25 August 2014

Gaza District, Palestine

30 Menachem Av 5774
Rosh Chodesh Elul Aleph

It has come to my attention that there are maps showing the alottment of land given to the twelve tribes of Israel with the Gaza area labeled as Philistine territory. If one didn't know better, one would think that the land had been designated for them by G-d, rather than to shevet Yehudah.

Furthermore, there are actually good Jews who believe that Gaza is not part of Eretz Yisrael and this erroneous thinking caused no small amount of confusion among good Jews everywhere when the regime in Israel decided to expell all Jews from that area in 2005.

Let's go back just a bit and find out more about this people who contests our right to this land to this day.
(Encyclopaedia Britannica) Philistine, one of a people of Aegean origin who settled on the southern coast of Palestine in the 12th century bc, about the time of the arrival of the Israelites. According to biblical tradition (Deuteronomy 2:23; Jeremiah 47:4), the Philistines came from Caphtor (possibly Crete). They are mentioned in Egyptian records as prst, one of the Sea Peoples that invaded Egypt in about 1190 bc after ravaging Anatolia, Cyprus, and Syria. After being repulsed by the Egyptians, they occupied the coastal plain of Palestine from Joppa (modern Tel Aviv–Yafo) southward to the Gaza Strip. The area contained the five cities (the Pentapolis) of the Philistine confederacy (Gaza, Ashkelon [Ascalon], Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron) and was known as Philistia, or the Land of the Philistines. It was from this designation that the whole of the country was later called Palestine by the Greeks.
The Philistines expanded into neighbouring areas and soon came into conflict with the Israelites, a struggle represented by the Samson saga (Judges 13–16) in the Old Testament. With their superior arms and military organization the Philistines were able (c. 1050) to occupy part of the Judaean hill country. They were finally defeated by the Israelite king David (10th century), and thereafter their history was that of individual cities rather than of a people. After the division of Judah and Israel (10th century), the Philistines regained their independence and often engaged in border battles with those kingdoms.
By the early part of the 7th century, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, Ashdod, and probably Gath were vassals of the Assyrian rulers; but during the second half of that century the cities became Egyptian vassals. With the conquests of the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar II (605–562) in Syria and Palestine, the Philistine cities became part of the Neo-Babylonian empire. In later times they came under the control of Persia, Greece, and Rome.
There are no documents in the Philistine language, which was probably replaced by Canaanite, Aramaic, and, later, Greek. Nor is much known of the Philistine religion, since all their gods mentioned in biblical and other sources have Semitic names and were probably borrowed from the conquered Canaanites. Until their defeat by David, the Philistine cities were ruled by seranim, “lords,” who acted in council for the common good of the nation. After their defeat, the seranim were replaced by kings.
The Philistines long held a monopoly on smithing iron, a skill probably acquired in Anatolia. At sites occupied by the Philistines at an early period, a distinctive type of pottery, a variety of the 13th-century Mycenaean styles, has been found.
The first thing that pops out immediately is that Tel-Aviv, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Gat - all major Israeli cities today - were occupied by the Philistines no less than Gaza City and yet no one today would imply that these areas are not part of Eretz Yisrael. (More on that later.)

The second thing that pops out is the confirmation that the name Palestine is indeed a reference to the Philistines and that it was not the Romans who first used it in reference to Eretz Yisrael, but the Greeks, and then, of course, the Romans perpetuated that lie for another two thousand years, right up until the present time.

The final item of interest is the fact that the Philistines were a "non-people" from the very beginning. Having neither a language nor a religion of their own, they "borrowed" from surrounding peoples who had actually developed their own cultures. I find that to be very significant.

Now, about Gaza not being part of Eretz Yisrael, besides the argument I made above about the rest of the Philistine territory being accepted by all as being Eretz Yisrael today, I'll prove to you that it is so from the Torah.
(B'reishit 26) And there was a famine in the land, aside from the first famine that had been in the days of Abraham, and Isaac went to Abimelech the king of the Philistines, to Gerar. And the Lord appeared to him, and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land that I will tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and I will bless you, for to you and to your seed will I give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham, your father. ...And Isaac dwelt in Gerar.
Furthermore, Yitzchak had been offered as a korban to Hashem and as such was not allowed to leave the borders of Eretz Yisrael. That's why Hashem told him specifically not to go down to Egypt as his father had done before him. 

So, there you have the irrefutable proof that the so-called land of the Philistines - Gaza - IS Eretz Yisrael.

One has to wonder, though, how it is they possess such power even to the present day; even to the fact that the Greeks and Romans, right up to the United Nations, prefer to call this entire land by their name. I think you'll be amazed, as I was.


