Oct. 14, 2015
The Israeli Claim to Jerusalem – Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- The Israeli claim to Jerusalem has not only been based on practical considerations but, primarily, on a deep commitment to the Jewish right and connection with Jerusalem, with roots that lie deep in the Jewish past. According to the Book of Chronicles, it was King David who broke the ground for the building of the Temple. King Solomon, David’s son, built the Temple on the plot of land that was purchased from Araunah on Mount Moriah.
- The phrase “Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem” became the flag and the anthem that bound together the Jewish diaspora communities, including the founders of Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement. When a couple recite the marriage vows, the groom says: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning.” Throughout all the generations, Jews ascended to Jerusalem to pray there, kiss its soil, and also to die there and be buried on the Mount of Olives.
- Islam, which now claims priority and precedence over Jerusalem and its holy places, only emerged two thousand years after the Jews became a people. The Palestinians – who claim east Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount – as their capital, only began to define themselves as a people about a hundred years ago.
- Jerusalem and Zion are mentioned 821 times in the Bible and another 3,212 times in the rabbinical literature. The Koran does not mention it even once. The Muslim holy city of Mecca, however, is mentioned hundreds of times in the Koran, and so is the city of Medina. Jerusalem was not part of the world of Muhammad and the ancient Muslims; the focus was solely on the Arabian Peninsula.
- One cannot base claims regarding Jerusalem on existential-security needs alone. These claims must be based on a right – the Jewish people’s connection and commitment to Jerusalem. Such a commitment rests on Jewish religion, tradition, culture, and history. Without this ancient legacy, what justification is there for the Jewish state’s existence in the Land of Israel, or for making Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish people and their state?
- David Ben-Gurion, during the 1948 War of Independence, said: “If a land has a soul, then Jerusalem is the soul of the Land of Israel, and the battle over Jerusalem is determinative and not only from a military standpoint.”
The writer, a veteran Israeli journalist and author ofJerusalem: Delusions of Division(2015), is the grandson of Shlomo Zalman Shragai, the first elected mayor of Jerusalem after the establishment of the State of Israel.
(Click on the article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)