Needed history lesson on Israel


To the editor:

(re: “Israel’s changed a lot over time,” Nov. 5)

Mr. Wayne Price has again exhibited a serious lack of knowledge about Israel, its name, its history and population.

The biblical land of Israel was primarily Jewish. Ever since census records were established in the mid-1800s, Jerusalem has always been a majority Jewish city.

The Russian and European Jews who went to Palestine in the late 1800s did so to escape pogroms and to rebuild their land.

The Jews were the Palestinians, so named by the ancient Greeks. The Arabs began calling themselves Palestinians around 50 years ago, in the late 1960s.

There was never a separate Arab political state or entity called Palestine. Until those Jews arrived in the late 1800s, the land was very sparsely inhabited. The Arabs who started to migrate to Palestine at that time did so because there was work there, to help the Jews drain the swamps, irrigate the desert, and reclaim the land. Moving to get work was nothing new.

After the 1948 Israeli defensive “War of Independence,” all their attacking and hostile Arab neighbors expelled their Jews and took their property without payment. It made sense for the Israelis to encourage their co-religionists to come to Israel for safety.

At least 750,000 Jewish refugees came to Israel from Arab lands, more than the number of Arabs who had been encouraged by their Arab brethren to leave Israel during the 1948 war. This has been documented. Those Jews are now citizens.

Those Arabs are still considered refugees by the Arab countries who took them in.

Although Jordan controlled the West Bank for 19 years — on land that had been part of the Palestine Mandate — the Arabs never created a separate state for them. They could have. They chose not to.

There are more than 20 Muslim countries, with Muslim customs and laws prevailing. The Jews are entitled by international law and history to one.

Rhoda Alben-Aronson

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