Complicated Emotions on Yom Yerushalayim

Cross-posted from JewishBoston.com.

Today, June 1st, is Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, marking the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967. This is both an Israeli state holiday and a rabbinically mandated minor religious holiday, which means it’s celebrated both with parades and liturgy.

I’ll admit that this mixing of politics and religion makes me deeply uncomfortable. Attributing military and political victories to God is a step further down the slippery slope of political demagoguery than I’d like to take. It makes it easy for politicians, generals, and their supporters to confuse luck, skill, and power for divine right. It’s not surprising that the term demagoguery originates in Ancient Greece — that’s also where the habit of proclaiming religious holidays for military victories started. Perhaps you’ve heard of Chanukah?

created at: 2011-06-01I’m not alone in my discomfort with this conflation. The sages of the Talmud were so uncomfortable with Chanukah as a military holiday, they wrote a new backstory for it… you know, the bit about the oil? The rabbis thought we’d be better off with a fairy tale invented 600 years after the events of the holiday instead of celebrating the military victory. One might wonder whether the hindsight knowledge that the victory came at the price of quite a bit of Jew-on-Jew violence and resulted in a corrupt Hasmoean dynasty that further consolodated the roles of high priest, king, and general into one person and eventually lost Israel to Rome.

It’s that same vantage point of hindsight that further complicates my feelings about Yom Yerushalayim. There are unquestionably good things that came out of the reunification of Jerusalem. When Israel declared independence in 1948 and was attacked by neighboring countries, Jordan captured the Old City and East Jerusalem, barring Jews from visiting holy sites like the Kotel, the Western Wall. The Israeli victory in 1967 — itself a reaction to an unprovoked attack again by a coalition of neighboring countries — gave us access to these sites. That is certainly something for which I’m thankful, although I stop short at attributing it to a mircle from God. I can’t help be moved by David Rubinger’s famous photograph of those first paratroopers who made it to the Wall.

But there’s another consequence of this reunification, and in particular of the enshrinement of reunification, that is dangerous: the concept of an “undivided Jerusalem.” As a slogan, it’s top notch. What Jew would ever argue against an undivided Jerusalem? The only problem is that everyone talking about Jerusalem isn’t necessarily talking about the same piece of geography.

I suspect when most Americans argue against a shared or divided Jerusalem, they picture a border right down the middle, cutting them off from the Western Wall, or Hadassah Hospital, or the King David Hotel, or any other favorite part of Jerusalem. But anyone who’s ever visited Jersualem and wandered beyond the tourist attraction knows that this is alread a city divided. East Jerusalem — or as you’re more likely to refer to it, “Arab East Jerusalem” — is the quintessential “part of town we don’t go to.”

East Jerusalem is the part of Jerusalem that has few Jewish residents and is therefore negelected by the municipal government. It’s the part of Jerusalem where, when my Prozdor trip stayed at a perfectly fine hotel in that part of town, I had to continually reassure my students, their parents, and even some of my colleagues that it’s really okay for us to stay there. Frankly, it’s the part of Jerusalem that Israel treats like it’s already part of a Palestinian state. But because “Jerusalem” is part of the name, some people get up in arms when any peace plan suggests (rightfully) officially transferring governance of this (majority Palestinian) parcel to a Palestinian government.

Some people are never going to budge on this; matters of practicality pale in the face of a religiously-fueled desire for Greater Israel. Others won’t ever understand the situation until they walk through East Jerusalem and see for themselves that it is already, essentially, a different city. But I can’t help but to wonder if celebrating Jerusalem Day, with its attendant festivities and psalms, isn’t blurring the image. 

Jews who pray face Jerusalem every day, directing their hopes and dreams, fears and frustrations to this place that has been central to our people for 3,000 years. Rather than celebrate a military victory that brought some advantages and many more complications, when we turn to face Jerusalem today, let it be in the spirit of a Yom Shalom, a day of peace.

