Jerusalem our capital and the emotional whirlwind

Like many Jewish Israelis and non-Israelis, I am filled with so many mixed emotions at today’s recognition — finally — by the president of the USA, of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, and vague upcoming moving of the embassy here.

I am amazed, excited, moved and with a sense of historic importance that the heart of our people for the last three millennia is at last announced as what we know it to be: The capital of Israel, with all the important sites of all three monotheistic religions — and their safekeeping — an integral part of it.

I am frustrated that this took so long, is making so many headlines and is being so bitterly opposed.

I am disillusioned that it will actually mean anything, and even more disillusioned of my ever seeing peace in my time.

I am apprehensive about possible reaction and violent backlash from those who oppose this; sadly history has shown that this is often their form of protest. By all means, protest — that’s your legitimate right — but keep it non-violent, it won’t win you any points or sympathy.

I am wondering if the symbolism behind the announcement and status achieved is worth the potential death and injuries on both sides.
I am conflicted between my heart, which fully believes that this is indeed the right thing to do, and my head, which is very concerned.
I am confused, very aware and understanding of the disappointment of the Palestinians who oppose it, yet stand by my right to proudly declare that Jerusalem is and always will be the heart of the Jewish people, even if others also claim and love it. Their claim to it doesn’t change my feelings one iota, like I am sure my claim doesn’t change their feelings.

I wish this had come from a different president. One whom I could trust, one whom I could look towards for inspiration, for guidance and for leadership, one whom I could safely predict the choices he will make and future he will bring. Without getting into US politics, I don’t feel any of that, it’s hard to know what he wants and what he is thinking, and that is potent fuel for nerves that are already frayed in our fragile corner of the world.

I am cynical, that this day which for years we have waited for, brings with it an emptiness of not knowing whether it will be “Good for the Jews”, for all the reasons above.

Finally, I will go to sleep tonight and get up tomorrow in Jerusalem, my home, which like so many volatile times in the past has a quietness about it that bellies the media attention it is getting, and hope that the world moves on quickly to the next interesting item.

I am taking a deep breath, like so many others, and hoping that the future brings peaceful times.

About the Author
Betsalel Steinhart is a Licensed Tour Guide, and the Director of Education for Ramah Israel. He is privileged to live in Jerusalem with his wife and five children.
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