Land of Israel
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The Land of Israel (Hebrew: אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל ʼÉreṣ Yiśrāʼēl, Eretz Yisrael) is a name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant. Similar biblical, religious and historical English terms include the Land of Canaan, the Promised Land, the Holy Land and Palestine. The definitions of the limits of this territory vary between biblical passages, with these specifically in Genesis 15, Exodus 23, Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47. Nine times elsewhere in the Bible, the settled land is referred as "from Dan to Beersheba".
These biblical limits for the land differ from the borders of established historical Israelite and later Jewish kingdoms; over time these have included the United Kingdom of Israel, the Hasmonean Kingdom, and the Herodian Kingdom, which at their heights ruled lands with similar but not identical boundaries. The present State of Israel (Hebrew: מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Medīnat Yisrā'el) with its currently controlled territories, would also have similar but not identical boundaries.
The Jewish religious belief that the area is a God-given inheritance of the Jewish people is based on the Torah, particularly in the books of Genesis and Exodus, as well as in the later Prophets. According to the Book of Genesis, the land was first promised by God to the descendants of Abram; the text is explicit that this is a covenant between God and Abram for his descendants. Abram's name was later changed to Abraham, with the promise refined to pass through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham's grandson. This belief is not shared by most adherents of replacement theology (or supersessionism), who hold the view that the Old Testament prophecies were superseded by the coming of Jesus. Christian Zionists dispute this assertion and state that one cannot separate the Old and New Testaments as God himself doesn't change. The promise is thus still binding.
The Land of Israel concept has been evoked by the founders of the State of Israel. It often surfaces in political debates on the status of the West Bank, which coincides with the biblical areas of Judea and Samaria.
- 1 Etymology and biblical roots
- 2 Biblical interpretations of the borders
- 3 Locating biblical landmarks
- 4 Variability of the boundaries
- 5 Historical kingdoms
- 6 Jewish beliefs
- 7 Christian beliefs
- 8 From the Kingdom of Judah to the present
- 9 Modern history
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 Further reading
Etymology and biblical roots
The term "Land of Israel" is a direct translation of the Hebrew phrase ארץ ישראל (Eretz Yisrael), which is first used in 1 Samuel 13:19, following the Exodus when the Israelite tribes were already in the Land of Canaan. According to Anita Shapira, the term "Eretz Yisrael" was a holy term, vague as far as the exact boundaries of the territories are concerned but clearly defining ownership. The sanctity of the land (kedushat ha-aretz) developed rich associations in rabbinical thought, where it assumes a highly symbolic and mythological status infused with promise, though always connected to a geographical location. Nur Masalha argues that the biblical boundaries are 'entirely fictitious', and bore simply religious connotations in Diaspora Judaism, with the term only coming into ascendency with the rise of Zionism.
The name "Israel" first appears in the Hebrew Bible as the name given by God to the patriarch Jacob (Genesis 32:28). Deriving from the name "Israel", other designations that came to be associated with the Jewish people have included the "Children of Israel" or "Israelite". The first definition of the promised land calls it "this land". (Genesis 15:13–21) The land is promised to Abraham's descendants at (Genesis 17:8) while in Deuteronomy 1:8, it is promised explicitly to the Israelites.
A more detailed definition is given in Numbers 34:1–15 for the land explicitly allocated to nine and half of the Israelite tribes after the Exodus. Here, the land Canaan has its boundaries defined. The expression "Land of Israel" is first used in a later book, 1 Samuel 13:19. It is defined in detail in the exilic Book of Ezekiel as a land where both the twelve tribes and the 'strangers in (their) midst', can claim inheritance, and also by the Gospel of Matthew.
Biblical interpretations of the borders
Genesis 15:18–21 describes what are known as "Borders of the Land" (Gevulot Ha-aretz), which in Jewish tradition defines the extent of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. The passage describes the area as the land of the ten named ancient peoples then living there.
More precise geographical borders are given Exodus 23:31 which describes borders as marked by the Red Sea (see debate below), the "Sea of the Philistines" i.e., the Mediterranean, and the "River", the Euphrates), the traditional furthest extent of the Kingdom of David.