 

Photograph by Flickmor on Flickr used under Creative Commons license.

31 Responses to “Complicated Emotions on Yom Yerushalayim”

  1. Those were the same rabbis that oversaw the Holocaust. Never again is done at the point of a sword and nothing else.


    anon · June 1st, 2011 at 1:49 pm
  2. More info here: therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=6842
    “For the first time in decades, Palestinian activists in Ras al-Amud, a neighborhood of Jerusalem south-east of the Old City, invited Jewish Israeli activists to join them in their protest against a fortress settlement in their area. The neighborhood is the site of nearly daily confrontations between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces, and is sometimes referred to as the “daily intifada”. It is located in an area known as E1, or the “linchpin settlement” which if won over by settlers, would officially divide the West Bank into a south and a north half. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky spoke to Michel Warschawski, the author of On the Border, and Sarah Beninga, a central activist in the Jerusalem Solidarity movement about the demonstration where for the first time Israeli police used tasers, about the strategic importance of Ras al-Amud, and about the behind-the-scenes of building solidarity.”


    Avi · June 1st, 2011 at 1:52 pm
  3. But anyone who’s ever visited Jersualem and wandered beyond the tourist attraction knows that this is alread a city divided. East Jerusalem — or as you’re more likely to refer to it, “Arab East Jerusalem” — is the quintessential “part of town we don’t go to.”

    It’s not divided. Whatever our political views, it’s not divided today. Jews don’t go into the Arab neighborhoods, but that doesn’t mean that Jerusalem is divided. Half the neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city are populated by Jews. Plenty of Arabs can be found working and walking around Jewish neighborhoods. And non-Heredim basically don’t go into Heredi neighborhoods either, btw. But the city isn’t divided.

    Most people don’t go into Southeast Washington, DC (maybe it’s changed, but that used to be the case.) Does that mean that DC is already a divided city?


    Jonathan1 · June 1st, 2011 at 3:55 pm
  4. Jonathan1, why are you insisting that the city is not divided when both you and dlevy articulate its many divisions? What would it mean for you if the city were divided? Why is it so important to you to claim the undivided status of the current Jerusalem? Is that related to your desire for an undivided future Jerusalem? If so, why is that so important to you? Is it so important you are willing to perpetuate the occupation and the ensuing violence? What does that mean, then, for the status of Jerusalem as a holy city?

    I want to suggest that we can either have a divided and holy Jerusalem, or we get a unified violent and unethically tenable Jerusalem.

    For a different take on a similar idea check outR. Jill Jacobs op-ed in the JTA.


    Chorus of Apes · June 1st, 2011 at 4:53 pm
  5. Why is it so important to you to claim the undivided status of the current Jerusalem?

    Ironically, Jerusalem just isn’t a divided city. Whatever your political views are, it isn’t divided.

    It was a divided city before 1967. At one point Berlin was a divided city. 2011 Jerusalem just isn’t a divided city, your passions notwithstanding.

    I want to suggest that we can either have a divided and holy Jerusalem, or we get a unified violent and unethically tenable Jerusalem

    Your suggestion is noted. So, what we have today is a unified, violent, and unethically tenable Jerusalem. Fair enough.


    Jonathan1 · June 1st, 2011 at 5:04 pm
  6. Ok. So I read the Jill Jacobs piece. She talks about ethnic discrimination and social welfare problems in Jerusalem.

    I have no clue as to how that demonstrates that Jerusalem is a divided city.


    Jonathan1 · June 1st, 2011 at 5:10 pm
  7. J1, the semantics of whether or not Jerusalem is divided (and I agree that it’s certainly not in the same formalized manner as was Berlin) aren’t really the point.
    Once certainly could make the case that DC is a divided city – that there are structural forces that separate certain classes of inhabitants from others.


    renaissanceboy · June 1st, 2011 at 5:28 pm
  8. @rb

    Ok. But we never hear people talking about DC or NYC or Philadelphia as cities that are already divided, in the sense that Jerusalem is referred to as a city that is already divided.

