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Israel?(51 posts)

Nov 14, 2002 5:00 AM
Why is the modern day Jewish state called Israel?
I'm reading Callahan's new book, The Secret Origins of the Bible, and I'm up to around the time of the exile and refounding of the Jewish state prior to Roman domination of the area. As best I can tell Israel was the northern Jewish Kingdom which ceased to exist prior to the southern kingdom of Judah (before the Babylonian captivity). So why when the Zionists appropriated the modern Jewish state (which geographically overlaps the old southern Kingdom), did they call it Israel, rather than Judah or Judea?
Wayne, I'm not familiar with the book, butsn69
Nov 14, 2002 5:49 AM
your choice of words interests me. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but to say "when the Zionists appropriated" almost sounds a bit on the offensive.

Here's what I consider a more appropriate question. Why does Israel always have to be referred to as "the Jewish state?" Why then don't we automatically refer to Italy as "the Catholic state," India as "the Hindu state," Norway as "the Lutherine state," etc...? While I realize that Israel was born from Europe's collective guilt over their complicity in the Holocaust, it bears stating that Israel is not a homogonous culture. In fact, I'd venture to guess that its population is more diverse than Australia's in terms of statistics (I've spent a lot of time in the former).

Maybe I'm a bit sensitive on this issue. I'm American, I'm in the military and I'm also Jewish. I have no problem distinguishing between the predominant religion in that country from the political entity of Israel. I've always found it deeply disturbing, however, when I've been asked why I'm in the US Military and not Israel's. Why? Because I'm an American. So was my father, so were my grandfathers--but that's inconsequential. Being Jewish does not define one as being Israeli any more than all Catholics are Italian, and so on.

Anyhow, back to your question. Again, look at the world situation at the time of the 1948 Resolution. Throughout Europe, save Denmark who refused to turn-over her Jews to the Nazis, Jews had been identified as Juden and Judah (pronounce the J silently) during the war. It had a negative connotation and evil memories associated with it at the time.

I chose "appropriated"....Wayne
Nov 14, 2002 6:18 AM
actually to try to keep it neutral b/c I know very little about the founding of modern day Israel.
BUT I assume someone else (the Palestians?) was living in modern day Israel in the 2000 yrs between (CE 70 and 1948) and didn't willingly give up their land. Correct me if I'm mistaken.
I understand the difference between ethnicity, religion, and nationality, and that many non-Jews live in Israel and are citizens, but to somehow say Israel is not a Jewish state, based on the circumstances of it's founding and the history of the region I think is being a little too sensitive.
So, calling Israel, Israel was just because it carries less negative connotation than Jude..?
I was hoping for a more interesting reason with some biblical/historical/political underpinnings.
Just a guessMcAndrus
Nov 14, 2002 6:38 AM
The biblical patriach Jacob was renamed Israel by God and is the source of the name of the northern kingdom. I just looked up the definition and it means "a people chosen by God." Given the historical reference, it seems like a good reason for the Jews who founded the state.

By the way, the Jews did not appropriate Palestine: the British did after the First World War. It was part of their spoils for the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Then with the Balfour Declaration they set aside a portion for the Jews as a British Protectorate. The British also set aside a portion for what we today call the Palestinians.

And, yes, the Palestinians did live in the land before WWI as did Jews and Ottomans and Christians and many others. If my memory serves, the population of Palestinians in the area before WWII was on the order of 200-300,000: not a huge number. It wasn't until after the '67 war that the Palestinian population grew to the 2-3 million it is today.
Oh, and a factoid on SemitesMcAndrus
Nov 14, 2002 6:43 AM
There's a widely held misunderstanding of the term Semite. For instance, to be anti-Semitic is commonly believed to be anti-Jewish.

The term Semite means something like "descended from Shem" who was one of Noah's sons. By definition, all Middle-Eastern peoples are Semites, including the Arabs.

