References to Jewish Connections to Gaza
By Anthony David Marks
In the minds of some there is confusion or lack of knowledge of the Jewish
biblical and modern historical connections to the Gaza Strip area. They are
more substantial than most realize. The following references should
elucidate the subject.
1. Genesis 15 - The area in which Gaza is located was included as part of
2. Numbers 34:2-6 - The Bible details precisely the northern, southern,
eastern and western borders of ancient Israel. Readers should note that in
every reference there is a body of water - the Mediterranean Sea, a lake, a
river and a wadi (a dry river bed that flows only after an infrequent heavy
rain). Bodies of water are permanent markers in most cases.
In Numbers 34:5 with reference to the southern border it states: From Azmon
the boundary shall turn towards the Wadi of Egypt (near el-Arish) and
terminate at the sea (Mediterranean). This would include the entire
present-day Gaza Strip and additional land in the Sinai.
3. Joshua 13:2 - The Lord said to Joshua: This is the territory that remains
to be conquered: all the districts of the Philistines, those of the
Gerurites, from the Shihon, which is close to Egypt, to the territory of
Ekron in the north, are accounted. Canaanite, namely those of the five lords
of the Philistines - the Gazities (Gaza), the Ashdodites (Ashdod) etcS<caron>.
4. Joshua 15:47 - Most Biblical commentators hold that the modern day Gaza
Strip was within the territory allotted to the tribe of Judah.
5. Consider in Joshua Chapter 15: This was the portion of the tribe of Judea
(15:20); Ekron, with its dependencies and villages (15:45); Ekron, westward,
all the towns in the vicinity and Ashdod, with their villages (15:46);
Ashdod, its dependencies and its villages, Gaza, its dependencies and its
villages, all the way to the Wadi of Egypt and the edge of the Mediterranean
6. Judges 1:18 - And Israel captured Gaza and its territory, Ashkelon and
its territory, and Ekron and its territory.
7. Kings 5:1 - Solomon's rule extended over all the kingdoms from the
Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and the boundary of Egypt (Wadi of
Egypt or to el-Arish).
8. Ezekiel 47:19-20 - 47:19 The southern limit shall run: A line from Tamar
to the waters of Meriboth-kadesh, along the Wadi (of Egypt and ) the Great
Sea (Mediterranean). That is the southern limit.
* During the 3rd century BCE, Gaza and Akko were the leading centers of
trade and industry. Both cities had numerous Jewish residents, including
some very wealthy and influential families. 
* There were Jewish communities in Gaza during the Hasmonean period
* During ancient times, in the taking of tithes (shmittah), the Gaza area
was included in this Jewish religious obligation.
Shmittah is observed to this day in Jewish settlemens located in the Gaza
Strip as it was deemed part of ancient Eretz Israel.
* During the 4th century CE, Emperor Constantine attempted to build a
church in Gaza but the Jewish population located there was opposed to this.
At that time, Gaza was the principal port for trade and commerce for the
Jewish population of the Holy Land. A very ancient synagogue was excavated
there some time ago. Influential rabbis, Israel Najara, author of the
popular prayer and Shabbat song Kah Ribon Olam, and Rabbi Avraham Azoulai,
the renowned mekubal, lived in Gaza Jewish communities.
* During the 7th century CE: "When the Arab hosts now began spreading
northward, they encountered the first focus of resistance in the city of
Gaza, then occupied by a strong Byzantine garrison under the command of the
provincial governor, Sergius. At that time Gaza embraced a substantial
Jewish settlement, in fact the most important community in Judea. Jews seem
to have fought alongside the Byzantines in the ensuing battle, which ended
in Sergius' defeat." 
* Also during this period, "S<caron>according to the famous
ibn Janah, Gaza, too, lost its status as the foremost community in Judea,
but it remained a center of learning and well-developed community life." 
* From 1885 to World War I Jews lived in Gaza.
* A renewed Jewish community existed in Gaza until the Muslim pogroms
against Jews in 1929. Jews were murdered in many communities throughout
Palestine, especially Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed - three Jewish holy
The following is a list of Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip:
Alei Sinai, founded in 1983
Bedolach, founded in 1986
Bnei Atzmon (Atzmona), founded in 1979
Dugit, founded in 1990
Gadid, founded in 1982
Gan-Or, founded in 1983
Ganei Tal, founded in 1979
Katif, founded in 1986
Kerem Atzmona, founded in 2000
Kfar Darom, founded in 1946
Kfar Yam, founded in 1984
Morag, founded in 1984
Netzer Hazani, founded in 1977
Netzarim, founded in 1984
Neve Dekalim, founded in 1983
Nisanit, founded in 1984
Peat - Sadeh, founded in 1989
Rafiah - Yam, founded in 1986
Shirat HaYam, founded in 2000
Tel Katifa, founded in 1992
Recent quotes from leading Israeli politicians about Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Disengagement Plan for Gaza:
Natan Sharansky, Minister without Portfolio:
Minister Natan Sharansky, part of the Likud Party said in a radio interview the move would give a big boost to terrorism while dividing Israelis.
Maybe I'm stupid, but I don't understand why we are doing something so painful and dramatic at a time of war on terror."
Moshe Arens, former three-time Minister of Defense:
"I don't want to suspect [Sharon] and believe that the timing [of his statement regarding Arafat] is connected to the referendum
know that he and his aides are very determined to pass this thing, and bring up all sorts of claims in its favor, some of which are not valid. We are right in the middle of the war, and we're
making gains - we're even hearing various Arab spokesmen say that terrorism is not gaining them anything, and the like - and therefore this is not precisely a smart time to
retreat. As the Chief of Staff said, a retreat from Gaza will strengthen and encourage the terrorists. Even President Bush has said that the main thing is to dismantle and destroy the terrorist infrastructure - so now we should
give them territory?"
"The American policy is quite stable, long-standing and does
not change from day to day, and I don't think it will worsen if the disengagement doesn't pass."
Benny Begin, former Likud Minister, speaking on national TV 19 April 2004:
"The truth must be told. This is a plan to evacuate the
communities in Gaza and northern Samaria, and nothing else. It will allow Hamas to unfurl its flag over the synagogues in Neve Dekalim."
"we all know if we leave Gaza, terrorism will increase and
the situation will deteriorate."
"According to this plan, who will provide electricity to
Gaza? - Israel.
And who will provide food to Gaza? -
IsraelS.This is precisely the
"It's absurd to speak of disengaging when Sharon's plan
states that the IDF will maintain security in Gaza, and will permit workers to cross into (pre-
1967) Israel daily. This is not disengagementS<caron>S<caron>"
The above information is by no means a complete account of the Jewish connection from time immemorial to the area now known as the Gaza Strip, only an indication of it. But it is obvious from the above references that there was a distinct and undeniable Jewish presence in the Gaza Strip area from ancient times. In modern times, in 1929, Jews were forced to leave the
area just as they were forced to flee Arab countries and Europe. This time a Jewish government is forcing them to leave.
 A Social and Religious History of the Jews, Salo Wittmayer Baron, Vol 1,
page 255, (Original copyright 1937)
 Ibid, Vol 3, page 87
 Ibid, page 102
Israel Hasbara Committee - http://www.infoisrael.net
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