Likely "exoduses" and where will the Hays go from the South Caucasus?

17.10.23 19:55

According to many analysts, the current situation in the Middle East is diminishing the chances of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians in the narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Israel's bombardment of Gaza and the mass deaths of women and children under the rubble of their homes only increase the hatred and intransigence of the survivors.


Therefore, if the military escalation with civilian casualties is not urgently stopped, the question may already be - whowill be left in the Holy Land in the end? If peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians is impossible, there are two ways out of the conflict. Either Israel will finally force the Palestinians out of their homeland, or the other way round, sooner or later the Israelis will be forced into a "new exodus".


It seems that the prospects of the latter scenario were initially recognised by many Israelis and certain global geopolitical forces. They began to prepare in advance a "place for a new exodus", a new "promised land". Its history echoes the history of the Jewish people.


We are talking about present-day Ukraine, especially its southern part, which historically belonged to the state of the Khazar Khaganate created by the Turks, where a significant number of Jews once settled and part of the elite of which also converted to Judaism and later, after the disappearance of this state, joined the Jewish people.


Few people are aware of the fact that the possibility of a "revival of the Khazar Kaganate" has already existed to some extent in history on this territory. We are talking about such a state as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which included most of Ukraine. In the 16th and early 17th centuries, the majority of Europe's Jews settled here, to whom the Polish kings granted significant rights and privileges. According to some scholars, at one time the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (today's Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Lithuania) was home to around 80 per cent of the world's Jews. At the same time, local magnates and nobles leased their land holdings to Jews, which also led to a sharp increase in the economic role of the Jewish community.


In the end, however, the Jewish community in Ukraine was hit by the Khmelnitsky Uprising of the Orthodox Ukrainian Cossacks, led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The Soviet historiography on the motives of this uprising focuses on the alleged "desire to reunite the population of Ukraine with Russia", which in principle does not correspond to the historical truth. Nor does it explain the cruelty of the rebels towards the Jewish population.


To understand Khmelnytshina's reasons, at that time the fate of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the peoples who inhabited it was influenced by the policy of the Roman popes and the Jesuit order of total imposition of Catholicism and subordination of the Orthodox Christians, who dominated in the eastern regions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, to the Roman pope. The result was the creation of the Brest Church Union in 1596 and the policy of effectively banning the Orthodox Church that did not support the Union.


Orthodoxy in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was effectively "outlawed". Orthodox churches were in fact deprived of the status of holy places and leased to the same Jews. A humiliating practice developed for the Orthodox when, in order to hold a service in a church, they had to go to a Jewish landlord, who would only open the church for a fee and could "allow" a service to be held there or not.


Applying the then situation in Ukraine to the current situation of the Palestinians, it becomes clear why the status of their main holy site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is so important to the Palestinian Muslims, and what unpredictable consequences may result from the plans of Israeli radicals to take this mosque away from the Muslims in order to build the same Third Temple. The violation of people's religious feelings has always had the most unpredictable and tragic consequences.


The rights of the Orthodox Ukrainian Cossacks in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were also violated. This situation was the reason for Bohdan Khmelnytsky's uprising, which began in 1648, in which Bohdan Khmelnytsky himself initially relied not on the Moscow Tsar but on the Ottoman Empire, and his first victories were won thanks to the Crimean Tatars led by Tugai Bey.


 The rebels vented their anger at religious humiliation not only on the Catholic clergy but also on the Jewish population. In terms of the number of deaths - between 200 and 300 thousand people - Khmelnytshina was considered the worst catastrophe in the history of the Jewish people before the Nazi Holocaust.


The defeat of the Cossack-Tatar troops by the Polish army at Berestechok in 1651 and the conclusion of peace between the Crimean Khan and the Polish king forced Khmelnytsky to seek new patrons - this time in Moscow. What followed was what later Soviet historiography called the reunification of Ukraine with Russia (though at that time not the whole country, but the Left Bank and Kiev).


Either way, Khmelnytschina dealt the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth a blow from which it never recovered.  Later, after the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the end of the 18th century, the Russian Empire incorporated most of Ukraine, together with the Jewish population living there, which quickly recovered from Khmelnitchena and absolutely dominated the cities and "localities" (Ukrainians lived mainly in villages).


