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The articles in this issue have been divided up into the following categories







Taken from The Scribe, No. 17 - January 1986

The Arabs and the Abars

It is very probable that Arabia was the home of all the Semitic races and the starting point of Semitic culture, in which case the Sumerians, the Phoenecians, the Jews, the Assyrians and the Babylonians could all be classed loosely as "Arabs". But it is more apt to class the Semitic peoples as Arabs and Abars, the Arabs being those who stuck to their homeland and stayed behind under all conditions, and the Abars being those who emigrated in search of a better environment and kept moving to look for better conditions. The present Arab-Jewish conflict is the outcome of these two contrasting strategies. It can be said of the Jews, "qui va à la chasse perd sa place" – "He who goes out hunting loses his territory". Recognising this danger the economics of the Torah, by the 50 year jubilee system, jealously tried to let the nation retain ultimate ownership of the land. I find it strange that a conqueror has to acknowledge previous titles to land. When the Arabs conquered the Middle East they claimed ownership of all land by conquest. Israel should do the same and make sure, through land taxation, that the nation cannot lose ownership of the land. The Jewish people lost their homeland in the past more because of emigration than as a result of military defeat. This pattern has now been resumed in Israel.

Arabia has been claimed as the real scene of many of the earlier episodes of the Bible, and it seems certain that the earlier Jewish authorities recognised their kinship to its inhabitants.

The tradition of Monotheism, which is the basis of Semitic culture, goes all the way back to the historical Adam (as distinct from the mythical Adam) who lived some 8000 years ago. Adam was literally the father of civilisation because he discovered the wild wheat and started agriculture that obliged mankind to live in settled communities.

Adam was a great leader and a prophet. He and his successors were very likely the authors of the first chapters of Genesis. Through Adam were established knowledge of the One God, the principle of free will, crime and punishment, man being created in God’s image, the Sabbath, man’s title to this earth, etc. Adam most probably lived in East Africa at the end of the last Ice Age and moved to Arabia when the Red Sea was still a lake.

The early episodes of the Bible were not taken by the Hebrews from the Babylonians or vice versa but were ancient traditions handed down from Adam to Noah to Abraham. The Monotheism of Adam remained alive even while Semitic nations had lapsed into idolatry. The Bible tells us that up to the time of the Tower of Babel mankind spoke one language. We can infer that they also had one religion – the religion of Adam.

This historical analysis is meant to show that Semitic nations and tribes migrated within a well defined area of the Middle East bounded by Turkey to the North and Iran to the East. That whole region does not belong exclusively to the Arabs but equally to all the peoples of the area, including the Jews.

Naim Dangoor writes:

The word ‘Arab’ derives from the Hebrew meaning ‘blend’ or ‘mix with’ (the land) vis ‘erub’. The word ‘Abar’ derives from the Hebrew word ‘to cross over’.

The ancestor who started the migratory movement for better conditions was named Eber (‘to cross over’). He was seven generations above Abraham.

Abraham is often referred to as ‘the Ibri’, in the mistaken belief that he got this title for having crossed over from Ur to Canaan.

However, the true interpretation of Abraham ‘the Ibri’ is that he was a descendent of Eber. Eber settled on the eastern coast of Arabia near present day Oman. At a recent graduating ceremony at the University of Oman, we noted that many graduates carried the surname of ‘al-Abri’ which obviously refers to a distant ancestor by that name.

Israelis must now emulate the Palestinians by risking life and limb in defence of the homeland, instead of some migrating to greener pastures at the first sign of trouble.


So who is right in the end: the Arabs who consider themselves a product of the land and feel attached to it, come what may, or the Abars who want to feel free to roam about from place to place in search of greener pastures? The human race is slowly moving in the latter direction, of which the Jews have been the fore-runners. For instance, suddenly there was a million Moslems in Britain, as a million Englishmen in Asia, a million Israelis abroad and so on. But as long as the world is divided into national territories, a people will put their survival at risk if they don’t maintain a territorial base.

Are the Jews a nation or are they religious communities? They are both a nation as well as religious communities and neither faction can tell the other what they are. A Jew who feels he is only part of a religious group cannot prevent another Jew who feels he is part of a nation.

What of the future? Where do you draw the line? If national boundaries were abolished, then America would be swamped by the Chinese and Europe would be overrun by Africans. A possible arrangement would be to remove the national barriers but introduce a system of national dividends to serve as a handicap for a number of generations for newcomers!

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