East Palestine Is a Typical Name for an American Town

Feb. 24 2023

For the past three weeks, national attention has been turned toward East Palestine (pronounced pale-STEEN), where a train carrying toxic chemicals was derailed. Some have wondered why a village of 5,000 in northeastern Ohio has a name that once referred to what is now Jordan. But, as Rafael Medoff explains, there is nothing unusual about this particular toponym:

Elsewhere in Ohio, there are towns named Hebron, Gilboa, Canaan, and Shiloh (two of them, in fact). There’s even a Sodom, which was given its name after a prohibition advocate, disappointed at the small turnout for his lecture in 1840, jokingly compared the locale to that infamous biblical center of sin.

In Texas, in addition to Palestine, there are towns named Hebbronville and Joshua. There is a Hebron in North Dakota and a Sinai in South Dakota, a Jerusalem in Arkansas, a Jericho in Vermont, a Bethlehem as well as a Nazareth in Pennsylvania, and a Zion in Maryland. Nearly every state has one or more towns named after biblical sites or individuals. Altogether, there are more than 1,000 biblically named towns from coast to coast.

Towns such as East Palestine, Ohio were established by 19th-century religious Christian settlers. They chose those names to express their spiritual attachment to the land and people of the Bible. . . . The area that became East Palestine was originally known as Mechanicsburg. . . . “Mechanicsburg” was changed in 1836 because—according to an early history of the region—“the wife of Dr. Robert Chamberlin desired a more euphonious appellation and desired it [be] called ‘Palestine,’ the quiet beauty of the little town, and the earnest, virtuous, simple life of its people suggesting to her a name recalling holy memories.”

Since there already was a town named “Palestine” in the western part of the state—likewise founded by religious Christians who wanted to infuse their town with “holy memories”—government officials, in assigning the new post office, added the prefix “East.”

Read more at JNS

More about: American Religion, Hebrew Bible, U.S history


The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship