Tuesday, September 21st | 15 Tishri 5782

Subscribe
August 22, 2021 8:51 pm
0

Why Rename Judea and Samaria?

avatar by Dov Fischer / JNS.org

Opinion

A view shows Palestinian houses in the West Bank village of Wadi Fukin as the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit is seen in the background, June 23, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mussa Qawasma

There is good reason that the Arab world and the anti-Israel left insist on using the mendacious and geographically inaccurate term “West Bank” when they refer to Judea and Samaria.

Think about it: Imagine a human-rights movement built around the slogan: Ban Arabs from Arabia! Such a slogan and movement would raise many questions. For instance, where else would Arabs have a right to be if not Arabia, and who could have a greater claim to Arabia than Arabs?

Although freedom-loving Americans have endless reasons to squirm when contemplating Saudi Arabia (as do freedom-hating Americans), we all tend to agree that Arabs who want to live there have an assumed right to do so. Arabia for Arabs.

India for Indians. Russia for Russians. Mongolia for Mongolians—some outer, some inner. Austria for Austrians. Guatemala for Guatemalans. Cuba for Cubans. Sounds right.

Somewhere along the litany it would make sense to say: Yehuda for Yehudim—i.e., Judea for Jews. Even antisemites would find it hard to get behind slogans such as “Ban Jews from Judea! Jews Never Lived in Judea!” The Jews (Yehudim in Hebrew) of the tribe of Judah (Yehudah) gave the land of Yehudah its name: Judea, as transliterated in the King James Version of the Bible.

Related coverage

September 20, 2021 12:24 pm

TIME Magazine Includes Palestinian Terrorist-Supporting El-Kurd Twins in Top 100 List

Notorious anti-Israel activists Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd, who each have a record of supporting terrorism, have been included in TIME...

It has always been preposterous to call Judea and Samaria the “West Bank.” Think of the most famous locations in the Bible: Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Beth El, Jericho, Shiloh, Shechem (Nablus), Galilee, Tekoa—all the places where the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs, the kings and prophets walked and lived. Jesus and the Apostles, too. Their lives all centered in Judea and in Samaria. Those terms are all over the Bible, with more than 100 mentions just of “Samaria” in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and in the Christian Gospels.

In those days there was no Tel Aviv, no Herzliya, no Haifa, no Netanya. Sure, the Zionists occupied those lands, too. But it was in the cities of Judea and Samaria that the seeds of Western civilization were planted and took root.

Visit virtually any of the 140 Jewish communities where 800,000 Jews now reside in Judea and Samaria, and you will not see any river banks. It is not like Jersey City, New Jersey, which is on the west bank of the Hudson River. No one calls Jersey City “the West Bank.” Why not? Too much history there? Too many biblical memories of Moses and Aaron buying shoes at Journal Square or using the PATH trains at the Grove Street station?

The Arab world and their woke allies have no problem calling every other location in the Middle East by their biblical names: Beersheva, Galilee, Jordan River, Gaza, Damascus, Lebanon, Tyre, Sidon and of course Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nazareth. Even Americans comfortably employ biblical names for so many of their cities: Hebron, Maryland; the Jericho Turnpike, New York; Bethel, Indiana; the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee; Manassas (Menashe), Virginia.

Judea and Samaria—Yehuda and Shomron—should be called by their real names and not by the ersatz woke term that seeks to divest 800,000 Jews now living there of their heritage and of their land. When a newborn child is due to arrive, think of the hours, the contemplating, even the inter-family wrangling and negotiating that often precede naming the newcomer. Names have great power and meaning. That is why Israel’s enemies call Judea and Samaria “The West Bank.”

And why we should call it Judea and Samaria.

Rabbi Dov Fischer, a law professor and senior rabbinic fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, is a senior contributing editor at “The American Spectator.” This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

Algemeiner.com

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.