By Ilan Halévi
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Extra resources for A history of the Jews: Ancient and Modern
Muslim tradition relates proudly that the caliph Omar refused to pray before the Holy Sepulchre, so as not to provide Muslims with an excuse, "after his death", to construct a mosque on the site of the church-thus showing admirable tolerance. However, this alliance had been negotiated and the Christians had set a condition sine quanon for their acquiescence: that the Jews not be permitted to return to Jerusalem. And the caliph had yielded. But law, statutes, conventions, principles and verses are one thing: the actual practice of societies and of individuals in societies is another.
It seems that the major Jewish centre of Khaybar, in the north of the Hejaz, was established by refugees fleeing the massacres in Persia during the reign of Kawwaz. In any event, the presence of Jews in central and northern Arabia is attested to in several places and at several periods before the appearance of Islam, notably at Yathrib, which the Jews called, in Aramaic, Medinta, "the City", and which was to become the "City of the Prophet", Medina. In his biography of the Prophet, Mohammed Essad bey writes: Legends tell us that the Amalekites came from the North, and that their chief Yathrib, discovered a few water sources there and built a number of clay huts to which he gave his name.
The Law A History of the Jews Ancient and Modern the exercise of power, the rabbis were thus to constitute schools which were very tribally to take the name of "Houses" and which, for the most part, were also to be dynasties: sons followed fathers in officiating. The most famous rabbinical Houses in Roman times, contemporary with the birth of Christianity, were those of the two rival scholars, Hillel and Shammai. Tradition has it that they parted company on the issue of the recruitment of pupils.
A history of the Jews: Ancient and Modern by Ilan Halévi