Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What's In A Name? Part 2: Places

כ"ג לחודש השנים עשר ב' תשע"ד

Ages ago, the Shiloh Muse encouraged me to write about this subject, the accuracy of place names in Israel. So, now, I finally am.

As far as names go, I wrote about the Jewish (and non-Jewish) names of people first. Now, it is time for places. Perhaps, I will write about the proper names of things as well, in the future. I have also written about the improper names of places, things, and actions in "Shomer Misnomer."

The borders of Eretz Yisra'el at the time of its conquest by Yehoshu'a Bin-Nun, only a portion of what was Divinely promised to Avraham Avinu for our future (Gen. 15:18-21)

Lebanon, or rather The Lebanon is certainly an accurate name from Tana"kh (The Bible). But what if we were to start calling Southern Lebanon Northern Asher and Northern Naftali instead? No doubt the word "provocation" would pop up, and more likely from self-hating Jews at first than Arabs.

I would sure like to see the face of King Abdullah II, of the completely made-up nation of Jordan, when we start referring to the eastern part of his make-believe kingdom as Reuven, Gad, and Mo'av.

This is why I do not have a problem with the term "West Bank." It is, after all, the west bank of the Jordan River,...and as can be seen quite clearly from the map, the "East Bank" belongs to us, too.

What message could be conveyed if we began referring to the Shomron, another name from Tana"kh, as Efraim and West Menashe? Actually, you will be pleasantly surprised to hear that the Israeli Postal Service already does this, to a degree, so it would not be anything terribly radical to re-introduce this approach to the people. This could only lead to the Golan, yet another accurate name, being referred to as East Menashe?

The Mateh Binyamin Council, a feeder and lackey of the greater YeSh"A Council takes this approach in a completely inaccurate direction, calling towns under its supposed autorité, as far north as Rechalim "Binyamin." Even though this territory is clearly Ephraim, which reaches south past Shiloh.

But, since when have the Mamlakhtim (die-hard State-loyalists) given a darn about anything about historical accuracy?

But, I digress...

And there should be no need to say that the Israeli Government is not helping the situation in the least, by pandering to the Arabs.

Look at the power the bastardized names Arabs have given to places. Shchem was so named thousands of years ago (Gen. 12:6), and was purchased by Ya'aqov Avinu (Gen. 33:18-19). Yet, Arabs call Shchem, NablusNablus is a bastardization of Napolis or Neopolis. But, since the Arabs cannot pronounce the "P," Neopolis becomes Nablus, which half the world has probably been deluded into believing that it is some remnant of an ancient Palestinian civilization.

Whoops! I almost forgot! Palestine comes from the Roman labeling of Israel as Philistia, even though Philistia was located in the area in and around Azza (Gaza).

So much for an ancient Palestinian civilization.

So, the real name of Nablus is Shchem. Likewise the northern gate leading out of the Old City of Jerusalem is the Shchem Gate. True, this same road would eventually take you to Damascus, which will eventually be a part of Israel, too. Nevertheless, when the Jerusalem Light Rail announces its approach to the Shchem Gate Station, it really should say "Shchem Gate," and not "Damascus Gate," which it does in English and Arabic.

The bottom line is that this simple strategy may help to empower the Israeli Government with the backbone it needs to stand up and say,...

"Hey! This is the Land of Israel, and it belongs to us! All of it!"


Ze'ev said...

Actually, the light rail refers to Sha'ar Shechem in Arabic as Ba'ab El-Amud (Gate of the Pillar), as it is called by the Arabs. Another interlocution by that pesky Roman history.

Esser Agaroth said...

Thanks for writing Ze'ev, for the information, and for the correction.


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