What came first? Was it the chicken, or was it the egg? The answer is not simple. In a single human being, this relies on a balance of two forces, not necessarily opposing however, influential. What helps us understand the underlying drive of a group of people is the balance between the material and the cultural world. In the case of the Israelis, it is important to note that placing these people in a particular geographical location, at a particular time in history, commands a balance of many factors. One factor drives the other. Our culture grows from our circumstances, our weather, our terrain, our level of education, and our place in history. Take note of the Israelis of today, although their history and religion are, to many, one and the same. One can see, that although they have, in the last two thousand years spent time in many lands, they are still a people whose past is influenced by political and economic events and whose future is tied ultimately to a particular place on Earth, “the land of Israel”.
To begin with, the Israelis, historically, come from the area we call the Middle East, particularly from an area known as the Levant. The area on the East Coast of the Mediterranean Sea, now known as Israel, formerly Palestine and was prehistorically known as Canaan. In a land of low fertile valleys and rocky mountains and where rain is scarce at times, the ancient people settled in areas where their sheep and or cattle would be able to graze and where the people can grow crops of wheat and various vegetables. With farming and herding of sheep and cattle, the size of various clans grew larger. The scarcity of land becomes apparent. While telling a tale over the campfire at night, the tribal elders reduce the battle between the shepherd and the farmer for land to the legend of two brothers fighting and one killing the other. Continue reading