Netanyahu Turns to the Torah in Defending Yerushalayim


netanyahu1Beset by questions about the future of Yerushalayim in talks with the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reached for the Torah today to stake out the Jewish state’s disputed claim on the city.

Netanyahu told a parliamentary session commemorating Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war that “Yerushalayim” and its alternative Hebrew name “Tzion” appear 850 times in the Torah.

“As to how many times Yerushalayim is mentioned in the holy scriptures of other faiths, I recommend you check,” he said.

Citing such ancestry, Netanyahu calls all of Yerushalayim its “indivisible” capital.

Destroyed as a Jewish capital by the Romans in the 1st century AD, Yerushalayim was a Christian city under their Byzantine successors before falling to Muslim Arabs in the 7th. European Crusaders took it back for a century before 700 years of Muslim control until Britain defeated the Ottoman Turks in 1917.

As Britain prepared to quit, the United Nations proposed international rule for the city in 1947 as a “corpus separatum.” That proposal was overtaken by fighting that left Israel holding West Jerusalem in 1948 and Jordanian forces in East Jerusalem. Israel then took the rest in the Six Day War of 1967.

The city, within boundaries defined by Israel but not recognized internationally, is now home to 750,000 people, two in three of them Jews and the rest mostly Muslim Palestinians.

Heckled by a lawmaker from Israel’s Arab minority, Netanyahu offered a lesson in comparative religion from the lectern. “Because you asked: Yerushalayim is mentioned 142 times in the Torah, and none of the 16 various Arabic names for Yerushalayim  is menioned in the Koran. But in an expanded interpretation of the Koran from the 12th century, one passage is said to refer to Yerushalayim,” he said.

Netanyahu did not refer in his speech to indirect peace negotiations with the Palestinians that resumed this month after 1 1/2 years of U.S. mediation. But he said Israel would retain all of Yerushalayim while ensuring freedom of worship at its sites.

“There is no undercutting, nor do I intend to undercut, the connection of others to Yerushalayim,” Netanyahu said.

“But I do confront the attempt to undercut and warp or obfuscate the unique connection that we, the people of Israel, have to the capital of Israel.”

{Reuters/Yair Israel}


  1. Question: It seems as though the world is moving along as usual. The newspaper headlines are saying the same things. The stock market is improving; the magazines are filled with promotional ads about vacations for the upcoming Shavuos, and so on. The future looks bright. So how can you claim that we are on the verge of a major catastrophe?

    Daniel: Before WWII broke out, the Nazis, yimach shmam, were making threats against Europe and then against the rest of the world.

    They had already begun attacking Jews and their army was all ready to go to war and the whole world knew about it.

    Yet, then, as today, people didn’t want to think about that reality. They wanted to have a good time [enjoying the olam hazeh]. There were people then, newspapers, government leaders and so on, who were all aware of the danger but most of the people just did not want to know. That is also today’s current situation.

    For example, before WWII, Warsaw was a quiet and happy town. People went shopping, as usual, took care of their kids, went to work… Everything was as usual, up until the German planes started bombing the town.

    Then, in a matter of seconds, reality changed. Life was normal, nice and friendly with people planning future vacations, births, scheduling dental appointments, etc. In an instant their whole world turned black. Parents and children were killed, lo aleinu! There was no food and the river was polluted from the deaths of all the horses and people killed by the bombs. The world entered a dark period of death, destruction and terror. Over five years of pure gehennom (hell).

    Now, too, the world seems to be going on as usual. But one day, in the not too distant future, the reality we know will turn into an entirely different reality. Hashem is already reminding us that we are living in exile, in the fiftieth gate of tumaa (impurity) [as explained in Or HaChaim hakadosh, Shemos 3;8], the darkest galus (exile).

    At the end of history, all of the wicked people and heretics will know at the very last moment that “there is no other besides Him”. But it won’t help them. Their time has run out and they are going to disappear from reality [“and He will destroy all the wicked” (end of “ashrei” prayer)].

  2. The kedushas hayom at Mercaz Harav on JERUSALEM DAY is a sight to behold.
    What gratitude and immense love we must show hakodosh baruch who for allowing us to live, learn and daven in the holy city?

  3. Bibi, say it the way it is!
    There is nothing to negotiate regarding Yerushalaim. Yerushalaim is not on the table.

  4. I can’t find a real reason why charedim don’t celebrate yom yerushalayim. Do we not daven at the kosel too? Are our yeshivos not in yerushalayim. Its time for us to show some hakaras hatov once and for all.