Who as here [Israel] first Jews or the Palestinians?

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    Member of Knesset Gafne stated a recent Haaretz conference that the Palestinians were here [Israel] first. I would like to ask my fellow YWN readers. Is this true? Were the Palestinians in Israel before the Jew? Rashi begins his work on Chumash with the Chazal explaining why Torah began at Bereishis and not from Hachodesh Hazeh lochem because at some time the nations of the world will claim that the Jews stole the land and the Torah included all that information precisely to set the record straight. Why would a representative of Gedolei Hatorah state such a thing? Do the Gedolim share Gafne’s view or is he going out on his own here? If this is the case, then how can we get him back on track?


    Avi K

    “Maybe Gafni came after the Palestinians, I’ve been here for eight generations,” – Meir Porush. I wonder if this makes Gafni an apikoros.



    The 7 nations were there before the jews. Now (since thousands of years) it belongs to us as recorded in the Torah. Do palestinians belong to the 7 nations? I don’t think so; we don’t even know today who are their descendants.



    You have to take his words in context, and I think he’s 100% right. According to YWN these are the two statements:
    “The first important thing is that the State of Israel be a Jewish state, otherwise we have no right to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians – they were here before us, we removed them from here”
    “If we do not have the historical right that the Jewish people have here, we have no rights.”

    The explanation is, That the arabs were living in the area for hundreds of years. Even though they were nomads or wild tribes, they were physically in the area. What then gives us a right to settle the land, in many cases, removing arabs from their villages and towns?
    The only right we have to the country is as a Jewish nation. We receive that right in the Torah. Therefore, we have to build it up as a Jewish country. Read into that, that we must keep the things that makes us unique as Jews. Shabbos, Kashrus, Sanctity of marriage according to halacha.
    If not, what right do we have here more than the arabs? If the Torah gave us the right to be here, we have to respect it, or lose that right.



    It is also possible that many of today’s Palestinians are descendants of Jews who had been living in the Land since Bayis Sheini and were forcibly converted to Islam during the Arab Conquest.


    Avi K

    There is in fact a village near Hevron whose residents are known to be descendants of converted Jews. Amateur historian Tsvi Misinai even claims that 85% of all Arabs in EY are descendants of Jews. However, it seems more likely that the vast majority are descendants of Arabs who came from Lebanon and Syria to take advantage of economic opportunities opened up by Zionist settlement (Arab workers were widely used both because they were willing to accept lower wages and because it made necessary Shabbat violations, such as milking cows, possible. Later the British ym”s opened up the land to Arab immigration while severely limiting Jewish immigration. Mark Twain wrote in “The Innocents Abroad” that when he was here EY was a desolate, depopulated land. Other travelers wrote similar descriptions. See “Palestine, a land virtually laid waste with little population” taken from Joan Peters’ book “From Time Immemorial”.



    Redleg and Avi,
    That may be true, but his point is that we are only here because of our allegiance to Hashem and the Torah. Without that, we have no right to the land and whatever that entails.



    There is a family in Teveriah that claims to have been here since the Beis Hamikdash.



    There is no such thing as Palestinians. It is one big lie. They don’t and never did exist. There never was a Palestinian state or nation here or people. True the British called the whole area Palestine. but there never was such a people. The people who use that name today are former Jordanions. adopted the name “Palestinians” and the world, as well as some Israelis, accept and forget that it is ne big lie.



    agutyar, A Gut Yahr! (love the name:))
    Don’t miss the point. No one says there were Palestinian. Before 1948, Jews in Eretz Yisrael were known as Palestinian. Arabs were South Syrians, or TransJordanian. Nevertheless, they were living there before the Old Yishuv arrived back from Europe.
    No one here is arguing these points. We all agree. What we need to remember is where our right to live in Eretz Yisrael stems from. And that is our loyalty to the Torah.



    Jews were not the first people in Eretz Yisrael. Hashem gave it to us by directing and empowering Yehoshua ben Nun to drive out the folks who were already there. It does not matter who was there first. It’s ours, when Hashem is ready to return us to it.

    As for when the “Palestinians” arrived in Israel, it depends on whether they are descendants of the Caananites or some other people, e.g., Persians, Greeks or New Yorkers.


    kj chusid

    Typical Zionist Cherry picking of the Torah, boasting how Hashem gave the land to the Jews. But conveniently forgetting that the same God also took out the Jews to exile,which is still in effect



    Most Palestinians and most Jews are probably descended from those who living in the region prior to Avraham Aveinu moving from what is now Iraq. Even when you have big shifts in population, it is usually involves the locals adopting to the new culture. Unlike Australia or North America, there are no records suggesting massive displacements. If you want to base a Jewish claim on a non-Torah basis, as the zionists do, you are probably not going to find good DNA evidence. The Jewish claim is based on Torah, not blood.


    Avi K

    KJ, the exile of Am yisrael is over. It ended in 5708. However, some individual Jews are in physical or spiritual exile, or both..



    The notion of a Palestinian Arab national identity became possible in 1916, when Sykes and Picot separated the southern sanjaks from the rest of the former Ottoman Syrian vilayet (=E.I). This separated the Arabs in the southern areas (“Southern Syria”) from their erstwhile capital, Damascus. That’s not to say that they became a Palestinian Arab national group. Evidence: the Mufti chaired the Arab Higher Committee, not the Palestinian one, and the 1947 UN partition plan and its related literature spoke only of Arab and Jewish states, never a Palestinian one. The Palestinian national consciousness is more recent than that and more recent than R. Gafni’s birth.

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