A slightly more detailed definition is given in Exodus 23:31, which describes the borders as "from the sea of reeds (Red Sea) to the Sea of the Philistines (Mediterranean sea) and from the desert to the Euphrates River", though the Hebrew text of the Bible uses the name, "the River", to refer to the Euphrates.
Numbers 34:1–15 describes the land allocated to the Israelite tribes after the Exodus. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh received land east of the Jordan as explained in Numbers 34:14–15. Numbers 34:1–13 provides a detailed description of the borders of the land to be conquered west of the Jordan for the remaining tribes. The region is called "the Land of Canaan" (Eretz Kna'an) in Numbers 34:2 and the borders are known in Jewish tradition as the "borders for those coming out of Egypt". These borders are again mentioned in Deuteronomy 1:6–8, 11:24 and Joshua 1:4.
According to the Hebrew Bible, Canaan was the son of Ham who with his descendents had seized the land from the descendents of Shem according to the Book of Jubilees. Jewish tradition thus refers to the region as Canaan during the period between the Flood and the Israelite settlement. Eliezer Schweid sees Canaan as a geographical name, and Israel the spiritual name of the land. He writes: The uniqueness of the Land of Israel is thus "geo-theological" and not merely climatic. This is the land which faces the entrance of the spiritual world, that sphere of existence that lies beyond the physical world known to us through our senses. This is the key to the land's unique status with regard to prophecy and prayer, and also with regard to the commandments. Thus, the renaming of this landmarks a change in religious status, the origin of the Holy Land concept. Numbers 34:1–13 uses the term Canaan strictly for the land west of the Jordan, but Land of Israel is used in Jewish tradition to denote the entire land of the Israelites. The English expression "Promised Land" can denote either the land promised to Abraham in Genesis or the land of Canaan, although the latter meaning is more common.
Ezekiel 47:13–20 provides a definition of borders of land in which the twelve tribes of Israel will live during the final redemption, at the end of days. The borders of the land described by the text in Ezekiel include the northern border of modern Lebanon, eastwards (the way of Hethlon) to Zedad and Hazar-enan in modern Syria; south by southwest to the area of Busra on the Syrian border (area of Hauran in Ezekiel); follows the Jordan River between the West Bank and the land of Gilead to Tamar (Ein Gedi) on the western shore of the Dead Sea; From Tamar to Meribah Kadesh (Kadesh Barnea), then along the Brook of Egypt (see debate below) to the Mediterranean Sea. The territory defined by these borders is divided into twelve strips, one for each of the twelve tribes.
Hence, Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47 define different but similar borders which include the whole of contemporary Lebanon, both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and Israel, except for the South Negev and Eilat. Small parts of Syria are also included.
From Dan to Beersheba
The common biblical phrase used to refer to the territories actually settled by the Israelites (as opposed to military conquests) is "from Dan to Beersheba" (or its variant "from Beersheba to Dan"), which occurs many times in the Bible. It is found in the biblical verses Judges 20:1, 1 Samuel 3:20, 2 Samuel 3:10, 2 Samuel 17:11, 2 Samuel 24:2, 2 Samuel 24:15, 1 Kings 4:25, 1 Chronicles 21:2, and 2 Chronicles 30:5.
Division of Tribes
The 12 tribes of Israel are divided in 1 Kings 11. In the chapter, King Solomon's sins lead to Israelites forfeiting 10 of the 12 tribes.
30 and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. 32 But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. 33 I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molek the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in obedience to me, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my decrees and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did.34 “‘But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who obeyed my commands and decrees. 35 I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. 36 I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name.
— Kings 1, 11:30-11:36
Locating biblical landmarks
Brook of Egypt
The border with Egypt is given as the Nachal Mitzrayim (Brook of Egypt) in Numbers and Deuteronomy, as well as in Ezekiel. Jewish tradition (as expressed in the commentaries of Rashi and Yehuda Halevi, as well as the Aramaic Targums) understand this as referring to the Nile; more precisely the Pelusian branch of the Nile Delta according to Halevi—a view supported by Egyptian and Assyrian texts. Saadia Gaon identified it as the "Wadi of El-Arish" referring to the biblical Sukkot near Faiyum. Kaftor Vaferech placed it in the same region which approximates the location of the former Pelusian branch of the Nile. 19th century Bible commentaries understood the identification as a reference to the Wadi of the coastal locality called El-Arish. Easton's however, notes a local tradition that the course of the river had changed and there was once a branch of Nile where today there is a wadi. Biblical minimalists have suggested that the Besor is intended.
