Yossi Sarid / Divide Jerusalem, before we lose it forever
The Holy City is the craziest and most conflicted city in the world; its atmosphere makes me ill.
Believers the world over do not believe the ape was their ancestor. They are correct - man is apparently descended from the wolf. A pack of Arab wolves lynched a Jewish man in Tel Aviv and a pack of Jewish wolves preyed on an Arab man in Jerusalem this week. They know no God, so what do we expect of the poor apes?
We will find out today or tomorrow whether the mouths of the rabbis that slipped the leash are also the mouths capable of reining in the bestiality. Like you, I will watch the ultra-Orthodox demonstrations - sometimes against the opening of a parking lot, sometimes in support of a yeshiva student who killed his baby or a mother who almost killed her son. And like you, I will ask, "What has happened to them, these strange Jews, who are acting like madmen? Are these the eternal people? Is this Jerusalem?"
I thank God I no longer live there. How terrible that place is. I think that for me, it is lost.
I used to live in Jerusalem, and I loved the city. I would climb onto its high roofs to look, with both the eyes of my body and the eyes of my spirit, at the Temple Mount with its mosques, and at the forlorn Western Wall. Across from me lay the Old City, which in those days we could not enter. On other occasions, I would go to visit my father, who worked at that time in the Education Ministry on Hanevi'im Street, at the corner of Shivtei Yisrael Street. The view from the balcony there, with the demilitarized zone and the walls of the Old City in the palm of my hand, captivated me with its magic and filled my heart with longing. In later years, no longer a boy, I returned to that ministry; for me, it was as if I were returning to that balcony.
I no longer love it: The atmosphere of Jerusalem makes me ill. I worked there for almost 40 years, and at the end of the work day, I preferred to drive to Tel Aviv - a drive that would help me breathe. In the holy city, I felt choked and oppressed. Is Jerusalem too holy for human beings to inhabit?
From the moment the hope of 2,000 years was fulfilled, Jerusalem has known no peace. It is the craziest and most conflicted city in the world, and in no way resembles the city I loved before our redemption began to flower, before the messianic donkeys began to bray.
There is no conflict in Israel that does not have its root in this city: Jews against Arabs; Arabs against Jews; the religious, and particularly the ultra-Orthodox, against the secular and vice versa; and liberals (there are still a handful left) against the nationalistic zealots. It is a poor, dirty, ugly city. True, it is filled with beautiful memories and precious objects that have no equal anywhere in the world, but the whole is uglier than the sum of its parts, and especially those new parts that were piled onto its hills after 1967 - to say nothing of the monstrous separation fence that was thrust into its heart, to our shame.
I am not the only one; many have distanced themselves from Jerusalem. Even the former mayor and prime minister left at the first opportunity. And another prime minister, for the sake of his mental health, has another home, denying the historical and cultural tensions between Jerusalem and Caesarea. Hundreds of academics and senior officials leave it when they retire. There are judges in Jerusalem, but they, too, become fewer as soon as they retire. All want to live close to their grandchildren. All exalt Jerusalem above their chief joy, but only from afar.
For the sake of Jerusalem, I shall not remain quiet. Let us hasten to divide it - not only into two cities, but into three, before we lose it forever. Let the dreams of our childhood return to the roofs and the balconies. Only a dream that does not come true cannot be shattered. Only a limb that has been amputated knows how to yearn with pain for the whole limb.
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