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Obviously the Arab — Jewish divide is by far not the only one in the area and there are way more ethnic or religious groups whose relationships are rather complicated, whose identities have been mobilised and played out against each other during the manifold conflicts that have been shaking the Middle East during the last century. One of these groups are the Maronite Christians. The Maronites consider themselves an ethno-religious group that forms part of the West Syriac or Syrian Christians, a community whose history goes back to the 1st Century AD.
They derive their name from the Syriac saint Mar Maron who, together with his followers moved to Mount Lebanon from northern Syria and established the Maronite Church. The Maronites were able to maintain an independent status in Mount Lebanon and its coastline after the Arab Islamic conquest, maintaining their religion and language there until the 13th century.
The Maronite Church is divided between those who claim an Arab national identity and those who claim a Phoenician or Syrian national identity. The latter ones are commonly accused of having made up the concept of Phoenicianism, a specific form of nationalism which claims that Lebanese are distinct from Arabs and speak an own distinct language, neo-Aramaic, and have an own distinct culture.
The approximately 10, Maronites living in Israel today should be divided into those that have lived for multiple generations, long before the establishment of the State of Israel, in the region, and those who used to be members of the former South Lebanon Army, who fled South Lebanon after the withdrawal of the Israeli army in Due to the above mentioned rejection of an Arab identity and therefore of pan-Arabism by parts of the Maronite community, Israel has regarded the minority as one of the few potential partners within the otherwise so hostile Middle East.
And in fact there are quite a few stories that attest to this notion, such as the public support of the Zionist endeavour by a of Maronite religious authorities prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. Already some five months after the formal establishment of the state of Israel, the proximity of the two villages to the hostile Lebanese border was considered to be a security threat.
In order to create a military buffer zone, both villages and numerous others were captured by the Haganah and the inhabitants were expelled from their homes. The Israeli government in turn hurried to issue such a decree, barred the villagers from returning and a few years later the Israeli Air Force bombed the houses in both villages, leaving only the churches.
Eventually the all the land was expropriated and Jewish settlements were established in their place. In the s and the s the former residents were prohibited by law from entering their villages. In the Israeli authorities somewhat loosened the restrictions, allowing people to visit, though not to stay.
Since then the uprooted started to regularly come and visit, have picnics, hold religious ceremonies, such as weddings in the churches and organise youth summer camps in order to keep the ties with their villages. The majority of the Maronites in Israel today live in the village of Jish. According to a study the majority still rejects an Arab identity in favour of a distinct Maronite one.
Meanwhile the struggle to return to their land continues…. I found your website perfect for my needs. It contains wonderful and helpful posts,you can visit my link to see how the big boys and gals make easy cash without selling anything, using scrapebox combined with payper view sites. This is a topic close to my heart cheers, where are your contact details though?
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Tours and media supporting human rights and democratic values. By Miri — Obviously the Arab — Jewish divide is by far not the only one in the area and there are way more ethnic or religious groups whose relationships are rather complicated, whose identities have been mobilised and played out against each other during the manifold conflicts that have been shaking the Middle East during the last century. The Maronites and the State of Israel The approximately 10, Maronites living in Israel today should be divided into those that have lived for multiple generations, long before the establishment of the State of Israel, in the region, and those who used to be members of the former South Lebanon Army, who fled South Lebanon after the withdrawal of the Israeli army in Post.