fbpx
Wednesday, July 15, 2020

In Israel, Trump reinforces the Wall

https://jewishjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/jj_avatar.jpg
Rob Eshman
ROB ESHMAN is publisher and editor-in-chief of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal. Email him at [email protected]. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @foodaism and @RobEshman.

Enjoying this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Let the record show: On May 23, 2017, the president of the United States updated his Twitter header to display a photograph of himself standing at the Western Wall. Not saluting an American flag, not kissing a Latino baby or speaking at a Midwest rally or shaking a veteran’s hand, but communing with Judaism’s holiest site.

I have nothing cynical to say about it. For a man whose self-worth is in direct proportion to the size of his Twitter following (30.2 million), and who likely checks his feed more often than his briefing papers (OK, that was a little cynical), this means something.

The most powerful person in the world is demonstrating the power of that place. President Donald Trump is linking the sovereignty of the Western Wall to the State of Israel, despite the demurrals and hedging of his advisers and representatives. Tel Aviv may be one of the most dynamic, creative and delicious cities on earth, but only a fool, or the former head of a large oil company, would say, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did, that it is the “home of Judaism.”

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which must be solved sooner rather than later in a just way for both sides, is not going to be solved by ignoring or minimizing the narratives each side claims as its own.

In their justified desire for a homeland, Palestinians have sought to deny the primacy of Jerusalem in the Jewish narrative. This week, one prominent Palestinian activist wrote that the holiness of the Western Wall is a post-1967 development, not an age-old tradition. When I read that I laughed and looked up at my study wall, at a photo taken in the late 1800s of Jewish men and women packed up against the ancient stones, in prayer.

In defense of their rights to Jerusalem, many Jews have negated the Muslim claim on the city. There seems to be an online cottage industry in this, in fact. Don’t fall for it. Do your own research. Jerusalem is a holy place in Islam — that big gold-domed atop the Temple Mount might be your first clue.

Jerusalem has been wracked by a long history of dumping on other people’s history. And I mean this literally. To assert their own primacy over the holy city, the Byzantine rulers turned the Jew’s Temple Mount into the city dump. In the “Encyclopedia of Religion,” professor Reuven Firestone relates the legend that it was the Muslim caliph Umar who, after vanquishing the Christians, ascended to the desecrated area, rolled up the sleeves of his robe and began cleaning up the soiled Muslim and Jewish holy place himself.

The caliph then built the Dome of the Rock, not as a mosque, Firestone writes, “but rather as a monument celebrating the presence and success of a new faith.”

We are just about a week away from the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, when the Israelis ascended to the Dome, captured East Jerusalem and united the city.

That moment when Israeli soldiers gathered where Trump stood this week, and wept and prayed that the Wall was back in Jewish hands, remains the iconic image of the war, the Jewish Iwo Jima. The emotion, the sacrifice, the sense of historical and religious destiny has affixed in Jewish minds the idea that from that moment on, all of Jerusalem belongs to Israel.

Har HaBayit b’yadenu,” Lt. Gen. Motta Gur proclaimed as his troops captured the Old City, the most famous single sentence of that war. “The Temple Mount is in our hands.”

But the irony of Trump’s visit is that if the president gets his way, the grip will have to be loosened. For years, Jews and the groups that pander to them have proclaimed intractable sovereignty over every square inch of the city. “Jerusalem will never be divided,” has been the go-to applause line for every Jewish or Israeli speaker — despite the reality that the city even now is pretty much divided.

The truth is every serious final status solution ever put forth by an Israeli prime minister, and any agreement that would ever be agreed to by the Palestinians, would include some shared sovereignty over Jerusalem. What’s the alternative — constant fighting? You can’t pray for the peace of Jerusalem and want to see it, like Aleppo or Damascus, reduced to pieces.

I don’t know how serious Trump is about making what he calls “the ultimate deal.” He has a short attention span, a disdain for details and a lot of ’splaining to do back in Washington. But this week, he leveraged Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to crack open negotiations, demonstrated the kind of support for the Israelis they need to feel secure, and showed the proper respect to the Palestinians.

A dear friend and die hard Israeli leftist  I know e-mailed me as Trump departed for the Vatican.

“The bastard gave a fantastic speech that was even given compliments by Barak Ravid from Ha’aretz,” he wrote, citing the left-leaning columnist. “He’s going about this whole Middle East thing in a completely opposite manner than Obama, and it may be that he is hitting the spot. Oy vey….”

If Trump continues on this path, and doesn’t shy away from confronting each side with the truths the other holds dear, the president might just have a prayer.


