President Trump, while everyone’s busy worrying about potential ramifications and speculating what will happen as a result of your official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, I care a lot more about a unique opportunity that presents itself amidst the current state of affairs.
Jerusalem has become a symbol of continuous conflict, with or without a U.S. embassy inside of it. As you mentioned, your statement will bring “disagreement and dissent.” And it will come from players across the board; from the left to the right of the political spectrum, in Israel, in the U.S., in the Arab world, and in the world at large. Why? Every group has their own reason when it comes to Jerusalem.
And yet, this point in time presents an opportunity to do the exact opposite. As the world’s eyes are set on the “holy land,” their hearts could become more sensitive to what is truly holy about it.
As you said, “Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues,” and it is for good reason that Jerusalem carries a deep symbolic significance. It reminds the world about its hope that, someday, Jerusalem will become a beacon of peace instead of conflict. It is an expectation that comes with a demand for those given legitimacy over the city, to turn it into that beacon of peace and global unity.
Therefore, if you were to put the spotlight on Israel’s moral obligation to be “a light unto nations,” and even condition your support on how well it fulfills this role, you would charge us, the people of Israel, with this important responsibility. You would push us to prove to the world that we can be the model of unity that so many expect us to be.
If Israel rebuilds itself as a nation that embodies the tenet of “love thy friend as thyself,” the world would be inspired to act the same and we could all “rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect.” This is the healthy pressure that should be put on Israel. It is Israel’s only way to repair its deteriorating reputation and win the world’s support for its connection to Jerusalem.
As written by one of the great Jewish sages of the 20th century, Yehuda Ashlag, “The people of Israel have to present the nations with the teaching of connection, justice, and peace. This is what they are waiting for since our return to the land of Israel… otherwise, they will reject Israel’s independence for their own needs — not to mention taking back Jerusalem.”
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