July 25, 2006

The Jews of Lebanon

I've had this blog drawn to my attention by Stephen Marks. It's called The Jews of Lebanon and here is its mission statement:
It is the intent of this blog to reestablish a connection between Lebanese of the Jewish faith around the world with their country of Lebanon. The message of coexistence and genuine national unity is not applicable so as long as a fragment from Lebanon’s mosaic of minorities is missing. If religious coexistence fails in Lebanon it will ultimately fail throughout the world.

It is the intent of this blog to provide a venue to express an adamant rejection of the intertwining of politics and humanitarian and moral endeavors. We reject the discriminatory and ignorant tendencies to equate the religion of Judaism to the politics of Zionism.

The Lebanese experience has reaffirmed the strongly held belief that so as long as we remain victims of prejudgment and bias we will continue embedding ignorance within the fabric of our society. This blog is established in the hopes that we can once again reaffirm our faith in our country and in the principle of national unity and the morals of respect and integrity.

This endeavor is strictly initiated and upheld by our patriotic and moral convictions and not influenced by any political considerations. Our aim and intent is solely rested upon our faith in finally building the Lebanese Republic that not only accepts but embraces religious and cultural diversity.

Any individual who subscribes to our philosophy of separating political agendas from moral obligations is welcomed and encouraged to help make this blog a success.

Long Live the Lebanese (no matter what their religious convictions are!)
Here's an interesting report from this new blog:
The reality of what exactly happened to the synagogue during the civil war is more complex than one might expect. Contrary to the prevailing view that anti-Semitism was the only driving force behind the migration of Arab Jews from their Arab lands, what happened at the Maghen Abraham synagogue lends some support to a view held by some pundits that Israelis had a direct hand in wanting to “facilitate” Jewish-Arab migration to Israel by terrorizing the communities into fleeing their homes.

An article published in the New York Times in 1982 relates how shortly after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in that year, an Israeli shell targeted the Maghen Abraham synagogue, blowing a hole in its roof while some 60 Jewish and Muslim refugees were sleeping there.

The assault came after Israeli artillery had fired from East Beirut and gunboats cruising offshore had been persistently pounding Wadi Abu Jmil, a district well known for being a Jewish quarter, said neighborhood residents.

At the same time, in July 1982, an article in the Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, said that representatives of the World Zionist Organization had been unable to convince the Jews of West Beirut to emigrate to Israel.

“‘Why should we leave?’ they asked. ‘Here are our homes and our friends,’” said one Lebanese Jew quoted in the report.

Others argue, however, that a heavy PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) presence in Wadi Abu Jmil was the reason for Israeli bombardment. While exact details may never become clear, either way the synagogue suffered at different times throughout the Lebanese civil war, as did many other religious temples of all confessions located in Downtown Beirut. Unlike many of these, Maghen Abraham was never totally destroyed.
There are some useful pages but some are still in the making.

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