Review of the book
"The Yisraeli People"
By On Zayith

The Yisraeli People – Part One: The Lost Culture

462 pages


Published summer 1991
by Re-em Publishing House

In this book the author describes the ancient Yisraeli culture from Moses' era until David's era, as a fundamentally different culture from the Jewish one, the beginning of its up rise in the people of Israel he attributes to Solomon's period. The book introduces, for the first time, the ancient Yisraeli culture's outlook of being anarchic, which fundamentally denounced any form of laws and regime and succeeded to exist and prosper for over two hundred and fifty years.
The author accepts the biblical research's basic conclusions: the Torah (Pentateuch) is composed of a number of scrolls from different eras and by diversely orientated authors. According to these conclusions, descriptions of ancient Yisraeli People's history found in the Bible were usually written by authors far removed from the time of the events, and very often those descriptions aren't reliable. This conclusion prevents the historian's ability to build a reliable construction of Israel's history, as he has no authentically certified information basis apart from few archeological items of data. (chapter one).

Nevertheless the author manages to find one item of information in the book of "Shmuel (Samuel)", convinced of its credibility and, according to it, tries to build as comprehensive as possible a reconstruction of the ancient Yisraeli people's culture: it’s the Yisraelis' sense of closeness and direct bond in the ancient Yisraeli period to "Yahava (Jehovah) their God". The author assumes that if indeed the ancient Yisraeli society was based on such belief and feeling, then it must have in effect been an anarchic society in which "there would be no place, not for laws, not for courts and not for any human or lawful authority whatsoever. Such a society would have no external discipline, would have no rule and have no judge and there would also be no binding rules of social morals in such a society" (page 36). The author compares his assumption to the known details of the Yisraeli people from the books of "Judges" and "Shmuel" and reaches the conclusion that his assumption is correct (chapter two).

The author tries to find traces of this ancient and anarchic Yisraeli culture in the Bible: he begins with the analysis of the two creation stories in the opening of the book of Genesis and reaches the conclusion that the first story that climaxes in the creation of humans in God's image, appointing them over the world and God's cessation from work, represents the ancient Yisraeli belief (attributed to Moses), while the Garden of Eden story and the expulsion from it, represents the Jewish outlook (attributed to Solomon), where both those stories' orientations and their outlook are completely contradictory (chapter three).

The author continues and scans the Bible trying to screen ancient Yisraeli characteristics which survived within the Jewish Bible: idiomatic phrases, names of God, the attitude towards idols and various arts and the Yisraelis' self perception and that of Yahava their god who dwells within them (chapters four and five).

Based on his conclusion that the ancient Yisraelis believed that Yahava dwelled within them, the author checks the Tabernacle description detailed in the Bible and finds according to this description that the Tabernacle symbolizes the human body – Yahava's place of residence. The Jewish temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem, as opposed to the Tabernacle, is of prominent pagan Canaanite characteristics (chapter six).

The author discloses that the ancient Yisraeli people and probably other Hebrew nations too, used a seven lunar month year to measure time (i.e. age in the Biblical story, year counting since The Exodus from Egypt and a large portion of monarchy details are stated according to this calendar). He proves that in almost all cases where biblical chronological data contradict chronological data known from general history, interpreting the biblical year as a Hebrew year (seven lunar months) solves the contradiction. This revelation also solves the chronological problem of Mesha Stele (chapter seven).

After having clarified certain subjects in the ancient Yisraeli culture, the author turns to reconstruct the past. He describes the Yisraeli tribes' Hebrew background, how Hebrews were expelled from the land of Canaan to Egypt in Pharaoh Thutmose 3 era, how they escaped from Egypt in Moses' time and how they became a nation united in its belief of Yahava residing within it. The author describes how the Hebrews returned (now as the Tribes of Yisrael) to the land of Canaan, their father's homeland (which was mostly destroyed and abandoned) and how the land dwellers joined them (including the four local "female slave" tribes, not expelled to Egypt and also did not exit Egypt) and were integrated in their tribal organization according to the Yisraeli policy of integration. The book also shows that the "Levi tribe" (in Hebrew: the tribe of accompanied (people)) was a tribe through which small groups of people could join (accompany) the Yisraeli people (chapters eight and nine).

The author sheds new light on the culture revolution instigated by Moses within the tribes of Israel: how the anarchic tribes were able to work together. How the ancient Yisraeli society managed to live and function with no laws. Which characteristics of the Egyptian culture were rejected and denounced, and which values and symbols won honor/respect in the ancient Yisraeli culture (chapter ten).

The author shows that contrary to what is recounted in the book of Joshua, the Yisraeli national plan did not include the destruction of Canaanite minority nations, on the contrary: the Yisraeli alliance was open to absorb all dwellers of Canaan, veteran settlers and new comers, who would wish to adopt the Yisraeli culture and accept Yahava as their god (chapter eleven). With that the foundation is laid for a new description of Yisraeli history, beginning with the first "Judges" up to Samuel, who was forced, due to the Philistine conquest, to establish a new institute in Israel, the Nagid (in Hebrew: leader) institute (who was in effect in the position of defense minister). History of the first Nagids, Shaul (Saul) and David, up to Avshalom (Absalom) uprising is newly described. The author shows how an alliance of slave tribes who escaped from Egypt became a local power within approximately two hundred and fifty years (chapter twelve).

In the final chapter the author demonstrates how Shlomo (Solomon) gained control over the Yisraeli power leadership during a revolution, how he became the first king of Israel and in effect cancelled the freedom promised by Moses' revolution. How Shlomo created the basis for biblical Judaism and why he erected a complex of worship houses and stages, in Yerushalem (Jerusalem), for the main gods of the nations of his kingdom. In the center of this complex: the main temple, a king's temple, for the Yevusi (Jebusite) god of Yerushalem, Shalem, identified also as "God" or "the Owner of the Heaven" (in Hebrew: "Ba'al haShamayim"). Shlomo dares to identify those external gods with Yahava, God of Yisrael, and at that actually makes him indistinct and conceals him. The author shows how that led to the collapse of the ancient Yisraeli culture (chapter thirteen).

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