According to Muslim sources (which may be highly exaggerated), in Caesarea alone there were some 200,000 Jews at the time of the first Muslim invasion. The exact size of the Jewish population in Israel at the time is difficult determine, but it is accepted that at the time of Byzantine rule the land of Israel was densely populated. The estimated numbers vary between 1,000,000 and a maximum of 4,000,000 inhabitants, many of them Jews. As a result of the Muslim conquests, hundreds of thousands of Jews, Christians, and Samaritans were murdered. By the end of the 19th century, as a consequence of multiple waves of Muslim attacks, the population in Palestine was down to about 300,000, of which only 6,000–34,000 were Jewish.
Islam’s claim to the land of Israel is rooted in a dream that Mohammed had about ascending to heaven from Jerusalem (al-Mi’raj, “the ascent”). Israel’s claim to the land is thousands of years older than Islam’s, and is anchored in biblical history, archaeology, and millennia of continuous Jewish presence in the land of Israel. It is a simple matter of choice between an eloquent tale about a dream and historic reality. Towards the end of the 10th century Muslim intellectuals closed the door on new independent interpretation of the Koran—Ijtihad, and Mohammed’s dream became Islam’s reality. Unfortunately, in our Hollywood-ruled-world the merchants of dreams often prevail, and Muhammad’s dream has become Israel’s nightmare.
Palestinians in Israel may be victims of social injustice and discrimination, but their claims of occupation and demands of land for peace resolution are not founded in reality. Despite the propaganda of J Street, European antisemitism, and Arab lies, the only ongoing occupation that exists today in Israel has resulted from waves of recurrent Muslim attacks on the inhabitants of the land of Israel that have endured for 1400 years. In the modern era, these attacks have taken the form of the Arab invasion of Israel in 1947, the fedayeen attacks of the 1950’s, and of suicide bombers in the wake of the Oslo accord. Israel has had a 50 year long opportunity to shift the discourse back to the realm of reality, but she has failed to do so.
According to the Ijtihad, further new interpretations the Koran are restricted, especially in cases about which there was a consensus, Ijma. As a result, innovations, new ideas, and new cultural points of view are prohibited by Islam. Islamic attitudes towards Jews were therefore fixed at the end of the 10th century, and are no longer subject to further juristic interpretation. As a consequence of Ijitihad, Jews (according to Islam) will forever remain the sons of monkeys and pigs, and in Islam’s vision of the end of days even the silent rock (behind which the Jews were hiding) will open it’s mouth and turn the infidel Jews into the hands of the believers. It is unfortunate that the Quran did not borrow from the Old Testament’s vision of the end of days of the wolf and the lamb.
Secretary John Kerry is tightening the screws on Israel in a land for peace deal backed by security guaranties by President Barack Obama so that he can record a hat-trick for the Obama team (Syria and Iran being the other two). Given Islam’s view of the world, which divides it into two, Dar al-Harb (abode of war) and Dar al-Islam (the abode of peace), Muslim acceptance of a modern, democratic, egalitarian, gay tolerant, and innovative Jewish state in the midst of an Ijitihad bound Arab world is unlikely to ever become a reality.
To think that after 1300 years of relentless Muslim attacks, an agreement based on territorial concessions will bring peace is just another J street delusion.Igal Zuravicky MD FACC
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