Switch to Forum Live View I guess this shows how serious people are about self identification, how we all wish to...
|1 year ago :: Apr 14, 2012 - 4:42PM #1|
I guess this shows how serious people are about self identification, how we all wish to recognized for who and what we consider ourselves to be and how all of our views as to who we are shape our world view. Or, I am reading too much into a nice little article.
‘Don’t call us Arabs’
04/05/2012 13:40 By AVIVA BAR-AM
The Maronites in Gush Halav are loyal to the Jewish state. They also offer guided tours of their fascinating village.
. . .
Within minutes of meeting our host, Shady Khalloul, I learned how mistaken I had been. Most of the people who live in Gush Halav are Maronites: Christians who have been followers of a hermit known as Mar Maroun since the end of the fourth century. They are most definitely not Arabs, stressed Khalloul, who asked me never again to refer to Gush Halav as an Arab village.
Like Father Abraham, he told me, the Maronites originated in Aram (an enormous area stretching from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean Sea) and dispersed throughout the Middle East. When the Arabs swooped into the region early in the seventh century, they tried to force Islam on the Aramaic population in general and the Maronites in particular. Yet despite immense pressure, the Maronites, like the Jews, refused to abandon their faith.
Since then Aramaic Maronites have been continually persecuted by the Arabs. Most of the area’s Maronites eventually moved for safety into the Lebanese mountains, where they tilled the rocky hills. Thousands were killed in a bloodbath that took place in the mountains in 1860.
. . .
CONSIDERING THE long-term Jewish presence in Gush Halav, it is not surprising that it sustained at least two synagogues. The ruins of one were incorporated into the foundations of a Greek Orthodox church perched at the very top of Gush Halav. The other was right on our path, on the slopes inside an olive grove.
We found the synagogue, which functioned from the fourth century to the sixth, very similar to another located on Mount Arbel. Khalloul pointed out the sculpted eagle on its lintel, a decoration found all over synagogues in the Galilee and Golan Heights, and a column with barely decipherable letters that read, in Aramaic: “Yosa Ben-Nahum made this.
May he be blessed.”
. . .
During the summer Gush Halav will be holding a festival with Aramean music, food, tours and all kinds of goodies. For information about the festival, visiting the village, staying overnight, or getting a guided tour see www.aramaic-center.com, write to Shady Khalloul at aram.maronite.center@ gmail.com or call him at 054-753- 1785.