At sundown this coming Friday, September 26, 2003, Jews around the world will be celebrating our new year dating 5764 years.
To place this into some kind of perspective on the length and durability of the Jewish religion and tradition, imagine this time-line:
The Jewish Calendar And History of The Jewish People Began 3,761 BC.
(5,764 years ago)
Abraham Becomes The Jewish Patriarch Circa 1,800 BC.
(3,803 years ago)
King Tut Ruled Circa 1,328 BC.
(3,300 years ago)
King David Rules From Hebron And Then Jerusalem Circa 1,000 BC.
(3,000 years ago)
King Solomon, Son Of David Builds The First Temple Circa 1,000 BC.
(3,000 years ago)
Babylonians Destroy Solomon’s Temple 586 BC.
(2,589 years ago)
Alexander The Great Conquers The Middle East Circa 300 BC.
(2,300 years ago)
Hannibal Dies Circa 182 BC.
(2,185 years ago)
Julius Caesar Dies 44 BC.
(2,047 years ago)
Cleopatra Dies 30 BC.
(2,033 years ago)
King Herod Rebuilds The Temple Circa 30 BC.
(2,000 years ago)
Titus Of Rome Destroys Jerusalem And The Temple 70.
(1,933 years ago)
Masada Falls With The Last Holdouts For Israel 73.
(1,930 years ago)
Christianity Begins Circa 100.
(1,900 years ago)
Attila The Hun Rages Across Europe Circa 450.
(1,550 years ago)
Islam Begins Circa 600.
(1,400 years ago)
Battle Of Hastings 1066.
(937 years ago)
Genghis Khan Steamrolls Across Asia Circa 1160.
(840 years ago)
Magna Carta Changes Government 1215.
(788 years ago)
Ming Dynasty Begins 1368.
(635 years ago)
Columbus Discovers America 1492.
(511 years ago)
US Declaration of Independence Is Signed 1776.
(227 years ago)
Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto Is Released 1848.
(155 years ago)
US Civil War Begins 1860.
(143 years ago)
World War I Begins 1914.
(89 years ago)
World War II Begins 1939.
(64 years ago)
Holocaust And World War II Ends 1945.
(58 years ago)
Israel Is Recognized By The UN 1948.
(55 years ago)
Israel Recaptures Judea And Samaria in 1967.
(36 years ago)
First Lunar Landing 1969.
(34 years ago)
End of Vietnam/US War 1970.
(33 years ago)
A great many events began since the beginning of Judaism. And just about as many ended. The one constant that remains virtually unchanged is the foundation and beliefs upon which Judaism is constructed.
There’s a joke (black humor),that is from time to time told during Jewish holiday celebrations at large family meals: “They came. They tried to kill us. They didn’t. Let’s eat”.
Unfortunately, like much gallows humor, this joke has relevance. During the entire history of Judaism, there have been no shortage of periods where Jews have been disenfranchised and murdered.
But equally true, regardless to the extent of persecution – even the Holocaust, Jews have persevered and have remained more or less true to the same culture of human values and philosophy dating back 5,764 years.
In the annals of time, this is almost from the very beginning of recorded history.
For the world to suggest that Jews do not have the right to be in the land of Israel, is to deny all of world history. If there is no legitimacy in 5,764 years of being, how can there be legitimacy in anything else?
It always baffles me how anyone can say with a straight face, that the Jews of Israel are “occupying” land which they ruled more than 3,000 years ago. The history in Israel, including the West Bank, is replete with archaeological sites giving testimony to Israel’s claim of undeniable statehood.
If the world’s opinion, as is reflected by many within the UN and Arab countries, is that Israel is the illegitimate home of the Jewish people, than Christianity is the illegitimate religion of more than 1 billion believers.
If there was no legitimate Jewish presence in the land of Israel, than there was no legitimate Saviour for the people who took Christ into their hearts. One can not be without the other.
As a secular Jew (atheist), I do not argue the legitimacy of the Jewish homeland in Israel based upon the will of God. I argue the legitimacy of Israel upon acknowledged history, and the overwhelming archeological discoveries. The most significant being the Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have confirmed what many already knew about the world of Judaism in Israel some 2,000 years ago, and what many never even suspected. And as more of the Scrolls are pieced together and studied, we will know even more.
All of that said; Israel and the Jewish people will be celebrating 5,764 years of history within a few nights. No one can tell me that we (Jews) do not belong, nor have the right to belong.
One can invoke any number of arguments against the right and legitimacy of Israel to exist. But for me, the only argument is history. The Jews have been in the land of Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon and Herod for almost 6,000 years.
This in itself is all the legitimacy Israeli Jews need to remain in the land of our forefathers. That and a great military.