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Avoiding Yom Yerushalayim
ith almost the entire world, including the
United States, still not recognizing Israel's
sovereignty over a united Jerusalem after
almost four decades, American Jewry should be
pushing — not ignoring — Yom Yerushalayim,
Yom Yerushalayim commemorates the realization
of thousands of years of Jewish prayer and striving
that culminated in the reunification of
the city during the June 1967 Six-Day
War. Celebrated a week before Shavuot
on the 28th of Iyar — falling on June 6
this year — the modern holiday celebrates the
Jewish connection to the holy city and the victory
of the Israel Defense Forces that allowed Jews free
access to our holy places, which Muslim and
Christian regimes had denied us for the better part
of two millennia.
But it seems that politics, apathy, complacency or
timidity have prevented some of us from embracing
a holiday that could make an important statement
to our children and the world about Jews, Jerusalem
We should celebrate Jerusalem Day for what it is:
a breaking down of a separation that prohibited the
Jews reaching their holiest shrine at the Temple
Mount and a desire to never have the city's access
limited or denied to those practic-
ing the three major faiths.
Although we should not celebrate
it as an absolute barrier to any
future agreements that assure tran-
quility and peace in the region, we
must fight the propaganda that
splitting Jerusalem is necessary for
peace and human rights.
Who will guarantee Jewish
rights when we've seen the
devastating effect that
Palestinian control has had
on the Christian population of
Bethlehem and Beit Sahur? And
what about Arab Jerusalemites who
have made it clear they are in no
hurry to give up the rights and pro-
tections afforded by Israel?
Avoiding celebrating Yom Yerushalayim because of
political overtones is, in itself, a political statement. It
seems we are ready to divide Jerusalem as soon as
someone else is willing to claim it. Why else would we
demand moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem
and then wink and nod when it isn't done? George W.
Bush and other presidents have pledged to move the
embassy to Jerusalem but never did.
Why else would we raise a fuss when a guidebook
or corporate Web site doesn't list Jerusalem as the
capital of Israel and then sit out the holiday that cel-
ebrates that it is?
Compromise has its place, but we shouldn't hold
it in higher regard than we hold Jerusalem. Let us
pursue peace with pride, passion, prayer and persist-
ence. And let us mark Yom Yerushalayim in the
Running On Empty
ometimes I think the sole mission of local
broadcast media is to fan the flames of
Reporting on gasoline prices is a case in point.
Forget that in terms of constant dollars gas is
more affordable now than it was dur-
ing the shortages of the 1970s. Nor
are there gas lines at the stations now,
with panicked drivers hoping to fill
up before the supply runs out. Still, it
is, inevitably, treated as a crisis.
Fairly typical was an "investigative" report on
WXYZ-TV. It aired when gas prices were already
coming down. But according to the reporter, the
big oil companies were intent on keeping them
high deliberately to line their pockets.
The on-camera source for this statement was
identified as a "Detroit economist." He went on
about the conspiratorial evils of big oil and
implied that the companies were behind the short-
age of refining capacity in the United States
because their refusal to build new refineries helps
drive up prices.
and Flat Rock, however, much of it in
At the end of all this, the reporter came
heavy traffic. An S'UV will burn about two
on to say, "Believe it or not, the environ-
gallons on that trip. So now you're down
mental movement shares some of the blame
to a $4 price advantage.
But it also will take almost two hours to
Hello! Welcome to the heart of the story.
make this trip. Is your time worth more
Legal challenges by environmental groups
than $2 an hour? I would hope so.
have made it next to impossible to
So filling up in Birmingham at the high-
expand refining capacity in the U.S.
price is an altogether rational decision;
That's why President Bush has sug-
of course, you have an aged aunt in
gested putting them on federal land in CAN TOR
and want to drop in to see her
closed military bases.
I don't mean to suggest big oil is
I hear the same thing in interviews when
blameless. But the mind-set revealed here is
people say they won't take a trip Up North this
instructive. "Believe it or not." Environmentalists
summer because of the high gas prices. The differ-
are the good guys, aren't they? How can such
ence in price between this summer and last would
add something like $20 to such a trip.
A few days later, I listened to a reporter on
If $20 makes that kind of difference to your
NVWJ-AM chuckling about drivers who were fill-
plans, you probably shouldn't be going to
ing up in Birmingham when regular was selling
for 40 cents a gallon cheaper in Flat Rock. The
People ask me why the broadcast media give
drivers interviewed seemed almost apologetic for
such a distorted version of events in the Middle
East. Watch and learn. If they can't get it right on
Shall we do the math?
like gas prices, how can they hope to
Say a fill-up is 20 gallons. At 40 cents a gallon
that comes to an $8 difference.
It's a 42-mile round trip between Birmingham
George Cantor's e-mail address is