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Recognizing Jerusalem is like saying ‘I love you’

Hearing Jerusalem recognized out loud is transformative -- and deserves a celebration
US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, May 22, 2017, in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, May 22, 2017, in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

It doesn’t change a thing,
but even so,
After 25 years, it’s nice to know
– Tevye to Golde in Fiddler on the Roof

This morning, the morning after President Donald Trump’s speech recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, some journalists have been asking what difference does it make? Some prefer to point out the downsides of the announcement. “It will be more difficult to reach an agreement” they complain, “it will kill Trump’s peace plan” they whine. Others applaud, noting the anomaly of not recognizing what by now should have been obvious: Israel is a sovereign nation, and nations choose their capitals.

Israelis like to say how it is important to differentiate between words and actions. Americans have their “words are cheap, but actions talk”, Israelis their “מילים לחוד ומעשים לחוד”. Trump, as pleasant as his words might have been to some, myself included, didn’t really change much. His administration’s policies concerning Israel are very much a continuation of those of Barack Obama, his predecessor, whose policies, in turn, differed little in substance from those of George Bush or Bill Clinton.

Yet sometimes the tone does matter.

Few will claim that Obama had warm feelings towards Israel, despite the massive aid he authorized for Israel’s Iron Dome system. Most will remember the sour-puss Secretary of State John Kerry, the dour Samantha Power and UNSC Resolution 2334. Obama didn’t broadcast warmth towards Israel, Trump does. Power wasn’t as supportive as Nikki Haley is now.

Love, when it is only in words, can be deceptive. In today’s world, words are too easily said and many times no more than words. Yet words also have a transformative quality, the ability to change the souls of both the one who speaks and the one who hears. If my wife of 25 years, says she loves me, it won’t make my commute easier nor make my pitifully low salary any higher. It will make me smile and make my heart grow warmer.

Yesterday in Jerusalem it was rainy and a cold wind was blowing. This morning it is still cold but the golden sun is peeking through the clouds, shining down and warming those brave enough to sit outside over coffee and perhaps a donut. And a suggestion for those who make donuts: How about a Trump donut?

It should be not too large (so small hands can grasp it), have an orange color and flavor icing, full of air and most important a heart of golden butterscotch. If you can spare the calories, it will have no lasting effect, but perhaps, just perhaps, you might feel a bit more loved.

About the Author
Shlomo Toren has been a resident of Israel since 1980, and a transportation planner for the last 25 years. He has done demand modeling for the Jerusalem Light Rail and Road 6. He is married to Neera and lives in Shiloh.
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