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Israel's deep roots in Palestine

New Delhi, June 22: Palestine is actually the dream land of Judaism and the Jewish people. Its nucleus is the hill district of Judaea. Palestine became historically great because of the unique religious culture of the Jewish people.

Updated Jun 22, 2021 06:54 AM

Israel's deep roots in Palestine

Early Israelis possessed a strong centralising force in their monotheistic faith combined with a stern code of ethics, which set them apart from all their neighbours. Subsequently, constant attacks from the neighbours forced them to become hardened fighters to stand for their own existence and gave Israel a kind of unmatched political solidarity.

In 1020 BC Saul' became king of all Israel. He was succeeded by King David (c.1000-961 BC) who conquered outlying and adjoining territories. He was followed by King Solomon (c.961-922 BC) under whom Israel's political history found its height and culmination. He built Jerusalem as the golden city out of the lucrative undertakings of rich products brought from as far as Sophir (Sopare seaport in now Gujarat, India).

He built the Temple and Royal Palace in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BC. History says that in 539 BC, Cyrus II of Perica who also conquered Babylonia, which was an ancient state founded in 1895 BC and subsequently dissolved in 539 BC. His first act was to decree the restoration of Judah and the building of the destroyed Jewish Temple. Jewish exiles in Babylonia returned to Jerusalem to begin work on the Temple. The work of rebuilding the Temple was prevented by political intrigues. After the accession of Darius I, the Jews started construction of the second Temple which was completed by March 515 BC.

Palestine was one of the main corridors to Egypt and it was used by Alexander the Great to attack the country. However, he left the Jews undisturbed. In fact, the Jewish priest continued to remain the Head of the State of Palestine - a fact less known.

Antiochus the Greek King, despoiled the Temple of all its wealth in 169 BC and established the altar of Zeus in the Temple at Jerusalem. Judas led a resistance at this "abomination of desolation" and after three years of intermittent warfare, he succeeded in purifying the Temple in December 165 BC while, Egypt was reorganising its army.

Finally in June 217-BC, Antiochus was defeated in Gaza by Ptolemy IV Philopator. It is a fact that he lowered taxes for the Jews, granted subventions to the temple and let the Jews live as per the laws of their forefathers.

Vespasian, the former Roman Emperor, captured Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Temple and the city of Jerusalem were again destroyed. The destruction of Jerusalem was followed by the dispersal of the Jews, for whom it had been their religious and political centre. The observances elaborated by the Rabbis (Jews Priests) prevented the absorption of the Jewish people into the Roman population. Palestine continued under direct Roman Rules. When Christianity was checked under Julian, he rescinded the edicts against the Jews in coming to the throne in 361AD and ordered the restoration of the Temple. The Roman Empire was portioned in 395 AD and Palestine came under the Byzantine emperor - Justinian (527-565 AD), who started elaborate building operations. The Golden Gate of the Temple, and part of the Church, which is now at Aqsa Mosque at Jerusalem, were constructed due to this Byzantine emperor.

In 1896, Theodor Herzl, a prominent Austro-Hungrian Jewish Journalist, playwright, Political activist, also known as the Father of modern Political Zionism formed a Zionist organisation and promoted Jewish immigration to the then Palestine in order to form a legitimate Jewish country claiming themselves as the original Sons of the Soil'. He issued his proclamation for the establishment of a Jewish State of Palestine, claiming that it was the original land of the Jews.

In this context it in interesting to note that in Malaysia, Son of the Soil or Bumiputra' are referred in the Malaysian constitution, which has provisions for the protection of the rights of the sons of the soil' and control over all administrative, education, economic and security related aspects of the nation.

Bumiputra (Bhumiputra as pronounced in Hindi) is a term used in Malaysia to describe Malays the indigenous people of Malaysia. The "Orang Asli" means the original son of the soil. The term is sometimes controversial but used similarly in Indonesia and Brunei also. To be Bumiputra, one of the parents has to be a Muslim Malay, as stated in the Constitution of Malaysia. The Federal Constitution defines Bumiputra Malay as a person, who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks Malay, conforms to Malay customs and is the child of a Malaysian parent.

Jerusalem is the sacred soil of all three major religions of the world, where arose the First Jewish Temple, the Christian Church and then the Islamic Mosque, all were constructed in Jerusalem as both the religion of Christianity & Islam had originated from Judaic monotheism. Any later constructions by anyone actually cannot justify and alter the Jewish identity in Jerusalem as they were the actual "Bumiputras" or Sons of the Soil.

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