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Moshe Feiglin on the Trump Declaration and Zehut's Jerusalem Platform


When I finished listening to President Trump’s declaration I made the blessing on good tidings, Shehecheyanu, complete with G-d’s Name.

The complementary, practical measure that Israel’s government must take is to transfer all the government ministries, the Knesset, government offices and the High Court to Jerusalem’s Old City.

It is a mistake to think that Trump’s declaration is a promo to pressure Israel. True, the embassy is not moving immediately, but the president of the greatest power in the world has said to the Jews – Jerusalem is your capital. Now Israel’s government must fill that declaration with practical meaning.

The following is Zehut's Jerusalem Plan:

Jerusalem – Goals and Policy

But as I come to sing to you today, And to adorn crowns to you

I am the smallest of the youngest of your children and of the last of the poets (Jerusalem of Gold, Naomi Shemer)

Jerusalem is not just another capital city. Jerusalem is the essence of Jewish national existence. It is a tapestry of the history of three thousand years, of the yearning of two thousand years, of hopes, of sanctity, of the oaths of bridegrooms, of blood, sweat and tears. There can be no Jewish state without Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was Never Divided Among the Tribes

Of all your tribes – this is Jerusalem, in which all the tribes share” (Avot D’Rabbi Natan)

Jerusalem was never divided among the tribes of Israel” (Tractate Yoma)

Unlike other cities, Jerusalem is a symbol: the focal point of identity and the horizon of purpose for the State of Israel. Jerusalem belongs to the entire Nation, not to its residents alone. As such, the Nation, by means of its representatives, has the authority and the duty to be involved in its planning and design. Jerusalem's residents understand that living in a city that does not belong exclusively to them exacts a price.

Within the parameters of the national planning of the city, all the rules of freedom of enterprise and design will be preserved,[1] as will be the case throughout Israel. But unlike other cities, Jerusalem will have a central planning framework and basic laws[2] that will ensure its character as a holy city on the one hand, and a focal point of Israeli sovereignty, on the other.

Strategic Planning

Jerusalem, Israel's capital, still lacks a strategic vision that will restore its role, both as Israel's heartland and as an international focal point for spiritual ascent, as it was in the past.

The flight from and ignoring of Jerusalem, which began with the surrender of the Old City to the Jordanians in the War of Independence[3] and continued after the Six-Day War in 1967 with the transfer of the Temple Mount to the Jordanian wakf, continues until this very day – turning Israel's capital once again into a divided border city.

In fact, after the historic unification of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, the expansion of Jerusalem's municipal line to the east and north and the establishment of the new neighborhoods, for many years almost every visionary strategic development has been shelved and forgotten. The city has effectively been abandoned to natural growth fluctuations and the immediate needs of its residents.[4]

This approach cannot apply to Jerusalem, which is divided between Jews and Arabs, neglected in terms of its infrastructure and at the crossroads of the interests of the entire world. It is time to claim Israel’s ownership of Jerusalem and to conduct our policies accordingly. Any other method is irrelevant. Jerusalem beckons.

Greater Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Metropolis

Zehut proposes a realistic alternative to the artificial attempt to separate Jerusalem from the surrounding Arab population. This has resulted in a massive Arab immigration into the city for fear of separation, and on the other hand has strangled natural development of the city. When Zehut’s Diplomatic Plan is implemented, the war will end and the Arabs remaining in Judea and Samaria will be those who accept the sovereignty of the State of Israel. Under those circumstances, it will no longer be necessary to strangle the city between walls and fences.

Jerusalem is suffocated within its municipal line, and the time has come to expand it, and to allow the creation of Greater Jerusalem, which is already forming. Instead of cutting down the Jerusalem Forest, as proposed by the Safdie plan to address the housing shortage, it is possible to expand and even multiply Jerusalem's urban area to the east and north, and to provide the city with extensive land reserves for new neighborhoods with modern access infrastructure.

The Jerusalem metropolis will include Bethlehem and Gush Etzion to the south, Beit Shemesh and Modi'in to the West, Ramallah to the north and Ma'aleh Adumim and Jericho to the east.

Strategic Infrastructure

“As a rule, the holier the place, the more it lies in destruction. Jerusalem is more destroyed than any place else. Judea more than the Galilee. And even with all its destruction, it is very good” (The Ramban, in his Letter from the Land of Israel, circa 1260)

Metropolitan Beltway

The fast-moving Jerusalem train currently under construction will significantly improve Jerusalem's accessibility to greater Tel Aviv, making it much easier to live in Jerusalem and work in greater Tel Aviv or vice versa. In addition, a large Jerusalem beltway should be built, as is the case in large capitals around the world. The beltway will create and enclose the outer perimeter of the city, and will connect it to the urban centers around it, and them - to each other. The road will surround Jerusalem from Ma'aleh Adumim in the east, through Bethlehem and Gush Etzion in the south, to Mevaseret Zion in the west and on to Givat Ze'ev and Neve Ya'akov via Kfar Adumim.

