Jerusalem Today and Forever
Last Wednesday evening (Israeli time) was a very auspicious and important time: my wife and I celebrated our 40th anniversary. If you’d have met us that evening, which we spent in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), and you would have wished us congratulations after having recognized that we are married – I would have answered you: “Thanks, but where were you 40 years ago when we got married? You just noticed now??”
President Trump gave a type of gift to Israel in general – and to us for our anniversary in particular – but I say the same: “What, just now you noticed that our capital is Yerushalayim??”
Still, better late than never! Though unsure what it means in immediate, practical terms, yet words have power to them and I join those grateful in some measure for the words the U.S. has finally said, not only recognizing the reality of our capital of almost 70 years, but also reiterating that it’s been our capital 3,000 years, thus negating the attempts (typical of UNESCO et. al.) to deny the eternal connection between the Jewish nation and Jerusalem.
Perhaps life won’t change much in the city, in Israel or in the Middle East, but as Golda and Tevye, in the classic movie “Fiddler on the Roof”, sang: “It doesn’t change a thing, but even so, after 25 (should read in this case: 70, or perhaps 3,000) years, it’s nice to know” – it’s nice to know you recognize the reality.
Who is opposed to admitting that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish nation? The Arab states have weakly voiced perfunctory protests. The UN and many of the Europeans, who were always so good at hating and persecuting Jews, aren’t happy either. And then there are the “experts”. It was President Truman, good old Harry S., who famously said: “I said that an expert was a fella who was afraid to learn anything new because then he wouldn’t be an expert anymore”.
President Trump prefaced his announcement by noting that the policy of not recognizing Israel’s capital for almost 70 years, and not moving the embassy these last 22 years, with the idea that this would somehow “move the parties closer to peace” – has been a dismal failure. Indeed – all of the Western European and almost all U.S. forays of intervention into “peace-making” in the Arab-Israeli conflict have been a dismal failure. The “experts” have never brought peace to the Middle East.
It was amusing to watch CNN and other media outlets, which are routinely anti-Israel, trot out a slew of “experts” and former negotiators from the past in order to blast president Trump’s recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital. Most of them prattled on about how this would harm the “peace process” – yada, yada, yada – and how this would trigger violence in the region. And I was sitting and watching this ridiculous stuff (as if up until now the Middle East has been a pastoral oasis of peace in the troubled Earth…), I was thinking: why don’t the reporters ask the obvious and tough question. That question is: If you’re the expert and you know how to bring peace to the Middle East – how come you didn’t succeed before when it was your job? Isn’t that the basic job of good journalism – to challenge the complacent assumptions of “experts” that seem to have only failed in their area of expertise?
What will come next? One thing I know for sure: Israel should not be required to do anything in return; there should not be any quid pro quo. Asking Israel to give something in return for recognizing that Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) has been the Jewish people’s capital for 3,000 years is like the guy with the Sicilian accent asking you for money so “nuttin’ don’t happen” to your store. Israel shouldn’t have to pay extortion money or goods for the world recognizing reality.
Winston Churchill said that you should let the Jews have Jerusalem, since after all it was them that made it famous. Nobody “gave” us Jerusalem: it was ours, it was taken from us by force, we took it back by force, and we hold it by force of right and morality
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