"In time, when Isra'el had grown strong, they did put the Kena`ani to forced labor but failed to drive them out completely." Judges 1:28

Other peoples in Israel - past and present

The Bahai gardens and Temple, running down Mount Carmel to sea level in Haifa

The Bahai gardens and Temple, running down Mount Carmel to sea level in Haifa

The population of Israel today is mainly Jews, and then Arabs (not strictly the same thing as Palestinians) but what about the rest?

There were the tribes of Canaan that should have been driven out in God's judgment when he gave the land to Israel upon leaving Egypt. The Israelites did not manage to wipe them all out, and some remained, albeit under subjection.

The following is only a brief overview - much more information is available on-line.


The Philistines came from a Mediterranean island and colonised the coastal regions, and it is interesting to note that God brought them,

Judges 3:1 These are the nations which ADONAI allowed to remain, in order to put to the test all the people of Isra'el who had not known any of the wars with Kena`an. This was only so that the generations of Isra'el who had previously known nothing of war might learn about it.

The Philistines were wiped out by the Assyrian invasion - although the Palestinians sometimes claim to be their descendants / heirs. This is ridiculous, as the Palestinians are ethnically Arabs - not Mediterranean people.

The confusion was caused by the Romans, who renamed Israel (Judea, Samaria and Galilee) as Palestina in order to spite the Jews and sever their connection to the land from which they were now exiled. It is interesting to ponder that many of the Palestinians who are not recent immigrants may actually be ethnically Jewish.


Mention of Samaritans can provoke different reactions, but who were they, originally, and particularly in Jesus' day; and today?

"Samaritan" appears to have positive connotation; presumably because of the Good Samaritan, but the point of Jesus' parable was that the Samaritans were the despised people, and yet one could be the good neighbour that the people of Judah were not.

Check out Jesus' interactions with Samaritans - for example

John 4:9 The woman from Shomron said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for water from me, a woman of Shomron?" (For Jews don't associate with people from Shomron.),

Check out the whole incident including,

John 4:20 "Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, [Mount Gerizim] but you people say that the place where one has to worship is in Yerushalayim."
Why did the Jews despise the Samaritans? (the people of Shomron) Were the Jews racists? And who were the Samaritans? After all they lived in the heartland of Israel. The answer lies in Bible history.

2 Kings 17:24 The king of Ashur (Assyria - who had taken Israel into exodus) brought people from Bavel, Kutah, `Ava, Hamat and S'farvayim and settled them in the cities of Shomron in place of the people of Isra'el; they took possession of Shomron and lived in its cities. When they first came to live there, they did not fear Adonai. Therefore Adonai sent lions among them, which killed some of them. So they said to the king of Ashur, "The nations you carried away and settled in the cities of Shomron are not familiar with the rules for worshipping the God of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them; and they are there, killing them; because they're not familiar with the rules for worshipping the God of the land." In response, the king of Ashur gave this order: "Take back one of the cohanim you brought from there. Have him go and live there, and have him teach them the rules for worshipping the God of the land." So one of the cohanim they had carried away captive from Shomron came and lived in Beit-El, and he taught them how they should fear Adonai, Nevertheless, every nation made gods of their own and put them in the temples on the high places which the Shomronim had made, every nation in the cities where they lived.

So the Samaritans, mostly, weren't Jews but pagans. Worse than that, they mixed worship of with their own pagan religions - something God repeatedly warned his people to avoid becoming ensnared by.
But, even before that, the Samaritans had diluted the worship of when they split from Judah and set up their own worship and holy place on Mount Gerizim. (where Samaritans worship today).

1Kings 12:28 After seeking advice, the king [of shomron / Samaria] made two calves of gold and said to the people, "You have been going up to Yerushalayim long enough! Here are your gods, Isra'el, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!"

Today, the Samaritans are a very small community, clinging to the faith of their ancestors - a mixture of Judaism and other faiths. They still mark Passover with sacrifices of lambs, and regard Mount Gerizim as their holy place - not Jerusalem.

Note - Shomron / Samaria is, today, part of Palestinian occupied territory, often called the West Bank, that is actually the heartland of Biblical Israel, the Mountains of Israel.

But for a fascinatingly different perspective on the Samaritans, read "The Jewish Gospel of John" by Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg.

Dr Lizorkin-Eyzenberg contends that Samaritan believers were John's main target audience for his account. The book is available as a free pdf download, and audiobook, and features on YouTube.

Regardless of the Samaritans issue, this is a valuable book for dispeling some of the nonsense talked about John's Gospel being anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic.