Anwar Sadat (former leader of Egypt) was once accused by an American reporter of being anti-Semitic. He responded "How can I be anti-Semitic? I am a Semite."

I find it interesting that if you go far enough back in history that the Arabs and Jews are of the same race.
Actually quite ironically...Wayne
Nov 14, 2002 6:57 AM
Jews could be less Semites than other middle eastern people given the significant time most of the population spent outside of the Middle East and the interbreeding that assuredly took place.
I thought that the Palestinians, Jews, etc. were all Semitic peoples, but I thought the Arabs were actually considered ethnically separate. Maybe I'm getting it all confused.
I'm pretty sure the Iraqi (Arabs)/Iranian (Persians) problem is part ethnically based as well. Or is it that the Iraqis are Semites and the Iranians Arabs?
Then you got the whole mess of religious factions on top of the ethnicity differences!
The evolutionMcAndrus
Nov 15, 2002 6:04 AM
Let me see if I can say this correctly.

Any race descended from Shem (son of Noah) is considered Semitic. The racial difference between Arabs and Jews stems from Abraham and his sons Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was born first of the servant Hagar and Isaac was born second of the wife Sarah.

If you don't know the story, Sarah was jealous of Hagar's potential claims on Abraham's estate through Ishmael and had Abraham cast out Hagar and Ishmael. Over time, Ishmael became the father of the Arabs and Isaac the father of the Jews.

I'm not sure how far the Arab descendency goes with Ishmael. I know Persians (Iranians) don't qualify and I think Iraqis do. I know Egyptians qualify but I don't know if Ishmael's descendants go further west into Libya and Morroco.
Good points...both posts.sn69
Nov 14, 2002 7:07 AM
You got to the heart of the issue much faster than I did. Not enough coffee yet.

The racial blood of ancient Arabia and Judaism are one and the same. Again, both were born from the same fertile areas that were the breeding grounds of ancient tribal cultures in the region--the Nile, the Tigres and the Euphrates.

That makes "killing in the name of..." all that more stupid.
Pick up Callahan's book...Wayne
Nov 14, 2002 7:25 AM
he's a biblical scholar (I think he also wrote How the Irish saved Civilization, and another best seller which I can't remember). I was an anthropology major in college, and basically from my perspective what Callahan does is treat the bible (and other Jewish works) from an anthropological/historical perspective just like you would any other cultures myths. He tries to tease the historical from the mythical and explain the Bible in light of the times when the documents were written (often thousands or hundreds of years after the real, or not so real, events that are described). Basically traces the Jews from polytheistic nomadic pastoralist like the other Semitic tribes of the region associated with their "national" God, Yahweh, through becoming settled farmers and the development of increasing political complexity (i.e. the "judges" to the Kingship) and the increasing view of Yahweh as the sole Jewish God, but still recognizing that other Gods exist for other nations. I'm up to around the time of the exile which Callahan is arguing is the time when Yahweh really became the exclusive God of the Jewish people and started to take on the guise that we know him as now. That is, a "good" God with Satan as the source of "evil" in the world. Doesn't seem to have gotten to the point yet where Yahweh is viewed as the only God that exists, period!
Pick up Callahan's book...sn69
Nov 14, 2002 7:32 AM
Tribal societies with independant belief structures becoming a centralized societal entity with a unified structure. Yup...that is one of the more intriguing aspects of the human critter. I wasn't an antho major, but I took as many classes as I could. Human bahvior on the macro is fascinating.
If you run across heavenMcAndrus
Nov 15, 2002 6:24 AM
In case you don't know, I'm a Christian - Dutch Reformed to be more precise. There's a point I've been trying to sort out for years and pastors and other more learned than I haven't been much help.

If in your study of Jewish cultural evolution you come across the belief in an afterlife and Heaven and Hell, I'd appreciate if you'd post it for me.

In the Old Testament there is brief mention of Heaven as the place where God is and birds fly and that's about it: oh, and the angels also. There is almost no mention of the human soul and eternity. That first appears in the New Testament although it seems to be a fully developed doctrine when it does show up.

