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Author Topic: Ornery U - History of Zionism and Israel
RickyB
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OK, now settle the @#$% down before we even start, cause there's gonna be some ground rules on this one, to prevent burnout, unwieldyness and flame wars.

I am on vacation till the end of the week, but don't want to get sucked into this full time and won't have nearly as much time after. THEREFORE, I will do my best (here that, fingers?) to limit myself to one long post (or a burst of several shorter ones) each evening. We'll see where that gets us.

Athelstan, your question again, in cogent form please, mate? [Smile]

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Athelstan
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Sorry on offence meant. You mentioned Jewish History so I thought I’d take a stab. The only political Jews I’ve met have been British Socialists who have taken the view that somehow Israel had strayed for the path intended by its Socialist Founders. Your comment infers that this is not the case so question answered.

Tony Blair once mentioned about there being tens of thousands of British olim in Israel. Does this mean they are trying to become Israeli, there to work or something else?

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RickyB
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No offence taken, or even offense [Razz] It just sounded a bit jumbled. Yes, most of the founders intended a socialist state. That was kinda going out in the 60's, and really died with the advent of a very cheap, very silence-able workforce following the 6 day war.

The first downfall of the labor party, after it had run Israel from inception, came in 1977 by the secular right wing Likud. However, Likud did indeed enter into a long term strategic alliance with religious nationalists and just ultra religious, and has ruled with the help of those parties for... let's see: 18 of the last 31 years. During 6 more of those years it shared power with Labor.
(Note: I am cutting off the count of Likud rule at 2005, since that was when the outright hijacking of the party by Ariel Sharon culminated. So even though he continued to rule as "PM Likud" into 2006 before forming Kadima, it's not fair to count those two years as Likud years. )

I don't know about tens of thousands of brit Olim. Maybe. Definitely quite a few thousands. My adopted brother is half Scots-Jewish. Checking with him. His estimate - yup, 30-40K.

Olim means they are becoming Israeli. They have stated that they have come to live and received an acclimation stimulus package. Ole - ascender, one who goes up, from point to higher point. Olim - plural (masc). This from the Jewish view that the land of Israel is a higher plateau than the rest of the world.

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Athelstan
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Thanks for that. Half Scots-Jewish – there’s got to be a joke there if we knew which half.
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Delirium Tremens
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Here's my question: What about 'the land of milk and honey?'

To clarify: I was born in Europe 1972 and I was raised as a catholic. When I was a kid (must have been 1980 - 1985), my image of Israel was that of 'the land of milk and honey' or the ideal country where dreams come true, people creating a prosperous country in the middle of the desert, living together in peace and harmony etc. It was only later on that I learned that
- There was a conflict with the surrounding Arab countries
- This conflict was more or less present from the start (or even before) of the Israelian state with armed conflicts or wars ... every ten years or so.
So, my conclusion is that the myth of 'the land of milk and honey' is not and never was a reality. But even now, some of the people who are one generation older than me (I'm talking about people who are aged 70-80) often refer to Isreal in this idealistic way.

So were does this myth come from? Does the average Isreali think of his country as 'the ideal country' or rather 'just home' (or something else) and is the desire to move to Israel still an active movement among the Jews not living in Israel? And finally, is 'zionism' the same as 'the desire to live in Israel' or is it something else?

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RickyB
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Well, the phrase comes from the bible, where the land is thus described. Zionism adopted it as its own. No, it's not really, but it's a very pretty land where really good produce is grown, and where life really can be very sweet if not for war and so on. Not the perfect land, but some parts of it are quite paradise-like [Smile]

The average Israeli is under no illusion that his or her country is ideal in any way - but we still prefer being here in surprising numbers (although there is a low rate of yuppie flight). There is a steadily decreasing identification with Israel among Jews around the world, mostly due to the occupation and the resulting image of Israel, but there are still many communities with strong ties where the basic desire to move to Israel is still considered to be a virtue.

