15 Heaven. On their way to Israel, the
15 million Jews are living in this world today, 2.2 billion Christians, and 1.8 billion Islams. Arguably, the most persecuted religion in the history of the world is Judaism. For centuries on end, the Jewish have not only been persecuted for their religion, but scapegoated for their ways of life. The Jewish were often blamed for things they did not do. For millions of years, the Jewish were constantly suffering, due to the actions of Christians and Islams; this ultimately led to the creation of Israel, and subsequently many of the conflicts in the Middle East the we see and hear about today. One of the many events of Jewish persecution that occured is The Crusades. In 1095 CE, Pope Urban II called for a holy war, which would become the first crusade. He ordered the Christians to regain the Holy Land, where Jesus grew up and preached, for themselves. Pope Urban II told the Christians that if they walk with him to Israel, they will be forgiven for all their sins, the ones they have done and the ones that have not been done, and they would also be guaranteed entrance into Heaven. On their way to Israel, the Crusaders killed all the Jewish people who were on their path. They killed the Jews because they blamed them for killing Jesus Christ. For example when first Crusade group arrived in Cologne, Germany in 1096 they left the German Jews living there alone for one month (Jewish Virtual Library). When almost all the other Crusaders arrived, they started to kill the Jewish people. The first group of Jews that the Crusaders went after were the ones who stayed in their houses. They also locked people in temples and lit the temples on fire. However, the majority of Jews that died, was not by murder, but rather by suicide because they thought it would be better to leave their lives in the hands of God, rather than the Christians. Although many of the Jews did not make it through this Crusade, most of them did not lose their faith (Kings of Israel Note Packet).In 1391 there was a massacre after King John I of Spain died, called The Massacre of 1391. This affected the Jewish community living in Spain at the time. Many of the Jews were beaten, killed, and forced to be baptized. This was really a turning point for Jews. It showed how much faith they really had in God, even though over 4,000 Jews were killed that day. Many synagogues were destroyed and overall many were murdered. After this already terrible act occurred, fourteen new laws were passed to keep the Jews in poverty. For example, they were not allowed to sell goods, wear nice clothes, or communicate in any way to the Christians. The laws not only kept the Jews in poverty but also humiliated them. After this massacre, many Jews converted to Christianity for fear of being persecuted again (Jewish Virtual Library).These past examples of persecution led to the Jewish religion suffering the most horrific act in the past millennium which was the Holocaust. The Crusades could have possibly contributed to the Holocaust because many of the Jews who were murdered by Christians were in Germany. This could have caused the Holocaust because it might have given some of the Germans ideas like how the Jews should be killed. Like the fourteen laws from the Massacre of 1391, the Nazis created certain laws about things that Jews can and cannot do. The laws from the massacre and the laws from the Holocaust are also very similar to each other. Not only did the Crusades contribute to the Holocaust, but it also contributed to all the fighting going on in Israel, like the Massacre of 1391. Pope Urban II’s goal was to go to Jerusalem and retrieve Christ’s tomb. This could have triggered all the wars of land in the middle east today because the Jewish, Christians, and Islams all believe that Israel is their so called Holy Land. Israel and Palestine both want the land that is currently Israel’s. Jews and Christians believe that Israel is the Holy Land and want to keep it that way. The Palestines believe that since they were there first, they should take control the land. For thousands of years people have been trying to take the land away from Israel. (NY Times)The Jewish have not only died for their faith but have also showed their strength, amidst all of their persecution. They show the world every day that no matter how much torture they go through, they can still be a thriving, and strong Jewish community. Even today they are still struggling with persecution, but they continue to persevere. They may be strong, but their faith is stronger.