ISRAEL - 5 Million Palestinian Jews in Diaspora

Arno Froese

Until 1948 the name “Palestine” was associated with Jews. That meant that the Palestinian people were mostly Jewish. The name “Palestine” or “Palestina” had ancient origins. It was brought into use by the Greeks and Romans after the Philistines who lived in the coastal southern area of the country.

Jews had settled there after their exodus from Egypt in Moses’s time—indeed even before the Egyptian episode it was the Hebrew homeland. Palestine went through ups and downs but its Jewish associations were constant and Jews maintained a presence there from Biblical times.

Jews from Palestine—including my own father Harry—formed a Palestinian Jewish Diaspora in other parts of the world. Harry (Haim Yitzhak), born in Jerusalem, was one of the sons of a Russian Jewish couple called Yablotchnik who had come to Palestine to join a grandmother who is said to have been the women’s zoggerte at the old Hurva Synagogue in the Old City. Haim Yitzhak was a Yiddish-speaking heder boy in Jerusalem who went to Alexandria with his family in World War I because the Turks and the Russians were at odds.

Shortly after the family returned to Palestine, Haim Yitzhak emigrated to Australia in order to escape from an unwelcome shidduch (possibly also because he found his family too Orthodox).

My father settled well into Australian life and spoke unaccented English, which he picked up in the British army workshops in Alexandria.  He also knew some Arabic, though not all of his Arabic sayings were printable. Australians knew that Harry was from Palestine. So if ethnicity goes by descent, I too am a Palestinian as well as an Israeli, an Australian and (of course) a Jew.

Instead of “California here I come,” we Habonim boys sang “Palestina here I come, right back where I started from.”  Some of my Habonim madrichim are still alive in Israel, though it took many decades after 1948 before I joined them in making aliyah., 27 April 2020

Arno's Commentary

The testimony of Palestinian Jews is often overlooked; only Arabs are recognized as Palestinians. That, however, is not according to historic facts. During the British Mandate time, when passports were issued, under nationality, the Jews always accepted “Palestinian.” The Arabs mostly did not, but insisted on being listed as “Arab” instead.

The most important and decisive statement regarding the land called by the British, Palestine, is the Bible. The prophet Obadiah writes: “And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south” (Obadiah 20).

Jews continue to return to their ancient homeland. We read the prophecy regarding the future in Ezekiel 39:28: “Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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