Avraham Avinu had some dealings with the Philistines...
(B'reishit 21) Now it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol his general said to Abraham, saying, "God is with you in all that you do. And now, swear to me here by God, that you will not lie to me or to my son or to my grandson; according to the kindness that I have done with you, you shall do with me, and with the land wherein you have sojourned." And Abraham said, "I will swear." And Abraham contended with Abimelech about the well of water that the servants of Abimelech had forcibly seized. And Abimelech said, "I do not know who did this thing, neither did you tell me, nor did I hear [of it] until today."
And Abraham took flocks and cattle, and gave them to Abimelech, and they both formed a covenant. And Abimelech said to Abraham, "What are these seven ewe lambs, which you have placed by themselves?" And he said, "For these seven ewe lambs you shall take from my hand, in order that it be to me for a witness that I dug this well." Therefore, he named that place Beer sheba, for there they both swore. And they formed a covenant in Beer-sheba, and Abimelech and Phicol his general arose, and they returned to the land of the Philistines.
Wait a minute! Weren't we told never to make a covenant with any of the people living in the land? I found some information at a website called The Strange Side of Jewish History to be very enlightening...
A medrash (Bereishis Rabba 54:5) seems to indicate that the resilience of the Plishtim was on account of an act of Avraham Avinu that wreaked harm upon his descendants. Of course, we must try to understand this according to Avraham’s unfathomable madreigah.
“The Holy One said to him (Avraham), ‘You gave him seven sheep; by your life, I will delay the joy of your sons for seven generations (in Egypt). You gave him seven sheep; corresponding to that, they will kill seven tzaddikim among your offspring, and they are: Shimshon, Chofni and Pinchas, Shaul and his three sons. You gave him seven sheep; corresponding to that, they will destroy seven sanctuaries of your sons, and these are: the [original] Ohel Moed, [the mishkan at] Nov, Gilgal, Givon and Shiloh, and the two Batei Mikdash. You gave him seven sheep; corresponding to that, my aron will circle the fields of the Plishtim for seven months.”
In a similar vein, Rashi (Shoftim 1:21) states that Avraham’s treaty with Avimelech prevented Klal Yisroel from gaining possession of Yerushalayim until Dovid HaMelech’s reign.

Commenting on the verse, “The sons of Binyamin did not disinherit the Yevusi who dwelled in Yerushalayim(Shoftim 1:21), Rashi writes, “[The Yevusi] were descendants of Avimelech and [the Jewish people] did not disinherit [the Yevusi] because of the oath [Avraham had made] until Dovid [HaMelech] came, because [Avimelech’s] grandson was still alive and [Avraham] had sworn [a peace treaty also with Avimelech’s] great-grandson and his grandson.”
Rashi’s statement seems puzzling: why should there be a connection between Yerushalayim in the middle of Eretz Yisroel and Eretz Plishtim in Gaza towards the southwest?
Actually, this question is a geographical misconception. Although the southern border of Gaza lies on Egypt’s border, its northern tip is about thirty miles south of Yerushalayim. As the crow flies, Yerushalayim is only 48 miles northeast of modern Gaza City and, in olden times, when Gaza stretched north to Ashdod, it was even closer. In fact, Gaza was part of shevet Yehuda – if the Jews could only get their hands on it.

Extrapolating from the medrashim and Rashi, one could argue that the tenacity of the Plishtim and Gaza’s subsequent residents also stems from Avraham’s covenant with Avimelech.
And somehow, the world, on some soul-level has always known that and this is the reason, when they wanted to deny our right to the land, they named it for the Philistines, who held the power that they lacked. And now, we can understand better why Yerushalayim is the sticking point to every agreement the regime tries to make with these present-day P'lishtim.

It's more than a little interesting that it was David HaMelech who finally defeated the Philistines and it will, apparently, be his offspring Mashiach Ben David who will be the one to finish them off in the future. From the same source as above...
THE RADAK’S (1160–1235) WARNING
Commenting on how the Plishtim plugged up Yitzchak’s wells the Radak writes, “All these episodes about digging the wells and giving them names are to tell us that, in the part of Eretz Yisroel that he had a hold on, he dug wells as he pleased without objections. All this was a forewarning concerning what Hashem had set aside for his descendants.
“But the land of the Plishtim, even though it is part of Eretz Yisroel, was not held in the hands [of the Patriarchs] and therefore [the Plishtim] quarreled with them about the border, and all this was to inform [the Patriarchs’ descendants] that not all [of Eretz Yisroel] would be held in their hands. Even though it was apportioned, it would not be held until the end, in the days of Moshiach, like the land of the three nations – the Keini, the Knizi and the Kadmoni” (Bereishis 26:23).
Now, we  can see why the Erev Rav regime is helpless to do anything with Hamas and this just points up how close we really are to the revelation of Mashiach Tzidkeinu as everyone knows this situation cannot go on much longer.