Zionism is the notion that it is desirable and just that the Jews have a nation state within the land of Israel. Before 1948 this meant being in favor of creating such, and since then it means being in favor of the continued existence of one (withi these borders or those). You can be a Zionist (though there's a limit to how much of one, ultimately) without moving here yourself.

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Delirium Tremens
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Oh, I once went on a 3-day business trip to Israel and yes, the land is beautifull, most people were very friendly (except the police, they didn't seem ready for a joke) and I don't doubt people can build a good life and be happy. Some people will realize their dream, others wont, like in every country. But that's something different from the land of milk and honey.

But was there any active propaganda between, say between 1950 and 1970, to get Jews to move to Israel or is zionism really a bottom up movement?

[ February 27, 2008, 08:02 AM: Message edited by: Delirium Tremens ]

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RickyB
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"But was there any active propaganda between, say between 1950 and 1970, to get Jews to move to Israel or is zionism really a bottom up movement?"

Tons, some of it reaching the illegal and immoral [Smile]
Israel to this day is actively encouraging Jews to come. That's a cornerstone policy. The vast majority of these activities are above board and legit on any reasonable level, but often when there's a spike of activity, or a new campaign, or a too-zealous statement by an ambassador or visiting dignitary, the country in question will protest that it's being unfairly portrayed as inhospitable to Jews. Often this complaint is well justified, sometimes they doth protest too much [Smile]

Zionism WAS a bottom-up movement, but nowadays the vast Zionist activity, above maybe the grassroots level, is coordinated tightly with official, semi official or covert representatives of Israel. Which only makes sense, really.

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RickyB
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"Half Scots-Jewish – there’s got to be a joke there if we knew which half."

His mum's side [Smile] And believe you me - we got some jokes on the subject. [Big Grin]

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hobsen
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The following turned up as a very fine commentary on "the land of milk and honey," as the words are used in English:
quote:
The Theolinguist said...
I know it's a little off-topic but as an amateur theologian and etymologist I have to point something out. Geographically speaking, the expression "land of milk and honey" refers to what is now Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Israel, not just Israel, as is commonly misunderstood.

The phrase "milk and honey" first appears in English around 1000 A.D. in Aelfric's translation of Numbers 16:13 "Flowing with milk and honey," making it one of the earliest Biblical expressions to become a common expression in English. Over three hundred years later, in 1382, William Tyndale, translating Ezekiel 20:6, used the same expression and claimed to never have read any other English version of the Bible, therefore by that time the expression must have become commonplace in the English language.

Over the last thousand years the phrase has been used again and again, diluting its context. It even appears in chapter 20 of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (1939), referring to America: "this ain't no lan' of milk an' honey like the preachers say." Today it is commonly accepted to mean any place or region believed to be particularly rich and prosperous, however, the original, literal, geographic meaning of the expression is the greater West Bank area.

"And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey: unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites."

- Exodus 3:8 (King James Version)

But I was really looking for something else, which was a recognition the climate and agricultural potential of the region has changed a lot since the period described in Exodus. Temperatures are hotter and rainfall less; soils have been exhausted and forests cut down; animals like lions and bears have been exterminated. The same would apply, to a lesser degree because less time has elapsed, to the area where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found; it was more hospitable two thousand years ago than it is today. Such differences should remembered whenever one thinks of Biblical times.
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Jesse
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It shouldn't be ignored that Israel has several very fertile and lush areas today, and did even before modern irrigation projects.

Filistin honey was highly prized in the middle east for the last thousand years, and citrus orchards were large long before the first settlers arrived.

Israel/Palestine/the Cis-Jordan has always been a lot more than rocky hilltops and the Negev.

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RickyB
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"But I was really looking for something else, which was a recognition the climate and agricultural potential of the region has changed a lot since the period described in Exodus. Temperatures are hotter and rainfall less; soils have been exhausted and forests cut down; animals like lions and bears have been exterminated. The same would apply, to a lesser degree because less time has elapsed, to the area where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found; it was more hospitable two thousand years ago than it is today. Such differences should remembered whenever one thinks of Biblical times."

This is all true. However, this is a modern history thread [Smile] I was answering in the context of today.