Genesis gives the border with Egypt as Nahar Miztrayim – nahar denotes a large river in Hebrew never a wadi.
Southern and eastern borders
Only the "Red Sea" (Exodus 23:31) and the Euphrates are mentioned to define the southern and eastern borders of the full land promised to the Israelites. The "Red Sea" corresponding to Hebrew Yam Suf was understood in ancient times to be the Erythraean Sea, as reflected in the Septuagint translation. Although the English name "Red Sea" is derived from this name ("Erythraean" derives from the Greek for red), the term denoted all the waters surrounding Arabia—including the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, not merely the sea lying to the west of Arabia bearing this name in modern English. Thus the entire Arabian peninsula lies within the borders described. Modern maps depicting the region take a reticent view and often leave the southern and eastern borders vaguely defined. The borders of the land to be conquered given in Numbers have a precisely defined eastern border which included the Arabah and Jordan.
Variability of the boundaries
Deuteronomy 19:8 indicates a certain fluidity of the borders of the promised land when it refers to the possibility that God would "enlarge your borders." This expansion of territory means that Israel would receive "all the land he promised to give to your fathers", which implies that the settlement actually fell short of what was promised. According to Jacob Milgrom, Deuteronomy refers to a more utopian map of the promised land, whose eastern border is the wilderness rather than the Jordan.
Paul R. Williamson notes that a "close examination of the relevant promissory texts" supports a "wider interpretation of the promised land" in which it is not "restricted absolutely to one geographical locale." He argues that "the map of the promised land was never seen permanently fixed, but was subject to at least some degree of expansion and redefinition."
Few, if any, archaeological remains of the Kingdom of David and Solomon have been uncovered to date that would accord with the huge conquests described in the Bible. It is more probable that the kingdom was smaller than described, encompassing only the areas settled by the Israelite tribes. The divided Kingdoms of Judah and Israel came into existence during the 8th century BC. While Israel encompassed the north of the country, including Samaria and the Galilee as far as Dan, Judah was restricted to a comparatively small area around Jerusalem, with a northern boundary near Mitzpah and a southern one around Hebron, probably not projecting effective rule as far as Beersheva. The Hasmonean Kingdom and the Herodian dynasty did rule a political unit that corresponds to the description, "From Dan to Beersheva."
According to Jewish religious law (halakha), some laws only apply to Jews living in the Land of Israel and some areas in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria (which are thought to be part of biblical Israel). These include agricultural laws such as the Shmita (Sabbatical year); tithing laws such as the Maaser Rishon (Levite Tithe), Maaser sheni, and Maaser ani (poor tithe); charitable practices during farming, such as pe'ah; and laws regarding taxation. One popular source lists 26 of the 613 mitzvot as contingent upon the Land of Israel.
Many of the religious laws which applied in ancient times are applied in the modern State of Israel; others have not been revived, since the State of Israel does not adhere to traditional Jewish law. However, certain parts of the current territory of the State of Israel, such as the Arabah, are considered by some religious authorities to be outside the Land of Israel for purposes of Jewish law. According to these authorities, the religious laws do not apply there.
According to some Jewish religious authorities, every Jew has an obligation to dwell in the Land of Israel and may not leave except for specifically permitted reasons (e.g., to get married). There are also many laws dealing with how to treat the land. The laws apply to all Jews, and the giving of the land itself in the covenant, applies to all Jews, including converts.
Traditional religious Jewish interpretation, and that of most Christian commentators, define Abraham's descendants only as Abraham's seed through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Johann Friedrich Karl Keil is less clear, as he states that the covenant is through Isaac, but also notes that Ishmael's descendants, generally the Arabs, have held much of that land through time.