The eternal soul, Heaven, and Hell either are in the later prophets and I missed it, or they're in the inter-testimental period of the Macabees and the Roman conquest.

I'm still trying to figure that one out so if you (or anyone else for that matter) find out, please let me know.
Get Callahan's book...Wayne
Nov 15, 2002 6:40 AM
he goes over that to some extent (lots of references to specific passages in the various versions of the Bibles and the Septuagint (sp?) and other Jewish texts). What he deals with more specifically with is the transformation of Yahweh from a capricious, blood thirsty bastard to the modern day God of good that we are familiar with from Judaism/Christianity. He discusses when the devil starts to show-up and the emergence of heaven/hell as it relates to the above.
You could take this class...Matno
Nov 16, 2002 4:52 AM
Heaven and Hell in Judaism is the main topic of this class:

Here's a good insight into the Jewish concept of the afterlife:

It points out that the soul is immortal in Judaism, which presupposes an afterlife. (I might add that the idea that "people are not tortured in hell forever" is not purely a Jewish concept, as this article seems to think. Many Christians believe this as well. The difference is that such Christians believe that those people will eventually have to accept Christ to reach "heaven").

Also, don't neglect the New Testament for info on Jewish Belief. Historically, it is accurate. It does make some mention of which Jewish divisions believed in a Resurrection. (Note: Christ did not condemn Judaism. On the contrary, throughout his life, he encouraged obedience to its principles, although he did condemn some of the practices that had evolved from their original form. He taught that the Law of Moses was symbolic of his sacrifice for the sins of men. It was only AFTER his death and resurrection that he taught that the time for the Law of Moses was past.
I'm getting around to reading up on this...Wayne
Nov 14, 2002 7:04 AM
one of these days. So, following WWII was there a Jewish state and a Palestinian state? The other states (Egypt, Syria, Palestine etc.) in region attack Israel in 1967, Israel runs roughshod over them, in the process taking all of the lands of the Palestians. And then after the war doesn't give the land back to the Palestinians and turns them into the "Occupied Territories" of today?
Nov 14, 2002 7:15 AM
By delcaration of the '48 Resolution there was one country--Israel. The Palestinians lived there, albeit in a state of confusion until their council of Imams decreed that the Palestinian people were in conflict with the Israelis. Until then, there were periods in which the Israeli Jews and the Palestinians even fought on the same side in territorial skirmishes with the Syrians, the Egyptians and the Jordanians. Except for the Golan, the areas that became known as the Occupied Territories were war trophies won by the Israelis where, incidentally, a great many Palestinians had settled after the Syrians, Egyptians and Jordanians had refused them entry.

Does that morally "excuse" Israel for not giving back those lands? Not really, but it's understandable. The Golan was a critical strategic area, and the West Bank came within 25 miles of the Med at its widest point. ...That's called territorial protectionism. Kind of like Gitmo, Guam, etc....
So who owned the West Bank and Gaza...Wayne
Nov 14, 2002 7:30 AM
prior to 1967?
Gaza, Egypt?
West Bank, Jordan or Syria?
So who owned the West Bank and Gaza...Captain Morgan
Nov 14, 2002 7:35 AM
As per the 1947 UN plan, Arab control.
So who owned the West Bank and Gaza...BikeViking
Nov 14, 2002 8:21 AM
Isn't it interesting that the Arabs are now speaking so reverently of the need for a "Palestinian homeland", yet they had 20 years (1947 - 1967) to do it themselves and they did not.
Yes, as hypocritical...Wayne
Nov 14, 2002 8:40 AM
as Israeli saying if the Palestinians just would behave themselves everything would be all right, when at the same time their government almost collapsed because of Sharon's unwillingness to stop appropriating funds for Israeli settlements in the occupied territories?
Problem is, there are significant elements on both sides of this issue who want to keep this conflict out of the 21st century and play by the rules of earlier times when genocide was the order of the day. Afterall, when two sides have mutually exclusive claims to the same sacred territory the only way to secure your sides position is the removal of the other side? Right?
I would like to think the more sane elements of both sides will prevail but sometimes I don't hold out much hope. And unfortunately, I think we (the US) have been more lenient to the radical elements on the Israeli side than the Palestinian side rather than taking a more balanced approach. I also think if the Palestinians would have taken the non-violent approach of Ghandi/MLK they would without a doubt have a homeland by now.
1948, not 1967Captain Morgan
Nov 14, 2002 7:21 AM
The UN approved of the Israeli state in 1947. Israel was first attacked in 1948 by its 5 neighboring countries. That is when Jerusalem, which was supposed to be independently in UN control, was siezed by Jordan, which expelled all Jews and barred their entry into the Old City.
Let's examine some aspects of this tragic comedy: (long)sn69
Nov 14, 2002 7:03 AM
Given that most rational people can and do realize that the constant state of conflict in the region is a tragedy and a negative testament to the stupidity, frivolity and violence of man, let's think about something.

We are lead to believe that this is a Jewish/Muslim conflict, both by segements of Western media and certainly by Fundamentalist Islam. By way of comparison, however, Islam is a relative newcomer to world religion, only existing for the past 1500 years or so (that makes it no less significant, though). Judaism, on the other hand, predates it by another 2000 years. The conflicts specific to the region, however, go back even farther.

And that it the true root of the issue. Canaan, Egypt, Baylonia, Sumeria, Troy, Persia, etc were all nation/states and city/states that developed in and around the fertile areas in the region where enough natural resources existed to adequately support life, civilizations and cultures. Again, this largely predates Abraham and definitely predates Christ and Mohammed. The issue boils down to territory.

If you investigate the bilical and historical background of the area, you'll find the "Children of Israel" populating the area throughout periods of ancient history, forced from the land periodically by various territorial and resource-based conflicts. There was no issue with Judiasm/Islam. Somehwere during that period, the ancient Jews declared that land to be their birthright, but that's really no different than the Romans claiming their property, the Mings laying rights to their dynasty, the Algonquins laying claim to their ancenstral lands, America claiming Manifest Destiny, etc.... Again, we come back to the common denominator of everyone wanting to claim their personal part of the playground. It's human behavior, right or wrong. Whether they justified that through religion or through territorial expansion in the name of security or resource protection, the fact is that it's really about wanting "your stuff."

Sorry,...I'm taking a while to get to the point. The Romans effectively deposed and scattered the ancient Jewish theocracy that existed in Israel, which was largely referred to as both Judeah and Isreal in historical texts even dating back to the Greeks. As Rome expanded into Europe and eventually fell, many Jews populated those lands just like other immigrants. Israel became part of the Ottoman Empire (the new regional super-power in the Med and Mid East after the Romans), and the area remained in a state of general stasis through WWI, with significant numbers or Jews and others living there. That's a long damned time. It's worth mentioning that pockets of Jews still lived in great numbers throughout the region too. In fact, the last significant groups of Jews didn't vacate Iran and Iraq until their conflicts in the 1970s and 80s. The largest pocket still lived in what was referred to as Palestine by the Ottomans and eventually became a British Protectorate under the same name. Where then did the Palestinians come from? They were there, still living in general peace up through the years of British domination. In a sense, they were similar to the Gypsies and the Kurds--they were a geographic entity spread throughout the region who didn't have one specific patch of ground that they had as their own. Thus, they gravitated towards the fertile region that had become little more than a territorial outpost of one empire or antoher (Turks, Brits, whomever...). Again, what little conflict that did exist was born from territorial antagonism, not religion.