Jesse - Judean wine was also considered very fine by Romans.

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starLisa
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However the honey in "milk and honey" was not bee honey. It was date honey.
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hobsen
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Lisa, you are a treasure!
quote:
Throughout the Bible, Israel is repeatedly referred to as a land of “milk and honey.”

But rabbinical interpretation of biblical honey is actually fig or date honey, foods belonging to the Seven Species, the staple foods consumed by the Jewish people in the Land of Israel during biblical times.

The Seven Species are: olives, grapes, wheat, barley, figs, dates, and pomegranates.

Did the Hebrew use a different word for date honey? Or what was the reasoning?

And, sorry, RickyB. I did not mean to suggest Israel as a whole is desolate today, just that it was even more fertile long ago. The "milk and honey" reference is a Biblical allusion, even when used today.

[ February 27, 2008, 03:16 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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starLisa
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No different word. I think it was just national memory.
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Jesse
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I know, Lisa, I was using that as an example of the productivity of what many think was entirely a barren desert untill modern irrigation projects, not as a specific explination of the term.

In comparison to the trans-jordan, or the vast deserts to the south, we're talking about a land of plenty even in the 19th century, an area that produced agricultural exports except in drought years.

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Delirium Tremens
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Oh, yes, the "land of milk and honey" has a biblical origin, but that's not enough to keep the image alive for 20 centuries. E.g. the Belgians were described by Caesar as 'very brave', but obviously this association is gone now.

Back to zionism: when did the idea of creating a Jewish state transform from a vague idea to something that seemed realistic? My history book says end of WWII, but my guess is there was an active force/movement already before.

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RickyB
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"but that's not enough to keep the image alive for 20 centuries."

sure it is. See: Judaism. [Smile] Jews kept the image alive throughout the centuries.

As for your second interesting question: Yes, by the end of the 2nd WW, there had been over 75 years of Zionist activity. Zionism grew out of the national movements of the 19th century in Europe. However, it is important to recognize that independent of that, there had been a marked increase in Jews migrating to the land of Israel for mostly religious reasons. Said marked increase began in the late 18th century.

In 1860 you have the first important expression of the Zionist concept, in Moshe Hess's "Rome and Jerusalem", in whch he argues that just as the ancient Italian nation is throwing off centruies of foreign rule, so should the Jews. In the same year, a very wealthy, very politically significant
British Jew named Moshe Montifiore (You can still see his house on Park Lane in London, on the way from Marble Arch to Buckingham Palace) began bankrolling the project of extending Jerusalem beyond the walls.

For the next couple of decades, other proto-Zionist works, many by religious writers (smiles at Lisa) such as Kalisher, Alkalay and Mohliver.

In 1878, the first new Jewish settlement in the land of Israel is founded. However, it is abandoned due to hardship (malaria and robbers) and not resumed for another four years. 1882 is generally considered the "founding year" of concrete Zionism. The first colony takes hold, and then a flurry of others. A guy named Pinsker publishes a seminal and hugely influential book called "auto-emancipation" which advocates that Jews stop waiting for their host countries to give them civil rights (as was happening all over Europe at the time) but rather emancipate themselves in their own land.

IN 1890 we get the term Zionism, from a writer (later to renounce Zionism, ironically) named Nathan Birnbaum.

In 1894 you have the nasty Dreifuss affair, which showed Jews that even in enlightened countries there was virulent hate, and this caused a totally non-observant, assimilated Jew named Theodore Herzl to embark on his life's mission. Within three years, in 1897, he arranged the first Zionist Congress, which brought together all the supporters of the general idea together for the first time (there were a few smaller conventions that paved the way in the 1880's, but they were internal Easter-European affairs, for the most part).

By the end of WW1 you have a thriving (badly beaten by the war tho) community of both urban and rural settlements, some beginning of industry, a pretty well developed system of (internal) civil service and bureaucracy.

[ February 28, 2008, 04:55 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Everard
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Ricky-
You have a lot of 20th century dates for what should be 19th century dates.

