Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jerusalem: betrayal and rebellion

In the HafTorah we read on Saturday, September 6, 2014 (Yeshaiyahu 54: 1-10, for Parshat Ki Tei Tsei), we were reminded that the Jewish people will return from exile to Jerusalem. Commentaries explain that, at that time, G-d will speak to Jerusalem. He will tell Jerusalem to “expand her homes and boundaries more and more, for they will be too small to accommodate the hordes of children who will gather” there (ArtScroll Chumash, The Stone Edition, 1996, p.1201).
Today, Jerusalem tries to expand her homes. She wants to expand her boundaries. She yearns to accommodate her hordes of children.
Today, Jews from exile return to Jerusalem. Jerusalem grows beneath towering construction cranes. The city landscape sprouts like an urban garden. New apartments and offices are readied for our Jewish Return.
Today, Jerusalem’s skyline validates the words of our G-d. Our Capital City comes to life with growth and new life. Our city stands as ‘concrete’ testimony to our G-d’s Promise.
Today, Jerusalem stone—unique to Israel--spreads across this unique city. It appears everywhere on new buildings, new towers, new apartments.
This is our pride. This is our Jerusalem. This is our undivided national center-piece.
This is also the living embodiment of our Promised Jewish Return.
That HafTorah just completed (above) speaks of a Jerusalem once abused—abandoned, bereft, barren (ArtScroll, ibid). That description suggests a Jerusalem once saddened with weeping.  But the HafTorah calls upon us to put that weeping behind us. It calls us to sing of new life.
It speaks to us--about us.
Our G-d tells us to make Jerusalem our song of Zion. He tells us to prepare Jerusalem to be the heart of the new Jewish nation.
The whole world knows Jerusalem is Jewish. When you come here, you can see that Jewishness. You will feel it as you walk Jerusalem’s streets.
Jerusalem exists for Jews. It is built for Jews. It attracts Jews. It supports Jews.
But our Jewish Jerusalem is not jubilant. It does not sing. It doesn’t shine with joy.
It weeps. It has been betrayed. It is under siege.
Nations come to Jerusalem to take her away from us. Nations tell us we must divide our Jerusalem. They want us to give half of it to a people who demand all of it (“Mufti: Jerusalem is Islamic”, Arutz Sheva, November 12, 2013). Nations want us to hand over our heart—our Jerusalem--to those who would destroy us.
Those who hate us are already working to destroy us. Arab terror against Jerusalem’s billion-dollar (3.8 billion NIS) inner-city light rail system has caused nearly half of the system’s trains to be decommissioned (“Arab Rock Terror Limits Jerusalem Light Rail”, Arutz Sheva, September 7, 2014). Arabs attack Jews, property and police (“Arab Rioters Attempt to Blow Up Jerusalem Gas Station”, Arutz Sheva, September 8, 2014). Arab ‘terror gangs’ attack Jerusalem-bound public transportation (“Arab Rock Attacks on Israeli Drivers in Jerusalem, Gush Etzion”, The Jewish Press, September 1, 2014).
Yes, Jerusalem gathers in her Jews from exile. Jerusalem grows. But as she opens her arms to her Jews, she is also besieged. Arab Muslims demand that we exile ourselves from our Zion. They cry that the city they claim for themselves is being ‘Judaized’, as if that’s a sin too great to bear. They demand that Jews be forbidden. They demand that Jews be barred from ascending to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Judaism’s Holiest place on earth.
Currently, Arabs represent some 30 per cent of Jerusalem’s population. Their numbers grow faster than the Jewish population. Part of that growth comes from Jewish betrayal. It comes from Jews who deny growth to Jews but support Arab growth.
Last week, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat approved new construction for 2,300 Arab apartments in Jerusalem just days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office froze 2,500 building tenders for Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (“Jerusalem Councilman Dismissed After Opposing Arab Building”, Arutz Sheva, September 5, 2014).
When Jerusalem City Council Member Aryeh King filed a petition with the Jerusalem District Court to stop the approval of the Arab units, Mayor Barkat fired him.
Nir Barkat has betrayed the Jewish people. Instead of helping Jerusalem to expand her homes for Jews returning from exile, he turns his back. He supports those who attack us. He holds out his hand to those who would cut it off.
When Jerusalem City Councilman Aryeh King stood up for the Jewish people, he was not honoured. Nir Barkat didn’t see King’s action as a heroic gesture for his people. He saw it as rebellion.
Apparently, anyone who stands up for Jews is a rebel in Nir Barkat’s eyes. Nir Barkat won’t tolerate rebels. Apparently, he won’t tolerate anyone who stands up for Jews.
Nir Barkat prefers a different path. He prefers to turn against the Jewish people. He prefers to betray Jews.
Once again, Jerusalem weeps.

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