    And it is relevant to these conversations because were Jerusalem already divided, in the sense that dlevy is portraying things, then yes it might simply be a matter of demarcating a new border.

    But, I hate to rain on everybody’s parade, it’s just not so today. Go to Malcha Mall on a Saturday night, or Ben-Yehuda street, or into any restaurant or construction site on the Western side, or into city hall, or the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. There are Palestinians everywhere.

    Half the neighborhoods over the Green Line are Jewish neighborhoods. There is a single municipality, which employs many Palestinians. You can even find both Muslims and Jews on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif 5 days a week.

    You can make the argument that the status quo is untenable or immoral, but where is everybody coming from with the “Jerusalem is already two cities” line?

    Frankly, it’s the part of Jerusalem that Israel treats like it’s already part of a Palestinian state.

    This isn’t true.


    Jonathan1 · June 1st, 2011 at 5:47 pm
  9. I suspect when most Americans argue against a shared or divided Jerusalem, they picture a border right down the middle, cutting them off from the Western Wall, or Hadassah Hospital, or the King David Hotel, or any other favorite part of Jerusalem. But anyone who’s ever visited Jersualem and wandered beyond the tourist attraction knows that this is alread a city divided. East Jerusalem — or as you’re more likely to refer to it, “Arab East Jerusalem” — is the quintessential “part of town we don’t go to.”

    And it goes even further than that. In 1967, Israel didn’t only annex the Old City and the Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem (which had been part of Jerusalem before 1948), but also large areas (some of which were and are Palestinian villages, and some of which were previously uninhabited and are now Jewish neighborhoods), to the north, east, south, and southwest (not only east) of historic Jerusalem, which had never been historically considered part of Jerusalem, and which were then added on to the Jerusalem municipality.

    I have no problem in principle with cities expanding to annex surrounding areas (for example, since this was crossposted to JewishBoston, I have no problem with Boston’s annexation of Allston, Brighton, Roxbury, etc.). But it seems disingenuous to talk about Jerusalem as the eternal undivided capital of the Jewish people and to include, within that indivisibility imperative, areas that no one would have thought of as “Jerusalem” before 1967.


    BZ · June 1st, 2011 at 11:35 pm
  10. just wanted to make a correction to the chanukkah sidenote made by the author.the reason why our sages had “frozen” the idea of maccabean victory in the story of chanukkah is related to other survivalist motives of jewish communities at the time. here is a videobite from uriel rappaport (well known israeli historian of the hasmonean period) explaining how the revolutionary model of maccabean victory has led to 3 major jewish revolts of the times which had almost entirely wiped out jewish communities. www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1n0kLXNznM

    :-)
    -racheli


    Racheli Menshikova · June 2nd, 2011 at 5:21 am
  11. There are unquestionably good things that came out of the reunification of Jerusalem.

    So, in general, I can’t deal with these angsty “it’s so complicated!” posts about Israel. But in the interest of engaging, I’ll just say something about the one virtue that you attribute to the reunification – the ability of Jews to visit the Kotel (etc). For my part, I don’t think that that particular thing is “unquestionably” good at all – and certainly not worth the suffering which has accompanied Israel and Palestine since then.

    Even leaving aside the fetishization of the physical Wall which seems to have developed, it’s worth noting that the vast (vast, vast) majority of Jews for nearly two millenia never saw the Wall. It’s hardly built in to the Jewish experience. But in any case, do you really think that the ability to do so could be even possibly sufficient to balance out the suffering it’s caused (some of which you delineate in your post)? Has it all been worth it, just so you can occasionally go stand in front of a wall?

    What Jew would ever argue against an undivided Jerusalem?

