Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Referring to "Israel"

A few years ago, I corrected a visiting friend who insisted that I live in "the disputed territories."  I said:
"No, I live in the שומרון Shomron Samaria.  That's the name, historic name of the area where Shiloh is located. Disputed  is an adjective, not a name."

Now we're arguing again.  He said something about lots of friends who live "in Israel and the disputed territories."

This time I said:
"We live in ארץ ישראל Eretz Yisrael the Land of Israel, all one place.  The Land of Israel as a label is historic and apolitical."

He didn't like that, pointing out that I had mentioned "living in Israel" earlier in the discussion.  I countered that I was referring to the Land of Israel.

Do you want to join the fray?


Bryan said...

I have to err on the side on your interlocutor. If you said "I live in Israel," without qualification, that would mean that you were referring to Medinat Yisrael, not Eretz Yisrael. Common usage of "Israel" is for the State of Israel, not the Land of Israel.

I would also argue that you do live in the disputed territories, of which the Shomron is one. Its sovereignty is disputed by Israel and the Palestinians (no matter how legitimate one may think either claim to be, it cannot be argued that the territories are indeed disputed), so you do live in the disputed territory of Samaria, which happens to be a part of the historic Land of Israel. That is, of course, merely my assessment.

Anonymous said...

i am with bryans first paragraph.

but as for the second paragraph, if you go with the arabs, all of israel is disputed. perhaps disputed means even jews question whether we belong there? i dont know.

batya, would you refer to a jew who lives in lower lebanon or jordan as living in israel?

Yonatan said...

A murderer disputes the fact that he's a murderer also, that doesn't change the fact that he's a murderer.

Disputed territories means that we have to lend any credence to what is said by man. We don't. You don't have to like it, but you're arguing with the wrong party, take it up with G-d if you don't like it. Let me know how that turns out for you.

And before you ask, no - it doesn't matter what the "other" religions say about it. No matter how many times we're labeled as backwards. Ignore the truth at your own peril.

Daniel said...

would you refer to a jew who lives in lower lebanon or jordan as living in israel?

I'm not Batya, but I certainly would.

Hadassa said...

Batya, is the label "the Land of Israel" absolutely apolitical? It should be, but when all of the governments in the world, including Israel's, can't agree on the size of the Land of Israel, not just the size of the State, isn't that label politically charged?
Bryan, let's change common usage.
The more we use "Israel" to indicate the entire Land given to the Jews by Hashem, the more people will understand that the State of Israel is not all of Israel.
Yonatan, how about if we only use the term "disputed" when we refer to someone else's opinion? No-one who knows what the size of Israel really is would voluntarily use the term disputed, but how could Batya deny that most of the world disputes Israel's claim to "the territories"? Perhaps the best answer to the friend is, "Most of the world disputes the fact that Judea and Samaria are part of Israel, but they're wrong." (Adding that part of Syria, most of Jordan, Sinai, southern Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip are parts of Israel is generally a waste of time.)

Mr. Gerson said...

You live in Eretz Yisrael.

You live in the Shomron.

You live in territory of which it's sovereignty is disputed, as if that matters.

"Israel" is most often understood as the land area administered by the state of Israel. Since Israeli sovereignty is sadly in question and the future borders of Israel are not clear cut there isn't a single answer as to what counts as "Israel" or not.

Batya said...

Wow, there's lots to reply to.

Hadassa, I think you'll agree with the following:
Bryan, a, Yonatan, Daniel, Mr. Gerson, I don't think the State of Israel is very sincere on "disputing" that I live in Israel. They have no problem taking my taxes exactly the same as if I was living in Tel Aviv, and there was a time that I paid the same tax rate as those who live in development towns, places of priority. We're expected to also pay Israeli TV tax, send our kids to the IDF, follow Israeli education curriculum etc.

We're not considered expats like U.S. citizens living in Canada.

There's something very schizophrenic about the Israeli psyche. Add it to the list showing how functionally illogical Israeli policy is. I know who and what I am and the importance and historic significance of my hometown, Shiloh. I'm not trying to win favor with people who want me destroyed.

Bryan said...

Well, you live in territory that Israel administers and defends. Your taxes go towards the Israeli educational system that your children use and towards the IDF units who guard your towns (or the Arab towns adjacent, for your safety). As for whether or not that territory is considered part of the State of Israel, I think the government is deliberately unclear.

On one hand, denying all connection to that land would render Jewish towns there illegitimate, but on the other, saying that the Yesha is part of Medinat Israel would be highly unpopular abroad, to say the least. Israel is a modern state and in this globalized world, one cannot afford to burn all one's bridges, even if they're to Arab-fearing Europeans or a hostile American administration.

As for the Land of Israel: wouldn't the Land of Israel include Lower Lebanon and some of Transjordan, but *not* the Negev? That is historically Idumea, is it not?

Batya said...

Borders move all over the world. Take a good look at Europe. Poland is a good example.

But Poland isn't an ancient nation like the Jewish one. They don't have a unifying religion and history. I don't care what the world thinks. As I've written many times, we've outlived, out-survived our ancient enemies and we'll do the same versus our modern ones.

Bryan said...

I understand that borders move, but when you're claiming something as your ancient homeland, shouldn't you (editorial, not specific "you") be specific about where that homeland is? Otherwise, we're little better than the Palestinians, who change their "homeland" to whatever is most convenient at the time.

I'm just trying to reconcile the Israeli government's policies with the historical and religious prerogatives of the Jewish people.

Anonymous said...

Redeemed land of Israel?

Kingdom of Yehuda?

I know! Area C!

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

I live in a country that doesn't recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Not taking sides here, because I don't have enough information, but I do know that if you hold out for the rest of the world to acknowledge what you already know as fact, you could be waiting an awfully long time...

Batya said...

Bryan, there is no historic Palestinian people. It's a modern invention versus the Jewish People with a documented history thousands of years old.
Shy, I don't recognize "those letters," besides for blogging. Hahh!
Jen, I don't care if the world acknowledges, recognizes or whatever us here in the Holy Land. We existed before them and we'll be around after they're gone, too.

Bryan said...

I agree with you on the Palestinians. I think that their national identity is a recent invention and its acceptance as truth by the international community one of the greatest frauds of modern times. Hence, why I referenced their disingenuous and constantly shifting definition of what their homeland is.

What I had been aiming for was your definition of Eretz Yisrael. Is it from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates? Or is it the land that Israel controls today? What about Transjordan?

Batya said...

What Israel holds onto now is much smaller than any of the Biblical or historic borders. That means that we have lots of room to expand...

Shiloh doesn't have a fence which gives us breathing and building room. I think the same should be for determining the limits for the Land of Israel.