Letter in The Mercury (Hobart)
Peter Boyer (“History bent to shape to fit Anzac devotion” November 7) claims Beersheba had never been a Jewish town. In fact, it was founded by Jews in biblical times, and has a Hebrew name, meaning Seven Wells. The reason it had few Jews up to 1947 is that they had been driven out in Arab rioting.
When the UN partitioned the British Mandate area into a Jewish state and an Arab state, the Jews accepted the partition, albeit reluctantly, while the Arabs, both local and in neighbouring states, refused, instead invading Israel from all sides.
While the town of Beersheba was part of the proposed Palestinian state, it was right on the border, and the Egyptian army made it their headquarters, making it a legitimate military target for Israel. However, Israel did not, as Boyer claims, expel the Arab residents – they left with the Egyptians when Israel threw out the Egyptians.
Boyer also says Israel was the result of European meddling and Holocaust guilt, but it is actually the realisation of the internationally recognised Jewish right to have a state in their ancient homeland, where they have lived for thousands of years.
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council