The sorrow of Tisha B’Av lingers this day after, as we see how distorted the views of many in the political/media worlds with regard to Jerusalem.
While in Israel this weekend, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made, what should be an unremarkable factual statement, that “of course…Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”
Irrespective of what the Palestinians claim, or protests they lodge, there are some simple facts:
After the holy city was tragically divided from 1948-1967 (a period in which Jews were barred access to our holiest sites), Jerusalem was reunited by the Israel Defense Forces in 1967.
Like all Jewish governments of the past centuries, the modern State of Israel has its principle governmental institutions – including the Knesset (legislature), supreme court and executive branch ministries – in Jerusalem.
Even if they do not locate their embassies in Jerusalem, when heads of state come to Israel to meet with government officials (or visit Yad v’Shem or the Kotel), they do so in Jerusalem.
The city functions as Israel’s capital.
Now, it is the case that the Palestinians claim they want Jerusalem to function as the capital of a future state of theirs as well. Even if that is so, that does not put the issue of Jerusalem serving as Israel’s capital in dispute – yet today, political leaders in the United States and elsewhere seem to think it does.
Last week, the White House press spokesman would not acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
Today, the State Department spokesman seems to compelled to do the same.
How far we have fallen.
In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama made a much more (in our view commendable) assertive statement: “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
This generated howls of protest from the Arab world and, unfortunately, a “clarification” from Mr. Obama.
Now, Mr. Romney acknowledges the simple fact that Jerusalem serves as Israel’s capital – without any explicit statement that it must remain so for eternity or remain undivided, and the Arabs protest and the U.S. Administration suggests it a gaffe.
Facts are fact. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
Moreover, as far as the United States is concerned, for more than a decade, the duly enacted law of the United States has stated, as a matter of official policy, that:“(1)Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected; (2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.” (This statement of policy stands on its own, irrespective of whether the U.S. Embassy to Israel is relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or not.)
We must stand with Jerusalem, today and forever.
We must speak the truth – loudly and do not let the Jewish connection to Jerusalem be denied.
Only then do we have a chance for a time when we need not observe another Tisha B’Av.