If I forget thee, O Jerusalem

Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital for thousands of years. With some slight interruptions due to foreign invaders, most particularly the Romans and Arabs.

Elie Wiesel has taken out full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, and, likely, other major newspapers. His message is simple: Jerusalem has been the Jews’ capital since King David. And so it will always remain, the spiritual and political heart of Judaism.

As for support, Mr Wiesel claims no less an authority than Scripture. From his ad, he notes

It [Jerusalem] is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture–and not a single time in the Koran.

And yet Muslims claim Jerusalem is some sort of spiritual home for them. Fine, they’ve got different beliefs. Yet when they were in charge of Jerusalem, they forcibly prevented Jews from entry.

God appears to have a different idea. Absent divine intervention, it’s hard to posit circumstances that would provide for a continuous presence of a small, persecuted minority, Jews, in Jerusalem for over 3,000 years.

Two verses from Scripture come to mind. The first, a lament from the Babylonian exile in Psalm 137:

5If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 6If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.

The second, from Psalm 121, tells us that God will never rest in defense of his chosen people’s right to Jerusalem:

4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

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