Eyal Megged
Photo: Eli Elgarat

Our love is blind

Our love for Jerusalem prevents us from seeing that half of it is Arab

Anyone who talks about Jerusalem knows that just talking about it may prompt some kind of outburst. Hence, one needs to be cautious not only when moving a stone in Jerusalem, but even when writing about it.


We must not forget that we took over Jerusalem out of love. Yet love is blind – and since June 1967 we have been blind. Blind to the fact that half of Jerusalem is an Arab city.


Personally, I would not continue living in Jerusalem unless half of it was Arab. I deeply love the Arab city. The Arab Jerusalem is the city I love most in the world. Before the Six-Day War, the Arab Jerusalem was as far away as the moon. We never imagined we would ever set foot in it. Yet the miracle happened and we were overjoyed.


To this day, when I arrive in east Jerusalem, at least twice a week – whether to the Old City or to the city outside the ancient walls – it looks unbelievable. This city is the Levant, Arabia, the big world outside, and it’s a walking distance from my home; a sort of Damascus, or Amman, or Baghdad. I love wandering through it, eating there, and getting lost in the crowd. It is a hospitable Arab town that usually welcomes guests. When there are no riots, it’s a city taken out of A Thousand and One Nights.


Divide city equally  

Yet we must keep in mind that this city is not part of the Jewish people’s eternal capital, but rather, an Arab city. It’s home to an Arab population and looks and is managed in line with their character and lifestyle. Our attempts to change this reality by words or declarations are pathetic, hollow, delusional and ridiculous, not to mention disastrous.


The forced park in Silwan, the aggressive settlement in Sheikh Jarrah, and the yeshivas set up in the Muslim quarter for spite will not Judaize the city, but rather, the other way around – they will boost the Arab determination to resist us and maintain the city’s Arab character.


Archeological parks in both parts of the capital, yeshivas in the Old City, and Jewish life in Arab neighborhoods will only be made possible after we agree to divide Jerusalem equally. Recognizing the Arab religious and political aspirations in Jerusalem will not weaken us, but rather, strengthen us. It will prove that we are strong and realistic and that we seek true peace. Jerusalem’s mayor doesn’t understand it, and what’s worse, the prime minister doesn’t get it yet.


As noted above, we are in love, and those who are in love are not only blind – they also refuse to share their loved one. But what can you do when this loved one’s heart also belongs to someone else?


פרסום ראשון: 03.08.10, 11:08
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