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May 11, 2010

Ha'aretz's Marcus: Golan, "Simply a Lovely Area," Devoid of Jewish History

While Op-Ed writers are certainly entitled -- and should -- voice their opinions for or against Israel's relinquishing of the Golan Heights to Syria, they are not entitled to misrepresent history. Ha'aretz's Yoel Marcus did just that in his column today, "Peace with Syria is more urgent," in which he erases thousands of years of Jewish history in the Golan Heights. He writes:

The price tag is clear. It's the Golan Heights. But unlike the places to be discussed in proximity talks and direct negotiations with the Palestinians, the Golan is not a holy site. Neither Abraham our patriarch nor Sarah our matriarch are buried there, and returning it for peace would not involve all those messianic emotions with which the Greater Land of Israel people are imbued. It's simply a lovely area.

Simply a lovely area, and not for example, an area that Moses allotted to half the tribe of Menashe in the earlier biblical period. Also before 953 BCE, the city of Golan was set aside as a city of refuge for alleged murderers awaiting trial and served as a Levitical city for the family of Gershon. In the first Temple Period, the city was seized from Jewish control by the Aramean king, but reconquered by King Joash in 784 BCE. The region was then conquered by the Assyrian emperor, who exiles the Jews, who returned again to the Golan during the Second Temple Period.

In 30 BCE 30-20 King Herod gradually acquires all of Bashan from Emperor Augustus. Jews from Palestine and Babylonia settle in Bashan and again declare the area a part of the Land of Israel. In 67 CE, Josephus commands the Jewish army in the region during the Great Jewish Revolt. Gamla, the chief city in the Golan, is the last stronghold against the Roman Legions. Jewish settlement, however, continues and even thrives following the failed revolt.

Modern archeological finds dating from the Talmudic period include remnants of 25 synagogues and Jewish artifacts from more than 100 sites in the region. Jewish settlements are completely wiped out following the Islamic conquest until Jewish resettlement takes hold in the 1880s.

A lovely place, yes, with a few thousand years of Jewish history to boot. See here for CAMERA's complete Golan timeline.

Posted by TS at May 11, 2010 04:08 AM


Marcus also ignores the security importance of the Golan Heights, without which northern Israel might again be exposed to frequent Syrian artillery fire, as well as vulnerable to invaders coming down from the Heights. Marcus also ignores or dismisses the significance of making a treaty with a govt of murderers and mass murderers, that is, the Syrian govt of Bashar Assad.

The article at the link explains that the Golan was part of the Kingdom of Judea recognized by Rome.

Posted by: Eliyahu at May 11, 2010 05:59 AM

You guys have really gone off the deep end if by upholding accuracy in reporting on Israel you mean making sure that everything written in contemporary media accords with what is written in scripture.

Posted by: reader at May 11, 2010 07:29 AM

Are Josephus' accounts and archeological findings also out of bounds?

BTW, it's Marcus himself who invokes Scripture when it comes to the West Bank, mentioning the burial sites of Abraham and Sarah. What's good for the goose . . .

Posted by: TS at May 11, 2010 08:51 AM

As a whole let us remember that the Jewish people has the right to his own historical and national land of Israel (aka Palestine) without the agreement of the British and French imperialist occupying forces in WWI, and without even the approval of The League of Nations. The rights of the Jewish people are natural rights also their right to their national land. Let us remind all that Jews always lived in Palestine, mostly with fragments of Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Bedouin aliens, since the last 2000 years and under some 30 different occupying foreign forces. The fact that Arabs too invaded the land of Israel, while spreading their Islam ,doesn’t mean that their occupation is more justified than the occupation of the Jews, but the opposite. As said in the article the Golan Heights was a well documented land of Jews from the second Temple time period.

As for the name Palestine, if I might add, the name can’t define Arab nature anyway. There is no even “P�? in Arabic, so how can a “people�? pronounce his own name with some letter he doesn’t own (as he doesn’t own the land itself)? In previous days when Arabs didn’t were well accounted with foreign languages the tended to pronounce the name as “Balestine�? or “Falestine�? until when they started to claim for originality to the land and the name, mainly from the late 60th and the 70th. Then they called it in their daily linguistic “Falastin�?. Palestine under the British colonialism concluded Jews, Arab of various nations and religions: - Catholic, Presbyterian, Ethiopian, Orthodox and other kind of Christians, Sunni Muslim Arabs and various non Arab Muslims from Albania, Bosnia, Kenya, India and other places. Most of the Arabs and Muslims came from the beginning of the 20th century because of oppressions of minorities in many Islamic societies. The migration was massive then and some portion arrived at Palestine without any former link to the land but because they looked for safe place where they can work for their living.

While we have 22 Arab state that represent the “Arab People�? it is quite arrogant to blame the Jews that they want small piece of land of their historical land, while the Arab invaders have their “Palestine�? even since 1922 ( which was called “the Hashemite Emirate of Transjordan�? until turn to be Jordan in 1946).

Posted by: AbeBird at May 16, 2010 08:21 AM

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