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An Undivided City
Many consider a future peace between Israel and the Palestinians to rest upon the willingness of the two sides to "share" Jerusalem. Though some support can be found for this notion among Israelis, in the not-so-distant past, the Palestinians have rejected peace plans that would give them part of Jerusalem, in addition to statehood in the West Bank and Gaza.
But whatever the merits of such plans -- or their prospect of acceptance -- it's worth noting this month what the alternative to undivided Israeli control of Jerusalem has looked like in the past. Forty years ago, when Jews were shut out of the Old City, Arabs wrecked havoc on existing synagogues and used the Western Wall as a garbage dump.
The reunification of the city, which we celebrate this week on the anniversary of the Hebrew date (28 Iyar, which falls this year on Wednesday, May 16) changed all that. Despite the ongoing tension between Arabs and Jews, what is maintained today is the freedom of worship for all faiths, as well as the sanctity of holy places. That is a unique achievement, and something that's only happened during the last four decades of Jewish sovereignty.
Those who blithely preach the redivision of the city should remember what it resembled when it rested in Arab hands. While Israelis will decide this question for themselves, on this Yom Yerushalayim -- "Jerusalem Day" -- let's remember both the heroism of the city's liberators and its current defenders, and hope that their efforts to safeguard the eternal capital of Israel will never fail.