Joel Haber
Tour Guide, Comic, Foodie, Israel-Lover

Jewish roots in Israel go back over 300,000 years

Flint tool remains found in Jerusalem
Flint tool remains found in Jerusalem

Archaeologists and scholars from several European and American universities have recently confirmed the well-known Jewish claim that the religion can trace its roots to cave peoples living in the land of Israel and the area of modern Jerusalem over 300,000 years ago.

Experts in Paleolithic (Stone Age) archaeology examined remains of a flint tool-making workshop found at the Ramat Rachel excavations in the modern Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona. The finds have been identified as belonging to the Achelo-Yabrudian culture that was active in the Levant during the transition from the Late Lower Paleolithic Era to the Early Middle Paleolithic. Recognizing the continuity of purpose and style found in the material culture, the scholars recognized a clear line of heritage from this culture to Abraham and Sarah, and then later to the Davidic kingdom and Israelite culture. Some have recognized the name Abraham as linguistically connected to the word Yabrudian, underscoring this discovery.

Similarities exist between this culture and the Mousterian (300,000 to 30,000 years ago) and Natufian (13,000-9800 BCE) cultures who lived at Nahal HaMearot on Mount Carmel near Haifa. Similar proto-Israelite finds have been found among a Chalcolithic era (4500-3500 BCE) pottery assemblage, the earliest remains found in a cave at the City of David archaeological site in Jerusalem.

It is therefore clear that Judaism’s connection to the Land of Israel far supersedes any later claims of Islamic connection to the land.

In related news, it was recently confirmed that the Kaaba site of the Islamic Haj pilgrimage in Mecca never has had any connection to Islam. Actually, it was a Jewish holy site prior to Muhammad’s Islamification of the site. Jews recognized it as the last spot that the prophet Elijah’s chariot of fire was seen as it bore him to heaven.

Muhammad decided to Islamize the site when the Jews of the Arabian peninsula refused to accept his illicit teachings. In fact, Muhammad himself was an apostate Jew, and it is for this reason that Jerusalem was his ula al-qiblatayn — first direction of prayer. Only after he was viewed as a heretic did he decide to punish the local Jews by creating Islam and taking over their main holy shrine at Mecca. This also explains the prominence of the prophets Elijah in Muslim culture.

* * *

Don’t believe me? Good, you shouldn’t. These claims are complete nonsense and any scholar (and even most laymen) will tell you so.

But the claim of Judaism’s 300,000 year lineage in the Holy Land is no less preposterous than Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat’s claim that the Palestinian people trace their roots back to 5500 years before Joshua. Of course he was just following in the tradition of Yasser Arafat and Faisal Husseini who claimed that the Palestinian people are descended from the Jebusites, from whom David conquered Jerusalem. It doesn’t really matter that no scholars other than the Palestinians themselves place any shred of validity in these ridiculous claims.

And my assertions about the Judaic origins of the Kaaba is no less preposterous than the Palestinian allegation that the Western Wall was never holy to Jews and is an Islamic holy site named the Al-Buraq Wall. Never mind that this claim was never made before the 1920s and that even 19th century Muslims recognized in writing the Jewish connections to the site.

So why aren’t those statements repudiated like my equally asinine ones should be? Because the Palestinians have repeated them over and over, and taught them in their schools. I first came across the Palestinians-descend-from-Canaanites falsehood in a conversation with a young Jerusalem Arab. I was speechless; he actually believed this. He’d been taught this in school, so why should he question it? I could only respond weakly that I didn’t accept his claims as factual, and that he should see what academics have to say about it.

Why does this matter? Because when lies become manufactured truths they fuel unwarranted hatred and invalid claims of injustice. I am not saying that Palestinians have no rights or claims here. But they are saying that about me. I don’t believe that Jews’ earlier heritage means that we should deny all rights to the Palestinians. But when the Palestinians refuse to recognize any Jewish claims of heritage here, it is not just harmless posturing. It generates serious political consequences.

When you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes “accepted truth.” It is similar to the “widely accepted” but patently false belief that Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet. His opponents repeated this lie enough times until people believed it to be true.

Maybe if enough of you start repeating my above claims, we will one day see them written into encyclopedias and history books. But I’d much prefer that the world called both them and the above-quoted Palestinian claims what they are: complete and utter nonsense.

About the Author
Joel Haber (aka Fun Joel) is a licensed Israel Tour Guide. Born and raised in New Jersey, he spent many great years in NYC, and a few more in LA before making Aliyah in 2009. Interests include Israel, food, and making people happy.