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Army Radio instructed to call West Bank by biblical 'Judea and Samaria'

According to a report in Israel National News, the commander of Israel Army Radio, the national radio station in Israel operated by the Israel Defense Forces, has determined that all the station’s reporters should refer to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria.”  The report states the decision was made as a result of complaints made by Israel Media Watch that the radio station’s referral to the area as the “West Bank” gives the impression to listeners that the territory does not in fact belong to Israel.

Israel Army Radio is a popular mainstream station in Israel listened to by people from across the political spectrum.  It is thus significant that it is now being directed to use the same terminology used by the settler movement when invoking the Biblical, divine notion of “Greater Israel” that is completely detached from reality, diplomacy and human rights.

Even Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon refers to the area as “the West Bank” in his famous “hasbara” (PR) video explaining why the land is in fact not occupied – but I am all for calling the area “Judea and Samaria.” Since Israel looks like a theocracy and acts like a theocracy, it might as well talk like one too.




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    1. Natan Brill

      Kudos on the scoop! Only eight (8) days after it was first published in English! You certainly fill a journalistic vacuum.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Aaron

      OK, I’ll take the bait. What’s theocratic about the terms Judea and Samaria?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Mairav Zonszein

      I’m not claiming it is a scoop or breaking news. I just chose to point out this news item since it is a good example of the “zeitgeist” in Israel, the slow unraveling of rhetoric that exposes the reality on the ground.

      Reply to Comment
    4. AYLA

      it’s news to me, Mairav. Also: wow.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Amir.BK

      AARON: There’s nothing theocratic about it, the place has been called Judea and Samaria for at 2,500 consecutive years while ‘The West Bank’ has only been in use since 1948. Israelis have always used both terms and favored Judea and Samaria.
      Recently, when some GOP candidate referred to the area as Judea and Samaria some media outlets were enraged at this “Zionist biased rhetoric” making the claim that the residents of a region (i.e The Palestinian people) should determine its common name.
      In anyway, this is at best an example of politicization, theocracy has nothing to do with it.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Kibbutznik

      ” Israelis have always used both terms and favored Judea and Samaria ”

      Huh ?
      In my life the only people I know that call it Judea and Samaria are religious settlers .

      Reply to Comment
    7. AMIR.BK

      To be honest most Israelis refer to it as “Hashtachim” but that also used to include Gaza. When referring to the actual geographical region or asked for its proper name most Israelis, from my experience of living my entire life in Israel, will say “Yehuda veshomron”.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Aaron

      I kinda like “Judea and Samaria.” It’s, like, Jewish, and historical. Doesn’t mean I wanna settle there or anything. Or want other people to, either.
      I don’t see what’s so shocking about this announcement, whatever terminology you happen to prefer. I thought it’s always been the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s official policy to use those words rather than “west bank” in news reports. So now Army Radio, too. Shocking?
      And what’s the deal with the capital of Jordan? It used to be Rabat Amon, then I think the Jordanians complained back in the 1990s that “Rabat Amon” was offensive, so (if I remember correctly) Israelis started calling it Amman. Lately, they seem to have gone back to Rabat Amon; I think I heard that on the news. I like that word, too. History! But don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to conquer the East Bank or anything.

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      I don’t see many people who use the phrase suggesting that they ought to give Samaria back to like the actual Samaritans.

      Reply to Comment
    10. A

      Wow, this is really a waste of webpage-space. Judea and Samaria are HEBREW names. I use them. I also use Shchem for Nablus and Hebron for Al-Halil. I also use Edom, Gilad and Moav for the areas in Jordan. So what? For that matter, I also use ‘Tsarfat’ for france. It has nothing to do with me being religious (I’m not) or my political views.
      Lets face it, every part of this area, every city, Wadi or mountain have an Arab and a Hebrew name. I don’t need to erase my history and culture in order to accept Palestinian sovereignty over these parts of the land. I also don’t see what is so “Palestinian” in the term west bank, which implies the region being part of Jordan.
      Using Hebrew in a hebrew radio station is not a human right problem, is not a theocratic symptom and is not bad diplomacy. Go find a real problem to report, there are so many lying around..

      Reply to Comment
    11. A

      And Aristeides, go learn some history. The term Samaria preceded the Samaritans. These are actually named after the Hebrew kingdom that was demolished by the Assyrians, and its people exiled.

