by Sarah Honig
Were Israelis to unconditionally submit to ever-mutating Arab historiography, all attachments to the Western Wall and
Who says we're not winning the war for the world's hearts and minds? Even Arabs seem swayed by the argument that the oldest ties to this land are the ones that bind.
Apparently they were converted to the view that everything boils down to who was here first, who left all the place names of all this country's towns and villages (including those which conquistador Arabs took over), who embedded this unlikely location in world consciousness and rendered it a cultural/religious byword in the farthest climes, whose national cradle this was, the hub of whose beliefs and aspirations this arid little territorial tract had been from time immemorial.
The Arabs, obviously, haven't become overnight lovers of
The latest example was just furnished in the Knesset by Israeli-Arab MK Taleb a-Sanaa (Ta'al-Ra'am). In a plenum debate he embraced the premise that the land belongs to its earliest claimants: "You say that Abraham purchased
Thereby a-Sanaa made a huge leap from traditional Arab portrayals of Abraham as an Arab. A-Sanaa now categorizes him as the Israelites' father and stakes Arab claims on real-estate vendor Ephron the Hittite (although the mosque which Arabs constructed over the second-holiest Jewish shrine is called the Ibrahimi Mosque – Ibrahim being the Arabic pronunciation for the Hebrew Avraham).
THIS ISN'T an irrelevant frivolous footnote. A-Sanaa isn't the first Arab to reinvent the past to suit current interests. Indeed, this is a long-established vogue. Way before the homicidal agitation of British-appointed
The insistence of Jews to keep praying at the remnant of their Holiest of Holies, despite mounting Arab violence, eventually gave birth to Husseini's hysterical incitement charging Jewish takeover attempts of al-Aksa Mosque. His shrill provocation culminated in the 1929 countrywide "slaughter-the-Jews" campaign, most notorious for the
It's there that Arabs now riot because updated incitement tells them that the inclusion of the Cave of the Patriarchs in the list of to-be-preserved Jewish national heritage sites will compromise their freedom of worship.
The irony is that Arab notions of freedom don't extend to others. Exactly a hundred years ago Izhak Ben-Zvi (in time
Ben-Zvi wrote: "The entrance to the Patriarchs' Cave was prohibited to non-Muslims... Jews were allowed to climb no higher than the seventh step in the courtyard. Only brave-hearted Jewish women dared enter, masquerading in Arab garb and their faces veiled according to Arab custom."
Rachel recalled: "
So much for Arab pluralism and tolerance. Actually, the Arabs don't demand liberality of us. They want it all and they want us out, as they did when their forebears descended on hapless Jews' homes over 80 years ago and hideously hacked innocents to death.
WERE ISRAELIS to unconditionally submit to ever-mutating Arab historiography, then all attachments to the Western Wall and
The latest Arab attempt to expunge Jewish connections is the contention that rather than Rachel's, the tomb is of Bilal Ibn-Rabah, an African slave and Muhammad's muezzin. The problem is that
All this underscores two simultaneous trends: the confiscation of Jewish history and the adoption of counterfeit pre-Abrahamic Canaanite identities. Under Yasser Arafat it became fashionable to fabricate supposed Canaanite ceremonies and ordain Canaanites as Palestinians (though, already by biblical testimony, Canaanites assimilated among Israelites, while the
Arafat insisted to Bill Clinton at
Back in 1950 poet Natan Alterman penned a tongue-in-cheek reply to a near-identical proclamation ("
A clear night. Treetops shiver,
Vibrating the view with an airy whisper.
From above, Arab evening stars
Sparkle over an Arab land.
The stars wink and flicker
And bestow their quivering glitter
Upon the tranquil city Al-Kuds
In which once reigned King Daoud.
And from there they gaze and witness
The city of
The city of
Ibrahim who begat Is'hak.
And then the clever rays so fast
Rush the golden glow to cast
Where the waters of the river El Urdun flow,
Where Ya'acub once did go.
A clear night. With an airy wink
The stars legitimately blink
Over the mountains of an Arab land
Which Mussa from afar beheld.
was The Jerusalem Post's long-time political correspondent (as well as for years of the now-defunct Davar). She headed the Post's Tel Aviv bureau, wrote daily analyses of the political scene as well as in-depth features.
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