A Letter to the World from Jerusalem: 2019

On November 24, 2006 at the age of 92, Stanley Goldfoot z’l passed away, but his memory and his words are truly for a blessing.  His dream was to establish a Zionist English newspaper in Israel, called “The Times of Israel”.  In his first issue he wrote words that are as relevant today as when they were first written – perhaps even more so.  I have added the parenthesis portions:

     “I am a Jerusalemite – like yourselves, a man of flesh and blood.  I am a citizen of my city, an integral part of the Jewish 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 do not live in it: you did not defend it when the Arabs came to destroy it.  And we will be damned if we let you try to take it away.

There was a Jerusalem before there was a New York.  When Berlin, Moscow, London and Paris were nothing more than forest and swamp, there was a thriving Jewish community here.  It gave something to the world, which your nations have rejected ever since you established yourselves – a humane moral code.

Here the prophets walked, their words flashing like forked lightening. 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 temples 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, and their right arm wither.

For two pain-filled millennia, while we were your unwelcome guests, we prayed 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 us in mercy to Jerusalem, Thy city, and dwell in it as Thou promised…Next year in Jerusalem.”

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, our 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 really believe that after Dachau and Auschwitz we are frightened by your threats of blockades and other obscene U.N. 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, this after we had agreed to your request to internationalize the city.  It was a deadly combination that did the job:  British officers, Arab gunners and American-made cannons.  [During Oslo and the Second intifada, I have seen Jews again blown to bits. Sacrifices for peace?  How little has changed].  For too long we have been your victims, your moral vision is still non-existent.

And in 1948 the savage sacking of the Old city:  the willful slaughter, the wanton destruction of every synagogue and religious school; the destruction of Jewish cemeteries; the sale by a ghoulish Jordanian 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 Jordanians shut off the holiest of holy places, the Western Wall, in violation of pledges they made after the war – a war they waged, incidentally, against a decision of the UN.  Not a murmur came from you whenever the legionaries in the spiked helmets casually opened fire upon our citizens, from behind the walls. 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 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 the same thing happened 19 years later (in 1967), and the Arabs again unleashed a savage, unprovoked bombardment of the Holy City, did any of you do anything?  The only time you came to life was when the city was at last liberated by a Jewish army and reunited.  Then you wrung your hands and spoke loftily of “justice”.

The truth is – and you know it deep inside your gut – you would prefer the city destroyed rather than have it governed by Jews.  No matter how diplomatically you phrase it, the age-old prejudices seep out of every word.  If our return to Jerusalem has tied your theology in knots; perhaps you had better re-examine you 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 demands. 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 the torch to Temple, everyone has equal rights.  We loathe the sword – but we are not going back to the peace of 1948, [or the borders of 1967] as you would like us to.

[Land for peace was land for the elimination of Israel. It was a lie and you knew it. And sadly Israel paid for the lie with over 1400 dead Jews. First Arafat , and now a Holocaust denier, Abbas,  a peace partner who while eulogizing terrorists, inspires others to murder Jews. These last 25 years have been land for terror. Rabin z’l called it the peace of the brave. I call it the peace of the depraved. There was only a peace of the fools, the friers, the suckers. Weakness encouraged slaughter. but today…]

We are at home.  It has a lovely sound for a nation you had willed to wander for 2,000 years over the face of the globe, and we are not leaving … for it was just 45 years ago on Yom Kippur, that again you gleefully anticipated our demise.  Sorry to again disappoint you. We have redeemed the pledge made by our forefathers:  Jerusalem, the Jerusalem of the Jewish people, is being rebuilt.  All of Jerusalem, east and west, north and south, our Jerusalem.  We no longer lament, “Next year” in Jerusalem. We are here – it is this year, and the year after, and the year after, until the end of time.”

And now  to my fellow American Jews, as we sit in exile…diaspora is too kind a word… I understand that many in the non-Orthodox world were unhappy that President Donald J. Trump moved the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Let’s remember, it was William Jefferson Clinton who first signed the bill and promised he would move the Embassy, and you were overjoyed. He lied. He didn’t move the Embassy, but lying was not something unusual for President Clinton, and you being a loyal Democrat, you got over it. No big deal.

And then President George W. Bush promised to move the Embassy, for the Evangelical vote, and sadly you seemed less than enthusiastic. But in the end, he lied too, and you called him every name you could think of in your limited vocabulary. I too was disappointed that he lied.

And then came your messiah, Barack Hussein Obama, who promised to move the Embassy and you again were cocksure and overjoyed he would finally do it. But he lied too. How gullible we were when it came to these three “friends” of Israel. In fact BHO lied a lot when it came to Israel. He actually interfered in an Israeli election and paid big bucks to people to try to throw Netanyahu out of office. I thought interfering in other people’s elections was a big no no. Kinda like collusion. But his interference didn’t bother you, and all’s well that ends well. Bibi was re-elected Prime Minister, and BHO was not very happy. And you being loyal quislings for know nothing Democrats, were again not happy.

And so it was that Donald J was elected President, and he too had promised to move the Embassy, and most of you libs, and a few other assorted Jews, didn’t believe he would do it, “’cause he’s such a liar.” And following the three previous liars, I admit I too was skeptical. But when confronted by a rabbi of the reformed– Orthodox movement, I took him up on a bet. Crazy as it seemed, I had talked to someone who may have had inside info, but I figured it was 50/50, at best.

And then Donald J surprised everyone and did what he said he would do. He moved the Embassy, and the Americanized non-Orthos were unhappy. Conjuring up the feeble excuse that “the timing wasn’t right,” after it only took 23 years, the non-Orthos looked pathetic in their whining, while wallowing in their blind hatred for Trump. Sad. From my conversations, and the polls across the board in Israel, from right to left, religious or secular, from Tel Aviv to Haifa, Israelis were pleased, since it was obvious to anyone with half a brain, which includes many Jewish liberals, that Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel!

It was just a few weeks ago that some of us were again reminded of the words of Mordechai, in a town called Shushan. It should be appreciated, that much to the chagrin and discomfort of his co-religionists, as Mordechai sat in front of the king’s palace in sackcloth, he was the most hated Jew in Shushan. As it was written, “Do not imagine that you will be able to escape in the king’s palace any more than the rest of the Jews. For if you persist in keeping silent  at a time like this, relief will come to the Jews from another place, while you and your father’s house will perish, and who knows whether it was just for such a time as this that you attained your position. “It’s time for non-Orthos, here in exile, to man up, and respect the fact that Jerusalem D.C.(David’s City) has been and will always be our eternal capital.

        Shabbat Shalom, 03/29/19               Jack “Yehoshua” Berger

About the Author
Educated as an architect with a Masters in Architectural History, Jack Yehoshua Berger became a practicing architect and real estate developer. In his late 30's he met a Rabbi who turned him on to the miracle of Israel and he began learning how the amazing country, against all odds, came to be the miracle of the modern world.