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Brother Shall not Lift Sword against Brother Paperback – March 10, 2008
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
About the Author
TSVI MISINAI - Born in Jerusalem 1946. Graduated in Physics from the Haifa Technion in 1968. Misinai, the pioneer of the Israeli software industry, was the first to receive the Rothschild Award for industrial development in the field of software (1992). Misinai founded Sapiens International Corporation and served as its president. He embedded the principal of Positive Thinking in computers and invented the Rule Based Object Oriented technology for developing data processing applications, the development of which he started in the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1972. Sapiens worldwide customers reported that the above concepts, as embedded in the Sapiens technology, enabled them develop IT applications at a speed 2600%(!) faster than conventional development tools and methods.
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He also presents some little-known background and anecdotes to the players and politics through the British mandate period just prior to the creation of Israel. I had no idea, for example that Jews fleeing Europe during WWII were consistently and deliberately denied entry to Israel. And who knew the erroneous origin of the name “Palestine”?
Misinai seems to lack a biblical perspective however. For example he argues that “Israel must change its argumentation so that its position will be acceptable to the majority of the world”. In reality nothing Israel has ever done to win over outside opinion has ever been enough, nor will it be: the global rejection of Jews is a spiritual, not logical or political phenomenon and its origins are revealed in scripture.
Due to labyrinthine historical twists and merging and splitting of identities, it becomes at times confusing as to which group he is talking about. He refers to e.g. “descendants of the people of Israel” or “the descendants of the people of Israel in the broader sense” and although he provides a glossary of terms at the back, it can be tricky to follow. Likewise the flood of statistics and numbers also gets numbing after a while. Its a fascinating subject, although the book is written a bit too much like a scientific paper.
Nevertheless it provides a fair insight into the various ethnicities of the region and succeeds in confirming its central thesis- that todays Palestinians are, ironically, overwhelmingly the descendants of Jews and other forced converts to Islam, a finding confirmed by DNA research.
I would have liked a little more detail as to where he sourced the info on population (presumably from various censuses carried out by the British, Turks and others, but not specified). Also, I would have liked more info on the other indicators of Jewish origin - Hebrew names, Jewish family traditions, etc. - and his experiences as he visits with Palestinian elders in the West Bank and elsewhere.
The subject of the Ten Tribes and scattered Jewish populations is something which has fascinated me for quite a while and I bought this book to further my research on the topic. As far as I am aware this book covers virgin territory and should be a valuable aid to anyone with an interest in the sources and, hopefully, solutions to this sadly long-running Middle Eastern conflict. Recommended.
Genetic studies comparing the Y chromosomes of Jews, both Ashkenazi and Sephardic, have yielded a result that both Palestinians and Jews came from the same core population. Another genetic test has shown that Palestinian and Jewish immune systems are so close as to be an almost identical match. A final third study showed that only two groups of people suffered from inherited deafness. A group of Ashkenazi Jews and a group of Palestinians.
What is going on here? Why all the fighting? Contrary to popular belief the Jews were not expelled en masse from Judea after the revolt against the Romans. Many of the am haeretz remained in the hills to till the soil and harvest their crops. These Judeans would later convert to Christianity under the Byzantines and later under Al Hakem who was so young when he came to power that his religious ministers were the ones running the show. Under his ruler ship everyone was supposed to convert to Islam or die. Most of the Jedeans that were left behind chose to convert rather than face death or part from their land. Later on Al Hakem's decree would be rescinded. A portion of the converted Judeans would return to Judaism openly while other chose to remain publicly Muslim. These Marrano type Judeans were called Mustarabim. They never really were that enthusiastic about Islam. In fact it was not until recently that many mosques would bee built. After a while these Mustarabim forgot their identity and thought of themselves as Arabs. Hence the Palestinians.
Many groups of people would wander in to Judea. Descendants of the Roman Army stayed behind mostly as Christians. Even before the advent of Islam Arab tribes came moving into Judea. The Judham who were idol worshipers who now live around Jerusalem are prime examples. Over the years people would come and go leaving behind a remnant.
The Edmomite and the Moabites, who being related to the Israelites, were forcibly converted to Judaism on two occasions. They were devoted to the religion to the religion of Israel perhaps more so than the actual children of Israel. They also fought back against the Romans a lot more devotedly than the children of Israel. These Bretheren of Israel would later migrate to Persia and come back wiith their cultural memories wiped clean. They though they were Sunni. Their real homeland according to the author is in Jordan where Moab was located.
The solution to this endless fighting is to reunite the Palestinians with the Jews their brothers. This is not to be done by converting them to Judaism but rather by teaching them all the cultural components of Judaism. The Bible, history and Hebrew. Of course if they chose to adhere to Christianity and Islam they would be welcome to do so. They must also serve in the Israel defense forces.
This book was excellent in many ways. For the longest time it has been my opinion that the Palestinians and the Jews were one people from the start. Hence a bi-national state. However the author advises one state for one people. Since the Palestinians and the Jews are really two haves of the same nation it makes sense.
The author does break down the Palestinian population into component parts with percentages as to their origins. Part of the Palestinian population are descended from Israelites while another part comes from the Edmomites and Moabites. A small portion comes from the Roman Army. I can accept the origins but where does the author get these facts and figures about the origins?
THe author has enough wisdom to know that solutions take time and that they are also learning processes. He advises a gradual solution and advises learning from mistakes.