Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jerusalem Day

Today, May 12, is celebrated in Israel as the anniversary of the moment, in 1967, when the IDF captured the Old City of Jerusalem from the Jordanian army. At a time when the world is being made to witness the spectacle of Obama playing a game he doesn't likely much understand, attempting to impose his will on Jerusalem building permits, in a pretense to be making a peace he cannot make given the fundamentalist desires in play...
"and [Obama] urged that President Abbas do everything he can to prevent acts of incitement or delegitimization of Israel."

This is interesting and could be encouraging. Obama is asking Abbas to do something and that was the right thing to say. But here's the problem: as Abbas engages in incitement, the PA incites, and the PA doesn't interfere with incitement, will Obama say or do something?

After all, we know that if an Israeli construction crew turns over some shovels of dirt for a construction project in east Jerusalem, the United States will scream out protest. But if the PA names squares for terrorists, produces broadcasts delegitimizing Israel, secretly lets terrorists out of jail, and so on, there will not be a peep.

But let's consider what's going on meanwhile in the real world. Palestinian Media Watch reports that on the PA's own television station this week the program "We Are Returning," shows a map in which all of Israel is erased and covered with a Palestinian flag.

The program explains that Israeli Jews should go to places like the Ukraine and Ethiopia: "Please, I ask of you, return to your original homeland, so that I can return to my original homeland. This is my homeland; go back to your homeland!"

This kind of thing goes on in PA-controlled mosques, classrooms, media, and in speeches by PA or Fatah officials on a daily basis. The U.S. government virtually ignores it. There are no programs, articles, classes, sermons, and speeches in which PA officials and employees urge their people to live peacefully side by side with Israel and accept that country's existence permanently.
... it might be useful to remind ourselves that the Jewish attachment to Jerusalem is founded in a living history that goes back millennia and will not likely be given up short of some genocidal extermination, an event the likelihood of which Obama must have little capacity to imagine (after all, he is not the Messiah) even as many frightened Jews cannot but think that this must be his ultimate agenda given the way he acts (because if it isn't, he is foolish choosing holy Jerusalem as his key leveraging point).

So, here's an article featured in today's Jerusalem Post: In honor of Jerusalem Day, MKs get to dig into past:

In 1999, the Wakf Islamic trust, which is in charge of the Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount, requested permission from the government to construct emergency exits for a series of underground mosques that had been opened inside the compound during the late 1990s. Upon receiving permission, Wakf officials constructed an entrance to the underground el-Marwani mosque in the area known as Solomon’s Stables. During the exits’ construction, the Wakf removed some 10,000 tons, or 400 truckloads, of ancient debris, which was then dumped in the nearby Kidron Valley and the Jerusalem municipal dump – some of it lost forever among the trash and other rubble.

Enter Gabriel Barkay of Bar-Ilan University, who applied for and eventually received a license from the Israel Antiquities Authority to sort through the discarded piles in search of antiquities.

Joined by his former student Zachi Zweig, Barkay now oversees the sorting. Using a process known as “wet sifting,” which is similar to panning for gold, the efforts have turned up a rich bounty of First and Second Temple-era artifacts.

On Tuesday afternoon, Knesset members got a firsthand look at the site’s operations and were even given a chance to do some sifting of their own, as they paid a visit to the tent where Barkay, Zweig and a slew of volunteers were conducting their work.

“This could have part of a vessel one of my ancestors carried olive oil in to make sacrifices in the Beit Hamikdash [the Temple],” said MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), as he held up a shard of pottery he discovered in a pile of the discarded debris.

Other MKs echoed Ben-Ari’s observations, expressing the importance of the site’s offerings for “all Israelis, and all of the Jewish people.”

“This is a clear sign that Jerusalem is ours – that its beginnings belong to the Jewish people, and the basis of its holiness is rooted in Judaism,” said Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, who was also in attendance.

“And it’s not an issue of right-wing or left-wing, religious or secular,” he added. “Any Jew with even a basic knowledge of the Bible can relate to this place on a deep level. It is the tangible history of our people and a solid proof of our connection here that is impossible to argue with.”


Schneller said that for that reason, he would continue to work in the Knesset to halt the Wakf’s excavation activities on the Temple Mount, and hold them accountable for the damage done to antiquities at the holy site.

“We have to realize our sovereignty over the site,” he said.

Habayit Hayehudi MK Zevulun Orlev echoed Schneller’s comments, telling The Jerusalem Post, “Today I saw with my own eyes and felt with my own hands the very history of the Jewish people.”

He charged that “what the Wakf has done on the Temple Mount amounts to a horrible archeological crime and an affront to the deep connection Jews have with the Temple Mount.”
And this may be a good time to remember the famous "Letter to the World from Jerusalem" by Eliezer ben Yisrael (Stanley Goldfoot):
There was a Jerusalem before there was a New York. When Berlin, Moscow, London and Paris were miasmal forest and swamp, there was a thriving Jewish community here. It gave something to the world which you nations have rejected ever since you established yourselves – a humane moral code. Here the prophets walked, their words flashing like forked lightning. 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 Temple 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, their right arm wither.

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

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, your 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 think that you can break us now after all we have been through? Do you really believe that after Dachau and Auschwitz we are frightened by your threats of blockades and 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 cannon.

And then the savage sacking of the Old City: the willful slaughter, the wanton destruction of every synagogue and religious school; the desecration of Jewish cemeteries; the sale by a ghoulish 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 the Jordanians shut off the holiest of our holy places, the Western Wall, in violation of the pledges they had made after the war – a war they waged, incidentally, against a decision of the UN. Not a murmur came from you whenever the legionnaires in their 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 the 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 20 years later, and the Arabs unleashed a savage, unprovoked bombardment of the Holy City again, did any of you do anything? The only time you came to life was when the city was at last re-united. Then you wrung your hands and spoke loftily of “justice” and the need for the “Christian” quality of turning the other cheek.

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