Internal Landing Strip and International Airport

The internal landing strip in Atarot will be reopened and expanded, and an international airport will be built in the Horkanya Valley east of the city. The airport will serve Jerusalem on an ongoing basis, and in particular will enable it to cope with the peak periods of tourism and pilgrimage, which require a high passenger capacity relative to its routine function.

The need for such an airport is clear. Currently about two million people live in the Jerusalem metropolitan area, similar to the population of greater Tel Aviv. The rule of thumb in city planning is that a population of two million justifies an international airport near the city, especially if it is a city that attracts waves of tourism.

Upgrading the Mountain Road and the Jerusalem-Gush Dan Road

As detailed in the strategic planning chapter in Judea and Samaria, two highways must be upgraded to ease the traffic flow in and out of Jerusalem. Highway 60, north and south of Jerusalem, must be widened and transformed into an interurban road, at least in its section between Ariel and Hebron. Road 45, the paving of which has been delayed for thirty years as a replacement for Road 443 and an alternative to Route 1, must be completed. This will ease the natural growth of the Jerusalem metropolitan area, currently stalled due to outdated access infrastructure.

Roads in East Jerusalem and Access to the Old City

Access infrastructure in the eastern part of the city is extremely deficient and does not allow for development. This is even truer of the Old City, to which vehicular access is nearly impossible. This is not because there is no place to pave roads in the Old City, but because it is currently not a government priority.

This reality stymies the tourism and pilgrimage potential of the Old City and the transformation of its environs into the city's government district. Both of these problems must be resolved.

The Government District

"The temple of the king, the royal city, stand up out of the chaos" - "Lecha Dodi", a poem by Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz.

"There shall sit the throne of judgment as the throne of the house of David" - Psalms, 122:2.

Jerusalem is not only a "temple of the king," the holy city and holiness. Jerusalem is also a royal city, the city of Israeli rule and the city of Israeli law. The current location of the government complex, the Knesset building and the Supreme Court in the western part of the city is the result of the fact that the city is divided.

The total separation between the new and modern city and the so-called "Holy Basin" in Israel is not a healthy separation for the State of Israel. Zehut will strive to end this division.

A long-term process of evacuation-compensation of areas adjacent to the Temple Mount will enable the gradual relocation of the government district and symbols of sovereignty to the vicinity of the Old City and the Temple Mount. The Government District was in the Old City/Temple Mount area from the time of King David until King Agrippas the Second. Since this is a quintessential process of Jewish "recovery and restoration, we can expect that the sums required for this project will be contributed to a large extent by the general public – just as the general public contributed huge sums to buy most of the City of David, homes and entire areas in the Old City so far.

Tourism

Approximately a million and a half tourists visit Jerusalem annually. They lodge in approximately ten thousand hotel rooms in the capital. At the present rate of growth, tourism in the next two decades will at least double.

The development and construction of Jerusalem as a spiritual focal point will double and triple current forecasts and will draw tens of millions of tourists and pilgrims from throughout the world. Jerusalem must prepare to host them. This of course is a major growth engine, which will rapidly return (private) investment in the new and renewed hotel infrastructure.

The Heart of the City: The Temple Mount

He who rules the Mount rules the Land.”[5] (Poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg)

The Temple Mount is the holiest place on earth. It is the place chosen by the G-d of Israel from which to imbue the world with His Divine Presence. This is the place that connects the physical with the metaphysical, the place where Adam was created and Isaac was bound. It is the place where life and the Nation were molded, the place where our First and Second Temples stood. Just as most of the prophecies regarding the Return to Zion have already miraculously been fulfilled, so the rest of them will be realized. When the time comes, our Third Temple will dwell on the Temple Mount for eternity.

The Temple Mount is the beating heart of the Land of Israel. Famous Israeli poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg accurately described the Temple Mount as the yardstick of Israeli sovereignty in the entire Land. When we lose our hold on the Mount, the heart becomes ill; circulation weakens and the organs suffer. When Israel transfers control of the Mount to the Jordanian wakf, Jerusalem becomes divided once again and Israel's cities become the target of missiles – a scenario that nobody would have imagined just a few years ago.

There is a direct correlation between the abandonment of the Temple Mount and the deterioration of the legitimacy for the very existence of a Jewish State anywhere in the Land of Israel. De-legitimization has reared its ugly head even in the most respected and enlightened states.

When our actions declare that we have no connection to the Temple Mount, the world says the same at UNESCO. And when the world says it, the legitimacy of our hold on the Land is lost. When we lose the legitimacy of our hold on the Land, it becomes legitimate to attack us and illegitimate for Israel to defend herself. Surrender of the Temple Mount does not prevent war; it provokes it.

The "strategy" of Israeli administrations since the Six Day War has been to evade the actualization of Israeli sovereignty on the Mount and to pass on the "problem" to future generations. This "strategy" has brought about a continued depreciation in the status of Jerusalem, to de facto re-division and to the transfer of most of the sovereignty at the heart of Israel's capital – on the Temple Mount – to the Jordanian wakf.

Today, places in East Jerusalem where Jewish children used to play safely are now void of Jews; it is impossible to build a home in Jerusalem without the personal authorization of the Prime Minister and UNESCO is turning Israel's practical policy into a principled international decision, determining that there is no connection between Israel and the Temple Mount.

