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HOME > Classical Novels > On the Eve of Redemption > PALESTINE'S ROLE IN THE WORLD'S HISTORY
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 Even territories are subject to the incalculable caprice of Fate. Palestine, a small territory in Western Asia, forming the southern third of the province of Syria, excelled in natural beauty by Switzerland or the Tyrol, has nevertheless been touched by the Spirit of Humanity and has exerted a greater influence upon the development of the human mind than any other country in the world, not excepting ancient Hellas and Rome. There is hardly another land that has witnessed as great historic events as has Palestine; there is surely no other land that has seen so many invading on its soil. No other spot on the globe has so the of the great nations throughout the ages as Palestine. Today, when an army of the British Empire is fighting hard to conquer Palestine, the land of eternal mystery and miracles, it is well to remember that throughout the ages every great power has fought for the possession of the Holy Land. In the early days of our civilization Babylonians, Egyptians, Assyrians and Persians in turn tried to conquer the country. At a later time, the Greeks and the Romans made the attempt; in the middle ages the great nations of Europe were organized by the Church to Palestine from the Mohammedans. All the great conquerors in history, from Nebuzaradan and Titus to Napoleon, have commanded invading armies on Palestine soil.  
This small land of Palestine, with human blood since time immemorial, has become the holy centre of three great religions, and witnessed the birth of two great religions, Judaism and Christianity. From the religious point of view the land is as holy to Islam as it is to Christendom or Jewry. Politically, it has always been and still the goal of many a great power. The Turk holds it, the British are anxious to conquer it, the French have politico-historical claims on Syria, which includes Palestine, the Roman Church considers it its special and to possess it; the Emperor of Austria still bears the title King of Jerusalem, and the King of the Belgians, on the assumption that[19] he is an offspring of the Crusader Prince who ruled over Jerusalem for a while, asserts historic claims on the Holy Land which, however, he does not press. Palestine has seen many a change of masters and has been inhabited in turn by many peoples. But among all the peoples that have lived in Palestine there is only one, the nationhood and culture of which has grown and developed there—the Jewish people.
The Judaism originating in Palestine has become one of the driving powers in history; it continues to the human mind of the present day. Mankind bears in mind that just as in modern philosophy there is scarcely a single thought that was not already known either to the Greeks or to the Romans, so in modern social , and branches of modern political life there is scarcely an idea or thought that was not by the representatives of the ancient Jewish mind. Many a idea commonly supposed to be a product of the civilization of the 19th century is found on close examination to be the embodiment of an ancient Jewish idea born on Palestinian soil. The and sum total of Marxism is of ancient Jewish origin; Karl Marx added a modern to an ancient Jewish thought.
But Palestine has witnessed not only the birth and development of Judaism but also of Christianity. Christianity is, reduced to its original , a synthesis of Eastern and Western Aryan thought, consisting of the universalism and of ancient India and the individualism and optimism of the Greeks and Romans. Christianity is therefore not only not a continuation of Judaism, but its very , despite the fact that there is nothing in Eastern Aryan and Western Aryan thought, when looked at separately, that cannot also be found in Judaism.
The fight for Palestine by the great nations of ancient times, the origin and growth of two historic religions on Palestinian soil, the subsequent struggle for Palestine by united Christendom against the Islam and the constant attention that humanity pays to Palestine does not explain why Palestine is held sacred. Another explanation must be found why Palestine, a strip of coast land on the , has become the land of wonders, the cradle of European spiritualism.
Palestine has become the very well and centre of the spiritual life of humanity because she was so placed as to be in a position to between the Eastern and the Western Aryans and because Jewish thought, born in Palestine, the centre, was later to act as the spiritual between both wings of the Aryan race without giving up its own position and independence.
The position of the region where Judaism arose is located just between the settlements of the West and East Aryans. Just as Palestine is the geographical centre between East and West Aryans, so also does the Jewish mind born in Palestine mediate between Tibet and Greece.
The East Aryans believed in the universal, the infinite—the West Aryans in the individual, as expressed in classic . The Jewish God-concept comprises both of these extremes. The Jewish God is the highest individuality, but he is also God who has created the universe, the God of all mankind. The Biblical cosmogony shows combination of this individuality with universality. As the Biblical metaphysic between the extremes of Aryan thought, so does the Jewish mind born in Palestine hold the middle between Greek and Indian thought. The Jewish mind lacks both the cold, intellectuality of the Greek and the mystic, fantastical tendency of the Indian mind. With the Jew, however, reason is praised and knowledge highly valued, while feeling is given its due and is not . The prophet is not an individualist nor is he a universalist, but a self-sacrificing who for the love of his people suffers martyrdom, and yet a who in his heart full of love embraces all mankind.
When the two Aryan culture thoughts met in Alexandria and Rome, the Jewish thought intervened and acted as mediator between the two extremes. Of course it was not done by conscious design, but we cannot disregard the influence men like Philo exercised on the course of events. While many and causes co-operated in making the Jew the mediator between these two extremes, the main cause no doubt was the middle position occupied by Judaism. It was related to both sides and could therefore effect a .
This, to our mind, explains in the main the place of Palestine and Judaism in the world's history. The Jews, a small Asiatic people, owing to a concatenation of events and chances, have set in motion a circulation of ideas, which later on cemented other great cultures. Christianity is not, as theologians would have the world believe, a continuation of Judaism. What Judaism in the main did contribute to Christianity was the form, the architecture, and the power of its various elements. If there be any truth in the assertion that the Jews are the " middlemen," it is not because they have been for the last two thousand years the economic or political middlemen among the nations who forced them into a life, but because they, a Palestinian people, have brought about a union between worlds of thought which were arrayed against each other. By reason of this , they have impregnated other peoples with their own mind.

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