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The articles in this issue have been divided up into the following categories







From the pages of history:

Moslem conquest of the Middle East

In the Byzantine state there was constant hatred between Christians and Jews and this intensified Jewish hope for help from Iranian side. In 556 Justinian faced a Samaritan-Jewish uprising in Palestine as also did Justin II in 578.

In September 610 when the Iranian army of Khusro II drew near Antioch, the Jewish community rose in rebellion but was put down. At Tyre & Acre the Jews attempted to support the invading army and suffered in retaliation. The invaders’ route from Damascus to Caesarea passed through the heart of the Jewish settlements. Jews from all parts of the country joined in the struggle and Jewish support greatly facilitated the invasion.

In April 614 Iranian units and Jewish detachments stood before the holy city. Zachariah, the Christian patriarch organised the defence. The siege lasted 20 days. The victorious army massacred "60,000" Christian inhabitants and burned many churches. The Iranian general selected 37,000 skilled workmen for deportation to Iran. According to the eye-witness account of strategies, the Jews offered to ransom Christian captives if they would accept Judaism.

After the Iranian army left with the Christian captives, the Jews destroyed the rest of the churches in the city as part of their effort to "sanctify" it once again. They apparently renewed the sacrificial offerings.

Shortly thereafter the Iranians declined to extend to the Jews the right of self-government and of rebuilding the Temple and became hostile to them possibly through the intervention of Christian court officials in Ctesiphon in 617 they punished the Jews who had participated in the slaughter of Christians and forbade Jewish settlement in Jerusalem. Iran thus sacrified the Jews in an effort to seek reconciliation and friendship with the Byzantine court. They permitted the Christians to rebuild the ruined churches. The Iranians may have been willing to leave Palestine in Jewish hands if they were numerous enough to control it but being a minority of 10% to 15% the Jews could hardly do so. As they would not agree to co-operate with the Iranians to restore normal conditions for all the population, the Iranians had to turn to the Christians for support.

Heraclius re-occupied Jerusalem in 627. When in 637 the Moslem armies invaded Palestine, the Jews there generally sided with the Moslem cause.

by Dr Jacob Neusner
A History of the Jews in Babylonia
Vol. V., Page 122

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