Letter: Peace in Zion

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The Independent Online
Sir: John Tippler (letter, 24 April) opposes the legitimacy of the Jews to a state of their own. Over the centuries since their dispersal by foreign armies, Jews have been scattered throughout the world but have directed their prayers every day to Zion and Jerusalem. The various governments of the Middle East did not look favourably on a Jewish presence. In 1099, the Crusaders massacred the Jewish community in Jerusalem. In 1495, the 200 Jewish families had to leave because of Christian and Muslim fanaticism. Despite this continued harassment and murder, Jews have always endeavoured to live in peace in Zion.

A century ago, the Jews were at least 10 per cent of the population of all mandated Palestine. The various Holy Land travel books by Christian theologians all state that Jews were in the majority in the towns of Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberius and even Hebron (until the 1929 massacre of the Jews by the Arabs).

Jewish immigration and the establishment of Tel Aviv in 1909 encouraged such enormous economic growth that Arabs also flocked to work in this part of Palestine. Why is Arab population movement considered to be legitimate and not Jewish?

Of Libya's 130,000 Jews, 121,512 came to Israel in 1948. Jewish refugees came from Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and other Arab states. They were not kept in squalid camps but were absorbed and granted full political status and religious freedom. Unfortunately, the Arab states did not do the same for their co-religionists.

M H Field

Salford, Greater Manchester