The decision to give the keys to the Mount to the Moslems immediately upon its liberation was lauded as diplomatic insight and the "realpolitik" acumen of Six-Day War Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. But the truth is that Dayan's actions were not born of necessity; they were his chosen policy. Prior to that, in the War of Independence, a planned strategy brought about the fall of the Jewish Quarter and the loss of an opportunity to liberate the Temple Mount and Judea and Samaria. Before the Six-Day War, Dayan (and the ministers of the National Religious Party) were opposed to liberating the Old City. Even Paratrooper Division Commander Motta Gur, who conquered the Temple Mount, was sure that it would shortly return to Jordan.

Israeli-ness did not want the "whole Vatican" – in the words of Moshe Dayan. Religious-ness also didn't want the Mount, which restores the Torah from the personal-religion dimension of the Exile to its national-culture dimension. This is the deep reason for today's ultra-Orthodox opposition to the return of Jews to the Temple Mount. There is nothing more anti-"religious" and anti-exile than the Temple and the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem is the essence of the conflict raging in Israel between Israeli identity and Jewish identity. The Mount was abandoned by Israel – and Jerusalem is being divided because the Israeli/Religious identity is fleeing the return to Jewish/cultural identity. The return to the Mount is the connection between those cultures.

The Arabs are not the cause; they are simply the means in this internal conflict. Jerusalem does not appear even once in the Koran. When the Moslems are on the Mount, they bow southward to Mecca and turn their backsides to the Dome of the Rock, the site of the Holy of Holies.

Israel sanctifies the Mount to the Moslems so that it can run away from itself. The result is the loss of the bedrock foundation for the justification of our existence in the entire Land of Israel – and the turning of humanity against us. By sanctifying the Mount for the Moslems, Israel brings war upon itself.

There is no Jerusalem without the Temple Mount. The only sovereign on the Temple Mount will be the State of Israel, by means of the Israel Police Department and a special Honor Guard, similar to the guards of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. The police and Honor Guard will preserve the security, order and sanctity of the site. Any foreign entity – in uniform or without – will be distanced from the Mount.

Policies on the Temple Mount

The Temple Mount is "Also" a Holy Site

The Temple Mount will be opened for Jewish prayer and will be placed at the top of the list of Jewish holy sites – a list from which it is currently absent. By virtue of the Law for the Safeguarding of the Holy Places, it will be transferred to the administration of the Chief Rabbinate, which will regulate the visits of Jews to the Mount within the framework of Jewish law. The Rabbinate will demarcate the places on the Mount permissible to walk according to Jewish law. A Jewish synagogue will be built on the Mount, in keeping with the various plans for a synagogue that have been proposed over the years.

Archeology

The Temple Mount will also be opened for archeological research. Inestimable archeological damage has been wrought by the abandonment of the Temple Mount to the Jordanian wakf. Six thousand tons of archeological dirt from the Temple Mount have been intentionally destroyed by the wakf in the process of illegal construction of underground mosques on the Mount. The ridiculous assertion of lack of remnants on the Temple Mount is a result of the policy that prohibits archeological research on the Temple Mount, forcing the archeologists to dig only in the areas surrounding the Mount.[6]

Sovereignty

The Jordanian wakf will lose its official status on the Mount. Israel's Police Department will be permanently stationed on the Mount, and not at the Mount's edge – as is the case today. Visits to the Temple Mount will be allowed at all hours without limit. Security for Israeli citizens on the Temple Mount will be absolute and provided by the police with all necessary forces. Jews will be able to enter the Temple Mount from all its gates. Moslems will be allowed to continue their prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque (which is actually outside of the sanctified original parameters of the Temple Mount) Any attempt to turn the prayer into a nationalist event will be dealt with strictly.

The paths leading to the Temple Mount will be repaired and reconstructed, as befits a place that is the "heart of the world.” The Israeli flag will once again be flown permanently over the Temple Mount as an expression of absolute Israeli sovereignty at the site – and as an expression of the Jewish identity that originates at the Temple Mount, returns to it and is vitalized by it.

[1] See the housing chapter.

[2] A minor example of this is the famous stone cladding law in Jerusalem dating back to the days of the British Mandate.

[3] The bitter result of the fall of the Old City to the Jordanians during the War of Independence was not a matter of lack of choice but of explicit prioritization. Even if it is possible to discuss the difficulties at the beginning of the war and to explain here and there, there is no doubt that there was a practical military option to capture the city at the war's decisive stage.

[4] For example, the Begin Road, the paving of the expansion of Highway 1 and the light rail are examples of coping with immediate life needs, rather than long-term strategic planning. The express train to Jerusalem and Highway 1 to the east, on the other hand, are exceptional, worthy of mention.

[5] This was quoted in Uri Tzvi Greenberg’s name immediately after the Six-Day War, and appears almost in this version in "The Complete Works of Uri Tzvi Greenberg,” published by the Bialik Institute.) Thanks to Yehuda Etzion, who has in-depth knowledgeable of Greenberg’s writings, for this quote.

[6] The same is true, albeit on a lesser scale, of all the archeological sites in Judea and Samaria.

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