ROB ESHMAN is publisher and editor-in-chief of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal. Email him at [email protected]. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @foodaism and @RobEshman.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Alon Aranya: Introducing the show “Tehran”

Shmuel Rosner and Alon Aranya discuss the show "Tehran" - coming soon to AppleTV. Alon talks about the uniqueness of Israeli Tv and its...

Missouri Gov. Signs Anti-BDS Bill Into Law

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed a bill into law on July 13 barring the state government from providing contracts to companies that...

Jewish Women’s Theatre Stages ‘For Goodness’ Sake’ Via Zoom

The tales and musical interludes about life, love and loss, are variously funny, empowering, and heartbreaking.

Ilhan Omar Endorsed by Nancy Pelosi as Opponent Raises Millions

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, lent her considerable weight to the reelection bid of Rep. Ilhan...

Andy Cohen Gets Candid in New Quibi Series ‘The Andy Cohen Diaries’

Is there such a thing as too much information? Apparently, not for Andy Cohen. The gossip-loving Bravo talk show host gets extremely candid in “The...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized for Suspected Infection

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been hospitalized with a suspected infection. A Supreme Court statement said Ginsburg, 87, “is resting...

Israelis May Be Limited to Spending High Holidays With Nuclear Family, Report Says

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Health Ministry is considering ordering Israelis to limit their Rosh Hashanah celebrations to only their nuclear families, an Israeli newspaper...

ADL Hosts Discussion on Passage of Georgia Hate Crime Law

In a July 10 Zoom webinar, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) discussed how Georgia was able pass and have signed into law its recent hate...

‘Hamilton’ Reminds Us to Forgive Before We Condemn

"Hamilton" got me thinking about the concept of forgiveness and the equally powerful concept of rehabilitation.

Tovah Feldshuh Talks Golda Meir, Grandchildren and Voting

Feldshuh has been using the time to write a memoir about her mother, getting to know her first grandson and awaiting the birth of two granddaughters.  

Culture

Jewish Women’s Theatre Stages ‘For Goodness’ Sake’ Via Zoom

The tales and musical interludes about life, love and loss, are variously funny, empowering, and heartbreaking.

Andy Cohen Gets Candid in New Quibi Series ‘The Andy Cohen Diaries’

Is there such a thing as too much information? Apparently, not for Andy Cohen. The gossip-loving Bravo talk show host gets extremely candid in “The...

Tovah Feldshuh Talks Golda Meir, Grandchildren and Voting

Feldshuh has been using the time to write a memoir about her mother, getting to know her first grandson and awaiting the birth of two granddaughters.  

Life’s a Jewish Love Story for Disney Songwriting Duo

If you’re the parent of Disney-obsessed offspring, you’ve likely heard their music in the “Zombies” and “High School Musical” franchises and “Marvel Rising.”

ArtCenter President Lorne Buchman on Overseeing College Like a Theater Director

While many university presidents and administrators run colleges from a strictly business or educational mindset, Lorne Buchman runs college like a director would run...

Latest Articles
Latest

Alon Aranya: Introducing the show “Tehran”

Shmuel Rosner and Alon Aranya discuss the show "Tehran" - coming soon to AppleTV. Alon talks about the uniqueness of Israeli Tv and its...

Missouri Gov. Signs Anti-BDS Bill Into Law

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed a bill into law on July 13 barring the state government from providing contracts to companies that...

Jewish Women’s Theatre Stages ‘For Goodness’ Sake’ Via Zoom

The tales and musical interludes about life, love and loss, are variously funny, empowering, and heartbreaking.

Ilhan Omar Endorsed by Nancy Pelosi as Opponent Raises Millions

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, lent her considerable weight to the reelection bid of Rep. Ilhan...

Andy Cohen Gets Candid in New Quibi Series ‘The Andy Cohen Diaries’

Is there such a thing as too much information? Apparently, not for Andy Cohen. The gossip-loving Bravo talk show host gets extremely candid in “The...

Hollywood

Roy Moore’s Lawsuit Against Sacha Baron Cohen Over Being Pranked Can Proceed, Judge Rules

By the time the episode aired, it was widely known that Cohen was punking public figures.

‘Expecting Amy’ Highlights a New Comedy Dynamic of Jewish Mothers Making, Not Being, the Jokes

Jewish moms like Amy Schumer, who were once the material, have become the premier comics of this age.

Podcasts

Alon Aranya: Introducing the show “Tehran”

Shmuel Rosner and Alon Aranya discuss the show "Tehran" - coming soon to AppleTV. Alon talks about the uniqueness of Israeli Tv and its...

Cancel Culture, Pro-LGBTQ Palestinian Tahini and Coronavirus Weddings

Naor and Eytan talk about everything that's been going on in Israel lately. 

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x