[13. Jerusalem a unique place

Recently on CNN, Mr. Shumar (D) of New York, talking about Jerusalem, had this to say: "This is a centrality to the Jewish religion, to return to Jerusalem, to have Jerusalem, and half the Torah is about what is going to happen in Jerusalem." Not once, did he have the decency to acknowledge or, at least, to refer to what Jerusalem means to the other religions. The same insensitivity towards Christians and Muslims can be detected in Mr. & Mrs Silvern's letter (April 16, 1990) "Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish nation". Mr. Hyde (R) of Illinois, on the other hand, repeated twice, on the same program on CNN, that Jerusalem is "a unique place in the world, being a holy city to three faiths, Islam, Christianity as well as Judaism".

Christians proclaim in their Profession of Faith: "... for our sake he (Jesus-Christ) was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures". All these events didn't happen in Paris, London or New York, but in Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Via Dolorosa and many other Christian holy sites are in Jerusalem. For Muslims, Jerusalem is the place from where Prophet Muhammad's spiritual midnight journey started and is the site of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. It is the third holy city after Mecca and Medina.

Given the religious significance of Jerusalem to all three faiths and bearing in mind that there are only 16 million Jews in the world compared to a billion Christians and near a billion Muslims, it is only fair to ask on what grounds should Jerusalem be exclusively under Jewish control. Christians certainly have a stronger claim, both in religious and numeric terms. Mr. Seymour Reich from the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations said: "Jews have the right to live in all parts of Jerusalem". Don't the two billion Christians and Muslims have the same right? Or should they be discriminated against? The problem of Jerusalem is not a problem between Arabs and Jews, it is rather a problem between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Because it is "a unique place", Jerusalem, in my opinion, should be internationalized, with special status and free access to all followers of the three religions. Such a proposal can only be rejected by those for whom fairness doesn't count much.

April 21, 1990]