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November 19, 2009 - Image 59

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-11-19

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Family Focus

Internationalize Jerusalem?

Essay winner Dovi Nadel tackles this tough topic in Book Fair contest.


ovi Nadel, a junior at Yeshivat
Akiva in Southfield and son
of Mark and Ariella Nadel of
Southfield, was awarded first place in
the 58th annual essay writing contest
sponsored by the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit in conjunction with
the JCC Jewish Book Fair.
The topic for all contestants was, "Is
it possible to have an internationalized
Jerusalem and, if not, who has the rights
to rule over the city?"
Beth Rodgers, Nadel's English teacher,
suggested to her students that they write
the 800-word essay and submit it to the
The three finalists were invited to the
opening Book Fair reception Nov. 3 for
Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador
to Israel and "father" of the Camp David
Accords, who read each essay. At Indyk's
lecture, the essay contest winner was
announced. Nadel earned $500. The other
finalists, Farmington High School stu-
dent Ian Zaback of Farmington Hills, and
Frankel Jewish Academy student Joshua
Kahn of Oak Park, each received $250.

Here is the text of Nadel's
winning essay on Jerusalem:
"Jerusalem has never been the capital of
any people except the Jewish people . . . we
are struck by the fact that since the Six-Day
War, all people are free to worship in their
place of choice, unlike the situation during
1948-1967. The unity of Jerusalem must
be preserved . . . internationalization is an
idea which never worked in history." (Rev
Douglas Young, Jerusalem, 1971).
The United Nations, in 1949, recom-
mended the internationalization of
Jerusalem to protect the holy places. Since
then, it has been clearly demonstrated
that only under Jewish sovereignty has
such religious freedom been able to exist.
Nonetheless, recently there has been
increasing pressure on Israel to consider
internationalizing Jerusalem in the inter-
est of making peace with its Arab inhabit-
ants. Those who support Jerusalem's inter-
nationalization fail to realize the profound
historical, demographic and religious
ramifications of dividing Jerusalem.
Historically, internationalization has
never proven to be successful anywhere.
The most glaring example of the failure
of internationalization is the division
of Berlin, which was split between four

Finalist Ian Zaback of Farmington Hills, Farmington High School; essay winner Dovi Nadel of Southfield, Yeshivat Akiva,

Southfield; and finalist Joshua Kahn of Oak Park, Frankel Jewish Academy, West Bloomfield

relatively friendly powers and eventually
degenerated into the focal point of the Cold
War. The concept of internalization not
only lacks global historical precedence, but
there is also sound evidence from the State
of Israel's own past that the international-
ization of Jerusalem is unfeasible.
When the U.N. proposed international-
izing Jerusalem in 1947, Israel was willing
to accept this offer in hopes of preserving
sovereignty over parts of its historic city.
However, the Arabs were as opposed to
internationalization as they were to the
partition plan. When Jordan proceeded to
capture the Old City, Jews and Christians
alike were banned from visiting the holy
sites. With snipers lining the walls of the
city, Arabs were anything but interested in
allowing religious freedom in Jerusalem.
It was only after the Israelis recaptured
Jerusalem in 1967 that holy sites were
opened to worship to everyone, includ-
ing Moslems. Never, since the history of
Rome, has there been more religious free-
dom than today. In fact, after the Israelis
conquered their holiest site, the Temple
Mount, they put it under the control of the

Islamic Wafk. Sadly, the Palestinians have
not reciprocated in allowing accessibility
to holy places.
As recently as the year 2000, Palestinian
Arabs pillaged and ransacked the tomb of
Joseph in Shechem, one of the holiest sites
in Israel. It is ludicrous to risk exchanging
accessibility to holy sites with a question-
able process that has no historical prece-
dence of success even between friendly
Demographically, the idea of carving
up Jerusalem will create more security
problems than it will fix. Recent statistics
show that over 250,000 Jews live in eastern
Jerusalem, making an east-west divid-
ing border unrealistic. In order for such a
tenuous border to be viable, a country and
its neighbors would have to have a true
peace based on mutual respect. One must
not forget how the Jews of Jerusalem were
treated by their neighbors residing in the
Old City until 1967. The insecure borders
made it easy for snipers in the Old City to
take potshots at nearby Jewish residents.
These new demographic realities, com-
bined with the advancement of modern war-

fare (like handheld rocket launchers), make
a return to such boundaries unworkable.
Religiously, Jerusalem has been, and
must forever remain, the heart of the
Jewish State of Israel. For over 3,000 years,
Jerusalem has served as the religious capi-
tal of Israel. With its name mentioned over
600 times in the Bible as well as longingly
whispered in every Jew's prayer for centu-
ries, Jerusalem has been the symbol of the
exiled Jewish people's yearning to return
to their homeland.
In contrast, Jerusalem has never served
as a capital city to any other nationality or
religion. Jerusalem is never mentioned in
the Koran; and it only has secondary reli-
gious significance to Mecca and Medina.
Tearing apart Jerusalem would be like
ripping out the very heart of Israel. Only
with Israel's sole sovereignty over a united
Jerusalem can true peace, security and
religious freedom exist within its borders.
As Herzl, the father of modern Zionism
said, echoing King David's words: "If I
forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand
lose its cunning..." (6th Zionist Congress,
1903) (Psalm 137). I1

November 19 • 2009


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