Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Many messages can be gleaned from the spate of terrorist attacks that have overtaken Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, over the past few weeks – political, military, religious, and more. But for the Jews of the Diaspora, the overriding conception that should ideally be garnered is this: Now is the time to visit Yerushalayim.

Israel’s true friends know the time to come here is not necessarily when it’s easiest or safest – but when it’s most important. Jerusalemites even now continue to walk and travel their streets proudly and bravely, but they would be strengthened and heartened knowing they’re not alone in their love for the Jewish capital. Every Jew who comes in support of Yerushalayim at this time is saying, “Thanks for living here for us!”


Prime Minister Netanyahu faces strong criticism from many quarters for his apparent lack of determined and effective action in the face of the terrorism wave. Among the counter-terrorism proposals that have been raised – some of which have been accepted in one form or another – are: Increased security and police presence in particularly sensitive areas; the passage of laws to enable effective preventative and other security activity; punishment of inciters such as sheikhs and political leaders; removal of citizenship or residence permits from perpetrators and their families; strengthening Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem to ensure the city’s unity; carrying of weapons by citizens; subsidized self-defense programs.

Interestingly, in the Muslim world, a fierce struggle is underway as to how much effort to invest in fighting the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. In addition to the Sunni-Shiite divide in Islam, the Sunnis themselves are divided into Salafis (also known as Wahhabis, from which Al Qaeda emerged) and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Salafis view Mecca and Medina as the center of Islam, whereas the Brotherhood regards Jerusalem as its religious center.

From the Salafi standpoint, therefore, as Pinchas Inbari of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs writes, the Muslim Brotherhood’s enhancement of Jerusalem poses a danger to the status of Mecca. Accordingly, while many Muslims fight to take Jerusalem from the Jews, the proclamation disseminated by ISIS in the city last month did not even refer to Al-Aqsa or to Jerusalem – but only warned Christians to leave Muslim neighborhoods.

Inbari notes that the Palestinian Authority’s ambition to declare its capital in eastern Jerusalem represents a minority position, focusing on the short term; other Muslim forces look more to the future and are working to form an Islamic caliphate – and view Al-Aqsa as the place where it is to be proclaimed.

Either way, supporters of a united Jewish Jerusalem must always emphasize the historical lack of Islamic loyalty to the Holy City. Muslims generally attach themselves to Jerusalem only when it is politically expedient to do so, and not out of any religious fervor. This phenomenon began when Muhammad himself, in a barefaced attempt to win over the Jews living near him, announced that prayers would be directed toward Jerusalem. When the Jews scorned his advances, he slaughtered many of them and proceeded to direct his followers’ prayers toward Mecca instead.

Muhammad’s abandonment of Jerusalem was so total, writes Dr. Mordechai Kedar, that not only did he not mention the city even once in the Koran but later, when Muslims conquered the Holy Land, they totally ignored Jerusalem and established their capital in Ramle.

Today, once again, most of the Muslim world has taken to claiming Jerusalem as a pinnacle of its religious aspirations – even though as recently as 1964, when the PLO was founded, its original charter did not even mention Jerusalem. Islam’s sudden “return” to Jerusalem is rooted only in the desire to rid the Middle East of Israel.

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In closing, let us note the nature of a “rival” Jewish organization seeking a “solution” to the problem of Jerusalem. Ir Amim (City of Nations) is funded by the New Israel Fund and working to divide Jerusalem. It is also bothered by the wave of terrorism in the city – but its list of “recommended solutions” to the problem speaks for itself: “Take firm and aggressive action against Jewish incitement and nationalism.… Do not prevent any Muslims from visiting the Temple Mount – even during periods of anti-Jewish incitement and violence on the Mount.… Refrain from ‘unnecessary measures that fan violence,’ such as collective punishment.… Visit Arab neighborhoods and give encouragement.… Support Palestinian civil struggles.… Renew negotiations with the Palestinian national leadership…”

Who are the people of Ir Amim? One of its employees is Ahmed Sub Laban, who happened to be on the scene when Rabbis Nechemia Lavi and Aharon Bennett were murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in the Old City, and when the wounded Adelle Bennett ran past him screaming in pain with a knife in her back. He told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper that he realized he “shouldn’t be there” and ran away – though Israeli law requires the offering of aid to one in danger. When he added that there have been several clashes between Jews and Arabs in the area, interviewer Nachum Barnea responded, “That doesn’t justify terrorism.” Sub Laban of Ir Amim hesitated, then said, “It’s not true that terrorism cannot be justified. We live under occupation.”

Ir Amim and others like it are the kind of Israeli organizations we at KeepJerusalem are struggling against.


If you would like to take part in the efforts to keep Jerusalem Jewish and united, via updates, bus tours of critical parts of Jerusalem, and more, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech’s website at

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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 is the former senior editor of Arutz-7. For bus tours of the capital, to take part in Jerusalem advocacy efforts or to keep abreast of KeepJerusalem's activities, e-mail [email protected].