Jerusalem: Besieged by the Sacred

By Lyons, John L. | The World and I, March 1997 | Go to article overview

Jerusalem: Besieged by the Sacred


Lyons, John L., The World and I


Ten measures of suffering were sent by God upon the world. Nine of them fell on Jerusalem.

--A Hebrew proverb

The dew which descends upon Jerusalem is a remedy for every sickness, because it is from the gardens of Paradise.

--Excerpt from the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad

Jerusalem today is a detonating device with no fail-safe, a loaded pistol at a poker dispute, a driverless coach careering toward a blind curve. No other item on the entire Middle East peace agenda forebodes such potential mayhem as the city's future status. It is an issue "so contentious," according to the Economist, "that it would be better left undiscussed until all else is settled."

East Jerusalem, the walled Old City--holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims--has an exceedingly long history of foreign occupation, religious conflict, and persecution. Since its takeover by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War, much controversy has been generated by the rezoning of the city's boundaries, ambitious Israeli construction policies outside the city, and recent plans to increase the Jewish population within.

Because of these factors, observers believe, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over the city's future status will be continually plagued by potential derailment.

For the vast majority of Israeli citizens, Jerusalem--both the newer western suburbs as well as the ancient walled city--is their country's eternal capital, sacrosanct and indisputable.

In a recent issue of Foreign Policy magazine, a quote credited to analyst Mark Heller aptly conveys Israeli intransigence. "If there is any outstanding issue about which it can truly be said that an Israeli national consensus exists," Heller states, "it is that Jerusalem remain the capital of Israel, undivided and wholly accessible."

Although Palestinian authorities exert weaker claims over the city's more recent additions, they too assert unequivocal political rights over ancient East Jerusalem.

"We will not give up our great struggle until the establishment of the Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital," a forthright Yasser Arafat promised 3,000 supporters in a Palestinian refugee camp several months ago. Arafat is chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and president of the Palestinian Authority, which is in charge of Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories.

As shown by recent deadly events surrounding the opening of an ancient Hasmonean tunnel to tourists, any tinkering with the perceived "balance of power" in Jerusalem has the potential to spark immediate and widespread violence and to set the entire peace process aflame.

On historical counts, Jerusalem--Hebrew for "City of Peace"--is truly besieged by the sacred. Holy center to the three major monotheistic faiths, the city has borne witness to the lives and teachings of many of the world's greatest saints and prophets. Yet Jerusalem has been stormed and occupied no fewer than 37 times, as conquerors of differing faiths have ousted one another, piling up a history of gall and resentment.

ONE CITY, THREE FAITHS

Jewish, Christian, and Islamic claims of heritage in Jerusalem are found in the deep historical roots of the city's holy sites. Judeo-Christian legend identifies ancient Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital, as an integral part of the Holy Land promised by God to the Jews.

David's son, Solomon, is said to have constructed the first Jewish Temple on the city's Mount Moriah in the tenth century B.C., placing within its inner chamber--its holy of holies--the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments, the ethical code of ancient Judaism.

Although the Ark was allegedly stolen by the Philistines and the Temple was twice destroyed, the ruins of the Temple, in particular its Western Wall, and the surrounding city became forever a center of Jewish life, worship, and pilgrimage. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Jerusalem: Besieged by the Sacred
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.