    Well, me, for one. My spiritual life isn’t dependent in the slightest on the status of the earthly Jerusalem, particularly when it’s resulted in suffering for a lot of people – Jews and Arabs alike.


    miri · June 2nd, 2011 at 1:17 pm
  12. The cult of Jerusalem is the close relative of modern Judaism, but is closer to paganism and ancestor worship.


    Jew Guevara · June 2nd, 2011 at 2:49 pm
  13. Jonathan1′s fantasies notwithstanding, I have lived in East Jerusalem and the palatable separation was shocking. There is a different bus system for Arabs in Jerusalem. The air smells of uncollected, rotting sewage from dumpsters the city won’t collect. Arab homes are bulldozed because the city has frozen Arab neighborhoods to their 1967 limits, while building the dozens of neighborhoods that Jonthan1 mentions. Is there no greater evidence for the divide than the effusive funding for Jewish neighborhoods and not a single rezoning for Arabs?

    Jerusalem may not have walls running through — oh wait, it does! — but catching a cab to East Jerusalem takes me three tries. (Two of three cabbies are Jewish and are too scared to go there; the third is Arab and is delighted to take me.)

    All this might not be different than other Arab discrimination everywhere else in Israel. Which might mean there are not only two Jerusalems, but two Israels as well.


    Kung Fu Jew · June 2nd, 2011 at 4:33 pm
  14. There is a different bus system for Arabs in Jerusalem.

    Ironically, I was on an Egged bus tonight in Jerusalem and three Arab young men were sitting behind me, and the driver was Arab as well.

    Arab homes are bulldozed because the city has frozen Arab neighborhoods to their 1967 limits, while building the dozens of neighborhoods that Jonthan1 mentions

    So we agree. This is evidence that there is one, single municipality in Jerusalem.

    but catching a cab to East Jerusalem takes me three tries

    As opposed to trying to catch a cab to SE Washington, DC? Maybe you think DC is already a politically divided city?

    Jonathan1’s fantasies notwithstanding

    hahahahaahahahahaahah

    In your signature KFJ-style, you didn’t actually challenge any of the facts I mentioned, but instead say I’m having fantasies. I can promise you that I usually don’t fantasize about such things.

    This “Jerusalem is already divided” argument is from the same school of thought that argues that: “We left from Gaza and all we got was Rockets.”

    Sorry. Israel didn’t leave Gaza, and rockets were coming out of there before 2005 as well. And, ironically, Jerusalem is not a divided city.


    Jonathan1 · June 2nd, 2011 at 4:51 pm
  15. Even leaving aside the fetishization of the physical Wall which seems to have developed, it’s worth noting that the vast (vast, vast) majority of Jews for nearly two millenia never saw the Wall. It’s hardly built in to the Jewish experience. But in any case, do you really think that the ability to do so could be even possibly sufficient to balance out the suffering it’s caused (some of which you delineate in your post)? Has it all been worth it, just so you can occasionally go stand in front of a wall?

    If I could write one sentence with miri’s style I would die a happy man.


    Jonathan1 · June 2nd, 2011 at 4:55 pm
  16. Marry me, Jonathan1. We can agree to disagree on the politics :)


    miri · June 2nd, 2011 at 11:50 pm
  17. Jonathan1, your truths are not untruths, so they do not need debunking. But seeing the world with one eye does not make it focused.

    Since you’re in Jerusalem, I’d like to suggest you take a tour with Ir Amim or ICAHD, either one of which will expose you to the life through the eyes of Israel’s unwanted Arab population.


    Kung Fu Jew 18 · June 3rd, 2011 at 12:24 am
  18. Jonathan1, your truths are not untruths, so they do not need debunking.

    Ok. I’m a liar.

    either one of which will expose you to the life through the eyes of Israel’s unwanted Arab population

    How does this prove that Jerusalem is a already a divided city?

    What can I tell you buddy? I am arguing that the facts you are talking about prove that there is a single Jerusalem.

    Are you are arguing that the facts that I’m talking about aren’t facts. What can I tell you? It’s only a bit of a problem because the people reading this might believe you when you say I’m making things up; it’s a shame.

    For people who might not know much about Jerusalem, the reality is that Jerusalem is NOT already a divided city, like some here would like you to believe.

    Whatever political position you’d like to take should come from that reality.


    Jonathan1 · June 3rd, 2011 at 1:43 am
  19. Marry me, Jonathan1. We can agree to disagree on the politics

    My internet infatuation with you have been going on for years.


    Jonathan1 · June 3rd, 2011 at 1:44 am
  20. “has”

    you’re making me flustered!


    Jonathan1 · June 3rd, 2011 at 1:44 am
  21. @Jonathan1,
    While you are certainly correct that there is currently one municipal structure for Jerusalem and so in a sense the city is not divided, do you believe that the city is united? Do neighborhoods like Jabel Mukaber and Ras al Amud receive the same municipal services that Baka and Rehavia do? Do they get the same building rights and water rights and trash collecting services? From what I have seen the answer is no.
    Technically, the city is not divided. Emotionally and spiritually however there is a great divide between Arabs and Jews here.


    uzi · June 3rd, 2011 at 2:41 am
  22. Emotionally and spiritually however there is a great divide between Arabs and Jews here.

    But wait a second, Uzi. There is a huge difference between an emotional and spiritual divide and a literal political/physical divide.

    I do think it’s important to point out that difference, because I’m not sure that everybody in these parts realizes what the state of affairs in Jerusalem actually is.

    The whole thing is presented in some quarters as “Jerusalem is already two cities in all intents and purposes, so dividing it is a matter of demarcating that de facto border.” That’s just not true, on a practical level.

    CoA wrote above: Is it so important you are willing to perpetuate the occupation and the ensuing violence?

    Whatever CoA’s views of the dispute over Jerusalem, frankly it’s a bit inaccurate to claim that Jerusalem Palestinians live under an occupation regime, like the situation in Gaza and the West Bank. They’re just different realities.

    Let’s put it another way: Remember during the Oslo years when we would hear the argument that: “98% of the Palestinians no longer live under Israeli rule.”

    More recently we hear things like: “Israel left Gaza in 2005 and all we’ve received in return was rockets.”

    Those are nice slogans for people with a certain political persuasion, but they don’t reflect the reality on the ground.

    At the same time, : “Arab East Jerusalem has been under Israeli occupation since 1967, and there are already two Jerusalems” does not present the more complicated reality of Jerusalem 2011.


    Jonathan1 · June 3rd, 2011 at 5:16 am
  23. @KFJ.

    I misread your words at the beginning of your comments.

    I stand corrected regarding that.


    Jonathan1 · June 3rd, 2011 at 5:19 am
  24. blogs.jpost.com/content/i-am-zionist

    This is a blog I wrote in reaction to the notion that those with Left (of center?)positions are outside the Zionist tent. That rabbis, academics, and others who support a J Street approach, or support the NIF, or attend the demonstrations at Sheikh Jerrah, may not serve the Jewish people.

    I will qualify what I write by saying that I do feel that there is a dividing line is between Zionists and self-declared anti-Zionists. In the case of the latter – I may respect freedom to choose a position. But if it going to stand in opposition to the theology and sociology of most of the affiliated Jewish community – then such a person must be willing to understand that s/he will pay a price, fair or not, for such positions.

    Thursday Jun 02, 2011

    I am a Zionist?!

    I grew up thinking I was a Zionist. I remember as a child learning songs from the early statehood days. I wore an “I Love Israel” pin. I collected dimes, and later quarters, to put in a folder that would buy trees through the JNF. I visited the airport, with my school mates, to welcome Golda when she visited Philadelphia. I was glued to the news during the Six Day War and again during the Yom Kippur War. I visited Israel. I studied in Israel. I made Aliyah twenty four years ago.

