Kamal Salibi and the "Israel from Yemen" theory

One highly tenuous theory, is by Professor Kamal Salibi's of American University in Beirut. In his 1985 book Bible Came from Arabia, he compares place names in the Bible with names in Arabia today, and concludes that Palestine had absolutely no historical Hebrew presence, and rather South West Arabia is what the Bible refers to as Israel! Moreover, Moses and Pharaoh were not in Egypt, but rather in Yemen! Egypt in the Bible is not today's Egypt, ...etc.

To bring both sides of the argument to the table, I have to mention that I received an email on April 2005 from Dr. Bernard Leeman stating the following:

I have just published "Queen of Sheba and Biblical Scholarship" (AWP, New Jersey) which concludes that Kamal Salibi's hypothesis is correct - that ancient Israel and Judah until 722 and 586 BCE were indeed in Western Arabia. Chaim Rabin's work (1951) (which Salibi didn't consult) on Ancient West Arabian concludes that there is too much Hebrew in certain South West Arabian dialects to be coincidental (in the same area that Salibi locates the Old Testament) . Also the map references, ancient legal code and other items in the Sheba-Melelik cycle of the Ethiopic (Ge'ez) Kebra Nagast support Salibi. Roger Schneider's discovery of Sabaean inscriptions near Mekele in Ethiopia not only confirms the presence there of Hebrews ca 800 BCE but also the narrative of the Kebra Nagast.

There is a lot more evidence, and Salibi should be taken very seriously, even though it means a major reassessment of faith-based history.

I emailed Dr. Leeman twice that I would be willing to publish a one page summary of his book on this site. I have not yet heard from him.



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Not likely

I can't help but feel this is revisionist history meant to influence the Palestinian/Israel conflict and completely ignores a plethora of archaeological history putting the Jews in Israel all the way back to early biblical times. Perhaps, these coincidences should be linked to the fact that there was until recently a large Jewish community presence in Yemen and other parts of the Arabian peninsula? I wouldn't conclude that that the ancestral home of the English in in America because so many US towns have names similar to England and the language is the same.

Regardless of how one feels about the current situation in Israel/Palestine, there can be no benefit of remaking history.


They are not re-making history! The original mis interpretations and those responsible long ago were the instigators of the 're-making'of history that you argue. Perhaps the thesis argued here is re-establishing the original work that was 're-made' at a later date. You have to consider all angles. This argument has much value imho and deserves to be taken seriously, regardless of the political implications. After all , the original argument has been on the table for over a century! Kamal Salibi (Prof) has merely brought forth further detailed research. His findings are indeed valuable!

1001 nights story

are you serious or you are making fun????????number one, most of rhe names you are talking about are ARAMEIC. You know what that is? it is a language used in ancient times in iraq syria and lebanon. LUBNAN btw is the ARABIC version of the name. LEBANESE never spoke arabic before the Islamic conquest, so it is not relevant. In your head is a big mess, you know nothing about history and its course and your theory is based on the analysis of ARABIC language. For your surprise the middle east contains tens of cultures and languages which are not ARABIC (SYRIAC, ASSYRIAN, ARAMEIC, HEBREW, KURDISH, BERBER, COPTIC, ANCIENT YEMENI). so get those history and linguistic books and rethink this article which is as accurate as the 1001 nights tales

correct you history

No most names are not Aramaic. Lebanese spoke Arabic while they were Christians...which is before Islam sweetheart. Arabic did not come ith Islam. The Arabs are one of the Purist race and have been all around the place. Yes The middle East people spoke many Languages but we are talking about ONE place and people.

I hope you are not one of those idealists who want to be unique and claime to be Phonecian LOL. Many Many Many races occupied Lebanon, but hat is it about the Lebanese who claime on the Phonecian gene ? You have Arab blood inyou like it or not, or if that upsets you then chose Iranian, or Mongolian...hatever suites you fancy

Lebanon Oh Lebanon

Yaani All the people should talk except those who deny their identity and origins trying to wear the costume of another nation, the French. Please read my articles on Wikipedia under the name Lebanon where I have emphasized on the Lebanese as the authentic bearers of the golden language of Arabia, the Christians in particular. Just trying to show the real value of a nation that I grew up with and that I treasure tremendously. Just keep your present era hatred against Arabs aside and think with a long nose. Have you ever asked yourself about the origin of names like Shouf, Jizzin, Barouk, Sannine, Taym, Matn, As-Safa, Sofer, Beiteddine, Saidoun, and the hundreds of names of towns in Lebanon? How come these names, including the Jabal Lubnan name, have their equivalent in Yemen? Have you ever known that there are more Christian archaeological sites in Jordan that in Palestine? Just read my discussions on Wikipedia and let me know who is more Arab than the Christians of Lebanon.

You are in shock

Aramaic is not the oldest language and people were not dum when Aramaic was spoken. All the region spoke something that History seems to tell they had no problem communicating with each other.Nowhere in history does it tell us one person or group could not communicate with another tribe or country people.

Infact there was no Lebanon but BILAD AL SHAM ( SHEM) as theire was no Israel or Palestine or Jordan. Unless you explain how these older names in Arabia came to be before the Bible then we can take it as a possibility. Remember outside the bibloe there is no evidence of any Migration of a Hebrew tribe from UR or EGYPT.Just we are discovering Gospels that contradicts a long old Biblical beleif, we are doing the same with archeology

Biblical Archaeology

To answer the NOT LIKELY comment, the modern Israeli archaeologists are honest enough to be reserved about the ancient digs. Their language is full of "perhaps" and "possibly" and "most likely" and "must be" every time there is a new discovery. Of course Palestine is old, so whehe is the Israelite connection? This honesty puts the ancient archaeological findings in question facing the Israelite character of ancient Palestine. Nonetheless, the Modern Israeli historians are more and more skeptic about Palestine as related to ancient Israel, especially when it comes to dates and dating. Even the Exodus story dating is doubtful, the identity of "THE" Pharoh responsible for the exodus is questioned by most historians and Egyptologists, and Egypt itself is doubtful for its location when compared with the Old Testament accounts. In light of these "facts" we can confortably stop looking at the Modern Israel as the reflection of the Historical Israelites. Just look at Arabia when you read the Old Testament, Judah that became Juddah on the Red Sea and Bethel that became Mecca by the name of Micah the Idol Maker.

No comparism

Comparing the relatively new American city names adopted from the Old world is no comparison to the thousands of yrs old Ancient Arabian names.Arabia did not start with Mahammad, but America started with Columbus. So we go back to square one. How did these names be overlooked by both Arabs ( who have Zero interest in History and Archaeology) and modern day Archaeologists who dig according to the Bible only.

In fact the only archaeological proof of the existence of Israel as a tribe is in Saudi, where they dwelt in the wilderness for 40 yrs, and the lazy uninterested Saudi Gov fear of the Wahabis have blocked it and banned anyone from visiting it. Their loss cause their country is a Hot bed of History.

As a Arabic speaking None Arab, i find it too much of a coincident that the names and language used in the Old test is so Arabic.