Jerusalem Is Not a Settlement

Israel celebrated “Jerusalem Day” last week, which commemorates the 1967 reunification of the city following the Six Day War.  The celebrations and speeches were especially poignant in view of the Obama Administration’s decree that Israel must cease building in Jerusalem.

For Jews, Jerusalem is, has been, and always will be the symbol and the heart and soul of their national identity.  Jerusalem is mentioned almost 900 times in the Bible (767 in the King James Version and not a single mention of the city in the Koran) including Psalms (“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning” – Psalm 137:5) and in the Passover Haggadah with the words “Next Year in Jerusalem” concluding the Passover service.  Through pilgrimages and prayers, Jews have demonstrated their love and yearning for Jerusalem for more than two millennia.  Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, is derived from Zion, another name for Jerusalem.

King David made Jerusalem his capital in 1000 BCE and unified the nation around it.  The city became the political and spiritual center of Jewish life, with the Temple at its heart.  But it took one of King David descendants, King Josiah, crowned 2650 years ago, to fortify the Jewish nation with a memory of Jerusalem that has kept the Jewish people united together during the Babylonian exile and beyond.

At the age of twenty, King Josiah understood that the assimilation of Jews into the idol-worshipping cultures that surrounded them might doom his kingdom and his people. He, therefore, enacted religious and political reforms aimed at establishing a unified national and religious worship.

The struggle between Jewish particularism and universalism is as long as Jewish history itself.  On one side, there were those who sought to assimilate into the neighboring (or prevailing) culture and on the other side, there were those who were dedicated to preserving the Jewish particularistic nature. We all know the story of Hanukkah and the Maccabean revolt against Greek rule and their agents from within. It was King Josiah, whose father King Amon was an idol-worshipper, who helped to create a Zion-oriented, national and religious Jewish particularism.

Following King Solomon’s death, the unified kingdom of Israel split up.  The Kingdom of Israel turned its back on Jerusalem and adopted the idol-worshipping universalist culture of the surrounding lands.  It did not survive.  Conversely, the Kingdom of Judea, with Jerusalem as its capital, survived for almost a century-and-a-half thereafter.  Josiah’s particularistic Jewish kingdom prepared the Judeans and future generations against ultimate defeat and exile by rededicating the lost Book of Deuteronomy to the people.

Josiah’s revolutionary actions were based on shifting the focus of religious worship from the physical domain (sacrifices) to the spiritual domain with the reading of the Torah.  Josiah did in his time what Martin Luther did in 16th century Europe.  By removing the exclusivity of the priests (in sacrifices) and the scribes, who read for the entire community, the common people were now compelled to learn how to read, altering their role as passive participants.

The Book – The Torah, which maintained a unitary focus on Zion, had a centralizing impact on Judaism.  Whereas sacrifices could be made at any place and for all “gods” or sovereigns, Josiah provided the Jews with a particularistic culture that is eternal and accessible to all the people.   Josiah was in a sense fulfilling Moses’ command in the Book of Deuteronomy 31:19, “Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it to the Children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the Children of Israel.”

Josiah’s great achievement is in facilitating the rise of the synagogue as a replacement for the destroyed Jerusalem Temple.  The practice of reading from the Torah began with Josiah and continues to this day among all Jews. King Josiah was greatly aided and strengthened by the Prophet Jeremiah who preached during his reign.  Jeremiah tied together the notion that worshipping God in the City of David (Jerusalem) and the freedom from foreign oppressors the city afforded them, are connected by an unbreakable chain.  It was an essential Zionist message.

The full extent and meaning of Josiah’s revolution is seen with the returnees from the Babylonian exile, Ezra and Nehemiah.  While they were dedicated to the rebuilding of the Second Temple, they understood that the essence of public worship was concentrated in public prayer.  Ezra stood on top of a wooden platform and opened the book while the masses of Jews rose to their feet; he read from the Torah and translated it to the masses (many of whom had lapsed in their practice of Judaism in the absence of strong Jewish leadership following the general expulsion to Babylon.)

