Wednesday, May 8, 2013
CUT THE BABY IN TWO
Today is “Jerusalem Day” according to the Jewish calendar . “Yom Yerushalayim”, also known as “Jerusalem Day”, commemorates Jerusalem's reunification in 1967. After Israel declared its independence in 1948, it was attacked by the neighboring Arab countries, resulting in the Arab-Israeli War. At the end of this war, the city of Jerusalem was divided with Israeli forces controlling much of the city, but East Jerusalem, including the “Old City” was controlled by Jordanian forces. The Old City is critically important for strategic and religious reasons. Many sites of significant religious importance are in this part of the city. These include: the Dome of the Rock, the al-Asqa Mosque, the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Upper Room and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to name a few. Jews were subsequently banned from praying at their most holy site, the Western Wall.
From 1948-1967 Israel was repeatedly attacked by its surrounding Arab neighbors and endured almost constant terrorist attacks within. Tensions continued to grow and by June 6, 1967 Israel had had enough and launched the 6-Day War. The next day, June 7th, Israeli forces captured the Old City of Jerusalem. This resulted in the reunification of Jerusalem as part of Israel. Ever since, the constant drumbeat from the Arab States, the United Nations and much of the Western World is that Israel must cede East Jerusalem to the Palestinians who want it as the capital of their own State.
The world wants to DIVIDE THE HOLY CITY AGAIN!
Nothing is more shocking than when a mother purposely harms her own child. In the biblical story in 1 Kings where two mothers claim the same child, King Solomon proposed a simple solution: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.” Only the one with questionable motives would want to bring disastrous harm by agreeing: “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” Not only a teachable moment for the people of God in that generation, this story sheds light on difficult decisions for this generation.
At this very moment there are those who propose to divide the Holy City in two. Jerusalem is a bustling metroplex that serves as a focal point for billions of religious people around the globe. It is the historic and contemporary capital of Israel, a tourist destination for millions of visitors and a place where over a million residents carry forth their daily lives. In other words, it is a city full of life.
Like a precious child of this planet, Jerusalem must be protected, nurtured and helped, but never divided. While it is complicated to gather such diversity and conflict into one united city, it actually does work. The Old City is a microcosm of the modern metro area of Greater Jerusalem. There, crammed into ancient walls, people from significantly different religious persuasions and cultures find a way to live, be civil, do business, raise families, laugh, play, work…they do life… together.
A house divided cannot stand, nor can a city. While blissful unity seems like an impossible dream, Jerusalem must remain united as one city forever. We cannot cut the baby in two.
So again we arrive to the only real hope of success, on this special day and every day that follows, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.