Salem we're a nation not a race - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • ERSB
    • 29.12.10 | 20:49 (IST)

    The Jewish community remaining in Eretz Yisrael after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD was almost entirely destroyed when the Romans crushed the Bar-Kochva rebellion in 136 AD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Kokhba_revolt). The Bar Kochva rebellion was far bloodier than the earlier “Great Revolt”, whole Roman legions were destroyed and Roman historians wrote that "580,000 Jews were killed, and 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed". In the aftermath of the revolt Rome did everything possible to crush the Jewish presence in Judea and the rest of Eretz Yisrael. They persecuted what was left of the Rabbinic leadership and as a result Babylon soon supplanted Judea as the center of the Jewish world (to this day the Babylonian version of the Talmud is more authoritative than the version from Eretz Yisrael). Jews were prohibited from entering Jerusalem (allowed in only once a year on Tisha B’Av the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple). To further humiliate and crush the Jews, Rome changed the name of the provinces formerly known as Judea, Galilee or Israel to Syria Palaestina, after the Philistines, the ancient enemies of the Jews (though its believed that the Phillistines ceased to exist as a separate people and culture as early as the 5th century BC). So did some Jews and descendants of Jews remain in Eretz Yisrael after the Bar Kochva revolt? Certainly, and some and possibly many Palestinians may be at least in part descended from them. BUT HERE’S THE CRUCIAL PART: Nationhood is about identity, history, culture and language not genes or race. Somewhere along the way, whether by choice or circumstance, those Jewish ancestors of today’s Palestinians stopped being Jewish, stopped identifying with the Jewish people, lost contact with Jewish culture and left the Jewish collective. After 20 centuries they see themselves as part of another nation and its disrespectful to them and to the Jewish people to try to impose a Jewish identity on them simply due to some ancestor who was Jewish. What you’re doing is identifying Jews as a race not a people and that’s just wrong!

    from the article: Israeli population stands at 7,695,000 at end of 2010
    First published 14:14 29.12.10 | Last updated 14:14 29.12.10
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