“Why do you care?” “What’s it to you?” Even a curt “it’s none of your business!” volleyed from the lips of a contemptuous critic can be imagined to be heard.
A city far removed from daily life in Australia, why even bother commenting on it? I am not even Jewish…
And yet, how can I not? Jerusalem has a power of its own that is difficult to resist. To some it is “just” a city but to the fertile mind, it is also a sacred muse capable of inspiring feelings that transcend borders. That is why the current turmoil afflicting it affects so deeply. In your sacred city, I imagine angels weeping; for once again, it has become the centre of conflict.
I don’t know enough about Israeli politics to comment but I do know that Karen Armstrong who wrote the book “A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths”, really hit the buzzer with that title. One City, Three Faiths: power1 vs power2 vs power3 = instability now and then.
Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to build in East Jerusalem and he seems determined to do so, it sounds like he has some local support and no doubt there are Israelis who would benefit from additional housing. But why draw a distinction there? Jerusalem has for centuries comprised of three faiths, why can’t everyone benefit from the development?
Is there any reason why a contract involving all three stakeholders in the project can’t be negotiated for and drawn up?
Why can’t the building project be held by trustees that include representatives from all three faiths? (I am not a lawyer but I believe that Jewish lawyers are among the best in the world and could shed light on these issues.) If it is not possible to create a trust, then why not market the housing project to Jewish, Palestinian and Christian authorities/investors? The houses would then be owned and administered by the three faiths together and rented out to generate an income.
Since there are three different faiths each pursuing their own goals, if there is a dispute between two of the faiths, the faith that is not involved can act as mediator. If the mediating faith becomes tempted towards corruption and there is evidence of it, they can be punished by having their share in the ownership of the housing project reduced, thereby decreasing their influence. The share of ownership should be given equally to all faiths at the beginning and increased or decreased depending on behaviour but can never be reduced to zero. In the end, either the faith with the cleanest hands will be given the greater authority to administer the housing project, or the three faiths end up cooperating and working together to ensure well deserved housing for the citizens of Jerusalem.
I don’t have the answers (but someone else reading this just might) however, I sincerely hope that during these tense and flammable times, this post does not cause any more tears to flow from the faces of angels.
Thank you for Psalm 122 which was the inspiration for this blog.
I rejoiced when they said to me,
“We are going to the House of the Lord.”
Our feet stood inside your gates, O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem built up, a city knit together,
to which tribes would make pilgrimage,
the tribes of the Lord,
-as was enjoined upon Israel-
To praise the name of the Lord.
There the thrones of judgment stood,
Thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the well-being of Jerusalem;
“May those who love you be at peace.
May there be well-being within your ramparts,
peace in your citadels.”
For the sake of my kin and friends,
I pray for your well-being;
for the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I seek your good.