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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Marching On Jerusalem


Keeping-Jerusalem

A million Arabs plan to march on Jerusalem highlighting strange “accusations” that Israel is seeking to retain the Jewish character of its holy capital.

In a nutshell, the week’s news is this: A bunch of Islamic terrorists are organizing a million-man march on Yerushalayim, disingenuously portraying this potentially murderous initiative as a simple peaceful protest.

The march, which is to begin simultaneously from all four of Israel’s neighbors – Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt – has been billed as protesting the “Judaization of Jerusalem” – as if the Holy City has not been the capital of the Jewish people for nearly 3,000 years.

Known as the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ), it is scheduled for this Friday. Its aim is to have one million people march on and infiltrate Israel’s borders, with the ultimate goal being Jerusalem. If they succeed in breaking through at just one spot, the dangers of bloodshed on both sides are clearly acute.

Who is organizing it? Outspokenly hostile Muslim terrorists: Members of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others – all backed and sponsored by Iran.

CiF Watch, a pro-Israel organization tracking preparations for the march, notes that one of the senior organizers is Hamas MP Ahmed Abo Halabiya, who in 2000 said in a sermon, “Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them.”

Sitting on the GMJ’s advisory board members are President Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright; Sheikh Raed Salah of the militant Islamic Movement in Israel; and Hamas leaders.

Why have they chosen to highlight Jerusalem, as opposed to the entirety of Israel? The answer is clear: They well know that our connection to our holy city is the key to our connection to the entire Land of Israel. Wherever they weaken our hold on Yerushalayim, they weaken the entire Zionist enterprise.

The IDF is concerned that the “non-violent” march could easily spin out of control, as happened last year when over a dozen Syrians were killed when they burst through the Israeli border in the Golan. Taking a broader view, some fear that, given the current volatile state of the Middle East, the true goal of the GMJ is to spark yet another intifada.

Israel is not taking the threat lightly and has explicitly warned its neighboring countries not to permit demonstrators near its borders this Friday, vowing it will take all means necessary against anyone trying to cross the borders.

Lebanon, for its part, has said it will allow marchers to reach only as far south as the Beaufort, three miles from the border. Lebanese sources say the country does not want a repeat of last year’s events. Jordan, however, has announced that it will permit its citizens to approach the Israeli border as long as they “do not act with violence.”

Of course, the most effective response to this affront to our sovereignty would simply be to constantly reaffirm exclusive Jewish rights to Jerusalem. The more we assert our rights, the more they will be respected.

Because amidst all the details, we must not lose sight of the big picture: The stated Muslim ideology behind this march is to prevent the “Judaization of Jerusalem.” Interestingly, there is an entire Wikipedia entry on this topic – and its history of Jerusalem does not even mention King David or the Holy Temples. Its overview begins instead with the generalization that Jerusalem “has a long history of settlement predating that of the three monotheistic faiths” and that “members of all three religions and others have made Jerusalem their home over the years.” The history of the city begins, according to this article, in the year 638, when it came under Muslim rule.

Let us therefore review some basic truths; though they are self-evident to readers of this column, they need to be repeated and disseminated at every opportunity:

Jerusalem has been central to the Jewish nation for some four millennia, ever since Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah; 1,000 years later, after nearly five centuries of Jewish control over the land, King David made the city Israel’s capital; we mention Yerushalayim constantly in our prayers, which we recite while facing it; we constantly remember its centerpiece’s destruction on days of mourning as well as happy occasions; Jerusalem is mentioned directly in the Bible some 650 times – and not even once in the Koran; Muslims actually turn their backs on Jerusalem when they pray.

Canadian historian Jacques Gauthier concluded in his doctoral dissertation that “Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law.” His research is based on a non-broken series of international treaties and resolutions over the past 90 years, beginning with the 1920 San Remo Conference (later unanimously backed by the League of Nations), which affirmed the Balfour Declaration and create a Jewish national home in what is now Israel.

Remarkably, the resolution made sure to grant the Arabs of the Holy Land individual civil and religious rights – but specifically not those of a national political nature. Calling for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” it added that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

Despite this, the upcoming march caps the international campaign to deny Israel the right to cement Jerusalem’s Jewish nature. Israel stands accused of attempting to “maintain a unified Jerusalem; to Judaize or Israelize it, demographically and politically.” Given the deep bonds between the Jews and Jerusalem, and in light of the Arab attempts to “Arab-ize” the city when they controlled it and to erase proof of our historic ties to the city, these accusations are nothing short of preposterous.

Yet they command the attention of anti-Semites around the world, and even have the potential to ignite conflagrations this week all across Israel’s borders. And so we must continue to fight these outlandish positions, wherever and however we can.

For more information on how to participate in keeping Jerusalem Jewish, via bus tours of critical parts of Jerusalem, updates, and more, send an e-mail to tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech’s website at www.keepjerusalem.org.

Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel’s minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now live in Beit El.

About the Author: Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel's minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.


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