The Foreign Ministry created an elaborate video titled The Truth about Jerusalem,
in which Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon
presents Israel's capital as a diverse and pluralistic city. The result, however, seemed potentially problematic to the ministry – as it featured a segment in which an animated Dome of the Rock was essentially disintegrating – and the video was reedited.
In the video, Ayalon walks around an amalgam of contemporary Jerusalem streets and an animated fantasy version of historic Jerusalem. As he narrates the history of the Israeli capital, the deputy foreign minister presents the narrative of the Jewish people in connection with its link to Jerusalem.
The video stresses the fact that under Israeli sovereignty, the three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – enjoy much greater freedom of religion than was allowed under any other reign over Jerusalem in the history of the holy city.
The amended video, fairy dust and all
In the backdrop of such descriptions of diversity and tolerance, as well as images of cultural events, scientific discoveries and overjoyed residents, the animation features a collapsing Dome of the Rock,
from the ruins of which rises the Jewish Holy Temple. When the video was presented to the Foreign Ministry, many were apprehensive, as they feared that the segment may be misinterpreted causing offense to the Muslim population.
As a result, the ministry decided to replace the segment with a fantasy-like illustration of the Temple Mount, as a timepiece indicates a return the ninth century BC. The Holy Temple is seen gradually being erected indicating that before the Dome of the Rock was built, the Jewish structure was the main site at the Temple Mount.
"Our aim with this video was to show a Jerusalem that is harmonious and tolerant to all religions under Israeli sovereignty," Ayalon told Ynet Tuesday. "The image of the Temple Mount collapsing would have created mayhem. As opposed to Arab countries that oppress the rights of minorities, Israel takes pride in the freedom of religion which Muslims,
Christians and Jews enjoy."
The video was produced as part of a Foreign Ministry project, the previous videos of which – The Truth about the West Bank; The Truth about Jewish Refugees; The Truth about the Peace Process – were distributed online and translated to dozens of languages.
Itamar Eichner is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent
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