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RickyB
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There. I think I got them all.
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Delirium Tremens
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"Zionism grew out of the national movements of the 19th century in Europe."

Interesting. Indeed: the 19th century on the European continent is full of nationalistic movements not only in Italy or France, but also in Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic e.g. (though in the last case, the movement failed to create a new country). In the 19th century, the theme of these nationalistic movements were highly idealistic: 'a free country for free people' and transforming monarchies into democracies. But after WWI and WWII (and some other conflicts), people realised that nationalism wasn't 'milk & honey' either.

Again, my history book says that creation of the state of Isreal was decided by the superpowers of that time, but I also guess there was a lot of debate whether this was truly the best solution. After all, the nationalistic movements had their best times after WWII. Of course it's easy to predict the present, but I also think that some people in 1948 must have seen the lurking conflict with the Arab nations. What were the ideas back then and were those arguments really considered?

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RickyB
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"but I also think that some people in 1948 must have seen the lurking conflict with the Arab nations. What were the ideas back then and were those arguments really considered?"

The Arab Israeli conflict was not born, of course, in 1948 out of thin air. The earliest recorded political opposition by Arabs to Zionist aims comes at about 1913, in the minutes of the Jerusalem city council, I believe [Ed to add: It is important to note that Jerusalem, specifically, was majority Jewish by 1850, according to a Turkish census with no interest in making it so. Ten years before the first Zionist text]. By the first post war years, there is serious tension over Jewish immigration changing... everything. The first riots come in 1920. Throughout the 1920's there is some scattered violence, till a weak high commissioner lets things get out of hand, and the Arabs massacre the Jews of Hebron and wipe out some 3,000 years of nearly uninterrupted Jewish presence in the city. Serious violence erupts again in 1936 through 1939, in what is known as the Arab Revolt and is seen by many as the birth of the Palestinian nation. In 1938 the smaller, more militant of the Jewish militias, the Irgun under David Raziel (I think, at the time) begins a campagin of terrorist bombings at Arab targets (market, buses). This comes after many such attacks by the Arab side, mind. So yeah, people knew what was going on [Smile]

These matters were considered many times. There were high ranking conferences and reports on the issue in 1936, 1942/43, and 1946, prior of of course to the UN debate and vote in 1947.

[ February 28, 2008, 05:15 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Jesse
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Jerusalem was also relatively tiny at the time, in comparison to its historic population.

The elements of the Irgun that came out of the Odessa gang had a tendency to engage in in tit for tat retaliatory murders from the early thirties on, but you're right that this didn't become Irgun "policy" untill 38.

[ February 29, 2008, 05:17 AM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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RickyB
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Oh, murders of the other side's militants I'm not even counting. I said terrorism.
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Jesse
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Nah, they tended toward a "You shoot a Jew, we shoot some Arab" sort of tit for tat.

From the same neighborhood they suspected the murder to have come from was good enough for them.

This sort of retaliation was limited to adult males though, untill 36-37. Still terrorism, but not the blowing up trains and marketplaces kind.

[ February 29, 2008, 05:58 AM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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Athelstan
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I recently saw, on BBC Four, the film shot by Albert Kahn about Lord Balfour opening the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on his visit to the region in 1925. All the crowds, at the event and in the processions through the streets of Jerusalem were in Western garb. Now the Palestinian Arabs were somewhere else protesting at the visit or on strike so the well wishers must have been Jewish. What was absent from the scene were any aboriginal Palestinian Jews who would have still been dressed, I would suppose, like the Bedouin or Turks in 1925. Everyone was dressed in a similar Eastern fashion when General Allenby was in Jerusalem meeting dignitaries in 1917 but most seem to be in Western garb for the University inauguration ceremony that same year. So what became of the aboriginal Palestinian Jews? Is there a group of Jews in Israel today who trace their ancestry back to Ottoman Empire days and retain their traditions or were they totally absorbed into the Zionist colonies at any early date?
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RickyB
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"What was absent from the scene were any aboriginal Palestinian Jews who would have still been dressed, I would suppose, like the Bedouin or Turks in 1925."

