MembersIsrael’s Ambivalence Toward Jerusalem

Even today, when breaking a glass under the chupah – the bridal canopy – every Jewish bridegroom takes the oath “if I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.”

By Tsvi Sadan |
BURDENSOME STONE: Like the nations, Israel isn’t sure how to handle Jerusalem Photo: Flash90

 The shattering of the glass reminds us of Jerusalem’s destruction. The oath is to rebuild the city, Temple included.


And yet, Israelis have mixed feelings about this city. Some even hate it with a passion. Up until the Six Day War in 1967, when the eastern and western halves of the city were reunited, West Jerusalem was a neglected frontier town of about 70,000 residents. Since then, Jerusalem has grown exponentially and become the largest city in Israel. This growth, however, doesn’t change the fact that many Israelis still see Jerusalem as a “cup of poison.” Jewish neighborhoods built after 1967, like Gilo in the south and Ramot on the north, are considered to be under “Israeli occupation.”


Ambivalence toward Jerusalem is as old as Zionism. Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, envisioned the heart of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, as exterritorial under Jewish guardianship. But he wanted to build a Temple next to the mosque. He also envisioned Jewish neighborhoods built around the...

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