Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A lesson on Jerusalem

David Ha'ivri Published: 04.27.12,


During my recent visit to the British Parliament, I heard concern from a number of members that Jerusalem's new light rail system was built as a "tool of Israel's apartheid.” This type of claim can leave one baffled - where do you start explaining, when an intelligent elected official hits you with a claim that is so totally off base? Aside from the issue of priorities, since people are being killed by Assad daily in Syria, it is so hypocritical for world leaders to ignore that massacre and waste their time and effort in seeking out something to pin on Israel.

In Israel's War of Independence in 1948, part of Jerusalem was captured by the British-trained Arab Legion of Trans-Jordan, who held the city for 19 years, until it was again united in the miraculous Six Day War of June, 1967. During the 19 years of Jordan's illegal occupation of Jerusalem, Jews were barred from access to holy places in the city. Jewish doctors and nurses were massacred while trying to reach the Hadassah Hospital, located on then-isolated Mount Scopus.

Only after Israel's Defense Forces reunited the holy city were members of all religions again allowed access to places holy to them (aside from the Temple Mount, which maintains limited access for non-Muslims.)

Jerusalem today is a city with total population of about 760,000 people - about 65% Jewish, 35% Muslims, Christians and others. Anyone who visits the city will see a mix of people from all ethnic backgrounds and all religions taking part in all aspects of the city's culture and commerce. Like it or not, apartheid is not a fitting description for the reality of Jerusalem today.

Hebrew and Arabic

The city of Jerusalem incorporated its light rail public transportation system this year. The light rail is intended to relieve traffic congestion, and to save the city from some of the air pollution of exhaust fumes from the cars and buses that it will replace.

The light rail is now 14 kilometers long with 23 stops. It starts in the Pisgat Zev neighborhood in the north and runs though Beit Hannia and Shuafat, passes by the Old City through the center of town, runs along Jaffa Street past the central bus station and ends at Mount Herzl.

The track passes through and stops in both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. I have taken the train and noticed that both Jews and Arabs are regular commuters. All of the train’s signs, tickets, ticket machines, and public announcements are made very clearly in both Hebrew and Arabic. Signs of station names are posted in both Hebrew and Arabic.

Knowing the facts firsthand, it is strange for me to hear discussions in British Parliament about the light rail being segregated and a “tool of apartheid.” Why, I ask, do people buy into such baseless libel and propaganda?


  1. Any criticism of Israel, whether based on fact or not, is valid so far as her opponents are concerned. Reality and honesty are not relevant when it comes to Israel. Any lies about it can be disseminated with impunity. Misuse and distortion of language, such as describing it as illegitimate, nazi, apartheid etc, is valid in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary. Why do so many people hate and attack it? That's easy to answer. Because it is a Jewish state and those who denigrate it are simply anti-Semites. Good old fashioned anti-Semites. Such people hide from their own inadequacies by attacking others. Why do they never protest about North Korea, Burma, China, Zimbabwe and all Islamic states where anti-democratic and discriminatory practices are rife? Because those people are not Jews.

  2. from the time of the Tutors, the Brits were anti-Semitic. They are a sore looser that a bunch of ill equipped ragamuffins beat their pants, in Israel and are doing better then them economically

  3. The following should be repeated in every single media or political interview with any Israeli official. The following sentence should be repeated as a mantra, or in the way one would teach very small children - over and over again:

    In all of history, only under Jewish sovereignty have the holy places of all faiths been totally accessible to the adherents of those faiths, unfettered.

  4. I hope that the author responded to the parliamentarian noting that during the "19 years of Jordan's illegal occupation of Jerusalem" with its attendant crimes, the only country in the world to recognize Jordan's theft of Jerusalem, was Britain, which even incorporated it into the Sterling currency area.

  5. You ask: "Why do people buy into such baseless libel and propaganda?". Well, for the same reason as others commit these libels: they are our enemies.
    Israelis who see first hand the efforts and great success in building a harmonious country living under the rule of law, cannot possibly imagine WHY others would distort that reality and make false claims. Maybe the reason why som many Israelis do not understand this is in part because of weakening of the connection to our Jewish roots. This is not judgmental. I am merely pointing out Israelis should understand that even if they can't all see themselves as Jews first, British politicians and all others do see us first as Jews. It is the Christian religious dogma and history of many of them that prevents them from fully accepting and internalizing the fact of Jewish sovereignty. In their outlook, we are supposed to have been "replaced". Our existence in united ancient capital of Jerusalem, is stuck in their digestive process.

  6. This article highlights the fact that, alongside the sheer wickedness which animates much anti-Israel discourse, there is also a strong strain of sheer ignorance and stupidity. The problem is that ignorance and stupidity are just as impervious to reason as is wickedness.

  7. I hope that the author responded to the parliamentarian noting that during the "19 years of Jordan's illegal occupation of Jerusalem" with its attendant crimes, the only country in the world to recognize Jordan's theft of Jerusalem, was Britain, which even incorporated it into the Sterling currency area.

  8. Please let people know it is the muslims who have restricted the access to non-muslims on the Temple mount and not the Jews!! Thank you for truth.