The Jewish people and Judaism have always been indelibly linked with the land of Israel aka known as “Palestine”. Israel has been lamented for, longed after, prayed for and everything in between for thousands of years. But the question seems to be – what is the land of Israel? We know it’s in the Middle East, tucked in between Arab and/or Muslim lands, but let’s explore more by starting at the beginning; here’s what the dictionary states:
b. The descendants of Jacob.
2. Judaism The Hebrew people, past, present, and future, regarded as the chosen people of God by virtue of the covenant of Jacob.
Down through time, the land of Israel has been divided, conquered, and fought over. There have been charters, mandates and so much more going on. Kings have risen and fallen on the Holy land. The people of the book, Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been nurtured in that area; yet the people still find it in them to minimize one another’s impact or “claim” to the area. The discussion always becomes heated when the topic is the conflict between the Israelis and “Palestinians”. I’ve heard so many different forms of history of the Middle East. I’ve had people outright state that the Jews aren’t really the Jews but hijacked “Judaism” from the original Jews. This all becomes so convoluted and tangled up that people cease to see one another’s humanity.
Yet, there are a group of people called the Jews; millions still residing outside the land of Israel that pray for, think about praying for, and write about the land of Israel. The land promised by God to the ancestors through the Hebrew Bible. “Next year in Jerusalem” is stated and the reality is hoped for.
It’s striking for me that as I write this, the bigger issue is how do we arrive at peace with one another over the matter of conflict in the Middle East? I’ve heard nuke Israel, let’s have one state with the Jews as a minority; I’ve heard the two state solution in its forms and proposals. I’ve heard that God will sort it out during the “battle of Armageddon”.
I long for some rationalism, some humanity – for people to quit diminishing one another, to be serious about the discussion. Will it happen? It’s time for the world to take responsibility for this, for helping to insure peace in the Middle East. No matter what, it will always be regarded by Jews as the homeland of our religion.