      Reply to Comment
    12. sh

      How does calling it Yehuda veShomron make it look like it belongs to Israel? Rabat Ammon doesn’t look like it belongs to Israel, Mitzrayim doesn’t look like it belongs to Israel, Hodu doesn’t look like it belongs to Israel, Sin doesn’t….. Bored? I’ll stop.
      But that Israel Media Watch should suddenly be worried enough that something might look as though it does not belong to Israel to have issued such an instruction is a very, very good sign.

      Reply to Comment
    13. AYLA

      A–seriously? J&S are not just the Hebrew words for the land; they’re the historical, biblical names of the land. I just said this on the fb thread, but it would be like calling Ethiopia, Cush, or the headwaters of the Tigris and the Euphrates in Iraq, Gan Eden. The political implications here are obvious, and anyone saying they aren’t in this seemingly knowledgable crowd is being disingenuous.

      Reply to Comment
    14. AYLA

      SH-hmmm. So am I wrong, here? I actually think of the land in terms of its biblical origins, but this is clearly all politics.

      Reply to Comment
    15. AMIR.BK

      AYLA: Aren’t you Israeli? Israelis call the Euphartes the “Prat” river, and the Tigris the “Hidekel” river. Like “A” said, we also call France “Tsarfat” and Spain “Sfarad”. For that purpose, Ethiopia and Germany seem to be in a minority, that is, places that have ancient Hebrew names but a more modern equivalent is preferred.
      This is very much a non-issue, I’m pretty sure that if we’ll actually review the usage of the term in GALAZ up until now we’ll find out that “Yehuda veShomron” have been used pretty much exclusively up until now, with or without the new order.
      This really has nothing to do with Theocracy.

      Reply to Comment
    16. AYLA

      @Amir–I’ve only been here a few years (though, yes, I have citizenship), and ani ba ulpan aleph ;). As someone who didn’t grow up here, I consider the Tigris to be the modern name and Hidekel to be the biblical, historical name, but if Israelis call the Tigris the Hidekel in everyday, modern geography, and the same is true for Judea / Samaria, then I stand corrected. I like the terms Judea and Sumaria. I do not like the way they are used, politically. In fact, I resent the way they are used politically.
      Still. This is a change, no? And one with clear political implications?

      Reply to Comment
    17. A

      AYLA, of course they are historical and biblical names. Language and history are entangled. These names appear in every bit of jewish history. So how will it be your way? Do you want history books to be rewritten? Do you want the Judea tribe to be called west bank tribe? Do you want king David to be ‘King of the west bank’? Do you want Rick Berman to replace Judea in his (excellent!) post with west bank? Do you want the Samaritans to rename themselves ‘west bankers’? Or do you intend to separate pre-1948 history from post 1948? Do you want kids to think Judea is an utopian place like Gan Eden?

      Reply to Comment
    18. A

      The Tigris has names in all middle eastern languages, from Hebrew (Hidekel) to Arabic (Dajla) to Turk (Dikle). Calling the English name “modern” contrasting the other “primitive” names is a bit condescending.. But I’m on inertia now, since you already changed your mind.. (-:

      Reply to Comment
    19. AYLA

      I’m with you on this one, A, whole-heartedly. But back to the news: we’re talking about how the army refers to the West Bank on Army Radio, not how history is taught in the schools. The West Bank is already not “Palestine”; now we’re exchanging the neutral term (which probably isn’t neutral either, what is around here, but, relatively) in favor of the historical name that Settlers use to justify stealing land.

      Reply to Comment
    20. AYLA

      @A–I posted only after reading your first response. Your second response speaks to my question. So, the modern hebrew names are the biblical names. In which case, see my response to Amir.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Amir.bk

      Ayla: I’m not sure whether this is even a real change. Reviewing the arutz sheva report in the original post suggests that the broadcasters did already use Judea and Samaria more frequently, moreover the chief idf radio guy clearly says that using the term The West Bank is not a mistake and shouldnt be banned.
      Hmm, much ado about nothing in my opinion. but at least some guy on facebook had another opportunity to call out israeli fascism

      Reply to Comment
    22. AYLA

      oh good–I’m thoroughly wrong about something so I can call it a day. Love the Hebrew language, exactly for this.
      @A Sorry for my tone in my initial comment. I’ve been talking to Judean-Sumarian fans over on the Anti-Normalization thread… One thing I really resent about the current, die-hard settler movement is that my association with calling the land Judea-Sumaria has become so negative.