The sacrificial alters (used by Jews and idol-worshippers alike) were replaced by a new institution, namely the synagogue, where Jews assembled for worship without the sole orchestration of priests who came from Aaron’s lineage (Moses’ brother). Instead, they were led by scribes from all walks of life and from any tribe.

Josiah’s contribution to Judaism and Zionism is in having forged an intellectual revolution based on three elements: Concentrating the kingdom (nation) around Jerusalem or Zion, from which all spirituality emanates; abolishing the foreign idol-worshipping and foreign cultural influences that erode the national and religious strength; and transferring the centrality of religious worship from the physical (sacrifices of animals) to a spiritual and intellectual worship.

Modern celebrations of Jerusalem serve a two-fold purpose: to remember that 2000 CE Jerusalem marked its 3000 birthday and 2010 marked the 43rd anniversary of the reunification of city.

The Obama administration’s attempted imposition of a building halt in Jerusalem and his anticipated division of the city is once again pitting universalist Jews (those who seek to be accepted and liked by the world) against particularistic Jews, (who see Jerusalem as the heart and soul of Jewish sovereignty and faith).  The Netanyahu government is currently in the midst of a debate on the building freeze.  In Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “Jerusalem Day” speech he vowed never to allow the division of Jerusalem. It remains to be seen, however, whether Netanyahu will follow the particularistic actions of King Josiah or succumb to the universalist culture and accept Obama’s foreign idols.

  • Michael Pat

    Why doesn't Netanyahu declare a building freeze in Washington D.C.? He has as much right to do so as bho has to dictate building regulations in Jerusalem.

  • Ron Grant

    Like it or not,when the killing is done and the dust has settled there will be a viable Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.Even the Jews backed by Amerikka cannot get away with ethnic cleansing forever.Man is better then that. Muchiboy.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

      What ethnic cleansing? Only the muslims have ethnically cleansed there. That's hilarious, especially since hamas's charter states their purpose for existing is to cleanse Israel from the face of the earth and the Jews from 'Palestine.'

      Who's going to stop the Israelis from defending themselves? Who is going to kick the Jews out of Jerusalem, the city they founded? Dream on.

      • Ron Grant

        "Who's going to stop the Israelis from defending themselves? Who is going to kick the Jews out of Jerusalem, the city they founded? Dream on."

        No question,Israel is the most powerful state in the Middle East.No question,South Africa was the most powerful state in Southern Africa.Smaller Rhodesia was no slouch,either.Took on all comers.I know,I fought that war.Where is South Africa today?Where is Rhodesia today?
        Don't underestimate the power of sanctions nor international isolation.Don't ever underestimate the innate goodness of our western liberal democracies.And never,ever underestimate the power of a dream. Muchiboy

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

          Yea, where are they? Zimbabwe is a self-impovershed, starving, and unfree armpit run by a commie dictator, and crime and poverty S. Africa are going up under their commie cabal, not down. Thanks for more good reasons to oppose the barbarians.

          I'm betting on the Israelis.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

          You might want to brush up on the Blacks massacring White in South Afrika. This includes you bucko. South Afrika is now a sewer, just as Zimbabwe is.

          Frankly, I support Israel driving every Arab from Gaza, The West Bank and Israel proper to whatever land will take them since their brethren won't.

    • USMCSniper

      Hey, the usual psychobabble from the anti-semite Ron Grant. As I have told you before, the Palestinians are a criminal Islamic subculture of Iranian proxy terrorists that strap munitions on their own women and children and send them out on homicide-suicide missions to murder other innocent women and children in restuarants, supermarkets, on school buses, etc.,. and have forfeited their rights to even exist. Only one solution. Kill 'em all, wrap 'em all in their prayer rugs, put 'em all in piles and burn 'em, and let Allah sort 'em out.

