Jerusalem United

Back in the old country as a little kid, one of the greatest things was Chicago's own channel 9, WGN. It broadcast the Cubs and Blackhawks games. What's more – on Sunday afternoon, corned beef and cole slaw day, they'd run kids' movies, the same movies every year according to some esoteric schedule known only to grownups. One of the movies I made sure to see, almost religiously, was the Wizard of Oz. You see: it taught me three important things for life. One: even if you don't have a piece of paper from a university – you still have a working and fertile brain. Heck! Maybe the opposite corollary is true: it's because you don't have that paper from a university – you still have a working brain. Two: you gotta realize that wherever you are – you ain't in Kansas no more, 'cause nobody ain't culturally in Kansas no more!

The third thing I learned, and this is serious and deep, was this: It's really important to know right from wrong and good from evil. So you must be able to differentiate between the east-west axis and north-south. You see the witch which comes from the east-west axis is evil whereas the witch which cometh from the south-north is good. Everyone knows that… except for Dorothy…. But at least she knew she wasn't in Kansas anymore.

Why bring this up? Well, I recently saw an article about Har Choma, the Jewish neighborhood in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). The article put this neighborhood in 'East Jerusalem', which means that’s bad, but everyone knows it's really in the south side of Jerusalem, which is good.

So why does south Jerusalem become east Jerusalem?

The real question is: where in the world is East Jerusalem? Well, not in Kansas, that much I know, so maybe it's in Oz? But besides a mining town – Oz, Kentucky – I don't think there really is an Oz. I mean – I know there's East St. Louis and East Chicago, but East Jerusalem with a capital E??

For forty four years Berlin was divided into East Berlin and West Berlin. This was the result of the positions of the occupying armies at the end of WW2. After the Berlin Wall came down and the city was re-united: do people still say East Berlin and West Berlin? I quiz Berliners whom I meet in the Western Wall Tunnels and the answer is always: "Oh, no, it's just Berlin. People may say eastern Berlin or the western part of Berlin, but not West Berlin and East Berlin."

So why East Jerusalem?

Because as a result of Israel's War of Independence the Holy City of Jerusalem was divided between the Israeli army and the invading Arab Legion of Trans-Jordan. Out of a history of thousands of years, and over three thousand years as our Holy City and capitol city, for just nineteen years the city was divided between the Jews, who had made her an important city and had now returned to her, and between illegal foreign invaders. That is where the term East Jerusalem comes from. During those nineteen years of Jordanian illegal occupation – did Jerusalem become the capitol city of Jordan? No! Did it become once again the capitol city of the Jewish state? Yes!

In 1967 the Jordanians joined Egypt and Syria in attacking Israel with the intent of erasing the Jewish state and its' people. In the wake of the miraculous Six-Day War, the Holy City was reunited. That was forty eight (48) years ago, more than twice the number of years of illegal Jordanian occupation and division. Hasn't the time come to stop saying East Jerusalem???

That reminds me of another movie I once saw. In general it was about white discrimination of blacks in the southern US (maybe I should say "in the CSA"?). What sticks out in my memory is a scene where a white racist calls a black man: "boy", despite his being in his sixties and not at all a boy. In this scene the elderly black man stands erect and poignantly asks: "How old I got to be for you to stop calling me boy?"

How long I got to be home in my eternal, capitol Holy City, Yerushalayim, for you to stop calling it East Jerusalem??