Total Pageviews

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Capital of Israel: Jerusalem and Why It's Important to Jews

Nadene Goldfoot                                                             

What city is the capital of Israel? It's what has always been our capital.   It happens to be Jerusalem, of course. Today, Jerusalem is a united city of which has 64% Jewish population.   According to Zechariah 8:3, Jerusalem shall be called "The City of Truth."  (Thus said Hashem, Master of Legions:  I have become zealous with great zeal on behalf of Zion (Zion is another name for Jerusalem) ;  I have become zealous with great wrath on its behalf.  Thus said Hashem (another word for G-d) :  I have returned to Zion, and I have made my dwelling in the midst of Jerusalem;  Jerusalem will be called "the City of Truth" and the mountain of Hashem, Master of Legions, "the Holy Mountain."  Thus said Hashem, Master of Legions:  Old men and old women will once again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with his staff in his hand because of advanced age;  and the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets. 

  It has been Israel's capital since 1948, when Israel was reborn again.  In 1973 there were 300,000 people living there.  This isn't the first time it has been the capital of the Jewish people.  It was their capital between 1000 BCE and 586 BCE, and again between 516 BCE and 70 CE.  In 70 CE it was overtaken and destroyed by the Romans.

About 5 minutes after Israel was declared a state via the radio on May 14, 1948, the people were attacked.  Jerusalem was divided into 2 parts. The UN had partitioned Jerusalem and had a resolution pertaining to this made on November 29, 1947 which provided for the creation of an independent area of Jerusalem under UN administration.  However, Arabs attacked Jews which soon reached the dimensions of a regular war between the Haganah and the Arabs who first showed up as the local bands of fighters and then the Arab Legion of Transjordan which put an end to the internationalization scheme.  The struggle lasted from from December 1947 to July 1948.

 During this period the Jewish quarter in the Old City had to be evacuated and was destroyed.  All the New City  but not the Arab quarters north of the walls fell into Jewish hands.  The Arab Legion tried to shell and starve the Jews of Jerusalem into surrender but this was foiled by the fortitude of the Jews and the opening of the Burma Road which restored the connection between Jewish Jerusalem and the coastal region.  So even though the USA and other countries have not recognized it as Israel's capital, Israelis always have.

 The west and south part  went to the new state of Israel as the whole city should have.  Israel also was able to hold onto Mount Zion and an enclave on Mt. Scopus.  The city extended westward by the construction of the Knesset and Government quarter (Ha-Kiryah) with the National Museum and University campus nearby.  New housing projects of which Kuryat Yovel, the largest, were constructed.  Herzl and other Zionist leaders were re-interred on a mountain west of the city on Mt. Herzl.  The slopes were laid out as a cemetery for soldiers who died on active service.  New rabbinical centers were also erected.  A number of factories were set up, but the city was the administrative center of the country.

Many rulers have occupied the country, but only for the Jews has Jerusalem been the capital of the nation living in this land which the Jews refer to as Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel).  In Psalms, 122,3, which we associate with King David's writings, he wrote that Jerusalem, which is bound firmly together..."  and so it is.  The wall that separated east from the rest of Jerusalem has been taken down and the city is whole and one again. So it was that on June 5, 1967 the outset of the Six-Day War, Jordanian troops in the Old City and Jordanian sections of the city bombarded the New City.  The Israel army reacted and 2 days later the entire city came under Israel's control. Jews had been denied access to the Western/Wailing wall for 20 years so that's the first place they went to and the end of this war.  On June 29, 1967, Israel formally united the 2 sections of the city and the barriers were removed.

 The built- up Jerusalem is like a city that is united together, for there the tribes ascended, the tribes of G-d, a testimony for Israel, to give thanks to the name of Hashem, for there sat thrones of judgment, thrones for the house of David.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love you will be serene, May there be peace within your wall, serenity within your palaces.  For the sake of my brethren and my comrades, I shall speak of peace in your midst.  For the sake of the House of Hashem, our G-d, I will request good for you.  

The Jews living there today are the people with the longest unbroken historical association with the city which dates from the time, nearly 3,000 years ago, when King David (1010 BCE-970 BCE) made it his capital.  Only the Jews have made Jerusalem the focal point of national and religious aspirations.  It is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government, the Supreme Court, the Chief Rabbinate, and Hebrew University and the Israel Museum.  So even though the USA and other countries have not recognized it as Israel's capital, Israelis always have. Israel is being truthful.  How can they possibly have returned to have a Jewish National Home without having Jerusalem as its rightful capital?  The state of Judah had Jerusalem as its capital and from Judah comes the name, Jews.  The Jews have returned and of course Jerusalem is their capital.  Not recognizing this right is the problem of the countries unwilling to see this, not Israel's problem. It's already written in the Bible.  Tel Aviv is not the capital!

