The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term “in situ” as “in the original place, or the place where something should be,” or, alternatively, “in the original place instead of being moved to another place.” In the world of archaeology, there is nothing more valuable than finding an object “in situ” as it gives the ancient room, building and town where the object was found, important context in both time and purpose. Unfortunately, due to ancient sites being raided for centuries, most historical finds are traded in the black market, destroying the ability to accurately relay the provenance of the object and the story of the place from which it was taken.

However, last week the world was blessed by two remarkable discoveries in the City of David, just south of the Old City of Jerusalem’s external walls, of ancient Jewish objects found in situ.

In the ruins of what is currently thought to be a large municipal building dating back to the 6th or 7th century BCE, was a clay seal bearing the inscription “LeNathan-Melech Eved HaMelech – which translates to “[belonging] to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King.” Such servant to the king is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in 2 Kings 23:11.

The second item is a blue agate seal saying “LeIkar Ben Matanyahu” – “(belonging) to Ikar son of Matanyahu.”

Finding these two items in their original location is a blessing and curse for many. For those people who enjoy learning about history, these ancient Jewish finds in what is believed to be the original capital of the unified kingdom of Israel under King David is considered an important piece of the puzzle to understanding the location and way of life of the Jewish people in Jerusalem thousands of years ago. However, for those people who want to see modern Jews evicted from Jerusalem in favor of Arabs, the findings present an obstacle in convincing Jews that they should abandon their history and religion.

Like the finding of the seal of King Hezkiah in Jerusalem in December 2015, and the burnt remains of a Torah scroll found in a synagogue in Ein Gedi, these findings attest to the long history of Jews living throughout the area east of the Green Line. Arab news sites like Al Jazeera refuse to print any of these stories, in an effort to continue to lie to its readership about the history of the Jews in the holy land which predates Islam by thousands of years.

The incredible discoveries makes one consider the two alternative definitions for “in situ” described above: the ancient Jewish finds in Jerusalem were located “in the original place instead of being moved to another place,” while the Israeli Jews themselves and the capital of the Jewish State are “in the original place, or the place where something should be,” in Jerusalem.


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Pope Demanding that Jews Have Rights to Pray on The Temple Mount

Pope Francis visited Morocco in late March 2019. He signed a declaration together with Morocco King Mohammed VI that Jerusalem is sacred to three monotheistic religions and must be open and accessible to all religions.

Yet today, only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Jewish Temple Mount and any Jew seen mumbling under their breath is evicted from the site in fear that they might be praying. Further, while large groups of Christian visitors are allowed to roam the 35 acre site, Jews are only allowed to walk around in small groups, and are often accosted by “Mourabitan,” women paid by Hamas to harass Jewish pilgrims.

It is an interesting development for Jewish rights as Morocco hosted a United Nations conference on “The Question of Jerusalem” in Rabat in June 2018. Seemingly, the Arab world is now trying to position itself as the protector of the freedom of access and worship for the three monotheistic religions… even though when Arab Muslims controlled the Old City of Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967, they evicted every Jew and forbade any Jew from entering the city, and continue to attack Jewish visitors at every opportunity.

It is highly unlikely that the Pope will call out the Muslim world on their antisemitism, as many Christians are embattled minorities in Muslim-majority countries. However, this latest announcement could be a wonderful opening for the Pope to clearly advocate for allowing full and open Jewish prayer at their holiest location on the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

The Custodianship of a Child and Jerusalem

Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

The Arguments over Jerusalem

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

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Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas warned the Israelis to not turn their long political fight into a religious war after Palestinian Arabs murdered Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue in November 2014. Remarkably sensitive words of consolation (?!) from a head of state.

Just a few months later, Abbas and the Jordanians submitted a 33-page report to UNESCO outlining that the battle for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount was specifically about religion.

The situation is completely farcical from the outset. Jordan, which had attacked the nascent state of Israel in 1948 and illegally seized and annexed the “West Bank” and eastern Jerusalem in a move not recognized by any country in the world, submitted the Old City of Jerusalem to UNESCO in 1981, a year after Israel declared the city its unified capital. How does a country with no standing submit a city in a foreign land for consideration to UNESCO? Who knows?! Perhaps Turkey should submit some sites in northern Cyprus to UNESCO as well. Or better yet, Russia should submit East Berlin, a city divided in war that no longer has a distinct separated entity anymore and is no longer occupied by foreign forces.

To add insult to injury and absurdity, the March 2015 Jordanian/Palestinian document was not a review of the current condition of the Old City of Jerusalem, a matter which might interest UNESCO as part of its officially stated mission. Instead, it was an attack on Jews and the Jewish State, exactly the opposite of what Abbas asked from Israel.

The report mentioned the word Jews and Jewish 44 times (and not favorably). It also introduced a bizarre set of words such as “Judaize” and “Judaization” which it used 22 times. Here’s a meaty example:

“They all reassure their rejection of the attempts to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque or any of its components by the Israeli Occupation Authorities, its various organs and the extreme Jewish organizations, which attempt interfering with its administration, preventing and disrupting Muslim worshippers from entering and praying, hampering its maintenance/renovation/repair, and attempts to befog the religious historic Muslim exclusive right and identification by forced use of un-Islamic names such as “The Temple Mount” as part of the Judaization policy enforced by the Israeli Occupation Power of the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

Wow! Now I’m really befogged!

In case you wondered, “Al-Aqsa” is mentioned 109 times compared to only three for the “Temple Mount,” and, as you might have guessed, those three were not positive. In this quote, the Jordanians and Palestinians dismiss the historical existence of the two Jewish Temples:

“… as 2010 approached, the Davidson Center was constructed and the site was turned into an active museum of the so-called “First Temple and Second Temple.

For the Jordanians and Palestinians, the issue isn’t as much about the sovereignty of the land of eastern Jerusalem as much as it is about enforcing a “Muslim exclusive right” to the Old City and the Temple Mount.


Judaism’s holiest site

When the United Nations adopts Muslim anti-Semitic propaganda and says nothing about stripping Jews of their holiest site, no one should be surprised when religious Christians and Jews and decent people everywhere say enough is enough.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Would You Rather Have Sovereignty or Control

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

Time for King Abdullah of Jordan to Denounce the Mourabitoun

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

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Marking November 29 as The International Day of Solidarity with Jews Living East of the Green Line

For many years, the United Nations has chosen to mark the anniversary of the November 29, 1947 vote to partition Palestine into distinct Jewish and Arab states as a day of solidarity for only one of those groups – the Arabs.

The times they aren’t a changin’.

On November 28, 2018, the UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres spoke at the Meeting of Committee of the Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People (that’s the actual name of the group). Not only does the UN only have a unique group for the Arabs from Palestine and none for the Jews, but the UN also argues that the Arabs have “inalienable rights” to a separate country – not autonomy or self-determination – but a special unique country, which is also a right not afforded to any people anywhere on the planet.

Speaking at such a forum the day before the November 29 anniversary, Gutteres gave the audience the red meat they so covet. After calling on Israel to stop building “illegal settlements,” he added the following:

“I call on all actors, and first and foremost the leadership of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, to take bold steps and restore faith in the promise of General Assembly resolution 181, of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, fulfilling the legitimate national aspirations of both peoples, with borders based on the 1967 lines and Jerusalem as the capital of both States ‑ East Jerusalem being the capital of the Palestinian State.

It is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It is the only option for a comprehensive and just peace, and I call on the international community to intensify its engagement and reiterate its commitment to assist Palestinians and Israelis in reaching the two-State solution.”

Moving past the absurdity that no people on the planet have inalienable rights to their own sovereign country, just to self-determination (hey, anyone want to start a country tomorrow?) it is further absurd to state that the only formula to achieve such right is based on armistice lines from a war fought over 70 years ago in which all parties agreed would NOT serve as permanent borders, and that dividing a capital city between two countries has any logic, when it is a formula only used in war-time (Berlin, Beirut, Nicosia anyone?)

But it moves past the absurd to discriminatory and antisemitic to declare that Jews should be banned from living anywhere east of that Green Line. That the only way that an Arab state could exist is to be Jew-free and controlling Judaism’s holiest location.

People who want to see peace in the region should stand firmly against this antisemitic formula for a two-state solution. A viable – and peaceful – independent Palestine could exist:

  • WITH Jews living throughout the land;
  • with borders that DO NOT follow the 1949 Armistice Lines / Green Line;
  • with BETHLEHEM, an integral part of the corpus separatum that was voted upon on November 29, 1947, as the Palestinian capital city

The world continues to declare that Palestinian Arabs have unique rights and Jews uniquely have none: Palestinian Arabs must have a distinct country; Jews must be banned from living in parts of their holy land.

It is past time to call out the insanity and antisemitism, and mark November 29 as a day of solidarity with Jews in Israel and its territories. It is time to recall:

  • that international laws of 1920 and 1922 specifically ENCOURAGED Jews to live throughout Palestine, including in Judea and Samaria which were later renamed the “West Bank”;
  • international laws and human rights laws that forbid the discrimination of anyone based on religion from being able to live in Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza (Article 15)

These are not “right-wing” positions. These are positions based on human rights and international law.

View of Jerusalem, from Hebrew University
(photo: First.One.Through)

I stand with the rights of Jews to live throughout their holy land, including in their holiest city of Jerusalem.


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The Hypocrisy Between An Embassy for Israel in Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, OPT

There are so many examples of the bias at the United Nations in favor of Palestinian Arabs over Israel, that the obvious ones are sometimes overlooked.

Consider the situation of Jerusalem, a holy city for three religions which has had a Jewish majority since the 1860’s.

In trying to find a solution for the hotly contested city, the UN General Assembly voted on November 29, 1947 to place Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem into a distinct corpus separatum which would neither be part of a Jewish State of Israel nor an Arab State of Palestine. The nations at the UN voted 33 in favor, 13 against and 10 abstentions. (The 13 countries that voted against the partition were mostly the Arab and Muslim countries of Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.) The proposal would never come to pass, as the “corpus separatum” was divided after Israel’s War of Independence with Israel controlling the western half of Jerusalem and the Jordanians controlling all of Greater Bethlehem and the eastern portion of Jerusalem.

Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital city and located its federal government buildings there, but virtually no countries recognized Israel’s assumption of the western part of the city, nor the Jordanian occupation of the eastern part of the city. That was the situation from 1949 to 1967, and continued to be true after the Jordanians attacked Israel again in June 1967 and lost its portion of corpus separatum and the rest of the West Bank.

For decades, countries have continued to withhold their recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, much as they had since Israel founding.


Israeli flag waving in front of the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple Mount
(photo: First.One.Through)

That changed recently.

In December 2017, the United States decided to acknowledge the fact that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem, to the chagrin of many other countries. A few weeks later, the UN voted to condemn the United States’ relocation of its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem by a vote of 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions. Many of the 128 countries voiced opinions that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority. Any recognition that either the Israelis or Palestinian Arabs has a superior claim to areas of corpus separatum was to be avoided.

Yet, with no sense of embarrassment or question of hypocrisy, many of those same nations which voted to admonish the US, chose to vote at the UN on November 16, 2018 on several resolutions which referred to East Jerusalem as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

  • Draft resolution “Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories” (document A/C.4/73/L.19) passed by a vote of 154 to 5 with 8 abstentions.
  • The draft resolution titled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” (document A/C.4/73/L.20) passed by a recorded 153 votes in favour to 5 against with 10 abstentions.
  • The draft resolution “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” (document A/C.4/73/L.21) passed by 153 to 6 with 9 abstentions.

If countries want to be consistent in their treatment of Jerusalem and desire for peace, they have a choice: either recognize Israel’s claim to the western part of the city and move their embassies to the western part of Jerusalem just like the United States, OR refuse to call “East Jerusalem” part of “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Any country refusing to move its embassy for Israel to Jerusalem while simultaneously calling the eastern part of Jerusalem part of “Occupied Palestinian Territory” is spitting in the face of Israel and rejecting participating in the peace process.


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Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

Western Jerusalem’s U.S. Consulate and Embassy

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition for Muslim Nations

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

Maybe Truman Should Not Have Recognized Israel

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

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A Sofer at the Kotel

Jews around the world just finished reading the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, and promptly began to start the Bible again from the beginning. The time between finishing the public reading and recommencing the weekly recitation was only a few minutes. For Jews, the Bible is a living document that is always being read and learned. There is no “finishing” the Bible; just completing it and commencing again in rapid succession.

The holiday of completing the weekly Torah readings is called Simchat Torah, the Joy of the Bible. The Jewish religious denominations take different approaches to mark the holiday. Hasidic men may be seen dancing in circles with Torahs in the streets; many Reform Temples unfurl the entire Torah with men, women and children holding a section in a large circle. There is a common moment of celebration, but unique methods of celebrating.

With such thoughts about the recent holiday, it is time to advance a principle which is inscribed towards the end of the Pentateuch: to write a Torah.

Some biblical commentators believe that biblical commandment is only applicable to kings; others have said that the king need not actually write the Torah, but to own one. Still others have suggested that the commandment is for everyone to participate in the writing of the Torah, perhaps by paying a scribe, a sofer, to write one on their behalf.

This post is a proposal is to have a permanent sofer at the Western Wall, the Kotel, so everyone can participate in the mitzvah.

Background Issues

  1. Political. Discussions regarding Jerusalem, the Old City and the Kotel have been trapped in politics for many years. Who has or should have sovereignty and control is debated everywhere, with various advocates supporting Israel, the Palestinians, the Jordanian Waqf and the international community. Many leaders have sought to avoid the inherent religious nature of the location as they fear inflaming passions and violence among the three major monotheistic religions.
  2. Jewish Religious denominations. The Kotel plaza is currently caught in a fight within the various Jewish denominations. Recently, a dedicated space for non-Orthodox prayer has taken steps forwards-and-backwards, such as the expanded prayer area at Robinson’s Arch being approved and disapproved. The Jewish community outside of Israel (which is mostly non-Orthodox) has taken a sharply negative attitude towards Israel on this point, which is harmful on multiple levels to Israel and Jews worldwide.
  3. Education and performing a Mitzvah. Many people who come to the Kotel do not have a deep understanding of Judaism. They are foreigners who see an archaeological site caught in a political quagmire. Their visits often lack deeper religious engagement.
  4. Bridging the Israeli Ashkenazi and Sefaradi Communities. While the two communities often lead distinct lives, there is a chance for the two groups to create something together and forge a common bond, especially in Jerusalem.

The Opportunity

  1. Large Attendance. Jerusalem’s Old City – and the Kotel in particular – attracts millions of people a year. However, there has been no concerted attempt to actively engage the pilgrims and tourists in anything of religious or spiritual consequence. The plaza is simply an open space for pictures and pan-handlers.
  2. Spiritual Center. While the most sacred spot for Judaism is not the Kotel but the Temple Mount itself, it is the Kotel that has served as the religious symbol for Jews since the time of Suleiman I in the 1500s. While there is daily prayer at the Kotel, can there be more religious engagement?

Bar Mitzvah party entering the Old City of Jerusalem through Zion’s Gate
(photo: First.One.Through)

