The Temple Institute: Escape from Jerusalem



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Escape from Jerusalem

reprinted from HaAretz
September 18, 2007

by Nadav Shragai

Menachem Begin once said, in a paraphrase on Ahad Ha'am's (Asher Zvi Greenberg) famous saying about the Sabbath, that more than the Jewish people have kept Jerusalem, Jerusalem has kept the Jewish people.

At least two parties who joined Ehud Olmert's coalition - Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu - tell their voters that they are completely committed to Jerusalem, and that this commitment does not depend on anything else.

Eli Yishai (Shas) or Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) are sometimes asked how they joined a prime minister and party that spearheaded the destruction of Gush Katif and brought on Israel the Qassam rockets and Hamastan. Sometimes they are asked about the larger disengagement, which will bring the threat to Kfar Saba, Hadera and the Sharon. They then mumble something about damage control, but raise Jerusalem's flag with unabashed pride and say they will be the ones to prevent its division.

Well, the moment has come. It's pay-off time. Let's ignore the abandoning of the Temple Mount and the Arabs' massive illegal construction in East Jerusalem, stop badgering them about settling Jews in all parts of the Old City to ensure Israel's sovereignty in the city. Let's ignore the fact that Jerusalem is still cut off from Ma'aleh Adumim, despite their promise to join it by building in E1.

Because now it's no longer about fixing malfunctions or damage control. Now we must prevent complete collapse. It is no longer about strengthening sovereignty, but about preventing the total, irreversible damage that dividing Jerusalem would cause for the next generation or two. It's about foiling the plan to give up the Old City and Israel's sovereignty on the Temple Mount - "the heart and soul of the Jewish nation," as Olmert described it in better days.

Shas and Yirael Beiteinu's continued partnership in Olmert's government is inexplicable, especially since the prime minister has not bothered to deny these plans. Olmert does not have the authority or majority support in the public or Knesset for such a move. But the coalition's support for him could ultimately lead to an adventure similar to Camp David 2000, which Israel barely escaped without losing Jerusalem.

Then, Shas abandoned Ehud Barak's sinking ship, following the National Religious Party, Natan Sharansky and David Levy, a moment before Barak left for Camp David. Today, Shas, along with Lieberman and perhaps a few MKs from Kadima and the Pensioners' Party, should quickly end Olmert's coalition majority before he imposes a fait accompli on the country.

When the right-wing ministers, especially Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud, remained in Ariel Sharon's government and resigned a moment before Gush Katif's destruction, their resignation was useless and merely for the sake of appearance. This time, since Jerusalem is at stake, they must simply get out.

Dividing Jerusalem along Clinton's guidelines would suggest weakness and confusion, and a collapse of historic and religious Jewish values. It would also bring urban political and security chaos.

The Gush Katif evacuation would look like child's play compared to the rupture in the Jewish nation caused by the betrayal involved in the escape from Jerusalem.



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