What is the holiest shrine in Israel for the Jews?  It is the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) that dates back from the time of the 2nd Temple.  This is the place that the Pope just chose to visit.  He followed custom and wrote a note and placed it between the rocks of the wall to G-d.  This wall is in eastern Jerusalem, the area that the Palestinians now demand to make part of their new state of Palestine.  This is the city that they have no connection with, either religious or culture, expect that many have lived here from 1948 to 1967 when it was held by Jordan.  Though it was to be part of the Jewish Homeland, Jordan helped themselves and took it when Israel had to fight for the rights allocated to them by the League of Nations in having this land.  Jordan lost it in 1967 when all the Arab states attacked Israel and lost the battle of which Israel was outnumbered completely.  Logically, there was no way they could have lost such a fight, but they did, and so Israel's history is following the prophets of old; that Israel would be reclaimed and that Jews would return and Jerusalem would be its capital.

Jerusalem is also important to the other religions as well.  For Christians, they regard the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as their holiest place there.  For Moslems, Jerusalem is 3rd in holiness after Mecca and Medina.  It is 3rd because they believe that Mohammad made a trip there on his flying horse.  The name "Jerusalem" is never mentioned in the Koran.  It is mentioned 154 times in the Christian Bible and Zion is mentioned 7 times.   A mosque has been built on the Temple Mount where King Solomon's Temple once stood, the mosque of Al Aqsa and is one of the holiest shrines of Islam.  Holy places are each administered by the religious bodies to which they belong and have been since 1967.

Jerusalem has been called by many names.  Zion is one.  Others are the City of David, city of righteousness, the faithful city, the city of G-d, the holy city, city of truth, Ariel, and in Latin was Hierosolyma;  Yerushalayim in Hebrew, Aelia Capitolina by Hadrian which he dubbed his Roman colony that sat on the ruins of Jerusalem.  The Arabs call it el Quds (the Holy), or Beit el-Makdes (the house of Holiness, and in Hebrew it is Bet ha-Mikdash (Temple).

In 1967 the population of eastern Jerusalem was 139,000 Moslems and Christians and was added to the rest of the population making 493,500 by 1990.  Jerusalem Law of 1980 extended Israel's sovereignty over the entire city.  Excavations had been carried out at the site of the City of David were now supplemented by diggings around the western and southern walls of the Temple enclosure.  It is important to preserve artifacts  before our history is all destroyed by those that deny we ever existed there, which would be the Palestinians.

The population of Jerusalem today is 464,527 Jews and 228,690 Arabs which makes a total of 693,217. El Paso, Texas has more than 700,000 and Portland, Oregon has 583,776.  Cairo, Egypt has 6.76 million.  Amman, Jordan has a population of 2,842,629 of which half Jordan's population  are Palestinians.  Syria, a country that had over 22 million, has been so destroyed that the number in Damascus now is not known.  It had had about 5 1/2 million population and was Syria's 2nd largest city.  Aleppo was the largest  before the Civil War.

Regardless of whether the world wants to accept the truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel or not, it is in every aspect; religiously and according to the nation, it is the heart of Israel.  For we promised to pray to return to Jerusalem  when we were in exile or we would lose the cunning of our hands. We were never to remove Jerusalem from our  hearts and minds.   Psalms 137:5  If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.  Let my tongue adhere to my palate.  If I fail to recall you, if I fail to elevate Jerusalem above my foremost joy, Remember, Hashem, for the offspring of Edom, the day of Jerusalem; for those who say, Destroy, Destroy! to its very foundations.  ...

Resource:Facts About Israel, Division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Tanach, The Stone Edition (Bible)


Shoshana said...

Thanks for writing this Nadene. Too few know or appreciate the deep, multi-layered connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. One small clarification. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, site of the once and future holy temple.

Nadene Goldfoot said...

Thanks, Shoshana. Since we can pray at the wall, and are not to pray at the mosque on the site where the Temple once stood, the wall has become the #1 spot of holiness, it seems. I'd say both are equally important and sought out by tourists . You can also read my other article about Jerusalem Day, which is coming soon this year for more information.

Nadene Goldfoot said...

Also in this same blog is another article to read about the Western Wall:

Nadene Goldfoot said...

Can't forget this one:

Nadene Goldfoot said...

Another good article on Jerusalem is on Aish.

Nadene Goldfoot said...

Yom Yerushalayim"

(Jerusalem Day).
from Denise Bremridge nee Goldfoot On this day, the great city of Jerusalem was
liberated by the warriors of God Hashem - the mighty soldiers of the IDF!
Jerusalem was returned to the Jewish nation!

What a blessing!!
What many people don't realize, however, is
that A LOT MORE areas were liberated in that war as well.

This was the famous "6 Day War" where the
entire Biblical land of Israel was reunited with its rightful owners!
a.. Hebron including Me'arat Ha'machpela
(The Cave of the Patriarchs)
b.. Shechem including the burial site of
Yosef Ha'Tzaddik (The righteous Joseph)
c.. Shilo including the site where the
Mishkan (Tabernacle) stood for 367 years
d.. Bet Lechem including Kever Rachel
(Rachel's Tomb)
e.. Bet El including the site where our
father Yaakov (Jacob) had his famous dream
f.. The Jordan Valley where the Children of
Israel crossed into the land after 40 years of desert
g.. The Golan Heights
In celebration of the miracles and in
gratitude to Hashem for restoring the land to us, we will be embarking on a
major project:
6 Days of Fruit Tree Planting in those EXACT
areas redeemed by the Israeli army during the 6 Day war!!!