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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The mythical Arab village of "Tel ar-Rabi"

Ma'an News has an article about the violent fantasy video of Palestinian Arabs ethnically cleansing Tel Aviv of Jews. It includes this curious part:

Gaza native Muhammad Al-Amrity says he and his friend Ayman Hijazi made the film. It was inspired by a dream he had of his family that originates in Tel Ar-Rabi, which became Tel Aviv. "I tried to go back to my city in the dream."

Was there ever an Arab village named "Tel ar-Rabi" that the Jews Judaized with the imperialist name of Tel Aviv?

Here is a map of the area of Jaffa from a guidebook published in 1906 by Karl Baedeker three years before Tel Aviv was founded. (The original edition of the guidebook was published in the late 1800s, but I do not know in which edition this map was first published. The identical map can be found in the 1912 edition.)

To the northeast of Jaffa, where Tel Aviv is now, the map shows a large section of sand dunes ("sandhills") by the coast, with a section called simply "vineyards" a bit inland.  And, in fact, Jews purchased that land from the al-Jabali family - the area was known as "Karm al-Jabali," which literally means the al-Jabali vineyards (in Hebrew, Kerem Jabali) in 1905.

Needless to say, there is no mention of "Tel ar-Rabi" in this map nor in the fairly exhaustive Baedeker guidebook itself. Neither is it mentioned in an entire book written by rabid anti-Zionist Mark LeVine who tries, unsuccessfully, to prove that Tel Aviv was built on top of Arab-owned land.

The entire idea of an Arab town or village that was obliterated by Tel Aviv fits in nicely with the Arab narrative of violent Jewish colonialism, but it is simply another lie that gets promulgated in the Arab media and, from there, excites the imaginations of the anti-Israel crowd in the West.

And notice the very name of the fictional village is chosen to make it sound like Jews humiliated Arabs by naming their town Tel Aviv, a name that in fact came from the original Hebrew translation of  Herzl's Altneuland, taken from Ezekiel 3:15.