The Proposal

  1. Sofer at Kotel. The issues above can be addressed by adding a small building (about 47 feet wide) at the back of the Kotel plaza which would house a sofer who would write a Torah six days a week from 8:00am to 8:00pm. By giving a donation, visitors would be able to participate in the mitzvah of writing a Torah, as they observe the sofer write a word on their behalf.
  2. Ashkenazi and Sefardi approved. There would be both Ashekanzi and Sefardi sofers that would be approved by the chief rabbis of each group. The finished Torahs would alternate between being housed in an Ashkenazi and Sefaradi cases.
  3. One Sefer published each year. A Torah would be completed each year around Simchat Torah. The Kotel plaza would have a large celebration at the completion of the sefer.
  4. The World’s Gifts to Israel. The first two Torahs (first Sefaradi and second year Ashkenazi) would be housed at the Kotel itself. In future years, the Torahs would be sent around Israel to shuls, schools, hospitals and army bases.
  5. Everyone can participate. A woman from sherut leumi will welcome each participant in the entry room of the building, just outside of the sofer’s room. They will accept a donation of any sum from the visitor which will go towards the Kotel Torah effort. A pruta, or penny, will be enough to “purchase” a single letter in the Torah, and minimum donation levels for a word or a sentence. The participant will have the option of having a picture taken with the sofer, and having their name, city, and country be included among the thousands participating in the writing of the sefer Torah.
  6. The Sofer building. The building would not be very large. It would resemble an Ashkenazi Torah scroll viewed from above: narrow rectangular entry and exit room on either sides (each about 10’ by 16’) and a broader rectangle in the middle for the sofer which will have a large window providing natural light and for people to peer in. The roof with have a conical dome in the middle above the sofer’s room, to resemble a Sefardi Torah case when viewed from street level.
    1. The entry room will have materials for signing in, and a digital map showing where all of the participants for the current Torah have come from. Exhibits explaining how a Torah is written will be on the walls.
    2. The sofer’s room will have materials and the desk for the sofer, and room for a photographer to take pictures with the participants.
    3. The exit room will have materials related to restoring Torahs and digital tools like Sefaria and the Bar Ilan project.

Concern

Everything around the Kotel involves a global outcry. The United Nations has gone to such extreme and absurd levels that it has condemned Israel for mundane items like placing an umbrella in the Kotel Plaza. Placing a building at the back of the Plaza might generate similar protest, however, limiting its size may ameliorate some of the concerns, as well as not having any national flags atop the structure.

Conclusion

Bringing a sofer to the Kotel will hopefully allow all Jews to engage with the Judaism’s holiest space in a religious manner. Everyone would have a chance to perform the special mitzvah – even those with no knowledge of Hebrew and limited Jewish education. Participants will not only view the site from a physical and political basis, but also from a spiritual one.

For Israel, this can be a fence-mending opportunity. The global non-Orthodox community which feels disconnected from Israel and its Orthodox religious leaders will be able to stand in line and participate in writing the very same Torah as Orthodox Jews. This is a chance to open religion and the Kotel to everyone around the world.

There is a song that will be sung in a continuous loop at the building that houses the permanent sofer at the Kotel, words from the prophets Isaiah and Micha: “For the Torah shall come forth from Zion, and the words of God from Jerusalem.” Words that will hopefully bring unity to Jews around the world.

וְֽהָלְכ֞וּ גּוֹיִ֣ם רַבִּ֗ים וְאָֽמְרוּ֙ לְכ֣וּ ׀ וְנַעֲלֶ֣ה אֶל־הַר־יְהוָ֗ה וְאֶל־בֵּית֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יַעֲקֹ֔ב וְיוֹרֵ֙נוּ֙ מִדְּרָכָ֔יו וְנֵלְכָ֖ה בְּאֹֽרְחֹתָ֑יו כִּ֤י מִצִּיּוֹן֙ תֵּצֵ֣א תוֹרָ֔ה וּדְבַר־יְהוָ֖ה מִירוּשָׁלִָֽם׃

“And the many nations shall go and shall say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of the LORD, To the House of the God of Jacob; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Micha 4:2) (Isaiah 2:3)


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Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018. The first words from his mouth were “Jerusalem is not for sale.” If only he understood the real truth in those words – Israel is not going to sell Jerusalem.

But, alas, Abbas thinks that the Palestinian Authority is the owner of Jerusalem, the PA controls it and will not compromise on its status.

Even more, Abbas ruled out any peace agreement without Jerusalem. At 18:04 of his speech, Abbas said “Peace in our region cannot be realized without an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, with all its holy sites…. East Jerusalem, which has been occupied since 1967 is our capital. There is no peace otherwise.

Abbas has long refused to acknowledge many truths. He imagines that Israel is a racist state which practices apartheid, even while it is the most open and liberal society for thousands of miles in any direction. Abbas pretends that he does not support terrorism, even while he sends terrorists’ families money and names schools and government properties after murderers.

Those lies lead Abbas to despise Israel and foment more violence and bloodshed. But, at least theoretically, he could advance peace and coexistence with such vile beliefs. However, his lies about Jerusalem are particularly harmful to the region, as he ties his fantasy to the ability to move forward to live in peace with Israel.

Jerusalem was never the capital of a Palestinian state nor intended to be a capital of an Arab state in any peace formulation. Ever.

When the United Nations voted on a partition plan for a Jewish State of Israel and Arab State of Palestine in 1947, it clearly marked a corpus separatum, a distinct international entity to hold Greater Bethlehem and Greater Jerusalem.

Annex B to resolution 181 (II) of the General Assembly,
dated 29 November 1947 for Greater Bethlehem and Greater Jerusalem

The Arab countries rejected the UN proposal and by May 1948 launched an attack on the new State of Israel. At war’s end, Jordan illegally seized control of three-quarters of the corpus separatum including all of Greater Bethlehem and the eastern half of Jerusalem, in a move that the world did not recognize. Israel took control of the western half of Greater Jerusalem and made it its capital. Jordan expelled all of the Jews from the area it seized and granted all non-Jews Jordanian citizenship in an outrageous antisemitic act in 1954.

The Jordanians gave Jordanian citizenship to the Palestinians in the newly named “West Bank” and “East Jerusalem.” They would make no attempt to give them independence or sovereignty throughout their period of illegal control until 1967.

In 1967, Jordan (and the Palestinians who had Jordanian citizenship) attacked Israel again and subsequently lost all of the “West Bank” and Greater Bethlehem and eastern Jerusalem. Israel took control of the area, and expanded the borders of Jerusalem in 1980, declaringJerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.

As a sign of good faith during the Oslo Accords, Israel handed the Palestinian Authority a core part of corpus separatum, Bethlehem. With Israel, the PA and its peace sponsors all supporting the move, the concept of corpus separatum ended.

Abbas remains undeterred by facts. Before 1948 Jerusalem was to be an international city; from 1949 to 1967 the Jordanians controlled the city and made no efforts to give it to Palestinians; and from 1967 the entirety of the city has been the capital of Israel.

While Israel has permitted the Jordanian Waqf to have administrative responsibilities for Muslim holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem (and no King Abdullah, Jordan has NO responsibility for Christian sites), the ownership, control and sovereignty of the city is Israel’s.

Jerusalem has never been a Palestinian capital, was never intended to be a Palestinian capital and is not a Palestinian city to even contemplate in a “sale.”


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The Arguments over Jerusalem

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

Here in United Jerusalem’s Jubilee Year

The Invisible Flag in Judo and Jerusalem

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

Today’s Inverted Chanukah: The Holiday of Rights in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria

The Battle for Jerusalem

“East Jerusalem” – the 0.5% Molehill

Jerusalem, and a review of the sad state of divided capitals in the world

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Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

Expulsion. Exclusion. Discrimination.

These are terrible actions, especially against civilians seeking to live and pray in their holiest city.

But they have been the reality in one of the great cities of the world – Jerusalem.

When the League of Nations (forerunner to the United Nations) sought to create space for Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land in 1922, it made clear that all parties should be free to live and worship according to their custom, as laid out in Article 15:

“The Mandatory shall see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, are ensured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.”

The United Nations tried to ensure that there would be freedom of access and worship when it took up the cause of Palestine in 1947. The UN planned on placing the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem into a “corpus separatum,” an international holy basin that would neither be part of a Jewish State of Israel, nor an Arab state of Palestine. While the Jewish Zionists accepted the plan, the Arabs rejected it and went to war to destroy Israel as soon as it declared itself an independent country in May 1948. By the war’s end in 1949, Jordan claimed all of Bethlehem and the eastern half of Jerusalem including Judaism’s holiest site, while Israel took the western half of Jerusalem.


The UN’s Corpus Separatum of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem

The Israelis gave citizenship to all 160,000 non-Jews in Israel, but the Jordanians instituted an ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the west bank of the Jordan River through eastern Jerusalem.

In April 1950, the Jordanians annexed the Old City of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the entirety in of the western bank of the Jordan River in a move that was not recognized by almost the entire world. The Arabs put up barbed wire and blockades and prevented any Jews from entering or visiting the Old City of Jerusalem including the holy sites of the Kotel, the Western Wall, and the Jewish Temple Mount.

In 1954, the Jordanians continued their discriminatory program and granted citizenship to the people of the west bank and eastern Jerusalem, specifically IF THEY WERE NOT JEWISH.

These Arab policies of expulsion, exclusion and discrimination would remain in effect until June 10, 1967.

Just as the Jordanians launched an attack on Israel in 1948, it would do so again in June 1967. And just as Israel won more land in its defensive battle of independence in 1948-9, it would take more of the land that had been allocated as a Jewish homeland in international law in 1922.

At the end of the Six Day War the Arab edicts of expulsion and exclusion were eradicated, and Jews once again moved into their holiest city, rebuilt the destroyed synagogues and resumed praying at the Kotel.

However, the stain of discrimination still exists in Jerusalem, as the government of Israel handed administrative control of the Jewish Temple Mount to the Jordanian Waqf in 1967 in an effort to forge peace. To this day, the Waqf continues to prohibit Jews from praying at Judaims’ holiest location.

While June 10, 1967 began the process of dismantling apartheid in Jerusalem, there is still some way to go.


The Kotel in the Old City of Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

The Three Camps of Ethnic Cleansing in the BDS Movement

The Many Lies of Jimmy Carter

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Joint Prayer: The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

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I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

The United States officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017. Several countries have made a variety of arguments as to why they have not – and will not – similarly recognize Israel’s capital city.

Some countries note that Israel’s action on July 30, 1980 in which it declared that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel,” was declared illegal by the United Nations Security Council.

Did countries recognize Jerusalem the day before on July 29, 1980? No.

Some countries say that they have not recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel because the “acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible,” so they cannot recognize the eastern half of Jerusalem that was held by Jordan before the Six Day War of June 5 – June 10, 1967.

Did countries recognize the western portion of Jerusalem before the war on June 4, 1967? No.

How is it that so few countries EVER officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, going back to the end of the war of independence? There was no controversy related to eastern Jerusalem during those 18 years until the Jordanians attacked Israel in June 1967, and lost the territory that they had illegally annexed.

Let’s be candid. The issue surrounding Jerusalem has always been about money, in particular, the Suez Canal in Egypt and the Arab world’s enormous oil wealth. Today, it continues to be trade, albeit it is much less important to the global economies than it was decades ago.

The excuse about the eastern half of Jerusalem which includes Muslim holy sites is a fig leaf covering the world’s lust for Arab money, from 1948 until today.


A view of the Old City of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus
(photo: First.One.Through)

And the fig leaf is porous.

Countries already recognize the western half of Jerusalem as being an integral part of Israel. Further, many world leaders (including US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush) came to Israel’s capital and addressed the parliament in Jerusalem. They recognized Jerusalem both as part of Israel and de facto as its capital.

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March 2008 spoke at the Israeli Knesset. So when Merkel now states that “the status of Jerusalem is to be resolved in the framework of a two-state solution,” she unashamedly plays out the farce. Germany DOES recognize the western part of Jerusalem as part of Israel and as its functioning capital, but does not want to do it in an “official” capacity as it believes that withholding such recognition might enrich Germany through better relations and economic trading with the dozens of Arab and Muslim countries, and minimize the terrorism in Germany from Islamic extremists. As that seems a bit cold, Merkel put forward the red herring of seeking peace, as if recognizing reality somehow harms peace.

Let’s be clear: most of the world recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital already. The farce of countries not “officially” recognizing Jerusalem is positioned as a prod that pushes Israel towards a peace agreement. But it is nothing of the sort. It is a calculated trade-off between the dignity of the citizens of Israel on one hand, against the commercial self-interest of trading with Arab countries on the other. It is therefore appropriate for Israel to rethink its own trading policies with countries which have no qualms in humiliating it on the global stage.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Religious Countries Respond to Israel’s Jerusalem

Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition for Muslim Nations

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

The Invisible Flag in Judo and Jerusalem

The Custodianship of a Child and Jerusalem

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Today’s Inverted Chanukah: The Holiday of Rights in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria

Palestinians agree that Israel rules all of Jerusalem, but the World Treats the City as Divided

The Battle for Jerusalem

“East Jerusalem” – the 0.5% Molehill

Jerusalem, and a review of the sad state of divided capitals in the world

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

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NY Times Cannot Even be Even-Handed When Describing “No Man’s Land”

On March 8, 2018, Isabel Kershner wrote an article for the New York Times called “No Man’s Land: New U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem May Lie Partly Outside Israel.” The article described that the location of the U.S. embassy would partially lie outside of Israel’s 1949 Armistice Lines with Jordan in an area known at the time as the “No Man’s Land.” It attempted to explain the terminology through a history lesson about the area.

But being the New York Times, the history would be incomplete and distorted.

Consider the opening of the description:

“No Man’s Land encompasses the area between the armistice lines drawn at the end of the 1948-9 war and was claimed by Jordan and Israel. Israel won full control of it in the 1967 war, so the United Nations and much of the world consider it occupied territory.”

As the NY Times does at every occasion, it describes Israel’s administration of Judea and Samaria with a statement that the world does not recognize Israel’s claim and considers the land “occupied territory.” Yet the Times will never print – even here in an article meant to clarify the nature of the land – that Jordan’s claim on the entirety of the West Bank/Judea and Samaria was never considered valid.

The omissions would continue.

Kershner wrote that she would give some clarity to the nature of the land:

“After the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation, Israel signed an armistice agreement with Jordan, which controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The sides demarcated the armistice line on a map in grease pencil. Where they did not agree they drew their own lines staking out maximalist positions – the Israelis in green, as far as possible to the east, the Jordanians in red, to the west.

The disputed enclaves, called the ‘areas between the lines,’ were under neither party’s control and came to be known as No Man’s Land.”

Note the many problems of the first sentence. It states that no party is to blame for the 1948 war. A person would never know that the armies of five Arab countries invaded Israel at its creation by the first half of the sentence. The second half would lead a reader to conclude that the Jordanians naturally had controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This is deeply flawed. The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, as today’s Jordan was known back in 1948, invaded and illegally annexed Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem. To state that Jordan simply “controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” makes that illegal seizure seem normative and historic. It was neither. It was an invasion in an offensive war to destroy Israel.

The problems in the “historical unpacking” would continue:

“After 1949, both Israel and Jordan claimed the territory, holding that its status would be determined in an eventual agreement. When the 1967 war broke out, the Jordanian and Israeli armies fought over it.”

The 1967 war didn’t simply break out. Jordan attacked Israel first (again), after Israel repeatedly told the Jordanians to not initiate a war. The point is not a subtle one, as the laws regarding the seizure of land in a war are arguably not the same in a defensive war as an offensive war. Especially when the party that initiated the hostilities (Jordan) had zero claim to the land they occupied (all of the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the No Man’s Land!)

The article would also not mention anywhere that Israel formally annexed the entirety of the eastern portion of Jerusalem – including No Man’s Land – in 1980. How could any background on the area omit such a detail?

Further, Jordan gave up any claim to the area in July 1988. How could the article neglect to mention that small tidbit?

In short, the article focused squarely on Israel’s claim to a part of Jerusalem counter to a Jordanian claim that the paper wrote about as a historical reality. In truth, the Jordanians NEVER had an legal claim to any of the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem, and rescinded the false claim to that land 30 years ago.

Jerusalem was divided for roughly 19 years of its 4000 year history, from 1948 to 1967. But the New York Times will continue to try to slice and divide Judaism’s holiest city at every opportunity to minimize the Jewish State’s ties to its capital.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition for Muslim Nations

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Jerusalem, and a review of the sad state of divided capitals in the world

The anthem of Israel is JERUSALEM

The Battle for Jerusalem

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