Did the Jews live in ancient Israel?by Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Why do the Palestinian Authority, and some other Arab governments and universities, teach that Jews never lived in Israel? Provide other examples of tahrifi-lafzi.
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The Jews never lived in Israel theory
The Palestinian Authority, and some other Arab governments and universities, teach that Jews never lived in Israel. They teach that all archaeological proof to the contrary is part of an international western anti-Arab conspiracy. In this view, the Bible's claims are deliberate fictions, and the ancient Jews actually came from Yemen, on the Arabian peninsula. This is a mainstream Arab view, taught in many schools across the Middle East.
This view has garnered support among many Muslims because it is in accord with traditional Muslim beliefs. According to Islam, the leaders of both Judaism and Christianity deliberately altered the true word of God, and thus led all of their believers down a false path. In the Quran, Mohammed charges the Jewish people with "falsehood" (Sura 3:71), distortion (4:46), and of being "corrupters of Scripture." This belief was developed further in medieval Islamic polemics, and is a mainstream part of both Sunii and Shiite Islami today. This is known as the doctrine of tahrifi-lafzi, "the corruption of the text".
"Jerusalem is not a Jewish city, despite the biblical myth implanted in some minds...There is no tangible evidence of Jewish existence from the so-called 'Temple Mount Era'...The location of the Temple Mount is in question...it might be in Jericho or somewhere else." (Walid M. Awad, Director of Foreign Publications for the PLO's Palestine Ministry of Information, interviewed by the IMRA news agency, Dec.25, 1996.)
A Palestinian tv show broadcast on PLO Television in June 1997 featured Palestinian Arab historian Jarid al-Kidwa. He claimed that "all the events surrounding Kings Saul, David and Rehoboam occurred in Yemen, and no Hebrew remnants were found in Israel, for a very simple reason--because they were never here." Al-Kidwa said: "Most of the Khazars (a Turkish tribe that converted to Judaism in medieval times) are the Ashkenazic Jews who arrived in Palestine. As Allah is my witness, in my blood flows more of the Children of Israel and the ancient Hebrews than in the blood of Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu."
According to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz (July 6, 1997), al- Kidwa said: "The stories of the Torah and the Bible did not take place in the Land of Israel--they occurred in the Arabian peninsula, primarily in Yemen. The identity of our father Ibrahim [Abraham] who is mentioned in the Koran is clear. From the Koran's description of him it arises that he lived in the southern Hejaz [Saudi arabia], near Mecca."
Numerous Palestinian Authority textbooks for their children teach them that Jews and Chrisitans lie about being connected to the land of Israel. Here is one such example: "The Zionists turn[ed] their attention towards Palestine as the national homeland of the Jews, while relying on false historical and religious claims." From Modern Arab History and Contemporary Problems, Part Two, for Tenth Grade p. 50
When Palestinian Authority school books discuss sites of religious interest, Muslim as well as Christian sites are included but not Jewish. Even the Jews' connection to the remnant of their holiest site, the Western Wall of the Temple, is denied: "The Jews claim that this is one of the places belonging to them and call it "The Western Wall", but this is not so." From Reader and Literary Texts for Eighth Grade #578 p. 103. Their textbooks also claim that Jews have nothing to do with the Temple in Jerusalem: "Jerusalem: I have many Islamic holy places and antiquities. This is al-Aqsa Mosque and this is the Dome of the Rock...To the west of the holy mosque you can see a vast stone wall called 'al-Buraq Wall', [Western Wall of the Temple] to which the angel Gabriel, peace be upon him, tied the beast of the Prophet Muhammad on the night of his journey [to heaven]... As for my Christian holy places - the most famous of them are 'The Church of al-Qiama' [Holy Sepulchre-ed], next to the mosque of 'Umar ibn al Khatab, and the church of 'al-Juthmana' opposite al-Isbat Gate, outside the wall. From Palestinian National Education for Third Grade #529 P. 14.
The Palestine Ministry of Information issued, on Dec. 10, 1997, the follow statement. They claimed that a century's worth of archaeological excavations in the Old City of "Jerusalem" have found "Umayyad Islamic palaces, Roman runis, Armenian ruins and others, but nothing Jewish." The Ministry then claimed that "there is no tangible evidence of any Jewish traces / remains in the old city of Jeruslaem and its immediate vicinity."
Kamal Salibi is a Lebanese Christian Arab, and historian of Lebanon, and is the author of the following books (all of which have been rejected by mainstream historians in the non-Arab world. Some reviews are available for reading at the below website.)
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