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4 BL I CKSTE IN

(while until recently, as we shall see, refusing to join the rest of the world) and its major resource –oil. They seem to be floating on a sea of underground oil— over 50% of the worlds’ known reserves. A small part of this region is called the Fertile Crescent and is purported to be the original location of the Garden of Eden and is definitely the land of origin of the Abrahamic religions —Hebrew, Christian, and Muslim.

Many Jews like to think that “they were in the area first” but, in fact, there were people in the area before them and even the Old Testament supports that thesis. The Old Testament reports that God gave them rights to this land (the called “Caanan”) and instructed them (the Hapiruo to evict the residents (the Hittites, the Philistines, the Mycenaens, and even some Greeks). More likely, modern Jews descended from the then residents but the details are lost in a history almost 40 centuries old. In any case, this people have had a stormy history ever since. The Assyrians conquered Israel in 722 BC and the Babylonians conquered Judah around 586 BC (both part of what came to be known as “Judea” –parts of the Hebrew “inheritance”) The Babylonians, fearful of Jewish numbers, exiled them from their homeland. Fifty years later the Persian King Cyrus conquered the Babylonians and permitted the Jews to return

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