    • Nina

      You are repeting expressions which are used in the Weat like a parrot, without understanding their meaning. You only know that some idiots in the West use them, and you think that by doing so yourself, they will eventually bring you your state on a platter. It may seem so, but you'll wait till doomsday, if you understand my meaning.

  • Syd Barrett

    Thanks for the history lesson. It just goes to show the Jews' historical entitlement to and ownership of Jerusalem.

    Funny about the Palestinians. Back in the 20's, they insisted that they were actually displaced Syrians. This is a group of people so obnoxious that nobody wants them.

    • Ron Grant

      "This is a group of people so obnoxious that nobody wants them."

      Again,this could be the Jews you're talking about.Isn't this what a lot of people thought then and still think today.So Jews are victimized and in turn victimize the Palestinians.What was the saying,first they came for the Jews,then the Communists,then the homosexuals,then they came for you and me….When will we ever learn.Muchiboy

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

        When have Jews kicked other Jews out of their country, as opposed to welcoming and integrating them, and when have they waged war on each other?
        Are you sure you're trying to help the 'palis'?

        • Ron Grant

          "When have Jews kicked other Jews out of their country, as opposed to welcoming.."

          But the core issue is what Jews did to and are still doing to the Palestinians,not what Arab did/does to fellow Arab.Yea,Arabs are brothers ,but you're cousins,fellow Semites.Can't brush it off,it's like original sin.You need repent,resolve it.Muchiboy

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

            You're the one that tried to compare the two, but we can move on to what you think is the core issue (I'd say it's the 'pali' refusal to recognize the right of Israel to exist).

            What has anybody to repent for regarding the 'palis'? I think the Israelis and USA have been far too easy on them at the cost Israeli and American lives, and it's perpetuating terrorism. If the Israelis responded to the palis the way their fellow arabs do, they would leave Israel alone.

          • Ron Grant

            "move on to what you think is the core issue"

            I told you what I thought the core issue was,the Palestinian homeland that was occupied by Zionists and European Jews.The lost and stolen birthright of the Palestinian people.The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians that continues to this day.One may be generous and say the land belongs to the two peoples,but the moral onus is on the Zionist occupiers and oppressors to right their wrong.And pray to God that the Palestinians will show wisdom and be magnanimous in response.Personally,I don't think either side is capable of doing right by each other.Muchiboy

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

            What are they ethnically cleansing the 'palis' with, cholesterol? This must be the longest ethnic cleansing in the history of mankind. That's rich.

          • Carole

            You`ve been listening to too much propaganda demonising the Jews!
            There`s many, many arabs, palestinians who live in Israel and wouldn`t live anywhere else!
            They have more rights and freedoms in Israel than they would have in any other Middle East country!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

        Remember, the Arabs started the violence long before the creation of Israel. Muslim supremist beliefs extend to you Grant. Go to Saudi Arabia, or any other Middle-Eastern land and see how tolerant they are of other faiths.

        You are supporting the most intolerant people on the planet.

  • Ron Grant

    Hitler had similar intentions with the Jews,and despite initial successes,the western liberal democracies stopped him.Get down on your knees and be thankful,USMCSniper.
    Eventually,and sooner then later,the West,including Amerikka,will lose patience with the Zionists and put the muzzle on this nasty proxy state.And then you and your Palestinian cousins can live in peace and harmony and the world can get on with more pressing matters like saving the earth.Muchiboy

    PS.Stay out of my sights,USMCSniper!

    • USMCSniper

      To objectively judge Israel’s actions, it is crucial to recognize the broader context: the Gaza strip is under the control of Hamas, a totalitarian Islamist terrorist group, that is at war with Israel. Allowing arms, money, and other forms of aid to enter Hamas-controlled Gaza means allowing a sworn enemy to be sustained and strengthened to fight on. And a state facing that situation is entitled to thwart attempts to aid its enemy.