During the early 5th century, Saint Augustine of Hippo argued in his City of God that the earthly or "carnal" kingdom of Israel achieved its apotheosis during the reigns of David and his son Solomon. He goes on to say however, that this possession was conditional: "...the Hebrew nation should remain in the same land by the succession of posterity in an unshaken state even to the end of this mortal age, if it obeyed the laws of the Lord its God". He goes on to say that the failure of the Hebrew nation to adhere to this condition resulted in its revocation and the making of a second covenant and cites Jeremiah 31:31: "Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will make for the house of Israel, and for the house of Judah, a new testament: not according to the testament that I settled for their fathers in the day when I laid hold of their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my testament, and I regarded them not, says the Lord.". Augustine concludes that this other promise, revealed in the New Testament, was about to be fulfilled through the incarnation of Christ: "I will give my laws in their mind, and will write them upon their hearts, and I will see to them; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people".
Notwithstanding the doctrine stated by Augustine (see above) and also by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (Ch. 11), the phenomenon of Christian Zionism is widely noted today, especially among evangelical Protestants. Other Protestant groups and churches reject Christian Zionism on various grounds.
From the Kingdom of Judah to the present
After the fall of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, political rule was held by the following powers:
- 586–539 BC: Neo-Babylonian Empire
- 539–332 BC: Achaemenid Empire (Yehud Medinata)
- 332–305 BC: Alexandrian Empire
- 305–198 BC: Ptolemaic Kingdom
- 198–141 BC: Seleucid Empire
- 141–37 BC: Initially independent Hasmonean Kingdom established by the Maccabees
- 63 BC: Siege of Jerusalem by Pompey, beginning of Roman dominance
- 37 BC– 4 BC: Herodian Kingdom of the Roman Empire
- 4 BC - 6 AD: Tetrarchy (Judea) of the Roman Empire
- 6-132: Judea (Roman province)
- 132-135 Independent Bar Kokhba state
- 135-390: Roman province reconquered and renamed Syria Palaestina
- 260-273 controlled by splinter Palmyrene Empire
- 390-638 Byzantine Palaestina Prima
- 602-625 Sassanid Jewish Commonwealth
- 638–1099: Arab Caliphates and subject rulers
- 1099–1187: Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem
- 1187–1260: dominated by the Ayyubids of Egypt and Damascus
- 1260–1516: dominated by the Mamluks of Egypt
- 1516–1917: Ottoman Turks, having previously conquered the Byzantine Empire in 1453
- 1918–1948: British mandate of Palestine under, first, League of Nations, then, successor United Nations; the Emirate of Trans-Jordan was separated from the rest of Palestine in 1922, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan became independent upon the expiration of the League of Nations Mandate in 1946.
- May 1948 – June 1967: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, for parts of the Old City of Jerusalem and the larger part of the area; State of Israel for remaining parts of Jerusalem and for a smaller strip of land in the west
- June 1967 to 1993: State of Israel
- 1993 to present: State of Israel including Palestinian territories
Jewish religious tradition does not distinguish clearly between religious, national, racial, or ethnic identities. Nonetheless, during two millennia of exile and with a continuous yet small Jewish presence in the land, a strong sense of bondedness exists throughout this tradition, expressed in terms of people-hood; from the very beginning, this concept was identified with that ancestral biblical land or, to use the traditional religious and modern Hebrew term, Eretz Yisrael. Religiously and culturally the area was seen broadly as a land of destiny, and always with hope for some form of redemption and return. It was later seen as a national home and refuge, intimately related to that traditional sense of people-hood, and meant to show continuity that this land was always seen as central to Jewish life, in theory if not in practice. Having already used another religious term of great importance, Zion (Jerusalem), to coin the name of their movement, being associated with the return of zion  the term was considered appropriate for the secular Jewish political movement of Zionism to adopt at the turn of the 20th century; it was used to refer to their proposed national homeland in the area then controlled by the Ottoman Empire and generally known as the Holy Land or Palestine. Different geographic and political definitions for the "Land of Israel" later developed among competing Zionist ideologies during their nationalist struggle. These differences relate to the importance of the idea and its land, as well as the internationally recognized borders of the State of Israel and the Jewish State's secure and democratic existence. Many current governments, politicians and commentators question these differences.