...And then came WWI, which changed not only the cultural dynamics of Europe but also the Eastern Med. Post war Europe saw a great many Jews returning to the region (after 800 years of European settlement) due to the sentiments in their adoptive lands. WWII and the Holocast are obvious. Interestingly, 400 years before, the Spanish Inquisition caused a similar movement although not in th
You got cut off! (nm)czardonic
Nov 14, 2002 12:27 PM
Sorry, it's gone now.sn69
Nov 14, 2002 7:50 PM
Here's my executive summary:

The Israeli/Palistinian conflict is tragic and senseless, made even more so by the constant manipulation on the part of other nations. While the left would no doubt decry America's complicity in the events in the name of obtaining an ally in the region, I would counter that the conflict is in stead every fuedal Arab nation's best friend. They love the conflict because it takes their own ignorant masses' collective minds off of their fuedal despotism. What would happen to that region if the Israelis and Palestinians achieved and equitable, lasting peace?

Whoa nelly...there's food for thought.
Thanks for the Executive SummaryJon Billheimer
Nov 15, 2002 8:54 AM
Although I'm not nearly as informed on the historical details as some of the rest of you in this discussion, I've always been of the opinion that the Arab states had a great deal of political capital invested in perpetuating the conflict with Israel.

BTW, I think it's just bizarre that anyone would question Scott's participation in American military service, since he's an American!
Israel is only 81% JewishCaptain Morgan
Nov 14, 2002 6:27 AM
First, good response, Scott.

FYI, Israel is only 81% Jewish, 15% Muslim, 2% Christian, and 2% other.

Of the predominantly Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia is 94% Muslim, Yeman is 99%, Turkey is 97%, Iran is 99%, Syria is 89%, Kuwait is 85%, Egypt is 89%, and Iraq is 95%. So, Israel is a lot less Jewish than most of the other Middle Eastern countries are Muslim.
I appreciate the information...Wayne
Nov 14, 2002 6:46 AM
but I was already aware that there was a significant Israeli citizenship that was not Jewish. Israel being considered Jewish has to do with it's history not the % of population who are Jews, Arabs, whatever.
I don't get it, are there really a significant number of people out there that don't consider Israel a Jewish state?
It is a religious state.Sintesi
Nov 14, 2002 6:43 AM
You can gain citizenship by proving Jewish ancestry. What's that all about? Also, what about the anti-proselytizing restrictions on Christian settlements in Israel? Granted it is a primarily a secular democracy and does enfranchise to an extent it's recognized Palestinian population, et. al., but Israel is founded on the principal of being a "homeland" for the Jews. This is a distinction that is not transferable to other countries even though they may be, defacto, predominately of a single religion.
Nov 14, 2002 7:11 AM
Israel, unlike many countries aforementioned, has a national religion. It is a Jewish state, just as Pakistan is an Islamic state (its full name is something like "the Islamic Republic of Pakistan). There exists no seperation of church and state in Israel, (or Pakistan for that matter) and as such, it is the "Jewish" state.
rabbis are salaried by the state as well (nm)ColnagoFE
Nov 14, 2002 9:38 AM
I'll concede points to you and TJ, Sintesi,sn69
Nov 14, 2002 7:27 AM
although to ask "what's that all about" is to forget about the 6.5 million killed in 8 years. Here's similar question. Why does one automatically get a cut of the local Indian casino if you can prove a certain percentage of bloodlines? How does your ancestery grant you compensation from somebody else's business acumen? Different issue, but similar circumstances.

I also agree with Wayne as I think about this. Perhaps I am too sensitive about this, but then again it's not without justification. I've been fortunate that I haven't encoutered much bigotry about my religion. Still, it has always bothered me when people automatically assume that I give a rat's ass about the Nation/Political Entity of Israel. They're an ally and in that regard I look at them much the same as Britain, Canada, Japan, etc.... Still, they are a different country. I am not an Israeli citizen, nor have any of my relatives been. If you want to talk purely on the issue of race, I'm Austrian/Irish/Russian/Latvian.