    I thought of myself not only as a Zionist but as a religious Zionist. I moved to Israel to fulfill the Mitzvah of “Yeshuv HaAretz” (settling the land).

    Let me add that I believe that there is more than one way to be a Zionist. I chose the path of Aliyah. Others express their Zionism differently. But there is one thing we all have in common – we support the State of Israel. We do not always support the government or its policies. We may be deeply critical. But we love Israel deeply enough that we are obliged to criticize. We do so in order to build a Zionist State that reflects the values we feel must be a part of our Jewish State.

    But am I a Zionist? I mean do I qualify to be a member of the club? I could never join the ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) as I often find its positions repugnant and an anathema to Judaism. I think they are cocksure of themselves and are certain that those who think differently, wittingly or not, may be partners in the downfall of Israel.

    Last month Rabbi Richard Jacobs, a lifelong Zionist who has toiled on behalf of both Israel and the Jewish people, was named the new president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Almost immediately he was attacked in newspaper ads calling into question his Zionist bona fides. His terrible sin- he serves on the board of the New Israel Fund (an umbrella organization that supports human rights groups in Israel), his involvement with the left leaning J Street, and his presence at a Friday rally at Sheikh Jarrah.

    Well get ready for my Vidui, my Al Het, and my mea culpa: I too support the NIF, J Street, and have demonstrated at Sheikh Jarrah. I do not agree with every statement, or every position, taken by these organizations. But I do believe that the path they seek will help heal our ailing country. Other Zionists may not like the direction of these organizations (at a recent wedding a woman seated next to me told me “J Street people should die”) but it is only sheer arrogance that would suggest that we are not fully committed to welfare of the Jewish people and to the security of the State of Israel.

    I remember well the days when those who supported “The New Jewish Agenda” and “Breira” were scorned. Unfairly scorned. Last year a former MK, Naomi Hazan, was pictured in a smear campaign with horns. Last month I attended a cocktail party in downtown Jerusalem for supporters of J Street. Go know! MK Nachman Shai of Kadima was at the party. So was Yitzhak Buji Herzog.

    Now if the many Israeli academics, rabbis, MKs and retired generals who support NIF and J Street (and not blindly so) are now viewed as possibly being outside the Zionist tent – then I stand there too.

    But that’s OK. My political views are in line with most mainstream Israeli political parties. Just like Prime Minister Barak (then of Labor), Olmert (Kadima) and Netanyahu (Likud) I support a two state solution that would allow Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace and with security.

    As was true of each of these Prime Ministers I know this will entail painful concessions. I know it will mean withdrawing from most of the lands captured during the 1967 war. I know that it will inevitably mean that some of the settlements will be dismantled or abandoned as part of a land swap. Jews will be allowed the Right of Return to Israel and Palestinians will be allowed the Right of Return to their state. There may be some other symbolic gestures here.

    Regarding the desire to maintain a united, undivided, Jerusalem under the control of Israel – I would ask: Which Jerusalem? Over the past decades we have annexed neighborhoods that were never a part of Jerusalem. The area of Jerusalem has grown greatly. How many Jews have ever taken a stroll through Tzur Bahar or Jabl Mukaber? Very few that I know (other than those involved in dialogue). And does Israel have a pressing need to keep Shuafat within the municipal boundaries of our Holy City? Even Avigdor Leiberman, whose form of nationalism, I believe, borders on racism and hatred, is happy to split off parts of Jerusalem.

    And if Jewish control of all of Jerusalem means we must put up with Jewish groups trying to “Judaize” the Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, even as the Palestinian residents are denied building permits and quality municipal services – well that is not the State envisioned by our Zionist founders.

    It is a distortion of Zionism and a violation of Israel’s own Declaration of Independence which recognized that even as Israel must be open for the ingathering of the Jewish People it “ will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

    But it is far too easy to stand with the Mort Kliens of the Jewish world (president of ZOA) knowing with complete certainty that your path is the correct one and all others are dupes, naïve, or even worse. Zionism is far more nuanced than many on the right will allow for.

