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Date: Sun 9 May 1999
Subject: VIPAC - Support Israel
This week the Jewish People celebrate the 32nd anniversary ofthe
reunification of the City of Jerusalem. But more than the reunification
we celebratre the first time in almost two thousand years that we can
pray at the holiest site of our religion in complete freedom. From 1948
until 1967 while the Western Wall of the Temple was in Arab hands no
Jews were permitted to see the Wall let alone pray before it. For the
centuries before access to the Wall was restricted by both the Arab and
Christian rulers. Under Jewish rule all holy sites in the city of
Jerusalem are acessible to all.
The current discussion concerning the possibility of granting limited
sovereignty to the Arabs over part of Jerusalem will put all these
freedoms into jeopardy. The Palestinian Arabs have been used as pawns in
a power struggle of their rich bretheren for years. It is time to put an
end to all this talk. THe security of the World and the freedom of
religion is at stake. Jerusalem must remain totally in Israeli control.
It was not in 1948 that the people of Israel first declared Jerusalem as
its capital. It was 2817 years earlier in 869 BCE. Jerusalem has been
Israel's capital for almost half the time the world exists. And will be
G-d willing forever.
THe following essay was written in 1948. It bears repeating in our day as
a reminder of how the World has treated the Jews and its People over
time- especially in our century. This letter first appeared as an
editorial in the summer of '69 in the Times of Israel (long defunct):
A Letter to the World from
by Eliezer Ben Yisrael
I am not a creature from another planet as you seem to
believe. I am a Jerusalemite - like yourselves a man
of flesh and blood. I am a citizen of my city an
integral part of my people.
I have a few things to get off my chest. Because I am
not a diplomat I do not have to mince words. I do not
have to please you or even persuade you. I owe you
nothing. You did not build this city; you did not live
in it; you did not defend it when they came to destroy
it. And we will be damned if we will let you take it
There was a Jerusalem before there was a New York. When
Berlin Moscow London and Paris were miasmal forest
and swamp there was a thriving Jewish community here.
It gave something to the world which you nations have
rejected ever since you established yourselves-a humane
Here the prophets walked their words flashing like
forked lightning. Here a people who wanted nothing more
than to be left alone fought off waves of heathen
would-be conquerors bled and died on the battlements
hurled themselves into the flames of their burning
Temple rather than surrender and when finally
overwhelmed by sheer numbers and led away into
captivity swore that before they forgot Jerusalem
they would see their tongues cleave to their palates
their right arms wither.
For two pain-filled millennia while we were your
unwelcome guests we prayed daily to return to this
city. Three times a day we petitioned the Almighty:
Gather us from the four corners of the world bring us
upright to our land; return in mercy to Jerusalem Thy
city and dwell in it as Thou promised." On every Yom
Kippur and Passover we fervently voiced the hope that
next year would find us in Jerusalem.
Your inquisitions pogroms expulsions the ghettos
into which you jammed us your forced baptisms your
quota systems your genteel anti-Semitism and the
final unspeakable horror the holocaust (and worse
your terrifying disinterest in it)- all these have not
broken us. They may have sapped what little moral
strength you still possessed but they forged us into
steel. Do you think that you can break us now after
all we have been through? Do you really believe that
after Dachau and Auschwitz we are frightened by your
threats of blockades and sanctions? We have been to
Hell and back- a Hell of your making. What more could
you possibly have in your arsenal that could scare us?
I have watched this city bombarded twice by nations
calling themselves civilized. In 1948 while you looked
on apathetically I saw women and children blown to
smithereens after we agreed to your request to inter-
nationalize the city. It was a deadly combination that
did the job. British officers Arab gunners and
American made cannons. And then the savage sacking of
the Old City the willful slaughter the wanton
destruction of every synagogue and religious school;
the desecration of Jewish cemeteries; the sale by a
ghoulish government of tombstones for building
materials for poultry runs army camps- even latrines.
And you never said a word.
You never breathed the slightest protest when the
Jordanians shut off the holiest of our places the
Western Wall in violation of the pledges they had made
after the war- a war they waged incidentally against
the decision of the UN. Not a murmur came from you
whenever the legionnaires in their spiked helmets
casually opened fire upon our citizens from behind the
Your hearts bled when Berlin came under siege. You
rushed your airlift "to save the gallant Berliners".
But you did not send one ounce of food when Jews
starved in besieged Jerusalem. You thundered against
the wall which the East Germans ran through the middle
of the German capital- but not one peep out of you
about that other wall the one that tore through the
heart of Jerusalem.
And when that same thing happened 20 years later and
the Arabs unleashed a savage unprovoked bombardment of
the Holy City again did any of you do anything?
The only time you came to life was when the city was
at last reunited. Then you wrung your hands and spoke
loftily of "justice" and need for the "Christian"
quality of turning the other cheek.
The truth is-and you know it deep inside your gut- you
would prefer the city to be destroyed rather than have
it governed by Jews. No matter how diplomatically you
phrase it the age old prejudices seep out of every
If our return to the city has tied your theology in
knots perhaps you had better reexamine your
catechisms. After what we have been through we are not
passively going to accommodate ourselves to the twisted
idea that we are to suffer eternal homelessness until
we accept your savior.
For the first time since the year 70 there is now
complete religious freedom for all in Jerusalem. For
the first time since the Romans put a torch to the
Temple everyone has equal rights. (You prefer to have
some more equal than others.) We loathe the sword - but
it was you who forced us to take it up. We crave peace -
but we are not going back to the peace of 1948 as you
would like us to.
We are home. It has a lovely sound for a nation you
have willed to wander over the face of the globe. We
are not leaving. We are redeeming the pledge made by
our forefathers: Jerusalem is being rebuilt. "Next
year" and the year after and after and after until
the end of time- "in Jerusalem!"
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