Esor Ben-Sorek

The Proposed ‘Ben-Sorek’ Plan

The title may be misleading. It is based upon an historical and successful past that might be possibly discussed in the chambers of the Knesset.

Few Israelis today have ever heard the name of Daniel Auster. During the years of the British Mandate in Palestine, the city of Jerusalem was administered by two individuals sharing power together at the same time.

In 1936, the Mayor of Jerusalem, an Arab named Husayn al-Khalidi appointed a Jew, Daniel Auster, to be his Deputy Mayor. Together, the  Muslim Mayor and the Jewish Deputy Mayor governed Jerusalem in harmony and without discord. There was a mutual agreement between them, based upon respect.

In 1937 in the waning years of the Mandate, Daniel Auster became the first Jewish Mayor of the city of Jerusalem, a post he held until Israel’s War of Independence when he was succeeded by Shlomo Zalman Shragai.

In 1949, as one of the signatories of Israel’s Declaration of Independence in the previous year, Auster came out with an open public document which declared his firm opposition to the UN proposal for the internationalization of Jerusalem. He stated firmly that it was simply not possible. He was correct !

For his outstanding service he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by His Majesty, King George VI.

During the years of the Mandate, Jews and Arabs together administered the affairs of the city. While obviously there were disagreements on policies and procedures, there was nevertheless cordial respect.

If the city of Jerusalem was successfully governed by two individuals of different religions and political affiliations, why can it not be implemented now?

Why can Jerusalem not have a Jewish mayor representing West Jerusalem and an Arab Deputy Mayor representing the Arab population of East Jerusalem?

If it worked satisfactorily in past pre-State years why can it not be proposed for our present time?

Would it not be beneficial to calm the tensions, to quell the riots and to establish a degree of harmony and even tranquility between the peoples of both populations?

I will surely never receive a royal honor from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but perhaps my proposal will reach the ears of those who govern us and consideration be given towards a possible implementation.

The decision must be made only by Israelis and Arabs without interference from governments of foreign nations.

Hopefully before I die I may live to see the proposed “Ben-Sorek” plan come to fruition with the sweet taste of harmony and respect.

As both Jews and Arabs should declare, “insh’Allah “ and “Im yirtzeh Hashem”.  If God so wills it to be.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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