Moshe Feiglin in the Jerusalem Post: Time to Win the War
Fifty years have passed since the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem. Most people think that the Six Day War was a resounding Israeli victory. There is no doubt that, from a military standpoint, the triumph was unequivocal.
So, fifty years after the indisputable victory, will no Israeli dare to stroll through east Jerusalem? Does Israeli sovereignty really exist throughout its capital?
A more pertinent question: Why hasn’t the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem?
“The new administration in Washington intended to announce the transfer of the embassy at the beginning of its term, but for understandable reasons, parties in our region asked the President to wait, to proceed slowly, and that is what he is doing.”
-Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstien, April 27, 2017 on Israel Army Radio
“Everyone I’ve spoken to in DC that has been briefed on #Jerusalem embassy move says #Netanyahu told #Trump not to move embassy at this time“
-Conor Powell, Fox News, May 15 on Twitter
“Who needs this entire Vatican?”
-Israel Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, June, 1967 just before Jerusalem was liberated.
What are the “understandable reasons” cited by Speaker of the Knesset Edelstein?
How could an Israeli prime minister reject the historical gift offered him by a US president for the 50th Jubilee year of the liberation of the city? How could he torpedo the transfer of the embassy of the world’s #1 superpower from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – and prevent the establishment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital?
If our government was extremely leftist, we could have blamed this conduct on an ethical-political eclipse. But Israel’s prime minister is the head of the Likud party. The current government is the most rightist that Israel has had for decades, there are no coalition considerations, no Livni and no Lapid…
We in the Zehut party precisely saw this situation coming our way. In other words, the fact that the US embassy has not yet been moved to Jerusalem is not the result of coincidental weakness. Instead, it is part of a principle that can be forecast in advance.
And so, what is really going on here?
The relief and joy felt by the residents of the besieged Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence was very short-lived. The Palmach fighters who broke through the Jordanian siege of Jerusalem’s Old City left them to fend for themselves and returned to west Jerusalem. The fighters of the Harel Brigade, who put their lives on the line to bring supply convoys to the besieged city, etched the ancient words, “If I forget you Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning” on their armored vehicles. But for the Jewish leaders of the time, self-sacrifice was in order only for west Jerusalem. The eternal vow never to forget Jerusalem did not really apply to “this whole Vatican”…
19 years later, at the outset of the Six Day War, Israel made every effort not to liberate Jerusalem. Even when the battles had already begun and Israel had captured the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan offered Jordanian King Hussein an Israeli retreat from the neighborhood in exchange for cessation of hostilities. True, Ministers Alon and Begin wanted to take advantage of the historic opportunity to liberate the city – but Dayan’s was the prevailing approach. The National Religious Party’s Minister Shapira was also hesitant.
A quick and superlative-free historical overview reveals Israel’s ambivalent approach (to put it kindly) toward Jerusalem –even estrangement. Since the unification of Jerusalem in the Six Day War, all the Israeli governments have been careful to vow their loyalty to the unified status of the city under Israeli sovereignty. During the first years, with the construction of the new neighborhoods in the eastern part of Jerusalem (Ramat Eshkol and French Hill), it appeared that this vow of loyalty reflected irreversible reality. But just like in 1948, the unification momentum was stopped with the creation of the Western Wall Plaza and the reconstruction of the destroyed Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City. Dayan quickly dispensed of the Temple Mount to the administration and basically, the sovereignty of the Moslem wakf. The Nation of Israel’s aspirations for holiness were effectively channeled to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. The desire to distance the Jews from the Mount even justified the destruction of an entire Moslem neighborhood – the Mugrabim neighborhood – in order to make room for the Western Wall Plaza.
Israel did not exert itself to attain international recognition of Jerusalem as its capital. For internal consumption – in other words, for the masses for whom the Western Wall Plaza was constructed as a depressurizing valve – the various governments gave lofty speeches about the unified Jerusalem. But in its foreign relations, Israel demonstrated complete acceptance of the non-recognition of Jerusalem as its capital – including West Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was hastily proclaimed the city of all religions. It is not the capital of Judaism, which respects the individual worship of others. It is not the capital of Judaism as the Vatican is the capital of Christianity and Mecca the capital of Islam. Jerusalem is everybody’s city. In other words, it is not really ours.
While the vows of loyalty to Jerusalem are earnestly pronounced inside Israel, the deep Zionist undercurrent, which fears the baggage of Jewish identity and the horizon of purpose and destiny that Jerusalem heralds, always employs the “goyim” to remove our chestnuts from the fire. “It is not that we prefer only west Jerusalem, we truly want the heart of the city, it’s just that the Jordanian Legion defeated us in 1948. Or it is the European antisemites who will not recognize Israel’s post 1967 borders.”
There is nothing new about Netanyahu preventing the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem, in the process maneuvering Trump back to the policies of his predecessor. The mentality of Israel’s leadership over the generations is incapable of containing Jerusalem’s revolutionary message. Netanyahu does not want this whole Vatican, either. On this issue, there is not and never has been any difference between Israel’s Right and Left. That is why it was so clear to us that it would not be possible for Trump to move the embassy.
This is how we have reached the point at which, not only can no new Jewish neighborhood be built in Jerusalem, but any new building in the city requires US approval. The UN no longer recognizes the connection between the Nation of Israel and Jerusalem – and in the prestigious universities of the West – the entire State of Israel is considered a mistake.