Monday, November 22, 2010

Jerusalem: The Longest Love Affair in History

Nadene Goldfoot

Jerusalem was the ancient capital of Israel where Jews have been living for more than 3,000 years when King David made it his capital. Even since the 1840's Jews make up the largest group of people living there. To Jews, the entire city is sacred. 7,120 Jews, 5,000 Muslims and 3,390 Christians were living in Jerusalem in 1844. By 1990 we find 378,200 Jews, 131,800 Muslims and 14,400 Christians living in Jerusalem.

It has never acted as the capital under Muslim domination nor was it their cultural center. Muslims have their holy places being Mecca or Medina. Jerusalem has no major Islamic significance except for the Dome of the Rock, where Muhammed rose in the air on his horse, so the story goes.

"The city has never stopped being the center of Jewish life. hope and yearning, " stated Israeli President Chaim Herzog. Jews have prayed to Jerusalem three times a day for all these years and have said, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning." Jerusalem has meant little to others, but to Jews, who have loved her the most, have remained constant in that love throughout the centuries of their dispersion. It is the longest, deepest love affair in history.

No other city has had this dominant role in the history, culture, religion and consciousness of a people as has Jerusalem in the life of Jewry and Judaism. Though in exile, Jerusalem remained alive in the hearts of Jews everywhere as their historic focal point. It is the symbol not only of ancient glory, spiritual fulfillment but also of modern renewal. Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the Jewish people. "If you want one simple word to to symbolize all of Jewish history, that word would be "Jerusalem." said Mayor Teddy Kollek.

Israel was reborn on May 15, 1948. From 1948 to 1967 Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan. Israel made their part, western Jerusalem, its capital once again. Jordan occupied the eastern section. The problem was that Jordan remained in a state of war with Israel as all the surrounding Arab countries were, and the city became somewhat as two armed camps with concrete walls and bunkers, barbed-wire fences, minefields and other military barriers.

All the Arab armies attacked Israel in 1967, even starting before that with attacks in 65. Aided by Russia, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and even Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and all other Arabs signed on to help them out against Israel. "We shall enter Israel with its soil saturated in blood," Nasser of Egypt boldly stated. He continued saying "We aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The Arabs national aim was the eradication of Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence." Syria's Defense Minister Hafez Assad echoed in agreement. Iraq's President Abdur Rahman Aref also threatened: "The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear-to wipe Israel off the map.

250,000 Arabs, more than 2,000 tanks and 700 aircraft ringed Israel.

Such brave enemies. Israel won the battle though surrounded by these bullies in six days. What Israel was forced to do, because not only were they surrounded, but the Gulf of Aqaba had been closed to Israel, was to do a preemptive strike against Egypt on June 5th. A cease-fire was invoked on June 10th.

Yet after all this, the international community, so sympathetic for the little country of Israel, refuses to accept all of Jerusalem as its capital. It's a wonder they hadn't actually signed on to help the Arabs. In this refusal, they have.

Now we have the experience of "Palestinians" demanding to own Eastern Jerusalem and want it for their future capital. They want it because it is in Israel's hands. This is the only reason. They covet Israel's property in their flaming continued desire to exterminate Israel. They refuse to come to the peace table to talk without this condition. They want no building plans of Israel to happen in East Jerusalem. Israel has never exiled the Arabs living in East Jerusalem or anywhere in Israel. However, the Arabs are not as magnaminous. They will not even consider talking about peace conditions without this pre-condition.

We await Israel's cabinet decision. Are they going to agree to this after giving them a ten month period of coming to the table to talk about peace where Israel had to stop all building in Judea and Samaria? It's going to be a close call, but to me, it's an exercise of futility. We should not stop our plans in Jerusalem. That is not up for sale. I hope the readers now understand why.

Reference: Myths and Facts by Mitchell G. Bard, Joel Himelfarb p. 220-221

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