    I end with a quote from the great Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan who said, “‎From the cowardice that shrinks from new truths, from the laziness that is content with half truths, And from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth, O God of truth, deliver us.”


    Rabbi Andy Sacks · June 3rd, 2011 at 6:19 am
  25. “But wait a second, Uzi. There is a huge difference between an emotional and spiritual divide and a literal political/physical divide.”

    I agree completely but the difference is very important. Moreover for those who demand that Jerusalem IS a united city must admit that what the Jewish parts receive from the municipality and what the Arab parts receive from the municipality is a far cry from what is supposed to happen under a united municipal structure. What I seldom hear from the “united Jerusalem” people, and when I do it is fairly weak, is that we should endeavor to actually make that statement true by say making sure trash is collected with the same frequency that it is in Jewish neighborhoods. That water is allocated equally, that building permits are allocated fairly and with regard to the ethnic character of the neighborhood. Otherwise it feels to me that statements like you are making that Jerusalem is simply not divided, don’t really mean anything.


    uzi · June 3rd, 2011 at 6:23 am
  26. @Uzi

    Ok, I don’t think we are really disagreeing. I just wanted to bring up those points for people who might not realize that Jerusalem’s situation is not the same as what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank, and that a partition of Jerusalem will entail a tangible change in the city’s nature . . . whatever our opinions on such a partition are.


    Jonathan1 · June 3rd, 2011 at 6:33 am
  27. I don’t think we disagree either. It is simply important to understand when one person says the city is already divided and one says it is one municipal entity and therefore not divided, they are probably talking about two different and important aspects of the same issue.


    uzi · June 3rd, 2011 at 6:50 am
  28. That’s true.

    But I take it that you live in Jerusalem, as do I, and I think it’s important to point out–for some of the people who really might not be familiar with this city–that Jersalem’s situation is unique.


    Jonathan1 · June 3rd, 2011 at 6:55 am
  29. @uzi

    I’ve been trying to think about a way to describe Jerusalem 2011, and I just don’t even know how to describe it.

    On the one hand, there is all sorts of discrimination in zoning laws and municipal services and employment.

    On the other hand, there is one clear municipality which, despite its flaws, does respond to the needs of all of Jerusalem’s residents.

    On the other hand, there are motorcycled police who stop young Arab men–for being young Arab men–daily.

    On the other hand, Arabs work in just about every restaurant and construction project in the Jewish neighborhoods, and plenty of Arabs work for the municipality and are bus drivers.

    On the other hand, Jews basically never enter into the Arab neighborhoods.

    On the other hand, Israel has ensured freedom of worship for Muslims at their holy places–people are going to talk about age restrictions at the Temple Mount on Fridays, but that is always a function of the security situation, and when things are quiet it’s not such a problem.

    On the other hand, Arabs don’t even vote in the municipal elections.

    On the other hand, Arab shoppers are easy to find downtown or in Malcha Mall, or in the coffee shops, on Saturday nights.

    On the other hand, the police often use a heavy hand in the Arab neighborhoods, and the government built a large concrete wall that separated some of those neighborhoods from the rest of the city.

    On the other hand, there was such a rush of Jerusalem Palestinians applying for Israeli citizenship after the Camp David talks that the PA had to tell the Mufti to ban Palestinians from applying for citizenship.

    etc., etc., etc.

    The whole thing is just too complicated.


    Jonathan1 · June 3rd, 2011 at 10:24 am
  30. Good description of the complexities. It is very hard to get a sense of all of that without living here, which I do BTW.


    uzi · June 4th, 2011 at 1:34 pm
  31. I just wish I had the answer to some of these problems. But, I obviously don’t.


    Jonathan1 · June 4th, 2011 at 1:50 pm

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik