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Showing posts from October, 2012

Are the Crusades part of the history of Israel or the history of Palestine?

Every so often, someone who edits the History of Palestine on Wikipedia notices that there is an overlap problem:  A lot of the content on the History of Palestine also exists on the History of Israel, and so that person suggests, on the History of Palestine's discussion page, that the History of Israel should really only be about Israeli history since 1948 and the rest of the content deleted.
What then happens is a chorus of agreement on the History of Palestine page, so this good natured person goes to the discussion page on the History of Israel and announces this agreement. They then invite anyone to respond - on the History of Palestine's discussion page of course - before apparently planning to enact their plans. The first time this happened I was perturbed. I looked at the History of Palestine and discovered it was really dull. It looked like a committee had written it (it has) and secondly you would find it difficult to realize that Jews had ever lived in "Palesti…

How I became one of world's most influential writers on Israeli history.

About five years ago I worked for a company who didn't have enough work for me. To fill in time I started editing Israeli history related items on Wikipedia.  At first I was editing on the Israel page but then I realized that the History of Israel had almost nothing on it. So I started filling the page in and soon found it quite addictive, ending up buying books so that I could learn more about different periods and tracing ancient Jewish history.

I found out some surprising things, for example that a massive Jewish presence continued for centuries after the destruction of the temple; that the 2000 year long Jewish dispersal was really more of a 1500 year dispersal and that during both the Jewish revolt and the later Bar Kochba revolt, the coins issued bore the title 'Israel'. I also discovered that Judean soldiers had saved the lives of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar when they were under siege in Alexandria.

Wikipedia is an incredibly powerful vehicle of education and a fir…