Jerusalem, if I forget you… Let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do. From modern songs to ancient texts and prayers, this has been the calling cry of the Jewish people for three thousand years. Jerusalem is not just a piece of land. It is the heart and soul of the Jewish people – our life blood – that brings reason and purpose for being Jewish. To forget Jerusalem is to be lost without faith, without religion and without history.
Jerusalem is the right hand of the Jewish people — it is our crown and seat of our ancient kingdom.
Jewish people fully accept that Jerusalem is the living heart of Christianity and Islam as well. We respect and accept the rights of all religions and cultures to worship and visit their religious shrines; and as a matter of Israeli policy, all faiths are fully protected. Everyone should be welcomed in Jerusalem – it is the living and breathing heart of humanity.
Unfortunately, the feeling does not seem to be mutual. While Jews are accepting of a shared and compassionate history, the Palestinians have attempted to delegitimize Jewish claims to our ancient temples. Through various UN and UNESCO resolutions – including propagation of false narratives in the media – they continuously call into question Jewish claims to the ancient city.
This is not a way to advance peace. The first step to peaceful co-existence is to accept the legitimacy of others – to demonstrate respect and understanding. By resorting to violence and declarations of war and an “intifada”, the Palestinians and their allies (even here in Canada) are sowing hatred and divisiveness. The international community’s lack of condemnation (including Canada) over the so-called Palestinian “Days of Rage” (a call to violence) is unacceptable.
Where in civil society is violence acceptable in solving disputes and bringing all parties back to the negotiating table? Yet, violence is fully acceptable when it comes to Palestinians exercising it against the Jews.
Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people. Period. It does not take a move of an embassy to make this a truth or a reality. It’s a fact on the ground. Israel’s parliament is situated proudly in Jerusalem as are the residences of the Prime Minister and President of Israel. Israel’s primary institutions lead the country from Jerusalem, including the Supreme Court. Every foreign official – from presidents to prime ministers to foreign ministers and diplomats – visit Jerusalem and meet with Israeli leaders.
Most Jews that I know want to see two states living side by side in peace. Israel has extended an olive branch to the Palestinian people countless times – however the feeling was never reciprocated. To make peace, Palestinians must give cause and legitimacy to their neighbours. Unfortunately, by setting the world on fire over an embassy move to its rightful place, they are missing yet another opportunity to congratulate Israel and drive toward an immediate peace agreement.
An embassy move, calls for violence, or international condemnations will not distract from the truth – Jerusalem is the ancient seat of the Jewish people. Is there any wonder why for more than two thousand years we have prayed three times daily toward Jerusalem from any place on earth?