Impoverished Israelis, Take Comfort in Knowing Jerusalem Is Yours

Not only is the city under Jewish control, but Jews can do as they please with it, because it belongs to us alone. Poor people, rejoice!

Yitzhak Laor
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Ultra-Orthodox Jews collect water from a mountain spring near Jerusalem, to be used in religious ceremony, April 2, 2014. Credit: AFP
Yitzhak Laor

Dear poor, it’s clear that it’s hard to be sick, and even harder to be sick and poor; even the poor of our city would be better off being healthy.

So if you happen to pass a private medical center, where they improve the lives of those with expensive insurance policies or fat bank accounts, look away immediately. And maybe you’ll be lucky and as you turn your gaze you’ll see the poor of other cities – workers from Thailand, for example. You’ll feel much better.

And if you hoped your children would escape the cycle of marginalization, of distance from the center, take comfort in the light rail and remember: You are the poor of our city; you’re poor in material goods, not in spirit, so you are dear to our hearts.

And if one of your children wants, say, to play the violin, tell him to look at Naftali Bennett, destroyer of nests, or Avigdor Lieberman, protector of the oppressed, or at me, lord of Caesarea and its daughters, and remember: They didn’t play the violin either. Not everyone needs to play; you can sing “Jerusalem of Gold” and clap your hands.

And so on and so forth. Maybe you have an incontinent parent who needs to wear diapers and you have no way to hire a Filipina caretaker. Or maybe municipal taxes are rising, water prices are going up, winter is coming and your electricity bills are ballooning. So you need to have everyone shower fast — at the same time — because the boiler runs out quickly, and if you hoped to rest, simply rest, maybe on some beach in Eilat or Tiberias, forget about it.

Make do with small comforts. Every few months there’s a wedding in some local hall, and the women go to the beauty parlor and dye their hair a little, and you bring a check for the happy couple and eat. And there’s a band and a DJ and singing: “Rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad for it.” Jewish comfort.

And if your life is still bitter, because you had to forgo straightening your daughter’s teeth and she’s crying in her bed at night – she wanted her teeth straightened so badly! – take her in your arms and go out into the streets with her. Show her, say, far-off Gaza and tell her: “You’re lucky, my daughter. The luck of a goy, they used to call it, but now they call it the luck of the Jews.”

And when you lose your job – how terrible it is to be left without work at 50 and forgo your dream of sending your son to college, your hope that he’d go farther than his father, the former forklift operator, or his mother, who cleans the mayor’s offices – go out and demonstrate against the layoffs. I promise you, no tear gas will be sprayed at you, and certainly none of the demonstrators will be shot at until he dies, because you have the luck of the Jews.

And here is the great comfort, the one that is shared alike by the lords of Caesarea and its daughters and the newly unemployed from Arad: Jerusalem is united. And not only is it united, it is under Jewish control – Jewish millionaires, a Jewish army, a Jewish Shin Bet security service, a Jewish police force, Jewish informers.

Not only is it under Jewish control, but Jews can do as they please with it, because it belongs to us alone, the Jews, just as the World Cup belongs to the Germans and oil belongs to the Americans. That isn’t something you could have said to an unemployed Jew from Warsaw 80 years ago, or to a Jewish widow from Rabat in Morocco.

Jerusalem is ours. Let them start a war over it. We’ll show them. Then we’ll feel united.

Therefore, oh poor of our city, be happy, even if you lie awake at night with your eyes wide open thinking about how your plans didn’t work out.

What can you do? It’s impossible to do everything – to make war, have a Jewish state, have an apartment in the center of the country and take a trip to China like professors on sabbatical do. The Temple Mount is in our hands; war is on the way. Go out and celebrate in the streets, Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of blindness.