When Israel was founded in 1948, the majority Labor leadership, which governed for three decades after independence, accepted the partition of the previous British Mandate of Palestine into independent Jewish and Arab states as a pragmatic solution to the political and demographic issues of the territory, with the description Land of Israel applying to the territory of the State of Israel within the Green Line. The then opposition revisionists, who evolved into today's Likud party, however, regarded the rightful Land of Israel as Eretz Yisrael Ha-Shlema (literally, the whole Land of Israel), which came to be referred to as Greater Israel. Joel Greenberg, writing in The New York Times relates subsequent events this way:
The seed was sown in 1977, when Menachem Begin of Likud brought his party to power for the first time in a stunning election victory over Labor. A decade before, in the 1967 war, Israeli troops had in effect undone the partition accepted in 1948 by overrunning the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ever since, Mr. Begin had preached undying loyalty to what he called Judea and Samaria (the West Bank lands) and promoted Jewish settlement there. But he did not annex the West Bank and Gaza to Israel after he took office, reflecting a recognition that absorbing the Palestinians could turn Israel it into a binational state instead of a Jewish one.
Following the Six Day War in 1967, the 1977 elections and the Oslo Accords, the term Eretz Israel became increasingly associated with right-wing expansionist groups who sought to conform the borders of the State of Israel with the biblical Eretz Yisrael.
The Biblical concept of Eretz Israel, and its re-establishment as a state in the modern era, was a basic tenet of the original Zionist program. This program however, saw little success until the British acceptance of "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Chaim Weizmann, as leader of the Zionist delegation, at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference presented a Zionist Statement on 3 February. Among other things, he presented a plan for development together with a map of the proposed homeland. The statement noted the Jewish historical connection with Eretz Israel. It also declared the Zionists' proposed borders and resources "essential for the necessary economic foundation of the country" including "the control of its rivers and their headwaters". These borders included present day Israel and the occupied territories, western Jordan, southwestern Syria and southern Lebanon "in the vicinity south of Sidon". The subsequent British occupation and British acceptance of the July 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, advanced the Zionist cause.
Early in the deliberations toward British civilian administration, two fundamental decisions were taken, which bear upon the status of the Jews as a nation; the first was the recognition of Hebrew as an official language, along with English and Arabic, and the second concerned the Hebrew name of the country. The Jewish members of the first High Commissioner's advisory council objected to the Hebrew transliteration of the word “Palestine” פלשתינה (Palestina) on the ground that the traditional name was ארץ ישראל (Eretz Yisrael), but the Arab members would not agree to this designation, which in their view, had political significance. The High Commissioner therefore decided, as a compromise, that the Hebrew transliteration should be used, followed always by the two initial letters of "Eretz Yisrael,” א״י Aleph-Yod. The compromise was later noted as among Arab grievances before the League's Permanent Mandate Commission. During the Mandate, the name Eretz Yisrael (abbreviated א״י Aleph-Yod), was part of the official name for the territory, when written in Hebrew. These official names for Palestine were minted on the Mandate coins and early stamps (pictured) in English, Hebrew "(פלשתינה (א״י" (Palestina E"Y) and Arabic "( فلسطين"). Consequently, in 20th century political usage, the term "Land of Israel" usually denotes only those parts of the land which came under the British mandate, i.e. the land currently controlled by the State of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and sometimes also Transjordan (now the Kingdom of Jordan).
Declaration of Independence of Israel
On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181(II)) recommending "to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union." The Resolution contained a plan to partition Palestine into "Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem."
On May 14, 1948, the day the British Mandate over Palestine expired, the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum, and approved a proclamation, in which it declared "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel."
Usage in Israeli politics
Early government usage of the term, following Israel's establishment, continued the historical link and possible Zionist intentions. In 1951–2 David Ben-Gurion wrote "Only now, after seventy years of pioneer striving, have we reached the beginning of independence in a part of our small country." Soon afterwards he wrote "It has already been said that when the State was established it held only six percent of the Jewish people remaining alive after the Nazi cataclysm. It must now be said that it has been established in only a portion of the Land of Israel. Even those who are dubious as to the restoration of the historical frontiers, as fixed and crystallised and given from the beginning of time, will hardly deny the anomaly of the boundaries of the new State." The 1955 Israeli government year-book said, "It is called the 'State of Israel' because it is part of the Land of Israel and not merely a Jewish State. The creation of the new State by no means derogates from the scope of historical Eretz Israel".