      Reply to Comment
    23. directrob

      The English name for the West Bank is clearly West Bank. In an English text “Judea and Samaria” is not neutral. I would call it annexation language. From the article I must conclude that for at least one Israeli in Hebrew “Judea and Samaria” is not a neutral term.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Carlo

      The point made in the article is that the term “West Bank” is believed to give the impression to listeners that the territory does not in fact belong to Israel.
      Whoever it belonged to two thousand years ago, the rightful owner today is not the State of Israel.
      Israel as military occupier is certainly in possession of the territory but that doesn’t mean it’s the legal owner according to international law.
      Ownership by conquest is an outdated concept.

      Reply to Comment
    25. aristeides

      A – and Jerusalem preceded the kingdom of David. We have several different peoples who lived in the same places at different times, yet only one group is taking over it all and taking the entire inheritance.

      Reply to Comment
    26. ginger

      Israel has lost the 2 state coverstory/farce and they are being forced to go whole hog for the ‘One State This Ain’t Apartheid’ grab

      I see this as a sign of Israeli capitulation into the fight against Apartheid and a real turning point in the struggle

      Now, as per Mearsheimer, Chas Freeman, Ehud Olmert and others – the fight is on for one man/one vote from the River to the Sea

      Reply to Comment
    27. Amir.bk

      The straws some people will clutch at…

      Reply to Comment
    28. A

      Aristeides, you are absolutely right. And if the Yevus people should have lived today, I really wouldn’t mind them calling it Yevus.
      If one wants to be more precise, the geographic regions of Judaea and Samaria does not overlap the political definition of the west bank. For a matter of fact I live in the Samaria but within the green line, and likewise a large part of the Judaea mountains are within the green line. The judean desert is partially in israel and partially in the west bank. On the other side, there are parts of the west bank which are not judea or samaria, like the jordan vally or the dead sea. Geography does not overlap with political regions. So yes, when I wish to refer to the territory outside the green line I call it the west bank, but if the context is not explicitly political, I use judea or Samaria.
      BTW, what are the Arab-Palestinian names for these geographic regions? Just occurred to me I have no idea.

      Reply to Comment
    29. AYLA

      I’ve checked more sources, and believe my instincts may have been right on this after all. Meanwhile, @SH makes sophisticated points.
      @A–one reason the Army Radio should not be calling the West Bank “Judea Samaria” is exactly the point you just made: not a direct overlap. One reason…

      Reply to Comment
    30. AYLA

      @A–my Palestinian friends refer to places by the name of each place rather than by the region (ie Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem), perhaps especially when referring to questions regarding where they are from if they are Palestinian-Israeli (ie Haifa, vs. Israel). In official news, I don’t think anyone objects the term “West Bank”, for now…

      Reply to Comment
    31. A

      If you read what the radio spokesman said, he said the correct name for the region is Judea and Samaria, but a reporter is free to use the term that expresses best their intentions. Well, since it is exactly what I think, and what I naturally do when I speak, I have no problem with this rule.
      I you read the story another time, you would see that the settler organization demanded to ban the term ‘west bank’, and the radio refused..
      When Mairav report the story the way she did, it looks like she’s trying to fish some ‘good’ post to add to the how-Israel-becomes-fascist-and-fundamentalist stream.

      Reply to Comment
    32. A

      I looked it up a bit, and it seems that in Palestinian geography the country mountains are divided to the Al-Jalil in the north (HaGaleel in Hebrew), The Naqeb in the south (HaNegev), and the middle mountain chain in the middle which include The Carmel, Samaria mountains and Judea mountains. The area of Judea and Samaria is further divided into Nablus mountains, Jerusalem mountains and Hebron mountains.
      If anyone knows otherwise, please tell.

      Reply to Comment
    33. A

      Interesting thing, the term “West bank” was introduced by Jordan to stress the fact that it is part of their kingdom (deliberately discarding the term Palestine) . In the same manner, the extreme right in Israel (following the historical Beitar movement) call Jordan the “east bank” to stress it is a part of what should be Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Hostage

      Re: And Aristeides, go learn some history. The term Samaria preceded the Samaritans. These are actually named after the Hebrew kingdom that was demolished by the Assyrians, and its people exiled.

      Why don’t you go look at the recent DNA studies of the Palestinian Samaritans and drop your Jewish mythology.

      Reply to Comment
    35. A

      Hostage, you are right. It is Jewish mythology. The Samaritans themselves claim they belong to be actual descendent of Israeli tribes.

      I’ve looked at DNA studies as you suggested, and the most recent I found is Shen et. al 2004, which concluded there is a close relation between Samaritans and Jews, and Samaritans and Iraqui. They speculate that is a result of a mixture of both myths, i.e. the Samaritans are probably related to the Assyrians (originated in Iraq) and the Israeli who were left in the country after the Assyrian conquest. The study claim there is low relation between Samaritans and Palestinians.
      Moreover, in a different study (I didnt find the original paper, so it is hearsay), it is claimed that actually many inhabitants of Nablus are Samaritans who converted to Islam out of fear.
      Which DNA study did YOU mean?
      (The english wikipedia page on the Samaritans is an excellent source. Thank you Hostage for making me read it..)
      Of coarse, this has nothing to do with the topic of this thread..

      Reply to Comment
    36. aristeides

      Hostage – what “Palestinian mythology?” No one calls the Samaritans Palestinians.

      The point is that the name “Samaria” is being used as if it confered some title to the region. The northern Hebrew kingdom with its capital in Shomron only lasted as a sovereign state for about 150 years. Many different peoples, including the Samaritans, have lived in the region and could all be said to have a claim to it on that basis.

      The choice of the name is a political, not a historical act.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Umm Einav

      Mairav, if I’m not mistaken, Reshet B reporters always use the term “Judea and Samaria”! What’s more interesting is why now does the Army Radio order this terminology?

      Reply to Comment
    38. Yoni

      There is nothing ‘theocratic’ about Yehuda ve-Shomron. It’s their (joint) historical Hebrew name(s). Only ignorant Israel-haters, with no grasp of Jewish history, can think otherwise.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Yoni

      Carlo, I think you will find that Israel’s title is better than anybody else’s.

      Reply to Comment
    40. A

      The region was named in Hebrew after the kingdom which was named after the capital which was named after Shemer, the guy who sold the ground to the King of Israel. Shomron is Samaria is Sebastia. The name has a longer history then its political load.
      As Aristeides said, every bit of land here knew so many peoples, so many rulers and so many names, that history is irrelevant for the sake of the conflict.
      I will continue to call it Shomron if you don’t mind, and I hope I will have the chance in my lifetime to visit the ancient city remains, and walk the magnificent landscapes, after stamping my passport in the border.

      Reply to Comment
    41. Freddy Terranean

      Here’s an 1883 map published by “Letts, Son & Co.
      London”, of “Ancient Palestine” showing Samaria and Judea: http://goo.gl/TZyQO

      Here’s an 1878 map from a different publisher, “O.W. Gray & Son, Philadelphia”, on the same mapping website: http://goo.gl/8EF0I. This then-current map also shows Samaria and Judea. Those are just the names of the places. The newer term “West Bank” just isn’t one of the traditional names.

      You may have to adjust the map tools to see the whole thing on your screen, they have their own display system that takes a few second before the map appears.

      The first one as a clickable link.
      The second one as a another clickable link.
      Can I do that?

      Reply to Comment
    42. Dannecker

      I call jerusalem Al Quds and I call israel Palestine

      Reply to Comment
    43. Piotr Berman

      “There’s nothing theocratic about it, the place has been called Judea and Samaria for at 2,500 consecutive years”

      If this is indeed correct name than perhaps Palestinians should propose a swap: Judea and Samaria, the entirety of Hebrew kingdoms, to Israel, and what was pre-1967 Israel, to Palestinians?

      Reply to Comment
    44. borg

      Hebrew kingdoms extended from Tyre, sometimes included Damascus, and sometimes bordered the Euphrates River, as well as extending to El Arish. Perhaps Mr Berman would like to trade his abode for Kievan Rus

      Reply to Comment
    45. AMIR.BK

      The kneejerk reaction by some posters here is astounding. I never said there was nothing “political” about this order (although I did suggest that according to the actual source article provided in the original article it seems like the original article misrepresents the source), I said there was nothing “theocratical” about this.

      Reply to Comment
    46. Sheryl

      If you can stand a comment from a US Jew who used to do archaeology in Israel, we understood the word ‘Palestine’ to be descended from the word ‘Phillistia’. I worked at Tel Ashdod, where we found evidence of the language of the Phillistines. They were Mycenean Greeks. So should the ‘West Bank’ be called ‘Mycenea?’

      Reply to Comment
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