Gaza: An Occupied Territory or a Land of Israel?

Straight from the Jerusalem Cloakroom #170, November 19, 2004

Fact: In October 1946, Kfar Darom (in the Gaza Strip) and ten other Jewish communities were established, in order to avert the British plan of disengaging the Negev from the Jewish State.

Fact: Kfar Darom was established on the site of the 3rd-4th century Talmudic Jewish town of Kfar Darom. The Jewish farmer, Tuvia Miller, planted an orchard in Kfar Darom, which was destroyed during the 1936-39 anti-Jewish pogroms. The newly established 1946 Kfar Darom was uprooted following the 1948 Egyptian military invasion. Would the 1967 rebuilt Kfar Darom be uprooted by the Jewish State?

Fact: Gaza and Tiberias substituted Jerusalem during 135-600 AD– as a pilgrimage site – following Jerusalem’s decimation by Rome.

Fact: Gaza’s Jewish community was uprooted during the 1929 anti-Jewish riots, which annihilated the Jewish community of Hebron.

Fact: The Castil family headed a large of Jewish refugees from Spain (1492), who bolstered the Gaza Jewish community. The traveler Ovadia of Bartenura documented the 1488 Gaza Jewish community.

Fact: The Otoman Empire facilitated settlement of Jews in Gaza.

Fact: The 17th century Gaza Chief Rabbi, Israel Najarah, composed the hymn “Ya Ribon Olam” and was buried in Gaza.

Fact: The eerie Shabtai Zvi declared himself a Messiah at the Gaza synagogue.

Fact: The Gaza synagogue was located on the hilltop, which is currently named by Arabs, Khart Al-Yahood (the Jewish neighborhood). The synagogue was destroyed, in 1831, by Egypt’s Ibrahim Pasha.

Fact: The known travelers Georgio Gucci (1384) and Meshulam of Voltera (1481) praised Gaza’s Jewish community for its wine production and wealth.

Fact: The Old Testament refers to Gaza as an integral part of the Land of Israel: Abraham was punished for his disengagement from Grar (today’s Dir Al-Balakh, Genesis 21); The tribe of Judah inherited Ashdod, Ashqelon and Gaza (Joshua 15:47, Judges 1:18); King Solomon and King Hezekiah controlled Gaza (Kings A 5:4 and 18:7). Jonathan the Maccabee liberated Gaza in 145 BC, Simon the Maccabee settled Gaza and King Alexander Yanai-Janeus renewed Jewish presence there in 96 BC.

Fact: Rome’s Constantinus The Great failed to convert and uproot Gaza’s Jewish community (4th century).

Fact: Rarely have nations agreed to trade away land for peace. Never have nations agreed to disengage themselves from their Cradle of History in return for peace. Can a nation disengage itself from its roots without dooming its future?