A lot of the Jewish people I know feel the same way. It's not unlike the Irish equation. You can still feel great empathy with a country yet not be a citizin. Truth be told, however, what bothers me the most is when I encounter the occassional Jew who marvels at the fact that I serve in MY country's military. ...Some people just don't get it, regardless of religion.

You're a LIAR!Captain Morgan
Nov 14, 2002 7:33 AM

Just kiddin'.
The Irish bit was a recent discoverysn69
Nov 14, 2002 7:39 AM
My Mom has been doing a family history for the past three years, and she's uncovered some interesting stuff. You can imagine how difficult it is to do a family tree as a Jew. 19th Century Europe didn't keep many records and those that did exists were disposed of from 1938-1945. Anyhow, she found the link to the Emerald Isle via some records that the Ellis Island folks provided.

Oddly intriguing? Is there a Sheamus O'Rosenblat in my past somehwere? ...A firey red-head who loves to drink Guiness and fight but still harbors deep-seated guilt over the fact that he wasn't a doctor?

If we can't laugh at ourselves....
The Irish bit was a recent discoveryCaptain Morgan
Nov 14, 2002 7:52 AM
Its especially cool that she uncovered a country with some pretty rich heritage like Ireland. It probably wouldn't have been the same if she uncovered some hidden Belgium connection. Still, its a good reason (excuse) to drink Irish Guiness.
I dunno. Belgium = Eddie, right?sn69
Nov 14, 2002 8:17 AM
ooops, there I go again.... Bringing a cycling ref. into the non-cycling forum.

Bad Scott!
I'll concede points to you and TJ, Sintesi,Sintesi
Nov 14, 2002 8:37 AM
"although to ask "what's that all about" is to forget about the 6.5 million killed in 8 years"

One could almost assume that the granting of citizenship based on ancestry lends credence to Hitler's idea that there is a Jewish race. In this case one that needs preservation as opposed to extermination. I always found Israel's position on this ironic and troubling if not understandable.

Basically, I feel any political system based on race, ethnicity or religion is unfair and in the end detrimental to all involved.
Ironic and darkly humoroussn69
Nov 14, 2002 9:10 AM
I've often argued a similar point with some of my older relatives who try to support the ideology that Israel is "every Jew's homeland." Obviously, I disagree with that statement, but more on that later. My point to them is that isn't it ironic (dontcha think? ...sorry, bad Alanis Goofball ref) that to sequester ourselves in one geographical place is tantamount to the "final solution?!"

Again, one still must try to understand the context in which that generation feels that way. They are the "never again" generation, and the events of the 30s and 40s are a lot closer to them and actually exist as memories rather than history. Still, it's always bothered me how many of them refuse to acknowledge total allegiance to the US. (Start humming "This Land is Your Land" now.) This is our country--all of ours--and "never again" means that we don't prepare to flee in the face of advserity. I'll say it again, this is our country. We--all of us--decide how it'll work. Never again, in this case, means actively participating as a citizen of the United States. And yes, I completely agree that divisive, selective political systems don't serve the public.

Unfortunately, that argument is often lost on them. ...And since most of them are Conservative Jews and I'm Reformed, I then sneak into their kitchens and mix their dairy and meat plates.

My Mom taught me that last trick. ;-)~
Nov 14, 2002 12:42 PM
Israel may be a religious Jewish state, but that does not mean that it's citizens are religious. In fact, not many of them are. Being Jewish, while having strong religious ties, is purely a matter of heritage.

As for the name of the country, many of the great blessings of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob) were promised to "Israel" meaning Jacob, or his descendants, the twelve tribes of Israel. Throughout the Bible, the people were referred to, collectively, as "Israel." That is probably a large part of the reason for the name choice.

Interestingly, modern Jews consider all of the descendants of Israel to be Jewish, even though Jews as we know them today are really only descendants of the Kingdom of Judah (which was the tribe of Judah and part of the tribe of Benjamin). For those who believe in the Bible, the other ten tribes, typically referred to as the "lost" tribes, will someday be restored and receive their inheritance. In other words, they were scattered, but not destroyed. Jewish interpretation of that is different from Christian interpretation, but either way, it's interesting. Personally, I think the other tribes are among us, but not aware of their lineage.

