Provocations

Clashes between Jews and Palestinians on the occasion of Purim are commonplace. In Hebron, or rather Al Khalil in the West Bank, they seem to escalate these days since the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he wanted the so called Cave of Machpelah, i.e., Abraham’s tomb, to be included in his national heritage plan. Juan Cole, who gave today an excellent overview on the origins of Purim celebrations on Adar 14 and 15, and, in particular, the non-historicity of stories about the Patriarch Abraham, calls it differently: a prelude of the annexation of Al-Khalil to Israel.

Purim commemorates the, as legend tells, last-minute avoidance of genocide among the Jewish minority in Achaemenid, i.e., Zoroastrian, Persia. The plot, which might have been written in the 2nd or 3rd century BCE, features Jewish Queen Esther, her cousin Mordecai and their adversary, Minister Haman, who plans to execute the latter for his refusal of paying tribute, and to exterminate all Jews in the kingdom. Esther informed her husband about conspiracy and announced genocide. The king became outrageous, first hanged Haman then guaranteed the Jews two days exemption from punishment to retaliate upon their enemies. The Book of Esther reports that the Jews killed 75’000 Persians in another genocide.

Purim celebrations are usually provocative, in particular in the West Bank. Settlers were seen singing, dancing and drinking alcohol, and mocking the Palestinians who comprise the vast majority of inhabitants in Hebron/Al Khalil. One has to take into consideration that Muslim revere Abraham, or Prophet Ibrahim, as father of Ismail, ancestor of all Arabs, the friend of God, or khalilullah. Juan Cole tells that the Cave of the Patriarchs had been shown by Jews who were living in Hebron to the first Muslims who had conquered the Holy Land in 638. Jews had essentially welcomed the Muslims since they had heavily been suppressed by the Christian majority.

Purim celebrations are usually provocative, in particular in the West Bank. Settlers were seen singing, dancing and drinking alcohol, and mocking the Palestinians who comprise the vast majority of inhabitants in Hebron/Al Khalil. One has to take into account that Muslim revere Abraham, or Prophet Ibrahim, as father of Ismail, ancestor of all Arabs, the friend of God, or khalilullah. Juan Cole tells that the Cave of the Patriarchs had been shown by Jews who were living in Hebron to the first Muslims who had conquered the Holy Land in 638. Jews had essentially welcomed the Muslims since they had heavily been suppressed by the Christian majority.

Provocative acts usually lead to retaliation especially when parties are unforgiving. Another site in focus, Al Haram As-Sharif in Jerusalem, has seen yesterday new clashes between Muslim worshippers and security forces which have to be seen as directly related to Purim. King Abdullah II of Jordan warned that “Israel’s provocative aggressions on Al-Aqsa would have dangerous repercussions.” Since 691 CE, the Temple Mount is dominated by the Dome of the Rock, which contains the site on which allegedly the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, Abraham had been distracted from sacrificing his own son, and even Adam had been created; and Al-Aqsa, the ‘farthest Mosque’, as the Qur’an describes it in surah 17:1. Again, all of this qualifies the site as holy for all three Monotheisms.

 

See also on this blog:

Palestine Wiped Off the Map

Simon Peres

Last update March 1, 2010

This entry was posted in Islam, Judaism, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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