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We will be strangers to you, Israel - Part XNUMX

One of the literary devices that became, like the story of the promise to Abraham and the vision of the descent from Egypt and the departure from it, to justify the takeover of Canaan, the dominant presence in it, was the expression "foreigner", as it appears in the Bible. The origin of the name - "Nechar" - is "foreignness", "foreignness", or "lack of belonging".go back

Dr. Yehiam Sorek

Our Father Abraham
Our Father Abraham

The Bible, or the holy scriptures of the religious community, as they are known to us, printed and bound, are not in possession of a reliable scroll of historical events, such as were written close to the occurrence of the events. It is enough if we acknowledge the fact, which is documented in the Sage literature, that the writings of the Bible were finally sealed during the time of President Rabbi Gamliel Dibna, approximately in 112 CE, to cast great doubt on the historical reliability of those events that took place and were commemorated in the Bible for many hundreds of years Before. More than that, the biblical scrolls went through, until the moment of signing, many incarnations of writing, deletion, additions, editing and who-knows-what else? And perhaps the best proof of this, a kind of biblical "DNA", are the late linguistic fingerprints, especially the Babylonian ones, which indicate that the books of the Bible are very late, and therefore, logically, tendentious. And I would perhaps phrase the things in a cynical pen stroke such as: "to write today, in yesterday's newspaper, what will be 'tomorrow'?".

It is enough if we open with one of the verses, perhaps the most famous and well-known-the ones used to this day, which concern the task given by God to Abraham: "Go away from your country and your homeland and your father's house to the land where I will show you and make you a great nation and bless you..." (Genesis 2:1-11) . It was this mission that gave the legitimacy to that nation called the "Hebrews" to take control, somewhere in the 12th-XNUMXth centuries BC, over the Canaan region. The slogan of this verse, which was symbolically embroidered on the flags of Joshua's army, turned his cruel, brutal campaigns of conquest into the "most-righteous-in-the-world", since Yahweh had already promised this to Abraham.

Moreover, the Bible reveals itself in its full "propheticity" when it injects, again in the name of Jehovah, the following vision to Abraham: "Know that your seed will live in a land not theirs, and they will serve and torment them for four hundred years. And also the Gentiles, who will worship Dan Anochi and then leave with great wealth" (Genesis 14:13-14). This verse constitutes a pillar, on which all the members of the "faithful circle" stretch their huge tent sheet, to prove that there was indeed an "Exodus from Egypt", and it sinks into Jehovah's prophetic message to Abraham, hundreds of years earlier. The fact that there was no descent into Egypt, there was no departure from Egypt, and it is certainly not a question of a stay of four years of slavery, and perhaps we are dealing with some kind of family, whose descent into Egypt was typical of that Amorite movement from the XNUMXth century BC onwards, and which drowned the writing of the New Testament class, is a historical fact. But, that biblical sayings, supposedly from the mouth of God and supposedly hundreds of years before, they came, formulated and cooked up as they should be, on purpose, to create a post-biblical legitimacy, that there is justice, morality and a right to inherit the land of Canaan by the Hebrew people, and later - The Jew.

One of the literary devices that became, like the story of the promise to Abraham and the vision of the descent from Egypt and the departure from it, to justify the takeover of Canaan, the dominant presence in it, was the expression "foreigner", as it appears in the Bible. The origin of the name - "Nechar" - is "foreignness", "foreignness", or "lack of belonging". This phrase, attached to any people with ties to the land of Canaan, was intended to deny its identity and its belonging to the territory on which it lived, and on the other hand, it gave legitimacy to the Hebrew people, to Judah, to Israel, "simply" to uproot it from its home and humiliate it.

The Bible is replete with negative expressions towards those who are defined as foreigners, such as "You shall never give a foreigner over you, who is not your brother" (Deuteronomy 15:3); Do not go to a foreign city; opposition to foreign clothing; "Thou shalt gather the stranger, and let thine hand be to whom thou hast thy brother" (Deuteronomy 21:XNUMX); "You shall lie with a stranger and you shall not lie with your brother" (Deuteronomy XNUMX:XNUMX).

This haughty, ethnocentric message was instilled by the writers of the Bible to the following generations, and the first and foremost of them was the generation that returned from Babylon-Persia and was led by a priestly and royal leadership, and then was led by Ezra the scribe. Ezra showed a reservation bordering on hostility towards anyone who was not seen in his eyes or who was not defined as a Jew, and therefore a clear, condescending and hostile position was formed during his time towards the "non-Jews" who were defined as strangers.

The anti-foreign attitude was exacerbated in the Maccabean period, as an integral part of the struggle against Greeks, Greeks and Greeks. This, of course, did not prevent Judah the Maccabee and his companions from seeking to drive a wedge between the "mere" locals and the Hellenistic population of the cities of the polis. The intention of the Maccabees was tactical-warrior-occupational and did not, "God forbid", stem from changing the attitude towards the locals. The attitude towards the locals takes on a more negative dimension, from a position of power and a desire to expand the borders of the Jewish kingdom during the second generation of the Maccabees/Hasmoneans, especially during the times of Yohanan Hyrcanus, Yehuda Aristobulus and Alexander Yanai. The locals seem to not exist, and are, "on the whole", "strangers" - strangers and not belonging. Some of them are converted by the Hasmoneans in the Inos, an existential threat, such as the Adomim and the Hiitors (inhabitants of the Galilee) and the others are deported.

The position towards the "foreigners" changes, by choice, under the Roman rule, when the kingdom of the Hasmonean dynasty collapses. During the time of King Herod and his family, a positive attitude towards the locals was shown, but this changed again for the worse, for understandable reasons, as a result of the rebellion against the Romans. The rebellion, which was initiated by fanatical elements, was exacerbated, even before it broke out, as a result of tensions between Jews and locals in cities with a mixed ethnic population such as Caesarea, during which "joint" bloodbaths were held between the two populations in question.

The end of the rebellion and its dire consequences, naturally diverted all attention and action towards the process of social rehabilitation, and since the Jewish presidency returned to its strength, won Roman recognition and became stronger, we would expect that the treatment of the locals (the "strangers") would return to the way it was before, in the days of the Hasmonean House. But May? Those who control the dome are the Romans and the subordinate Jewish control systems, and the direction to the presidency and the Sanhedrin, cannot act without taking into account the new political and socio-legal circumstances, and therefore we are witnessing a kind of seconds in the treatment of the "strangers" in the discussions in the Sanhedrin. On the one hand, we find a sincere desire to improve the relationship with the locals, to consider them and even to compliment them, on the other hand, we witness manifestations of a suspicious, disapproving and even condescending attitude towards the local population.

In any case, the locals remain "strangers", to mark and indicate their foreignness and non-belonging to society, to the place, to the "natural" environment. This distinction, between Jews and "foreigners", seeks to perpetuate the difference between those who deserve the land and those whose place here is in deep doubt.

to part A of the article

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