When the moral becomes trivial and the symbolic becomes essential

Anticipating this new wind that will blow through the corridors of the American government, many public officials are hurrying to announce that now we must rule and implement our our sovereignty.

By DOV KALMANOVITZ
November 30, 2016 21:23
2 minute read.
HOUSES UNDER construction in the Har Homa neighborhood of Jerusalem in 2010

HOUSES UNDER construction in the Har Homa neighborhood of Jerusalem in 2010. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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On November 9, 2016 something happened, a historical event took place in front of our eyes and the world stood in its tracks, stunned. Donald Trump was elected president of the United States of America, the largest democracy in the world. According to assessments and his own statements, Trump is going to return some of the blue to the White House, so that more of it will be colored in blue and white. Or more explicitly, to bring a more pro-Israel wind under the American eagle’s wings, and by that allow Israel to realize its sovereignty over the whole of Israel including Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem its capital.

Anticipating this new wind that will blow through the corridors of the American government, many public officials are hurrying to announce that now, in the Trump era, we must rule and implement our sovereignty over Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and the way to do so is to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. There is no doubt that this move is important and blessed, and I am eagerly waiting to see the embassy of our greatest ally making its place in its natural environment in the capital of Israel.

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With that said, transferring the embassy to Jerusalem is only a symbolic gesture that has no real Israeli-Jewish effect, and it even turns the main point of the moral discussion regarding wider construction all over Jerusalem to a shallow and rather empty symbolic discussion.

This creates a situation where a subject that sounds good in the media and looks good regarding the values that it represents turns into the main subject while another very important moral, Jewish and Israeli subject turns trivial. Let’s not turn the tables and make the moral trivial and the symbolic essential, let’s put the discussion back on track and talk about building in all parts of Jerusalem, about the additional thousands of residential units that will provide housing for hundreds of thousands of longtime residents, families, youngsters and those who aren’t residents but want to move to Jerusalem. Let’s talk about real sovereignty that isn’t afraid or confused to develop its city through construction, about urban blooming and prosperous settling in all parts of Jerusalem – and alongside them the embassy, and not the other way around.

There are also those who have called the US elections “reality elections” in light of the way in which they were conducted in the media compared to the previous elections, and I say that Israeli “reality leadership” means representing the embassy as an overall vision – and we can’t fall for these messages. Values mean building Jerusalem and not leaving construction frozen. Values mean strengthening the Jewish Jerusalem by building more residential units and finding more residential solutions for the current residents alongside sovereignty and law enforcement, while investing and treating the infrastructure in the east of the city. Values mean making decisions for your electors and for your people, and not for your allies – as close as they may be.

It is now time to build Jerusalem, and the sooner the better.

The writer is the deputy mayor of Jerusalem.

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