Saturday, April 17, 2010

'For Jerusalem'

Leo Rennert

The Washington Post, in its April 16 edition, features a full-page ad by Elie Wiesel, titled: "For Jerusalem." While phrased in Wiesel's usual poetic utterances, it is a cry from the heart to Obama to forego a final peace deal that would re-divide Jerusalem and instead take a step-by-step approach of confidence-building measures until Israelis and Palestinians eventually may be ready to conclude a permanent peace agreement.

Wiesel's ad pulls no punches about Jewish historical and religious ties to Jerusalem that far surpass any Muslim claims to the city. It is also a reminder, a wake-up call to his co-religionists that the time again has come to stand up "For Jerusalem." Coming one day after a full-page ad in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal by Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, that also pressed Obama to change course in U.S. relations with Israel, it seems that at least some Jewish leaders are no longer content to remain on the sidelines.

With Lauder and Wiesel leading the charge, will other Jewish leaders now follow?

Here are some excerpts from Elie Wiesel's ad:

"Jerusalem is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture -- and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming.

"It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city, it is what binds one Jew to another in a way that remains hard to explain. When a Jew visits Jerusalem for the first time, it is not the first time; it is a homecoming.

"Since King David took Jerusalem as his capital, Jews have dwelled inside its walls with only two interruptions; when Roman invaders forbade them acces to the city and again, when under Jordanian occupation, Jews, regardless of nationality, were refused entry into the old Jewish quarter to meditate and pray at the Wall, the last vestige of Solomon's temple.

"It is important to remember: had Jordan not joined Egypt and Syria in the 1967 war against Israel, the old city of Jerusalem would still be Arab. Clearly, while Jews were ready to die for Jerusalem they would not kill for Jerusalem.

"Today, for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city. The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate but about memory.

"What is the solution? Pressure will not produce a solution. Is there a solution? There must be, there will be. Why tackle the most complex and sensitive problem prematurely? Why not take first steps which will allow the Israeli and Palestinian communities to find ways to live together in an atmosphere of security. Why not leave the most difficult, the most sensitive issue, for such a time?

"Jerusalem must remain the world's Jewish spiritual capital, not a symbol of anguish and bitterness, but a symbol of trust and hope.

Page Printed from: at April 17, 2010 - 01:11:23 AM CDT

No comments: