Jerusalem’s Ripped Veil
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Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
The shredded veil of the Second Temple’s inner sanctuary revealed to the Jewish priests their error. Shortly after, the earthly temple was destroyed by the Romans. Two millennia later, another veil ripped in Jerusalem, letting the world see how large are the discrepancies among the contemporaneous Jewish sects.
“Speaking of politics, are you left-wing or right-wing?” I have been often asked in a thousand variations. I consider it an outdated and naďve definition of politics. For a short while, secular, humanist politics ruled the politics of Western colonizers and enslavers. It created a very peculiar political language, which doesn’t relate to most humanity. “I’m in the center. The religious camp can only be in the center since it is organized around God. He rules with justice from the center,” is my answer, which has been already phrased in a thousand ways. This definition of the political reality matches much better our concrete situation than a right-left division. The latter doesn’t mean anything anymore in most countries. In the last week of December 2011, we were reminded of that again, when the secular mayor of Jerusalem, enraged the Jewish religious factions in the Knesset. Moreover, he disclosed – as claimed in this website several times – that Jerusalem’s future as a unified city controlled by Israel is dubious.
In the eyes of the Israeli Administration, Jerusalem has been unified through the 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel. Israel lacks a constitution, instead it features an incomplete system of basic laws, which do not cover issues like human rights. This violates conditions imposed on its independence by the UN. The world swiftly opposed this law. UN Security Council Resolution 478, adopted by fourteen votes to none, with the abstention of the United States of America, declared that the law was "null and void" and "must be rescinded." The resolution also called upon member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the city.
Israel is working to inexorably unify the city through laws and construction. I recently commented on the works in New Road Annexes East Jerusalem to Israel and in Diskotel. Given the efforts Israel is investing, Barkat’s declaration is odd. His proposed wall will divide the city into a situation similar to that which existed between 1948 and 1967. Did he shoot his own foot?
If he didn’t do so, others may soon. Knesset Member Ze'ev Elkin is a senior member of the Likud, Netanyahu’s party. He answered that “Barkat committed an injury against the completeness and unity of Jerusalem. The areas Barkat wants to subtract from the city's territory are part of sovereign Israeli land and are protected by the Jerusalem Basic Law as well as by the referendum law passed in the Knesset.” Then he added that “the exclusion of Palestinian areas was a terrible mistake that only increased the Palestinian population within the city and undermined the security situation, specifically in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood. Anyone who wishes to add insult to injury turning Jerusalem neighborhoods into Gaza Strip will turn all of Jerusalem into Sderot, we won't let that happen.” He mentioned Sderot because that’s the main target of missiles fired from Gaza in recent years.
As a member of the political mainstream, Mr. Elkin was rather polite. The extreme religious parties were less so. National Union MK Aryeh Eldad said that “Nir Barkat is ignoring section 97 of the criminal law, according to which any act contributing to the extraction of sovereign land from the state and to the hands of another state is an act of treason.” Mr. Eldad didn’t specify on that occasion what should be done to traitors. However, many of his peers considered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a traitor and sanctioned his assassination.
“Divide and Conquer” is probably the best description of the Israeli policy towards the Arab world. It is also known as the “Salami System:” slice and eat, slice and eat; accordingly “eating it/him/her without salt” is a Hebrew euphemism for an easy target, which in English would be usually referred as “a piece of cake,” or “a breeze.” It worked for a while. Yet, this horror has infected Israel from within. Not sharing history, education, values or goals, the different groups of this ailing society cannot unify unless forced to. By the end of 2011, they can’t unify even around things considered by its hardcore members as key issues. In a symbolic act of Christmas Eve, Jerusalem’s veil ripped apart again and disclosed a torn up society on the verge of collapse.
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