Thank you, Paula, for your wonderful and eloquent response to my original post on this issue. I agree with everything you write, and then some.
I look at the whole “indigenous” issue as an attempt to distract and side-step from the main point, being that we don’t need “proof” to prove this land is ours. And I question whether, in general, we need to answer all questions and issues thrown at us. My post was an attempt to throw the whole issue and question out the window by saying that Am Yisrael is on a totally different level and league than to be reduced to questions of “indigenousness”.
Am Yisrael must never let go of Torah in anything and everything we do and say. To dismiss “religious” issues in favor of “physical” ones is a slippery slide. Once Am Yisrael lets go of Torah, it’s a free-fall into the Twilight Zone where anything is possible – where umot haolam (i.e. the UN) can “decide” we have no right to the Kotel, Har HaBayit, Eretz Yisrael, etc. or that “physical proof” is false or “controversial” or whatever PC diversion tactic and whim they can make up.
This actually hits at the crux. Without Torah, we have no right to be here, as our Right of “Return” is based on our Covenant with Hashem, being Torah. And this Covenant is contingent on our keeping His Commandments.
All of our tzures here traces back to the non- and anti-Torah elements trying to divorce Torah from the people and the land. We are not meant to be a nation like other nations, nor live in the Holy Land without keeping the way of the holy Torah. The Azaria case, Amona, and the fact that Jews cannot visit the tomb of Yitzchak Avinu at the Cave of Our Patriarchs in our holy city of Hevron are only the latest points of proof of this.
And this traces back to the axiom that everything that happens – all turns and twists of politics and our last two evictions from the Land (because we failed to follow His Law on His terms) – is decided and caused by the only Owner and Creator of the universe. When we try to deny this, or at least not apply and internalize it, we end up dealing with absurdities the likes of which we have recently seen, like declaring the Kotel and Har HaBayit not Jewish.
If I had to reduce the entire issue of Am Yisrael’s right to Eretz Yisrael from its religious-spiritual essence, I would have to get in to argue whether squatters who encroached on land of Eretz Yisrael in our absence, after we were forced off it in to exile – whether those squatters, no matter how long they’ve been here, can claim “indigenous” rights, or any rights for that matter. On the other hand, those peaceful citizens who live here, I agree, have rights based on modern law and the Tanach. And this is a huge and whole different discussion. But I don’t want to go down that path.
I might also argue against the assumed need to present our stance and try to justify it and our very existence before the same world that turned a deaf ear and its back to us not even a century ago while we were being tortured and slaughtered by the millions. These are actually the same nations whose lands we’ve wandered through looking for a place to temporarily stay in our exile, and for 2,000 years have only known among them persecution – pogroms, Inquisition, massacres, etc.
Among the nations of the world, we may have known some moments of peace and rights, but it was only good until it wasn’t. European Jews were assimilated doctors and professors who enjoyed the best those countries had to offer – until they didn’t. Even in the US, I would argue: Read Ruchama Shain’s Feldheim bestseller All For The Boss and you’ll see just how Am Yisrael’s religious-spiritual rights in the new world were obliquely denied. Telling Jews then to get used to it and do on Sunday what they are used to doing on Saturday may be the seed to American Jewry’s religious-spiritual catastrophe today. Look at the Rabbis’ March on Washington to stop the Nazi genocide, where Am Yisrael wasn’t afforded even a moment’s thought, and you’ll see that when push comes to shove, even American Jews cannot rely on the US in the moment of truth. And American and European Jews are still turning a blind eye to their reality today. European Jews, even after being told of the reality, denied it could be so of such “cultured” and “advanced” Germans almost until they were right in the gas chamber.
The point here is: Why are we trying to appeal to these same people and nations at all?!?! Am Yisrael does not need to apologize or appeal or explain or answer to anyone, but anyone, but to The One. But I’ll steer off this path too. Actually, the long and the short of it is: So they want to argue whether we’re indigenous or not? – So what!
Instead, I will quote a couple sentences from the main chapter (9) of my book To Cross The Line With a Bridge:
“’[W]hat they call the “Middle East Crisis” or the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict” is really an ancient issue. Many of the splashy slogans in the news today are echoes of the slogans of the same people thousands of years ago, like “They argued…the water [well] is ours” [Genesis 26: 20]. But the whole problem or sensation would just peter out and disappear if the real problem were handled at its root level.’”
Our battle for our very existence right here in Eretz Yisrael did not begin with the relatively recent founding of the State of Israel – it is a battle thousands of years old.