Jews been at war since ancient times

Clearly Al Gafoor knows nothing about the history of Israel. To claim the people have lived there in blissful peace for the past 2 000 years is a perversion.

Let’s start arbitrarily in 323BC with Ptolemy, who entered Jerusalem on the Jewish Sabbath to seize the city. The Jews fought back but then Ptolemy’s troops rampaged through the streets “ravaging the women and riling the houses”.

Until 164BC when Antiochus Epiphanes, the “God Manifest”, died, there was a bitter struggle against the Jews deporting 10 000 and entering the Holy of Holies and stealing all the priceless artefacts, the golden altar and the candles, and tried to force the Jews to worship him.

Again, in 167BC, Antiochus captured Jerusalem on a Sabbath destroying its walls and forbade any sacrifices in the Jewish temple.

“The temple was filed with riot and revelling by gentiles who dallied with harlots.”

A Jewish saviour, named Judah of the Maccabee family, managed to fight back and conquered all of Judea in 164BC.

There were constant wars with the Seleucids who killed Judah. Jonathan Maccabee rose up and

defeated the Seluecids and he was followed by his brother Simon.

In 66BC the Romans arrived and terminated the Seleucid Empire, annexing Syria. Pompey, the Emperor, laid siege to Jerusalem, for three months.

Again on a Saturday, the Romans stormed the temple, cutting the throats of the priests, killing 12 000 Jews.

In 40BC when Herod became king he killed the last Jews fighting against Rome holed up in caves in the Galilee and when he conquered Jerusalem he liquidated 45 of the 71 members of the Sanhedrin and destroyed the Baris Fortress of the temple.

In 66AD Emperor Nero’s two sons, Vespasian and Titus, waged a war against the Jews which was recorded by Josephus.

The situation deteriorated into chaos, the temple was seized and destroyed and the Idumeans (Edomites) killed 12 000 Jews, filling the streets with blood.

Thousands of Jews and the spoils of war were taken to Rome, where they funded the building of the Coliseum and the Arch of Titus. In 130AD the most notorious of all Roman Emperors, Hadrian, planned to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of all traces of its Jewish past, destroying all its synagogues, replacing them with pagan temples and renaming it “Palestine” and Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina.

To the south of Jerusalem, the Jews resisted under Simon bar Kokhba. In 235AD the Roman Empire rose in Persia to challenge Rome. Space does not permit me to continue. The story of the area is one of constant war, of building, destruction, rebuilding and of killing.

The leaders, whether Greek, Roman, pagan, Persian, crusader, Arab, Abbasid, mamluks or Ottoman, plotted against each other, killing each other’s heirs, wives and lovers. During most of this time Jerusalem was despoiled and Jews were forbidden to even enter the city.

For short periods, depending on whoever was in charge, Jews could enter Jerusalem on payment of fines to pray in a very restricted area next to one of the walls of Herod’s Temple. Jews were not permitted to rebuild their houses or synagogues and barely survived on donations from Jews in the diaspora.

The unified Jerusalem under Israeli control, which respects the religious rights of all religions, has restored Jerusalem to the best of its former glories and ushered in the longest period of peace in its very bloody and tempestuous history.

Ben Levitas

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