Answering those who deny Jerusalem’s Jewish history
Jerusalem will no longer be built on hate. Jerusalem’s future will not be written on its destroyed past.
Man prays at Western Wall Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
Evil spirits surround Jerusalem.
Small-minded people are trying to
undermine the foundations of the eternal castle; denying its past, erasing its
identity. They are trying to take possession of King David’s holy
No, I will not testify about the Jewishness of Jerusalem. Testimony
will be given by the ancient coins found among the remains, etched with names of
Kings of Judea. Testimony will be given by the burned stamps carrying biblical
names. Testimony will be given by the walls of hope, built by Nehemiah, the
rebuilder of Jewish settlement in Jerusalem over 2,300 years ago. Testimony will
be given by the tremendous stone walls which surround Temple Mount, the site of
the Second Temple, about which the Romans said nothing so magnificent had been
seen anywhere in the world. Testimony will be given by the ritual baths carved
in Jerusalem stone on the pilgrims’ route.
No, I will not testify about
the Jewish nation’s devotion to Jerusalem.
Testimony will be given by the
desperate etchings left by pilgrims on the stone walls of Jerusalem. Testimony
will be given by the Holy Ark curtains, the wine goblets and other ritual
objects which carry the image of the Western Wall stones in every place which
Jews reached around the world. Testimony will be given by the prayers, the hymns
and the liturgy recited in Morocco and Spain, in the mountains of Ethiopia and
in the steppes of the Ukraine, etching the memory of Jerusalem in every
No, I will not testify about the freedom of Jerusalem. Testimony
will be given by the millions of pilgrims; Jews, Christians and Muslims who –
for the first time in 2,000 years – have complete freedom of religion and
worship in Jerusalem, who enjoy the status quo of mutual respect and of the
safeguarding of the sacred places to the three religions, protected by the
government of the sovereign State of Israel. Testimony will be given by the
state archeological sites and museums in Jerusalem which preserve and tell the
story of Jerusalem throughout the generations.
For 2,000 years, since my
forefathers were expelled from it under the Roman sword, Jerusalem was destroyed
and rebuilt time and after time. And when we merited to return to Jerusalem, we
chose to stop the cycle of destruction, to return our beloved city to its
eternal mission: “...that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established
as the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all
nations shall flow unto it”; A city in which all believers can raise their eyes
We must condemn those who wish to return Jerusalem to the cycle
of denial and bloodshed, and who wish to erase its Jewish past in the name of
One of Jerusalem’s greatest rabbis once said, “If we
were destroyed, and the world with us, due to baseless hatred, then we shall
rebuild ourselves, and the world with us, with baseless love.” Jerusalem will no
longer be built on hate. Jerusalem’s future will not be written on its destroyed
past. Shame on those who wish to erase Jerusalem’s eternal story.
writer is the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites.