Israel goes back 4,000 years in ‘attempt to divide and rule’ its Arab minority

Hardly anyone in Israel can speak 4,000-year-old Aramaic. Now, the Israeli decision to recognise “Aramean” as a distinct nationality in the country’s population register is fuelling the ire of Israeli Arab leaders, who accuse the government of inventing a category of peoplehood to “divide and rule” the Arab minority.

The Interior Minister, Gideon Saar, signed an order earlier this week that will enable those who identify themselves as Christian descendants of the ancient Aramean people – who originated in what is now modern Syria – to register as Arameans rather than as Arabs, as has been the practice. Media reports, which could not be confirmed, estimated that 200 families in Israel would be affected.

Judging from the pronouncements of Shadi Halul, chairman of the Aramean Christian Society in Israel, relations between Arabs and Arameans have not always been positive.

He highlighted the 8th-century Arab-Islamic conquest in the region as a negative turning point for Arameans. “Arabic language was imposed on us but that doesn’t mean we became Arabs,” Mr Halul told The Independent. “We are not the same nation. The important thing is that now we will not have imposed on us an identity that isn’t related to us, Israel has done justice to the Aramean people.”

Mr Halul said he had been trying for seven years to get the ministry to endorse the nationality. For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, making a new nation – at least bureaucratically – dovetails with his government’s recent efforts to treat Christians as separate from Muslims, for example by encouraging them to do military service. Mr Halul is a member of a committee that promotes military service for Christians.

Haaretz, a news website, reported that Mr Saar’s decision was based on three professional opinions that concluded that Aramean met conditions including a historical heritage, religion, culture and common language.

Mohammad Barakeh, an Arab member of the Knesset, ridiculed those identifying themselves as Aramean as being “a most negligible minority”. He said: “I don’t know if there are five or 10 of them.”

He added: “Instead of dealing with the distress and discrimination of all the Arab public, they try to divide us. They are playing with history. Palestinian Christians are Arab-Palestinians in every sense. The Aramean people established their kingdom in Syria in the 5th to 7th century BC. This attempt to go so far back in history just to divide us is delusional. The divide-and-rule game will not help anyone.”

But Yariv Levin, a legislator from Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party who lobbied for the change, told Israeli journalists: “When I allow them to register separately I am not coercing them into doing anything, but rather am giving them the option to be who they want to be.”

According to Yitzhak Reiter, a Hebrew University scholar, Aramean identity is used by a small group of Christians to make themselves distinct from Arabs so that they will be treated as Israelis. “There is a political purpose: to make them closer to Israeli Jewish society. That’s why they are adopting an ancient linguistic and cultural identity.”

Source  The Independent: Israel goes back 4,000 years in ‘attempt to divide and rule’ its Arab minority 

  • Jo Alex SG

    Just for the record: Arabic is NOT a native Levantine language! Whoever claims to be Arab but descends from the oldest Levantine families is actually condoning with the Arabicization of the region imposed by the Muslim invaders centuries ago.

    Such a person is either unaware of the serious political and cultural implicatons of this introjection of the Pan-Arabist ideology or a willing traitor to his or her ancestral Levantine roots, which they gladly give up of for the Arabic usurper.

    And what is as important as: Aramaic dialects HAVE BEEN SPOKEN by Christian communities in Iraq and Syria four thousands of years TO THIS DAY (and all over the West by the Assyrian and Chaldean Diasporas)
    Had it not been for the filthy Islamic State, Mosul would have had its ancient Aramaic-speaking community living there still today, as Maloula in Syria, whose Aramaic culture was almost wiped out as well by ISIL but fortunately the city was freed in time to preserve it for both their Christian and Muslim speakers.

    Based on all this, it´s completely valid in both cultural and historical terms to assert that Israeli Christians do have a legitimate right to join their Semitic brethren in their shared heritage, rescuing what has been taken from them by this alien, imposed Arabic culture.

    Turkification has done the same to the ethnic Armenian and Greeks in Turkey and the same Arabicization was clearly imposed on the Egyptians, whose ancestral Coptic language ended up as a sort of ‘religious linguistic enclave’ in its own land, preserved by the Coptic Church.

    The same linguistic acculturation has happened to the Amazighs in the north of Africa but that has not kept them from rescuing and struggling to preserve their ancestral dialects, sometimes even paying with their lives for that, as their iconic composer/singer Lounès Matoub has.

    Moreover, if Mohammad Barakeh and all the other “Arab” members of the Knesset think that the “Palestinian Christians are Arab-Palestinians in every sense” he is even more so liable to ridicule, since there has never been a people called ‘Palestinian’: the Peleshet were Indo-Europeans from the Aegean Sea, thus, of course, invaders. The name ‘Palestine” was given to the land by the Romans, also invaders, who, this way, tried to dissociate the land from those they had stolen it from, when they conquered them: the Hebrews, who actually had the two ancient Kingdoms of Judah in the south and the cosmopolitan Israel in the north! And these same Hebrews kept a CONTINUED presence in the land through their oldest Yishuv families, who can be traced back to the Roman times, the other ones having come back to the region in the following centers, as the Byzantine synagogues found in Israel:

    Byzantine synagogue at Um el-Kanatir.

    “Talmudic-era synagogue, Katzrin archaeological park (Katzrin, the Golan Heights of Israel)”

    “The Abuhav Synagogue is a 15th-century synagogue in Safed, Israel”

    And more, the Crypto-Jews of Gaza, shown in the videos by the great activist Tsvi Misinai, who is rescuing the ethnicity of many Palestinians who are actually Israelites arbicized and converted to Islam:

    Palestinians have Jewish ancestry – Part 1

    Palestinians have Jewish ancestry – Part 2

    The Old Yishuv:
    “Old Yishuv – This term has two slightly different meanings. The Old Yishuv (Hebrew: היישוב הישן‎, ha-Yishuv ha-Yashan) is the term originally used by Zionists to refer to the Jewish community that lived in the land of Israel prior to the arrival of Zionists, from the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE to the First Aliyah in 1881 and their descendants. …”

    And, of course, no sane person would adopt the fallacy that it was the Christian Yemenite Ghassanids who had Arabicized the region either, since even the Koran´s Arabic had been influenced by Aramaic dialects, who were a Lingua Franca in many parts of the Ancient Words, and not the opposite, till Islam was imposed on Levantines.
    The same apologists of Pan-Arabism want to push a similar fallacy: the supposed ‘peaceful’ conquest of the Levant by the Arab Islamists.
    But one sheer comparison of what Arabicization has implied to this day to the North African berbers – mainly the Amazigh, but not only -one can clearly understand why their queen Dihya and the king Aksil fought these invaders to their end…

    Here are some links for those who want to know the real facts about this ancient but surviving Aramaic-speaking ancestral cultures:

    An excerpt from the article:
    “An ancient dialect of Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, is to be revived in Syria, where a new education centre has been set up for the first time.”

    Already back in 2012:
    “The Israeli village where Christian children are learning Aramaic in bid to revive ancient language that Jesus spoke” By Julian Gavaghan

    Excerpt of this article: “…The community has revived the Aramaic language, but has spoken dialects of the language of Christ for hundreds of years. ..”

    Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, or Syriac, will be taught at the Ourhi Centre in Qamishli, close to the Turkish border in north-eastern Syria.

    “Aramaic-speaking Assyrian Christians Are Being Driven From Syria and Iraq” By Hugh Naylor

    And, last but not least, Hebrew is not only its closest living sister but also tightly linked to it, even in the sacred texts of the Jewish canon and also in linguistic terms (as some Israeli archaeologists have suggested, Hebrews are Canaanites as well and thus we may even consider the language as a dialect of Aramaic as well in this perspective):