Christian Arabs

The situation is quite complex - especially trying to work out which are culturally Christian and which are born again Christians.
Many are from Orthodox denominations or Catholic, and some are from non-conformist denominations.
Some are loyal to Israel. Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest, is leading a new trend to encourage his people to identify with Israel - to the extent of serving in the IDF even though they are not obliged to.

Others are not loyal to Israel and hold to Replacement Theology and Christian Palestinianism. Still others actively preach against Israel to the western evangelical churches.


Another newly emerging trend of loyalty to the state of Israel among Christians is the Aramaen community that has recently had its discrete ethnic identity recognised by the government. They worship in Maronite churches and are loyal to Israel and encourage their young people to serve in the IDF and integrate in Israeli society. The Maronites worship in Aramaic - which they say is the language Jesus spoke - while wildolive maintains it is a language Jesus spoke (living in a cosmopolitan area )

Not to be confused with the Armenians


According to a 2006 study, 790 Armenians live in Jerusalem's Old City. A significant minority of the Armenian community has been resident in the Levant for centuries. some of whom hold Israeli citizenship. Armenia claims to be the oldest Christian nation. The Armenians suffered a genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

The first recorded Armenian pilgrimage to the Holy Land was an Armenian delegation of priests in the early 4th century AD. The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem was founded in 638. It is located in the Armenian Quarter, the smallest quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Starting in the 1850s Armenians became dominant among Palestine's photographers. In 1919, Armenians from Turkey, known for hand-painted ceramic wares, were brought to Jerusalem to renovate the tiles covering the facade of the Dome of the Rock. They remained in Jerusalem and developed the art of Armenian ceramics.


The druze live in small communities in northern Israel. The Druze's social customs differ markedly from those of Muslims or Christians, and they are known to form a close-knit, cohesive community but also integrate fully in their adopted homelands. The Druze have a long history of fighting for Israel in the IDF.

The Druze are an Arabic-speaking esoteric ethnoreligious group, originating in Western Asia, who self-identify as unitarians. Jethro of Midian is considered an ancestor of all Druze and revered as their spiritual founder as well as chief prophet.The Druze faith is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the teachings of Hamza ibn-'Ali, al-Hakim, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and Akhenaten. The Druze faith incorporates elements of Ismailism, Judaism, Christianity, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism, Hinduism (according to some), and other philosophies and beliefs, creating a distinct and secretive theology known to esoterically interpret religious scriptures and to highlight the role of the mind and truthfulness.

Bedouin (Arabs)

The Negev Bedouin are traditionally pastoral nomadic Arab tribes living in Israel.
From 1858 during Ottoman rule, the Negev Bedouin underwent a process of sedentarization that accelerated after the founding of Israel. About half of them now live in townships in the northeast of the Negev, while others remain in "unrecognized villages." Today, many Bedouin call themselves 'Negev Arabs' rather than 'Bedouin', explaining that 'Bedouin' identity is intimately tied in with a pastoral nomadic way of life – a way of life they say is over. Although the Bedouin in Israel continue to be perceived as nomads, today all of them are fully sedentarized, and about half are urbanites.

Nevertheless, Negev Bedouin continue to possess sheep and goats: But, generally, bedouin are loyal to Israel and serve in various capacities, notably as trackers for the IDF. While Arabs are exempt from military service, thousands of Bedouin volunteer. Some openly profess a deep sense of loyalty to the state.

Their nomadic heritage and different attitude to the possessions of others is increasingly, a source of tension between some Bedouin and the local Jews and the authorities.

Christian denominations squatting in Israel

Some of the Orthodox and Catholic denominations have massive real estate holdings in Israel. The Orthodox Church has extensive property holdings in Jerusalem and throughout Israel and the Palestinian controlled territories. In addition to numerous churches, seminaries and other properties used for religious purposes, church property holdings include the land on which the Knesset and the prime minister's residence are located, as well as an array of historic buildings in Jerusalem's Old City.

Travelling around Israel, it is hard to escape the impression that these Christian organisations have been taking slices of the pie that God allocated as the place for the Jews to dwell and carry out His purposes. At the same time, they appear to be asserting their position, which is sad bearing in mind the adherence of many to Replacement Theology.


The Bahai Faith is a monotheistic religion which emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind. Its Three core principles are that there is only one God who is the source of all creation, that all major religions come from the same God; and that all humans have been created equal. According to the Bahai Faith's teachings, the human purpose is to learn to know and to love God through such methods as prayer, reflection and being of service to humanity.
The Bahai Faith was founded in 19th-century Persia and spread to gain a footing in Europe and America, and was consolidated in Iran, where it suffers intense persecution. Wikipedia

The Bahai in Israel are not an ethnic people and their headquarters on a strip down the north side of Mount Carmel looks a lot like claiming territory in the Promised (to the Jews) Land.

Posted 17/7/17

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