July 5, 2019
- Pilgrimage Road and Palestinian Memory – Meir Soloveichik
Two thousand years ago Jews walked the Pilgrimage Road as they came from around the world to visit the Temple. Rabbinic texts abound with descriptions of the processions that occurred, and the road – first discovered 15 years ago – parallels these details in an exquisite way. Now pilgrims will be able to ascend stairs as their predecessors once did.
But the Pilgrimage Road is located on land in eastern Jerusalem that Palestinians claim for themselves. Palestinian official Saeb Erekat contended that the road is a “lie that has nothing to do with history.” Erekat and many other Palestinian leaders have long denied what archaeologists and historians consider basic and uncontroversial facts, such as the existence of the Temple.
The excavated path is only one bit of a literal mountain of archaeological evidence, uncovered in most cases by secular archaeologists, that confirms the historical fact of Jerusalem’s ancient connection to the Jewish people. In an age where actual facts are all too often eschewed for “personal narrative,” the Pilgrimage Road is another reminder that peace can only be attained through the recognition of historical truth.
The writer is the rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in Manhattan and director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University. (Wall Street Journal)
- The Real Problem Is the Palestinian Denial of Jewish History – Jonathan S. Tobin
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s presence at the ceremonial opening of Jerusalem’s “Pilgrimage Road” was yet another reaffirmation of the absurdity of the Palestinians’ denial of Jewish history. The “road” is a tunnel dug underneath a Jerusalem neighborhood that permits visitors to trod the path taken by ancient Jewish pilgrims to reach the Temple Mount.
Critics complain that the archeological park is part of an effort to “Judaize Jerusalem.” But the notion is absurd that Jerusalem – a city that has been integral to Jewish national identity, history and faith for 3,000 years – can be “Judaized.” They also point to the fact that some Palestinians have been inconvenienced by the construction. But their real beef is not about cracks developing in walls but that the history the archeologists have unearthed undermines efforts to portray Jews as foreign colonists in their ancient capital.
Without an acknowledgement on the part of the Palestinians of the truth about the Jewish history that they continue to lie about, true peace is impossible. (JNS)