Herut and Gush Emunim were among the first Israeli political parties basing their land policies on the Biblical narrative discussed above. They attracted attention following the capture of additional territory in the 1967 Six-Day War. They argue that the West Bank should be annexed permanently to Israel for both ideological and religious reasons. This position is in conflict with the basic "land for peace" settlement formula included in UN242. The Likud party, in its platform, supports maintaining Jewish settlement communities in the West Bank and Gaza as the territory is considered part of the historical land of Israel. In her 2009 bid for Prime Minister, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni used the expression, noting, "we need to give up parts of the Land of Israel", in exchange for peace with the Palestinians and to maintain Israel as a Jewish state; this drew a clear distinction with the position of her Likud rival and winner, Benjamin Netanyahu. However, soon after winning the 2009 elections, Netanyahu delivered an address at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University that was broadcast live in Israel and across parts of the Arab world, on the topic of the Middle East peace process. He endorsed for the first time the notion of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The Israel–Jordan Treaty of Peace, signed on 1993, led to the establishment of an agreed border between the two nations, and subsequently the state of Israel has no territorial claims in the parts of the historic Land of Israel lying east of the Jordan river.
According to Palestinian historian Nur Masalha, Eretz Israel was a religious concept which was turned by Zionists into a political doctrine in order to emphasize an exclusive Jewish right of possession regardless of the Arab presence. Masalha wrote that the Zionist movement has not given up on an expansive definition of the territory, including Jordan and more, even though political pragmatism has engendered a focus on the region west of the Jordan River.
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- History of the Middle East
- History of Israel
- History of Palestine
- History of the Jews in the Land of Israel
- Greater Israel
- Holy Land
- Jewish history
- List of Jewish leaders in the Land of Israel
- Promised land
- "Exodus 6:4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners". Bible.cc. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- "Gen 15:18–21; NIV; - On that day the LORD made a covenant". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- "Library : The Liturgy and ‘Supersessionism’". Catholic Culture. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- To distinguish it from the rest of the Kingdom of Jordan which lies to the east of the Jordan River.Emma Playfair (1992). International Law and the Administration of Occupied Territories: Two Decades of Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Oxford University Press. p. 41. "On 17 December 1967, the Israeli military government issued an order stating that "the term 'Judea and Samaria region' shall be identical in meaning for all purposes . .to the term 'the West Bank Region'". This change in terminology, which has been followed in Israeli official statements since that time, reflected a historic attachment to these areas and rejection of a name that was seen as implying Jordanian sovereignty over them."
- Anita Shapira, 1992, Land and Power, ISBN 0-19-506104-7, p. ix
- Bradley Shavit Artson, 'Our Covenant with Stones: A Jewish Ecology of Earth,' in Judaism and Envirobnmental Ehics: A Reader,Lexington Books, 2001 pp.161-171,p.162
- Michael L. Satlow, Creating Judaism: History, Tradition, Practice, p.160, Columbia University Press, 2006.
- Nur Masalha, The Bible and Zionism: Invented Traditions, Archaeology and Post-Colonialism in Palestine-Israel, p.32 Zed Books, 2007.
- Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland, Verso, 2012 p.24.
- Rachel Havrelock, River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line,University of Chicago Press, 2011, p.21.
- Kol Torah, vol. 13, no. 9, Torah Academy of Bergen County, 8 November 2003
- See 6th and 7th portion commentaries by Rashi
- Stuart, Douglas K., Exodus, B&H Publishing Group, 2006, p. 549
- Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Walter A. Elwell, Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2001, p. 984
- The Land of Israel: National Home Or Land of Destiny, By Eliezer Schweid, Translated by Deborah Greniman, Published 1985 Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, ISBN 0-8386-3234-3, p.56.
- "1 Kings 11 NIV - Solomon’s Wives - King Solomon". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Jacob Milgrom, Numbers (JPS Torah Commentary; Philadelphia: JPS, 1990), 502.
- Paul R. Williamson, "Promise and Fulfilment: The Territorial Inheritance", in Philip Johnston and Peter Walker (eds.), The Land of Promise: Biblical, Theological and Contemporary Perspectives (Leicester: Apollos, 2000), 20–21.
- A history of Palestine: from the Ottoman conquest to the founding of the state of Israel, Gudrun Krämer, Princeton University Press, 2008, p. 12
- Carol Meyers, "The Early Monarchy", Chapter 5, The Oxford History of the Biblical World, ed. Michael Coogan, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 165ff. map on p. 167.
