The Jewish holiday of Chanukah celebrates Jews rededicating their holy Temple in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago. The physical manifestations of today’s celebrations include additional prayers as well as the lighting a menorah in a slightly different form than the one that existed at the Temple, as that one had seven branches while the ones lit today have eight. The eight branches commemorate the eight days that the small jug of oil found at the Temple was able to keep the menorah lit until new batches of purified oil were made and brought to Jerusalem.
Modern commemorations do not focus on the many battles fought by the Jewish fighters over the Greeks. That is a mistake. It is time to use the holiday to fight the current global slander about Jewish Jerusalem. Just as the historic Jewish Maccabees fought dozens of warriors riding elephants in the fields of the land of Israel, we must confront and defeat the elephants in the room: the lies of Muslim appeasement that have been allowed to fester in discussions about the Jewish State’s capital city.
Eight Attestations On Jerusalem
- Jews have an Inalienable Right to pray on Temple Mount
- Banning Jews from living and praying in their holiest city is blatant anti-Semitism, as is denying Jewish history
- There is no “Judaizing” Jerusalem, as Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem since the 1860’s, and have devoted themselves to the city since 1000BCE
- The security of Israel demands that its capital sit well within its borders
- Divided capitals are a function of war, not peace. The place known as “East Jerusalem” only existed for a few years, 1949-1967
- No part of Jerusalem was ever contemplated to be part of Palestine. Not only is “East Jerusalem” not an actual city, but there is no basis to call it “Occupied Palestinian Territory”
- Jerusalem Arabs have been and are offered Israeli citizenship
- There is no ethnic cleansing of Arabs. The Arab population in Jerusalem has grown faster than Jews since Israel reunited city
These plain facts are challenged repeatedly on the world stage to such an extent, that some of these statements appear extreme, further underscoring the importance of repeating them clearly. Everyone should write their local papers and elected officials about these facts, share the statements on social media and counter the lies loudly whenever seen.
Jews have an Inalienable Right to Pray on Temple Mount
There are a handful of basic rights that all human beings have, such as control of their persons and ability to follow a religion of their choice. It extends beyond borders and sovereignty and relates to individuals and communities as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Whether one likes or recognizes a particular government, the right to practice and worship belongs to that person as an individual and member of a faith-based group.
So while some may think the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a terrible regime, no one would deny that Muslims should have a right to pray in their holy cities of Mecca and Medina in the KSA. A person need not be a Catholic or think that the Vatican is a legitimate government to affirm the right of Catholics to come to the St. Peter’s Cathedral in Vatican City.
So it is for Jews on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Regardless of one’s opinion of the State of Israel, Jews from around the world have an inalienable right to pray at their holiest location.
Banning Jews from living and praying in their holiest city is blatant anti-Semitism, as is denying Jewish history
The United Nations has sided with the dozens of Muslim countries at the United Nations in support of banning Jews from living and praying in their holiest city. They have declared that Jews praying at the Temple Mount is a “provocation,” inverting cause-and-effect in a logic that would declare Blacks moving into a neighborhood a provocation to White Supremacists.
To defend the illogic as not anti-Semitism, Muslim Arabs have challenged the basic history of Jews that the Temple did not exist, and if it did, it was not in Jerusalem. They even go so far as to declare that Jesus was not a Jew but a Palestinian Muslim. These are not just outrageous fabrications but additional forms of vile anti-Semitism.
There is no “Judaizing” Jerusalem, as Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem since the 1860’s, and have devoted themselves to the city since 1000BCE
Jews have focused their religion on Jerusalem since King David moved the capital city from Hebron to Jerusalem around 1000BCE. His son Solomon built the First Jewish Temple there, and it has been the center of Jewish prayer since that time. Regardless of where Jews lived or what foreign power controlled the Jewish holy land, Jews directed prayers and prayed about Jerusalem.
It is therefore no wonder that Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem since the 1860’s. Jews moved to, lived and prayed in the city before the introduction of modern Zionism. There are over 70,000 Jews buried in eastern Jerusalem, many from hundreds of years ago. Today’s State of Israel protects (or should protect) the rights of Jews in Jerusalem, but that political entity is separate from the deep Jewish roots and connection to the holy city.
The security of Israel demands that its capital sit well within its borders
Israel is a very small and skinny country with many neighbors. Several of those neighbors do not recognize the country’s right to exist and are at an official state of war with the Jewish State.
Israel’s capital city sits roughly in the center of the country, including the Israeli territory of Area C. Theoretically, not including Area C would place Jerusalem abutting another state. No country puts its capital city at risk in such fashion, even if it were at peace with its neighbors. There is no statement – however well intentioned – that can both support the security of Israel AND suggest the capital of Jerusalem be adjacent to another country.
Divided capitals are functions of war, not peace. The place known as “East Jerusalem” only existed for a few years, 1949-1967
Capital cities like Berlin and Beirut were divided during periods of hostilities. Once peace was established, the cities were reunited.
“East Jerusalem” similarly existed during a period of war between Muslim Arab states and Israel. Its existence was merely the result of the Armistice Lines established in 1949 between Israel and Jordan, which specifically stated that the lines were not to be construed as actual borders. The city was reunified in 1967 after Jordan attacked Israel again, just as it had in 1948. The brief, unhappy nineteen years of division came to an end decades ago.
No part of Jerusalem was ever contemplated to be part of Palestine. Not only is “East Jerusalem” not an actual city, but there is no basis to call it “Occupied Palestinian Territory”
Despite historic facts, the United Nations refers to “East Jerusalem” as an actual place and describes it as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” This is fiction twice over. Not only does East Jerusalem not exist, it was never contemplated to be part of a Palestinian State, even by the United Nations.
The UN 1947 Partition Plan placed Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem in a Corpus Separatum which would have been internationally administered. It was to be neither part of a Jewish State nor an Arab one. There is therefore no bearing on reality to call the eastern part of Jerusalem as “OPT.”
Jerusalem Arabs have been and are offered Israeli citizenship
Israel has continued to offer all Arabs in the eastern portion of Jerusalem Israeli citizenship since it officially annexed the area. Thousands of Arabs have taken that citizenship and thousands more have applied. These Israeli Arabs have the same rights as other Israeli citizens.
Not that you would ever learn such facts from listening to Palestinian Arabs, the United Nations or their propaganda outlets in the media.
There is no ethnic cleansing of Arabs. The Arab population in Jerusalem has grown faster than Jews since Israel reunited city
The Arab population in Jerusalem has ballooned, especially relative to the Jewish population. From 1990 to 2019, the Arab population grew 3.4 times while the Jewish population grew only 1.9 times. Over that same period, housing for Arabs in the city grew by 188% while it only grew by 64% for Jews. When Israel reunified the city in 1967, Arabs made up 26% of the city’s population while they constitute 36% today.
Smears that Jews are “ethnically cleansing” Arabs are not only patently false, but attempt to whitewash the history of Muslim Arabs ethnically-cleansing Jews from Judea and Samaria in 1949, and from various countries like Morocco, Syria and Egypt in the decades after the founding of Israel.
The world is being barraged by outright lies about Jerusalem, including on the rights of Jews and the actions of Israel. We must all do our part to spread the light of truth in the face of anti-Semitism that grows increasingly darker and more bold.