Sunday, May 16, 2010

Divide Jerusalem? A people that does not defend its holy places not free...

Further to this recent post about Jerusalem Day:


The dispute over the Wailing Wall and the Old City is probably a reflection of the whole struggle for the ownership of Eretz Yisrael.

It must be said to the credit of the British authorities that they understood very well the political value of traditional symbols. It was in English, not in Hebrew, that Disraeli wrote that people are led by force or by tradition.

British policy therefore directed its shafts at the heart of Jewish tradition. As elsewhere it used Arabs or Moslems. ...they wrote [in 1929] with superb impertinence[,] that the Moslems had the sole right of ownership and possession of the Wailing Wall ...and "Jews are forbidden to blow the shofar at the Wailing Wall." ...that of course was the law against which there could be no appeal.

Sacred tradition? Living testimony  to a glorious past? A charter of rights hewn into ancient stone?

Precisely for these reasons must the stones of the wall be taken from the Jews.

And how helpful it was for this purpose that among the Jews themselves there were unexpected allies who, in snobbish pretence of "progress," argued that a few pedigree cows were worth more than all these stones.

But the ancient stones themselves refute the nonsense of these pathetic "progressives" ...They whisper. They speak softly of the house that once stood here, kings who knelt here once in prayer, of prophets and seers who here declaimed their messge, of heroes who fell here dying; and of how the great flame ...was here kindled. ...The testimony of these stones, sending out their light across the generations.

...That  night [Yom Kippur, 1943] ...we said to eachother: "This is the real slavery. What the Roman proconsuls did not dare to do, British Commissionners are doing. What our ancestors refused to tolerate from their ancient opressors, even at the cost of their lives and freedom - is tolerated by [a] generation of Jews...

A people that does not defend its holy places not free...


Menachim Begin, "The Revolt" 1952
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