Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
Were Palestinians Mizrahi Jews before they called themselves Palestinians?
(13 March, 2018, 26 Adar, 5778)
A good portion of Palestinian Arabs were not in Palestine but in other parts of the Muslim World. When Jews in the 1900s, and the British, after 1917, came to the land the Muslims started moving in as well. The Palestinians usually belong to extended clans. They have their own history and traditions tracing themselves back to Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Bosnia, etc. Nevertheless, some of them were in Palestine in part. These usually trace themselves back to Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Christians. Before being Christians they were pagans. Historically, the original inhabitants were descendants of Shem, son of Noah. The Canaanites came and drove them out. Then came the Hebrews and conquered the Canaanites some of whom were expelled. Others intermixed with the Israelites or were subdued by them. The Israelites consisted of 12 tribes. They divided into two sections. The northern part with 10 tribes was conquered by the Assyrians and exiled. They are the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. We believe they moved to portions of western Europe. The Assyrians then brought in other peoples from Mesopotamia and settled them in place of the 10 Tribes. The new foreign settlers accepted a form of Israelite belief that they synthesized with their former religion (2-Kings ch.17). They became known as the Samaritans. Those Israelite who had remained consisted of the Tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi alongside a refugee minority representation of the other Tribes. They became known as the Jews. The Babylonians conquered the Jews and exiled them to Babylon. Foreign peoples from round about moved in to take their place. Later the Jews began to return. Eventually the Jews took control of much of the region which was then known as Judah. Some of the pagans remained. A portion of them may also have become Jewish to some degree. These new Jews helped create Christianity. Most of them moved out when the whole of the Jews were massacred and/or expelled. Some remained. When the Arabs conquered them they became Muslims. They were not that many. More later.