- p.xxxv, R. Yisrael Meir haKohen (Chofetz Chayim), The Concise Book of Mitzvoth. This version of the list was prepared in 1968.
- Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim, Shmita
- The Ramban's addition to the Rambam's Sefer HaMitzvot.
- Ezekiel 47:21 "You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 23 In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance," declares the Sovereign LORD.
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- Keil, Carl Friedrich; Delitzsch, Franz (1866). Biblical commentary on the Old Testament.
- Augustine, The City of God (Book XVII), Chapter II. "And it was fulfilled through David, and Solomon his son, whose kingdom was extended over the whole promised space; for they subdued all those nations, and made them tributary. And thus, under those kings, the seed of Abraham was established in the land of promise according to the flesh, that is, in the land of Canaan..."
- Solomon Zeitlin, The Jews. Race, Nation, or Religion? (Philadelphia: Dropsie College Press, 1936). Cited in, Edelheit and Edelheit, History of Zionism: A Handbook and Dictionary
- Hershel Edelheit and Abraham J. Edelheit, History of Zionism: A Handbook and Dictionary, Westview Press, 2000. p 3.
- De Lange, Nicholas, An Introduction to Judaism, Cambridge University Press (2000), p. 30. ISBN 0-521-46624-5. The term "Zionism" was derived from the word Zion,which is the other name for Jerusalem, and is associated with the Return to Zion and coined by Austrian Nathan Birnbaum, in his journal Selbstemanzipation (Self Emancipation) in 1890.
- "The First Zionist Congress and the Basel Program". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- "The World: Pursuing Peace; Netanyahu and His Party Turn Away from Greater Israel". The New York Times. 22 November 1998. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Raffaella A. Del Sarto, Israel's Contested Identity and the Mediterranean, The territorial-political axis: Eretz Israel versus Medinat Israel, p. 8
Reflecting the traditional divisions within the Zionist movement, this axis invokes two concepts, namely Eretz Israel, i.e. the biblical "Land of Israel", and Medinat Israel, i.e. the Jewish and democratic State of Israel. While the concept of Medinat Israel dominated the first decades of statehood in accordance with the aspirations of Labour Zionism, the 1967 conquest of land that was part of "biblical Israel" provided a material basis for the ascent of the concept of Eretz Israel. Expressing the perception of rightful Jewish claims on "biblical land", the construction of Jewish settlements in the conquered territories intensified after the 1977 elections, which ended the dominance of the Labour Party. Yet as the first Intifada made disturbingly visible, Israel's de facto rule over the Palestinian population created a dilemma of democracy versus Jewish majority in the long run. With the beginning of Oslo and the option of territorial compromise, the rift between supporters of Eretz Israel and Medinat Israel deepened to an unprecedented degree, the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin in November 1995 being the most dramatic evidence.
- "Zionist Organization Statement on Palestine, Paris Peace Conference, (February 3, 1919)". Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- "League of Nations Mandate for Palestine". Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 24 July 1922. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- Israel Cohen, A Short History of Zionism, p.96, London, Frederick Muller Co., 1951,
- League of Nations, Permanent Mandate Commission, Minutes of the Ninth Session (Arab Grievances), Held at Geneva from 8 to 25 June 1926
- Israel's declaration of independence says "the British Mandate over Eretz Yisrael, and the Israeli law uses the term Eretz Yisrael to denote the territory subject directly to the British Mandate law, e.g. Article 11 of the "Government and Law Ordinance 1948" issued by Israel's Provisional State Council.
- "UNITED NATIONS ''General Assembly: A/RES/181(II):29 November 1947Resolution 181 (II). Future government of Palestine'': Retrieved 24 April 2012". Domino.un.org. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: THE DECLARATION OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL: May 14, 1948: Retrieved 24 April 2012
- David Ben-Gurion, "The Call of Spirit in Israel", in State of Israel, Government Yearbook, 5712 (1951/1952), page x.
- David Ben-Gurion, "Israel among the Nations", in State of Israel, Government Year-book, 5713 (1952), page 15.
- State of Israel, "Israel, the State and the Nation" in Government Year-book, 5716 (1955), page 320.
