Jerusalem, the Original Sin

There is no capital that is more closely connected with the soul of a nation, than the connection between Jerusalem and the People of Israel. There is no nation that took up the cause of Jerusalem for thousands of years, and viewed the city as the center of its spiritual life. There is no other nation, aside from Israel, that connected its identity, its fate, and its faith to Jerusalem. Other faiths, such as Islam, only discovered the importance of Jerusalem as a tool to be used for war, but never sanctified it during times of peace.

When Mecca was determined to be the ultimate Muslim holy city, various Muslim leaders to add Jerusalem as another holy city, based on their acquaintance of the holiness of Jerusalem in the Bible. In addition, the roots of the Christian sanctification of Jerusalem are based on the period of Jewish sovereignty over the holy city.

Even if we do accept the story of the ascent of Muhammad to the heavens from Jerusalem, the story tells that the Western Wall served as Muhammad’s horse stable during this period. Muhammad does not grant the area a special holy status, and does not claim it to be any type of political capital, which would justify it being the capital of an Arab state. Furthermore, the tale of Muhammad’s ascent is not mentioned in any of the Muslim sources.

For thousands of years of Diaspora, the Jewish People mentioned Jerusalem dozens of times every day in prayer and study, and our connection to Jerusalem was mentioned at every wedding, brit milah, and funeral. However, our “original sin” was that we expressed the pain and suffering of our Diaspora in a meek whimper, and did not scream out to the world. Thus, today the world labels Jerusalem as a settlement, and views our presence there as a provocation to the Arab world. This is the same world that was not bothered when Arabs uprooted and destroyed Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives. This is the same world that was not bothered by the fact that our right to visit our most holy site, the Wailing Wall, was taken away from us, and the same world that was not bothered by the fact that impounding machines were placed at King Solomon’s stables on the Temple Mount, in order to attempt to wipe away the memory of the Jewish connection to this holy place. To all of these events, the world stood silent.

What is the reason that the world in silent when injustices are committed against us as a nation, and to scream out when we implement our historic rights to build in Jerusalem, based on our historic connection with the holy city, “engraved with an iron tool, inscribed with a flint point, on the tablets” of the global history? The world is fearful of the 22 Arab League states, who will take up any cause to scream out about injustices committed by the Jewish state. The world is terrified of the 57 Islamic states, which are also undergoing processes of fundamentalism, never saying a good word about the State of Israel or its natural rights. The world is also fearful of the sea of Muslim immigrants to Europe, who have taken a leading role in the new European agenda, which cannot be ignored by leaders.

The condemnations that we hear have no connection with justice, as the world is reacting just as it reacted following the historic “Balfour Declaration” which recognized Jewish rights to return and establish a sovereign state in the Land of Israel. Then too, the world was fearful of the Muslim reaction to this historic declaration, and produced the “White Paper”, which gnawed away at the rights of the Jewish People to return to their homeland, even attempting to prevent the refugees of the Holocaust to reach the shores of their homeland.

Due to our “original sin” we must now stand up tall and tell the world that “the eternity of Israel does not lie” and that “Israel lives, and Jerusalem is its eternal capital”. Anyone who wants to live with us in peace must recognize this, sooner rather than later.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center