The Tsarist government forbade the Jews of Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Lithuania to move to the eastern lands of the state, organising the so-called "sedentary line".  At the same time, in the days of the Russian Empire, some Jewish leaders were inclined to believe that it was more appropriate for their people to "stick" to the lands of Ukraine (including Crimea) and build their future there.


But then the Zionist movement, which aimed to resettle in Palestine and revive the Jewish state there, became more in demand.


The resettlement began when Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire, but intensified after its collapse as a result of the First World War and the transition to British control (which for a long time relied on Arab nationalism and slowed the resettlement of Jews in Palestine). It is true that this process of "repatriation" to Palestine did not include "Soviet" Jews at the time.


The tragedy of the Holocaust during the Second World War played a dual role. On the one hand, its tragedy overshadowed the negative memory of Khmelnytschyna among Jews (and it was this memory that influenced the fact that many Jews did not plan a future for their people in the Ukrainian lands). On the other hand, the memory of the recent horrors of the Holocaust encouraged surviving European Jews to move to the Middle East, away from "terrible Europe". Especially since the creation of the state of Israel in 1947-48 was supported not only by the USA, but initially by Stalin's USSR.


 Interestingly, at the same time, the same USSR carried out the so-called "repatriation" of Armenians to the Armenian SSR, for which over 150,000 indigenous Azerbaijanis were illegally deported. It also had "geopolitical ambitions" in the form of plans to divide eastern Turkey and transfer territories to the Armenian SSR.


Later, having failed to gain the desired control over Israel and its policies, the USSR began to support the Arabs and "prevent" its Jewish citizens from moving to their "historic homeland". But with the weakening and collapse of the USSR, it was "Soviet" Jews, mostly with "roots" in Ukraine, who formed the basis of the repatriation.


Current events in the Middle East may make Israelis think of Ukraine again. Especially since the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has among its consequences the sharp "depopulation" of the territories of this country, especially the southern regions, as well as the "uncertain status" of the "pro-Russian" inhabitants of Crimea who supported the occupation. They will most probably have to leave this territory, as will the Karabakh Hayes, after the restoration of Ukraine's jurisdiction over this territory.


There is another very important aspect - Israel itself is an insufficient territory in terms of land and water resources. Unlike Ukraine, which has 25% of the world's black soil and huge agricultural potential. Considering that the role of food security in the world will only increase in the future, the "exodus" to such a fertile land can be justified from the point of view of the future survival of the people.


The possible prospect of a "new exodus" of Israelis should also raise questions about the future of the citizens of another "resettlement" state in foreign territory - the Republic of Armenia. Especially since the Hayan nationalists pursued a much more brutal and intransigent policy towards their neighbours and the indigenous population of the territory where their state was established.


In the State of Israel itself, Arabs make up a quarter of the citizens, and millions of Arabs live in Gaza and the West Bank. Until the recent attacks on Gaza, no one had destroyed their mosques and churches (Palestinian Christians). Until the hope for further peaceful coexistence of the two peoples - Jews and Arabs - has completely disappeared. But at the same time, reasonable citizens of Israel are already looking for a "new homeland", realising that there is a possibility that "someone" will have to give up the  land.


Are there many Azerbaijani citizens and residents in the Republic of Armenia? Not millions, like the Arabs in Israel, but just people? Are there many functioning mosques in the historical Azerbaijani Iravan? What are the Armenian authorities doing for the return of the illegally expelled Azerbaijani refugees and the reconciliation of the two peoples? Nothing is being done! Nothing is being done to open communications and make peace with Azerbaijan.


If the Hay nationalists persist in their aggression against their neighbours, the question of a possible "exodus" before the Hay may arise at any moment. In this case, plans to move to occupied Georgian Abkhazia can be discarded immediately, as no one in the world will recognise this occupation and separatist "independence", as well as the illegal settlement of this Georgian land. In Russia, after Yerevan's betrayal of Moscow, Hayes is not to be expected either. That leaves France. On its territory it is time for Khayyas to look for a place to settle.....



Varden Tsulukidze

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