- Likud – Platform, knesset.gov.il, retrieved 4 September 2008
- Heller, Aaron (17 February 2009), Livni: Give up parts of 'Land of Israel', Associated Press, retrieved 9 February 2010
- "Full text of Binyamin Netanyahu's Bar Ilan speech". Haaretz. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
- Keinon, Herb (14 June 2009). "Netanyahu wants demilitarized PA state". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- Nur Masalha (2007). The Bible & Zionism; Invented Traditions, Archaeology and Post-Colonialism in Israel-Palestine. Zed Books. pp. 2–6. ISBN 9781842777619.
- Masalha, loc. cit., pp. 32–38.
- Genesis 15:18–21
- In that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates; the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite."
- Exodus 23:31
- And I will set thy border from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness unto the River; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
- Numbers 34:1–15
- And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: "Command the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye come into the land of Canaan, this shall be the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan according to the borders thereof. Thus your south side shall be from the wilderness of Zin close by the side of Edom, and your south border shall begin at the end of the Salt Sea eastward; and your border shall turn about southward of the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass along to Zin; and the goings out thereof shall be southward of Kadesh-barnea; and it shall go forth to Hazar-addar, and pass along to Azmon; and the border shall turn about from Azmon unto the Brook of Egypt, and the goings out thereof shall be at the Sea. And for the western border, ye shall have the Great Sea for a border; this shall be your west border. And this shall be your north border: from the Great Sea ye shall mark out your line unto mount Hor; from mount Hor ye shall mark out a line unto the entrance to Hamath; and the goings out of the border shall be at Zedad; and the border shall go forth to Ziphron, and the goings out thereof shall be at Hazar-enan; this shall be your north border. And ye shall mark out your line for the east border from Hazar-enan to Shepham; and the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall go down, and shall strike upon the slope of the sea of Chinnereth eastward; and the border shall go down to the Jordan, and the goings out thereof shall be at the Salt Sea; this shall be your land according to the borders thereof round about." And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying: "This is the land wherein ye shall receive inheritance by lot, which the LORD hath commanded to give unto the nine tribes, and to the half-tribe; for the tribe of the children of Reuben according to their fathers' houses, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to their fathers' houses, have received, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received, their inheritance; the two tribes and the half-tribe have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan at Jericho eastward, toward the sun-rising."
- Deuteronomy 1:6–8
- The LORD our God spoke unto us in Horeb, saying: "Ye have dwelt long enough in this mountain; turn you, and take your journey, and go to the hill-country of the Amorites and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the Arabah, in the hill-country, and in the Lowland, and in the South, and by the sea-shore; the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them."
- Deuteronomy 11:24
- Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness, and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the hinder sea shall be your border.
- Joshua 1:4
- From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border.
A sequence from the Book of Ezekiel provides a vision of borders in end times of a smaller region allocated to the 12 tribes in equal divisions west of the Jordan.
- Ezekiel 47:13–20
- Thus saith the Lord GOD: "This shall be the border, whereby ye shall divide the land for inheritance according to the twelve tribes of Israel, Joseph receiving two portions. And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another, concerning which I lifted up My hand to give it unto your fathers; and this land shall fall unto you for inheritance. And this shall be the border of the land: on the north side, from the Great Sea, by the way of Hethlon, unto the entrance of Zedad; Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazer-hatticon, which is by the border of Hauran. And the border from the sea shall be Hazar-enon at the border of Damascus, and on the north northward is the border of Hamath. This is the north side. And the east side, between Hauran and Damascus and Gilead, and the land of Israel, by the Jordan, from the border unto the east sea shall ye measure. This is the east side. And the south side southward shall be from Tamar as far as the waters of Meriboth-kadesh, to the Brook, unto the Great Sea. This is the south side southward. And the west side shall be the Great Sea, from the border as far as over against the entrance of Hamath. This is the west side.
- Keith, Alexander. The Land of Israel: According to the Covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and Jacob, W. Whyte & Co, 1844.
- Schweid, Eliezer. The Land of Israel: National Home Or Land of Destiny, translated by Deborah Greniman, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1985. ISBN 0-8386-3234-3
- Sedykh, Andreĭ. This Land of Israel, Macmillan, 1967.
- Stewart, Robert Laird. The Land of Israel, Revell, 1899.
- John P. McTernan, As America Has Done to Israel, Whitaker House Publishers, 2008. ISBN 978-1-60374-038-8