin Yeshiva. Why? Because the Maskilim wanted their fellow Jews to drop Judaism and join the Russian culture. They argued: "Let's study Russian culture... let's speak in Russian and write in Russian... let's be just like them, and they'll accept us, and we'll be able to integrate more effectively into society and end the horrible poverty so many live under."
An important figure among the Maskilim was Dr. Max Lilienthal (1813-1882), a German Jew who came to Russia as director of the "enlightened" Jewish school of Riga. He was eventually appointed by the Russian government (of Czar Nicholas I) as the Minister of Jewish Education and went about attempting to convince the Jews of the Pale of the Czar's "benign intent" in establishing a new educational system for them.
A glimpse at part of the plan created by these maskilim for the Jews of Eastern Europe gives a clear sense of their plans for the Jews of Eastern Europe:
Maskilim to Govenors of the Pale ― A Program for Russification 1841:
The Russian government's objectives in the encouragement of enlightenment among the Jewish people [should be] special emphasis to the moral as opposed to the academic aspects of the education of the Jews... To pay special attention to the teaching of Russian history and language, for there is nothing which unites diverse ethnic groups... better than the dissemination of information concerning that nation's history and literature...
In order to thwart the harmful influence of the Talmud, without at this stage destroying the book... the rabbis should be empowered to prepare a short religious text... in accordance with the accepted principles regarding civil responsibilities to the tsar and the motherland... the Jews must be ordered to change their dress for the clothing commonly worn throughout the country...3
This was during the time when the Czar was attempting to "restructure" the Jewish society in Russia with laws forbidding the wearing of traditional clothing, decrees against Talmud study, and division of Jews into "useful" (farmers, artisans, skilled workers) and "useless" (unskilled workers, rabbis, orphans, the sick and unemployed).
In this climate, in 1843, a conference was convened on the subject of Jewish education, which pitted Lilienthal against Rabbi Yitzchak of Volozhin and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the Rebbe of Chabad Lubavitch also known as the Tzemach Tzedek. Lilienthal could not stand up to the arguments of these rabbis, who managed to win the right for Jews to retain their traditional school system in competition with Lilienthal's new school system. (See Berel Wein's Triumph of Survival, p. 157.)
Within a decade, Lilienthal's schools closed for lack of faculty and students, though Lilienthal's defenders claim that he left because he realized that the Czar's "benign intent" was to convert Jews to Christianity. He migrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he headed up a Reform congregation.

(1) Israel Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, (Atheneum, 1969), p 59.
(2) Paul Mendes-Flohr & Yehuda Reinharz ed., The Jew in the Modern World, (Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 394-395.
(3) Paul Mendes-Flohr & Yehuda Reinharz ed., The Jew in the Modern World, (Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 385.

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  1. 1947 Text of the Law Drafted by the Political Committee of the Arab League against the Jews in Arab countries


    In 1947, the Political Committee of the Arab League (League of Arab States) drafted a law which was to govern the legal status of Jewish residents in all Arab League countries. This law had already been approved by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, provided that, “beginning with a specified date, all Jews – with the exception of citizens of non-Arab countries – were to be considered members of the Jewish ‘minority state of Palestine,’ and that their bank account be frozen and used to finance resistance to ‘Zionist ambitions in Palestine.’ Jews believed to be active Zionists would be interned as political prisoners and their assets confiscated. Only Jews who accept active service in Arab armies or place themselves at the disposal of these armies would be considered ‘Arabs.’” 1
    Excerpts of Direct Quotes of the Law drafted by the Political Committee of the Arab League
    • “All Jewish citizens…will be considered as members of the Jewish minority of the State of Palestine and will have to register [“within 7 days”] with the authorities of the region wherein they reside, giving their names, the exact number of members in their families, their addresses, the names of their banks and the amounts of their deposits in these banks…”2
    • “Bank accounts of Jews will be frozen. These funds will be utilized in part or in full to finance the movement of resistance to Zionist ambitions in Palestine.”3
    • “Only Jews who are subjects of foreign countries will be considered ‘neutrals.’ These will be compelled either to return to their countries, with a minimum of delay, or be considered Arabs and obliged to accept active service in the Arab army.”4
    • “Every Jew whose activities reveal that he is an active Zionist will be considered as a political prisoner and will be interned in places specifically designated for that purpose by police authorities or by the Government. His financial resources, instead of being frozen, will be confiscated.”5
    • “Any Jew who will be able to prove that his activities are anti-Zionist will be free to act as he likes, provided that he declares his readiness to join the Arab armies.”6
    • “The foregoing…does not mean that those Jews will not be submitted to paragraphs 1 and 2 of this law.”7
    1 Memorandum Submitted to the U.N. Economic and Social Council by the World Jewish Congress. (Jan. 19, 1948) Section I. (2) a. June 2, 1948. [ZIIC - This reference is in the document prepared by JJAC and is probably incorrect]
    2 Text of the Law drafted by the Political Committee of the Arab League. Paragraph 1.
    3 ibid. Paragraph 2.
    4 ibid. Paragraph 3.
    5 ibid. Paragraph 5.
    6 ibid. Paragraph 6.
    7 ibid. Paragraph 7. (Paragraph 1 & 2 indicate all Jews must register and disclose personal and banking information and

    that bank accounts will be frozen and utilized for anti-Zionist resistance.)

    1947: Draft Arab League Law Against Jews (Excerpts) - Following the partition resolution of the United Nations, the Arab League drafted a proposed law that would force all Jewish citizens of member countries to register, and that would lead to freezing and confiscation of their assets, reminiscent of draconic Nazi-era legislation,

    Read “From Time Immemorial” by Joan Peters