Jeremiah 3:18 says "In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers."
Nov 14, 2002 10:22 PM
There is one Christian denomination that agrees almost exactly with the Jewish interpretation you related there...the LDS church.
Nov 15, 2002 5:24 AM
Funny coincidence... I thought about quoting the 10th A of F, but figured I didn't need to be so specific. After all, there are plenty of references to the gathering of Israel in the Old Testament. You just have to dig to find them.

Nov 15, 2002 6:05 AM
Judaism confuses some because it is both an ethnic designation (my wife is technically ethnically Jewish since her mother is Jewish, right (according to Jewish tradition)?) but isn't Jewish in the religious sense of Judiasm at all, anymore than she is a Baptist just because her father was.
This gets at the whole concept of race (or ethnicity if you prefer). People like to think of this as a real biological phenomena when it is really a social phenomena that people typically use a combination of historical and biological traits to define. So to say that there are "tribes among us" makes little sense, since the recognition couldn't possibly be biological (unless you mean these people have somehow just been procreating amongst themselves and have retained their "ethnic purity", almost a meaningless concept in our mobile modern world). If a "tribe" does show-up in the future like most ethnic groups they will make up some sort of justification for their grouping (or whoever is defining them as tribe will) that in reality has little to no biological basis, and possibly not even any historical cultural reason for that new group to be considered a homogeneous "tribe".
Wayne, this is where things get trickysn69
Nov 15, 2002 7:09 AM
Symantics can be interpreted a lot of different ways here, and not without justification. Race and enthnicity were talking points that the Nazis used to try to segregate Europe's Jews from the rest of the European population as part of their final solution. While the simple statistics prove that full-blooded Jews (IOW, no conversions or mixed marriages) all have roots that can be traced to SE Asia/the Eastern Med, the truer point is (was) that Eurpoean Jews were so intermixed after many hundreds of years in the region, that very little physiological differences existed between them and the local populations among which they lived. German Jews often tended to be blonde haired with blue eyes, Russian Jews tended to be redheaded and large boned, Spanish Jews looked decided Moorish like most Spaniards from the south of the country, etc....

Thus, this is where a lot of Jews take great exception to being singled out as a race. Rather, I think the more appropirate way to look at it is as a religion and a culture, which is what I think you were getting at. The two coexist and exist seperately at the same time. In terms of the religion, Judiasm has many facets and denominations, much like Christianity, and so too does the culture, although it's more closely linked to the various denominations than most non-Jews realize. For example you wouldn't know an American Reformed Jew as such unless you were told, yet a Hasidic Jew is obvious.

What I would say is that your wife has cultural Jewish ties through her mother's bloodlines. Whether or not she practices that faith is up to her. (Free country.) Her enthicity, however, is more appropriately traced to the regional ethnicities of her four grandparents and theirs in turn. In the end, most of us are mutts anyhow.
Nov 15, 2002 7:59 AM
that's what I was saying. I think most people think of races/ethnicities as being primarily biological, when in fact they are primarily cultural. That's not saying biology can't be part of what defines a race but it's rarely THE defining thing. In the past, when your "race" basically meant those you would procreate with, it undoubtably had more biological significance than today, but not even then was it a purely biological construct.
I would say we are all mutts, just depends on how far back you want to go in your ancestry. Perhaps the "purist" race on earth is/was Australian aborigenes. I think they were pretty much isolated on Australia for 25K years or so with no major influxes of outsiders to interbreed with. But I would suspect today, of those considered Australian aborigenes there is a good bit of "foriegn" genes.
Didn't Jacob name it that?ColnagoFE
Nov 14, 2002 9:37 AM
Realizing that his father was about to die, Joseph drew his two sons, Efraim and Menashe, to Jacob's deathbed to be blessed while there was still time. Clearly foreshadowing the fact that Jacob was soon to grant Ephraim and Menashe their own inheritances in the land of Israel along with the brothers of Joseph, Jacob sits up in his bed and speaks of the promise that G-d had made with him, that his offspring would be numerous and inherit the land of Israel.
Actual source of name Israel...VertAddict
Nov 14, 2002 10:04 PM
The name Israel means "Let God prevail" and was given to Jacob. In Genesis 32:28 an angel tells Jacob, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel, for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and thou hast prevailed".

