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5 UNDERSTAND ING THE WAR

to their homeland. Pushed from pillar to post all over the world from then till now, the most significant feature in their history is that after 40 centuries of migration with no “nationality” and no regional cultural center of gravity, they survived to this day as a recognizable but constantly fearful ethnic people.

The Zionist movement (i.e., the “return”) is actually fairly new although there had always been many resident Jews in Palestine. Zionism became a formal organization in 1897. It was founded by Theodor Herzl with the first Zionist Congress taking place in Switzerland. They developed farm communities and even cities such as Tel Aviv. By 1914, with a total Palestine population of about 700,000, about 100,000 were Jews. During WWI, the British would promise anything to anyone to buy loyalty and the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 appears to have promised the same land to a number of “allies” including the Jews, the Turks, the Arabs, and even the Russians and therein lies at least some of the initial blame for the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict. that goes on to this day. Jesus Christ was born in the Judean town of Bethlehem during a period of great turmoil when the Hebrews were trying to shed Roman hegemony. By this time, Judea was a colony of Rome and was being ruled by the Herod family who, like the Babylonians before them, exiled

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