New book by Tel Aviv historian uncovers “Land of Israel” myths | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


New book by Tel Aviv historian uncovers “Land of Israel” myths

Shlomo Sand is a history professor at Tel Aviv University. His charismatic, readable style was evident in his previous book The Invention of the Jewish People, the English edition of which kicked up quite a controversy in 2009. The title alone seemed designed to shock.

But in fact Sand was arguing a fairly banal truism: there is no such thing as a unified, national “Jewish people.” As a globalized religious community (due to proselytizing before the rise to power of Christianity in the fourth century) there are instead multiple different Jewish communities across the world.

A Jew from Yemen would have no distinctive secular points of reference in common with a Jew from France, Russia or Poland. For example: before Zionist reinvention from the end of the 19th century, Hebrew was a purely liturgical language. Jews from different countries naturally spoke in local languages.

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