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What does Scripture say about the rightful owners of Israel?

by Rabbi Mendy Chitrik

  

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The Land of Israel is mentioned hundreds of times in the Torah by its names “Canaan” and/or “Israel”; other names such as Zion are mentioned many times more. The city of Jerusalem is mentioned 623 times in the Tanach by its name Jerusalem and is referred to myriads of times by other names.

The Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel is overtly present throughout the Biblical narratives. This connection originated with the origins of Judaism itself.1

The first interaction between G-d and the first Jew as recorded in the Torah was G-d's instruction to Abraham to travel "to the land that I will show you"2. Once Abraham was there, G-d said "Do you see this land? I will give this to you and your descendants for eternity".3

G-d reaffirmed that promise with Isaac4, and Jacob5. Later, when Jacob's descendants were but mere slaves in Egypt G-d told Moses He would liberate them and lead them to a land, a land He promised to their forefathers.6

The Torah tells us of the borders of the Holy Land, as promised to Abraham. It is described as "…from the river of Egypt until the great river, the River Euphrates".7

The borders of the Biblical Holy Land actually extend beyond the current borders of the State of Israel. Two of Jacob’s children, Dan and Naphtali, are buried in the Lebanese city of Sidon, and the remains of the oldest Jewish synagogue—dating back 2500 years—were uncovered in the Golan Heights. The ancient city of Jericho, which Joshua conquered8 , hosts the very famous Shalom Al Israel synagogue, dating to the First Century. Some parts of the Kingdom of Jordan were settled by two-and-a-half of the Twelve Tribes, and Gaza (which has its own ancient synagogue) is all part of Biblical Israel.9

Scripture thus confirms our connection to the land was only revisited, not invented, in 1948. In 1737 BCE Abraham stood on this very land. G-d promised him that the land would become an eternal family heirloom. It would forever be the homeland of the Jewish People, Abraham’s descendents. It took 465 years for his descendants to become The People of Israel and for the land to take on their name: Eretz Yisroel – The Land of Israel.

Israel has been an integral part of Judaism and Jewish writings for close to four millennium.

The land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem are never mentioned in the Quran—not as “Palestine,” not as “Israel” and not by any other name!

Scripture speaks for itself.

Footnotes

  • 1. It actually originates in the very first verse of the Bible. See Rashi on Genesis 1:1
  • 2. Genesis 12:1
  • 3. Genesis 13:15
  • 4. Genesis 26:3
  • 5. Genesis 28:13
  • 6. Exodus 6:8
  • 7. Gen. 15:18. For details of the actual borders told to Moses, see Numbers 34:2-15
  • 8. See Joshua 6:20
  • 9. However, some parts of the modern State of Israel were not part of our ancestors’ land, such as the Negev Desert and the city of Eilat.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Joshua
1. Assumed the leadership of the Jewish people after Moses died in 1267 BCE. He split the Jordan River and led the Jewish people in their conquest of the Promised Land. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which chronicles Joshua's leadership.
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Abraham
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Jacob
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Isaac
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Canaan
The land which G-d promised to give to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Named after the Tribe of Canaanites who dwelt there at the time. Eventually, when the Israelites conquered the land in 1272 BCE, it was renamed the "Land of Israel."
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
Tanach
Acronym for Torah, Nevi'm (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Holy Writings). Tanach refers to the 24 books of the Bible: the 5 books of Moses, the 8 books of the Prophets, and the 11 books of Holy Writings.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.