Why would you imagine there be such? There were never very many Jewish Bedouins, and Mohammad wiped out most or all of those (there are legends about a tribe surviving into the 19th century). The "aboriginal" Palestinian Jews were urban, and wore urban clothes - especially after the fall of the Ottoman empire.

There are five places where Jewish population never ceased throughout the centuries: Jerusalem, Hebron (till 1929), Safad, Tiberias, and a small village named Pqi'in. There are people who trace their roots to these populations. Not so much groups.

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Athelstan
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Surely there was no certainty that a Western Power would take over Palestine before World War One and I believe the Palestinian Jews were trying to cut some sort of deal with the Turks for a homeland. Some served in the Turkish Army, others in the British. I would think that the only Jews in Palestine wearing western garb would be immigrants from Europe and America. But if you say there are no Jews in Israel today following eastern modes of dress and habits then they must have been absorbed or were a very small proportion of the population.
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RickyB
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Virtually none. You have some old time Yemenites who wear ghallabias, and some hippies and whatnot who affect the dress of the orient.

However you have to understand that this was the opening of a university. Of course they're gonna dress western.

Old time Palestinian Jews may have worn turbans and such, but they didn't walk around in robes. not western cut suits, but pants (generally black) and shirts (generally white).

"I would think that the only Jews in Palestine wearing western garb would be immigrants from Europe and America"

Also, by 1925 Immigrants from Europe were indeed the majority (among Jews, of course), and would have been the overwhleming majority at the opening of a university.

[ March 01, 2008, 08:34 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Jesse
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Well, there was essentially no Jewish population in Jerusalem for about a hundred years under the Crusaders, but otherwise, yeah.
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RickyB
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True, but some remained, hiding as converts and so on.
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OpsanusTau
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I repeatedly read the title of this thread as:

Ornery U - History of Zombiism and Israel.

"Wow!" I think. "Someone is really going out on a strange limb!"

...carry on.

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kenmeer livermaile
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The Blood Libel strikes again.

No more B-movies with deli take-home for you, ma'am.

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Hannibal
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and I think we should launch a surprise nuclear attack on Iran!!!!

fire photon torpedoes Mr Worf!! leave no borg survivors!!!

(just trying to do to Ricky what he did to my thread!!)

regarding the year 1882, this year marks the first of the major "Alya" to israel, mostly from eastern european jews, and that is because during that year a period called "sufot ba'negev" has started in the south eastern parts of russia, where the local populace pogromed the jews living in those areas (and there were lots of jews living there).
the local police did nothing to prevent these pogroms and that was the kindle that started the first alya.

actually, pogroms are usually a trigger for the Alya's to israel in 1903 the second major one started after the kishinev pogrom

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RickyB
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Good points, Hannibal.
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RickyB
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Take Deuce:
OK, the professor is baaaaaack. Thanks, Paladine.

Don't feel bound to the extant discussions. Start new ones [Smile]

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RickyB
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"No different word. I think it was just national memory."

Well, now that I think on it, no need for mere national memory. The text mentioning the seven crops the land is supposedly uniquely blessed with reads "A land of wheat and barley, and vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil olives and honey."

Since this is a list of **species** the land has, we know it isn't bee honey. [Smile]

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hobsen
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Your list of species still mystifies me. Wheat and barley and figs and pomegranates you can eat, but who eats vines? But I guess Jews ate both olives and olive oil, so the separate mention makes sense. But how do you know the honey is not bee honey from that list?

BTW, on second reading, I like your typo above referring to "Easter-European." Somehow I doubt fervent Zionists celebrated Easter.

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RickyB
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Vines as in grapes. It doesn't say the Hebrew word for the fruit, but rather for the plant. [Smile]

As for Easter - no... not what with that being a traditional trigger for pogroms. Plus, we already got a spring festival. [Smile]

As for how do I know that the seventh "species" is a date: We know this from ancient mosaics in which the seven were rendered together. We also know this from many references by the sages.

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