Jerusalem – a point of view
by Dalia Landau
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Nothing new. Personally I do not need confirmation for what is a known fact. However, better keep silent than acknowledge half a truth. If we as Israelis claim that we are here to stay, the Palestinians are also here to stay. They too, together with the whole Muslim world, feel connected to what Jerusalem represents for them as a Holy City. However, while for the rest of the Muslim world she is an abstract symbol, for the Palestinians, just as for us, Jerusalem is both a symbol and a living reality. East Jerusalem, with the villages surrounding it is inhabited by Palestinians. If the statement of the U.S. were presented by, at the very least, expressing the hope that East Jerusalem be the capital of Palestine, we might have seen vision and courage in that statement. Making a one sided declaration, which completely overlooks the sensitivities of one of the parties in a conflict, still the U.S. claims to be a broker for peace.
Now, unfortunately, there is yet again danger of escalating violence on the local level here in the holy city. Yet, Beyond current politics, Jerusalem is a place where civilizations have been clashing for millennia- greedily vying for possession– of what? Of Holiness?
I do not think that symbols, as important as they are for meaning and identity, are worth one drop of blood-shed–nobody’s blood. Shall we allow yet again this central symbol to become more important than human life?
Beyond right and wrong and who ‘owns’ Jerusalem and who was here first, and whose Temple Mount it is, whose Rock, in whose jurisdiction lies the ‘Foundation Stone’ of the world, this or that square centimetre of the Western Wall compound, there is The Holy One who cannot be possessed. We thirst for holiness but we cannot posses it. Yes, we can hold on to a few stones for a while…
Amidst all this, Advent is here, Hanuka is soon approaching, which is a reminder of a current which flows, a flame which always burns.. one candle and another and a third and yet another.
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