Long ago, there was a country called Eretz-Yisrael–that is, the land of Israel. It splintered into the smaller states of Samaria and Judah, got conquered several times, and generally suffered the abuse of history.
Somewhere along the way, the Jewish Diaspora developed. (I plan to come back and get into the whys & wherefores later, ok?) These were people whose ethnic/national identity remained “Jewish” no matter where they lived. This identity was maintained through the efforts of their religion, which was identified with their race.
OK, fine. Nationality doesn’t have to be identified with or determined by a territory. Look at the Gypsies for the chief example.
But the Jewish Diaspora existed with a theoretical tie to the land of Judah (or by theoretical extension, Israel) and its existence as a nation-state. For a long time, the two co-existed. Judah was the homeland, and Jerusalem the capital, holding the singular holy Temple of the Jewish people; and Jews elsewhere in the world looked to it as their racial home, paid taxes to it, and so forth.
Then Titus Caesar leveled Jerusalem. A new city was built on the site, and no Jew was permitted in it for a long time. As the centuries passed, the city would once again become known as Jerusalem. But it did not return to Jewish control, and the Temple was never rebuilt.
Judah as a nation-state was finished. Samaria was still there, of course, but Jews didn’t consider Samaritans real Israelites–because they weren’t Jews, after all. :rolleyes: So from the Jewish p.o.v., Eretz-Yisrael was (temporarily, of course) defunct. The people of Israel, however, were still there in the Diaspora. Horribly dispossessed now, having lost their Temple, without which their religion was incomplete.
OK. One aside. The Mosaic law (Exodus-Leviticus-Deuteronomy) doesn’t say the Temple has to be any particular place. (If someone had decided to take a strict “fundamentalist” view of the Torah, they could have largely rebuilt the Temple–anywhere. Of course, the Ark of the Covenant had been spirited away centuries before, so how this Temple would be legitimized, I’m not sure.) But Jewish tradition was tied to Jerusalem, the City of David & Solomon, and expected the Temple to be in its accustomed place there.
So, the now dispossessed Jews went forth, maintaining their ethnic identity, enough of them staying insular & endogamous to survive as an ethnic group (eventually multiple ethnic groups) while they scattered through practically every country in the civilized world. The Jews came to be everywhere. But nowhere was their own. And they would say to each other, “Next year in Jerusalem.”
And they had problems. Some rulers & some nations didn’t look to kindly on this group living on “their land” with its own very strong identity and religion. Rulers like to have people in their country that are loyal to them. Jews got their share of ethnic persecution. There’s even a special word, “pogrom”, for violent harassment & attempts to remove Jews in Eastern Europe.
And 1,850 years passed. All this time, the land that once was Israel was populated, fought over, having history happen in it. Sooner or later, it became known as Palestine. The Samaritans, though few, were apparently still there.
And then some not-particularly-religious Jews got this idea that a nation should have a nation-state and some territory to go with it, and tapped into that “Next year in Jerusalem” sentiment, and started trying to move back to Eretz-Yisrael (now known as Palestine)–back to the ancient homeland.
Eventually, the Jews took over. The new State of Israel would be a homeland for all Jews, and those persecuted for being Jews would have a homeland to offer them refuge. Of course, Palestine is not a very large area, it was already populated, and there were a lot of Jews worldwide.
The previous Palestinian population freaked. Many of them, thinking this would be temporary, fled to await the removal of the invading Jews, rather than accept citizenship in the new Jewish state.
And now they, like the Jews before them, are crying out for the political and social restoration of this land to “their” people.
That’s where we are. Where is this going? Discuss.
(OK, Sua, I've started my own thread. Happy? Really, I'd had an idea for a thread like this earlier today, so Bunny's goofy proposal caught my eye.)