Jacob in turn had 12 sons, who were the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph, one of Jacob's sons, actually received a double share of inheritance through both his sons Ephraim and Manasseh being blessed by Jacob (as you alude to), and therefore being considered separate tribes.

When the tribes originally inhabited the land of Canaan, there was a split and the northern tribes were known as Israel while Judah occupied the south. The northern tribes were captured by the Assyrians, and soon disappeared from the historical record.

Over time the land originally inhabited by the tribes (Canaan) was called Israel, as it is today, even though only the descendents of Judah live there now.
here's a good web sourceColnagoFE
Nov 14, 2002 9:41 AM

pretty much explains it all
So, if i read that right...Wayne
Nov 14, 2002 10:18 AM
Judah was the preferred name of modern day Israel by some since it is suppose to the be the homeland of the Jews exclusively (more or less).
From my reading of Callahan that makes sense since the southern Kingdom of Judah was geographically almost the same as modern day Israel, and the people were more "Jewish", that is devoted to Yahweh, than the people in the old Northern Kingdom of Israel (which also was conquered a number of years before the southern kingdom).
But the name Israel better fulfills (and perhaps is more inviting to non-Jews or the lost tribes?) some prophecies, so they went with that?
Did you hear the one about?Matno
Nov 14, 2002 1:19 PM
The story goes...

Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon were sitting down for some peace talks. Before the meeting got started, Sharon asked if he could relate a quick story. In the interest of a peaceful atmosphere, Arafat conceded.

Sharon stood and began his tale, "Back in the days when the children of Israel were wandering in the desert for 40 years, they were desperate for water. Moses was commanded by God to cause water to spring forth from a rock, which he did, so everyone had plenty of water to drink. After the tribes had drunk their fill, Moses decided to take a bath. However, when he got out of the water, he found that someone had stolen his clothes. He called to Joshua and asked him if he knew what had happened to his clothes, to which Joshua responded, 'It was those dang Palestinians!'"

At this point, Arafat jumped red-faced out of his seat and shouted indignantly, "There were no Palestinians in Israel back then!"

Sharon, rubbed his hands together, sat down and said, "Great! Now that we've established that, let's get started..."
Not to be picky, but...Brooks
Nov 14, 2002 5:06 PM
Moses never made it to the Promised Land (Israel) either (according to the Biblical story).
As a matter of fact,Matno
Nov 14, 2002 8:16 PM
he didn't make it BECAUSE of the incident with the water and the rocks. There was another incident when he was commanded to strike the rock, but the important one was when God commanded him to SPEAK to the rock to cause the water to come out. I guess the Isrealites were still a little too dependent on physical signs at the time, and Moses paid the price for disobeying...

I guess now I'll have to change the story to be about Joshua AFTER they entered the promised land... :^)
Now that's funny...Wayne
Nov 15, 2002 5:51 AM
The way people like to read into the Bible to fulfill prophecies, etc. Do you know if the Palestians are ever associated with one of the old enemies of Israel by fundamentalist Jews? The Philistines, Moabites, etc.
Well, theoretically...Matno
Nov 15, 2002 9:21 AM
The Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, thus they are also the offspring of Abraham, to whom the greatest blessings were given. Therefore, in part, there are promises in the Bible that were made to them as well, although not all of the same blessings were given to them and the descendants of Isaac, Ishmael's brother.