      • Ron Grant

        I think the Zionists and Jews generally are as responsible for the actions and situation of Palestinians as they are themselves,maybe even more so,as I hold them to account for the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.There is certainly more then enough blame to share and go around,if not land and resources.The Jews need to accept their share of the blame,never an easy thing to do.First you have to admit to wrong and fault,and most Jews are a long way from there.I know most Rhodesians never did.Palestinians became a people when the Zionist and Jews occupied their land and denied them their birthright and homeland.They became terrorists when Israelis continued to oppress them,not satisfied with their initial colonial gains and the world failed them.They became desperate when Israel bombed them ,imposed punishing inhumane boycotts on their cities and continued immoral and illegal policies of ethnic cleansing.Jews generally have given the Palestinians reason enough to hate you,but like many of the new generation of Jews have forgiven Germans,there is reason to hope that Palestinians will similarly forgive you.That is a strength of man.Muchiboy

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

          Have you ever read regarding what the "Palestinians" Hamas did to their brethren when they seized control of Gaza.

          The Arabs still have not forgiven the Crusades. You really do not know regarding Muslim culture. Read what they claim about the infidels, people like you, or are you a revert to Islam person.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

      Who have the 'palestinians' ever lived with in peace and harmony? They don't even do that with their fellow muslims.

      • Ron Grant

        "Who have the 'palestinians' ever lived with in peace and harmony?"

        When we view our enemies and foes as inhumane and monstrous,we treat them as such.But for the most part we are more alike then different.There are many example of this.Here is but one.There are many such stories and people on both sides of the wall and conflict.Muchiboy
        http://www.haaretz.com/news/israeli-trained-gaza-

        http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/79685

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

          Let me know when he stops hamas from attacking Israel, or the 'palis' live in peace and harmony with anybody.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

          A Haaretz reporter was recently arrested for spying. Haaretz often uses opinion in place of facts.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

      The liberal democracies you speak of did zip to help the fleeing Jews.

      Seems like you use to blog on Israeli sites; were you banned? Probably.

  • Federated Republic

    I have and continue believe more and more in Israel's position rather than of it's close neighbors and perceived victims. I was once a victim advocate, but no more! There are many reasons why but suffice it to say I have seen behind the curtain of the "victim industry" ( read current Demoncratic Party political positions) and the scene is corrupt, deplorable, and despicable by all logical human reasoning! Evil lurks heaviest in situations where Group P is used against Group I yet all the other surrounding Groups do everything in there power KEEP Group P as the designated victim while threatening and randomly indiscriminately killing members of Group I. This harassment of Group I from the surrounding Groups by proxy, Group H within Group P, causes retaliation from Group I when in turn leads to collateral injury and death to members of Group P in the process of ridding them of the violent elements of Group H in Group P's midst.
    With that I was draw attention to very imporatnat and powerful paragraphs in the above very well written article:

    "Josiah’s revolutionary actions were based on shifting the focus of religious worship from the physical domain (sacrifices) to the spiritual domain with the reading of the Torah. Josiah did in his time what Martin Luther did in 16th century Europe. By removing the exclusivity of the priests (in sacrifices) and the scribes, who read for the entire community, the common people were now compelled to learn how to read, altering their role as passive participants."

    "The Obama administration’s attempted imposition of a building halt in Jerusalem and his anticipated division of the city is once again pitting universalist Jews (those who seek to be accepted and liked by the world) against particularistic Jews, (who see Jerusalem as the heart and soul of Jewish sovereignty and faith). The Netanyahu government is currently in the midst of a debate on the building freeze. In Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “Jerusalem Day” speech he vowed never to allow the division of Jerusalem. It remains to be seen, however, whether Netanyahu will follow the particularistic actions of King Josiah or succumb to the universalist culture and accept Obama’s foreign idols."

    Shalom!

  • Ron Grant

    Huh? Muchiboy.

    Shalom.

  • 1111111111

    just after 2 year well get back 4m u i promiss insha Allah