The Claims Upon Israel
By Rabbi Daniel Travis
"At first the Almighty created the heavens and the earth."
As a result of the letters I received regarding the last class, and the
current situation of semi-war in Israel I thought it important to clarify
- What is the basis of the Torah's outlook to the Arab claim to the land of
- What is the historical basis for the Palestinian claim to Israel?
- What is the Torah outlook on the current situation of the Jewish People?
In response to the last class Dr. Colin Naturman wrote:
1. If I am not mistaken the traditional understanding of Bereshit 12:6
the Canaanite was then in the land" is that the land of Israel belonged to
Shem, and the Canaanites were invading the land and later took advantage of
the enslavement of Jews in Egypt to seize the whole land from the
descendents of Shem. Abraham was the rightful heir to the land. This ties up
with the traditions of the Phoenicians that they were indeed invaders who
had come from the region of the Persian Gulf and Bahrain.
In response to the last class my father wrote:
2. During the Ottoman period which ended during WWI with the British
capture of Jerusalem, Palestine was part of the Ottoman province of Greater
Syria, together with modern Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The Hashemites, who
now rule in Jordan, were the Turkish religious representatives in Mecca and
Medina, the Hedjaz. Hussein, the great grandfather of the late King Hussein,
began the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire around 1916. His son Faisal
was promised Damascus by Lawrence and the British. When the French kicked
him out of Syria, around 1921, his brother Abdullah marched on Damascus. To
placate the two brothers and to serve thewmselves, Abdullah was given the
newly created Transjordan with the title of Emir. His brother Faisal was
given Iraq. The concept of a Palestininian state is a myth created by
propogandists for the PA. The Arab world rejected the two state solution in
1947 and again last year. In a rational world they should bare the
From 1919 until the departure of the British in 1948, far more Arabs
immigrated to Israel/Palestine than Jews. Arafat's family were from Egypt.
They were drawn to the country by the economic activity stimulated by the
Mandate authorities and the Zionists. All of this information is available
from the Public Records office in Kew Gardens, London. All the documents
are listed in a text labeled Palestine 1918-1948. I made a note of this
text some years ago. The Siege by Connor Criuse Obrien is probably as good a
text as any to study the subject. The Arab elites have rejected Israel for
cultural not political reasons. They constantly harp on their fear of Israel
i.e. Jewish cultural hegemony.
3. Rashi ends off his comment to the first verse of the Torah that since God
created the world He can give the land of Israel to whoever seems yashar
"honest" in His eyes. This being the case it is imcumbent for thje Jewish
people to know the exact parameters of honesty, for without this they are
lacking the tools to aquire the optimum place for fulfilling the Torah.
Therefore the Torah continues with the rest of Sefer Bereshith which is
called Sefer HaYashar in order to teach us how to live yashar ad merit the
land of Israel.1
Why is the charecteristic of Yashrus so critical for earning the land of
Israel? In all other lands, Divine Providence works via emissaries. Israel
is unlike any other land in that Divine Providnce is direct.2 In order to
merit to be a constant recipient of this "straight" Divine Providence, one
must be straight with God. The name of the land "Israel" in fact comes from
the root "straight with God", implying that only one who lives up to that
can merit to live there.3
The Jewish People all over the world, and especially in the state of Israel
are in a precarious situation. They are in a constant state of danger, and
there is almost nothing that they can do to protect themselves from it. What
is expected from a Jew at the present time? Our Sages told us that in the
Messianic Era, the Jewish People will be brought to a situation where they
will be forced to recognize that we have nothing to rely on except for our
Father in Heaven (i.e. Hashem). Today He has made this outlook absolutely
clear to us, and it is up to us to respond by inculcating this concept into
our world outlook. When the Jewish People realize that they have no
salvation unless they turn to Hashem, then the redemption will be soon to
1. In fact in Sefer Devarim 9,5 as the Jews are about to enter the land, God
tells the Jewish people that it is not because of their Yashrus that they
are entering the land, but because of God's promise to the forefathers. This
seems to imply that yashrus is the necessary characteristic required for
inheriting the land of Israel, and that were it not for the promise to the
forefathers the Jewish people would not have gotten it.
2. Commentary of the Ramban at the end of Achrei Mos
3. Commentary of the Alshich 35,10.
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