ZION AND THE TWO JERUSALEMS
Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-Ma'N.
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4. Some Observations on the Current Palestinian-Zionist Conflict.
This section enumerates some facts about the Palestinian Arabs which also are generally unrecognized since they are not in accord with the conventional views on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some of them may point to the futility of many of the attempts often discussed for solving "the Palestinian Problem", whereas others may point to hitherto unconsidered possibilities for the solution of this problem.
- There are good grounds to believe that many of the veteran Arab families of Palestine are descendants of the ancient Israelis and Judeans who did not go on the exiles to Assyria and to Babylon during Biblical times, or of Jews who did not disperse throughout the Roman Empire after the destruction of the Second Temple but who chose to stay in their beloved land at the cost of conversions to the local religions and then to Christianity and/or Islam.
- During the great Jewish immigration to Palestine during the British Mandate, which together brought much economic development, there also occurred a large Arab immigration to that land. Over 50,000 Arabs migrated to Palestine from Syria, Egypt and Jordan, greatly increasing the Arab population of the country. Drawn more by economic than ideological reasons, their rights in Palestine cannot surpass those of the Jewish immigrants of that period.
- The undifferentiated identity of the Palestinian Arabs turned into national consciousness largely as a response and opposition to Jewish Zionism and immigration. This Palestinian rejectionism led to refusing home for the persecuted European Jews, their rejection of the 1947 partition plan, the war of 1948 and their subsequent defeat and exile. The involvement and defeat of the Arab states in 1948 was followed by anti-Zionist witch-hunt and the expulsion of many Jews which in turn decisively changed the demography of Israel, creating an added barrier to the return of the Palestinian refugees to Israel.
- The exile from Palestine has spawned a new myth of "Return to the Promised Land" and to the existential transformation of many of the Palestinians into "the new Jews of the Arab world". It can be shown that Palestinian history and destiny are increasingly becoming a recapitulation of Jewish history.
- Jerusalem is increasingly becoming a most important symbol for the Palestinians. This can be seen in popular Palestinian art forms and in poems and slogans. Thus, for example, when Arafat was driven out of Beirut in 1982 and then out of Tripoli, he promised a swift return to Jerusalem. This is clearly Zionism.
- There are about half a million Arab Israelis with citizenship, and with voting and civic rights which surpass those of most Arabs anywhere else in the M.E.
- The Palestinian Arabs make up the majority of the population of the Kingdom of Jordan, yet that country has not chosen to be named Filastin, even though it is more (about 70% of the area) of the historic Palestine then is Israel.
- The extant "Palestinian National Covenant", the charter of the P.L.O. is avowedly anti-Zionist and denies any rights in the land for Jews who came, or whose parents came, to Palestine/Israel after 1917. This allows no possible accommodation between the P.L.O. and Zionist Israel.
- Most Israelis find the notion of an independent "Palestinian State" instead or beside Israel as untenable. I have given above a mythical reason for this. The point of Real Politik, however, is that neither Israel nor its Western allies will tolerate such a state which, seeking to balance its power against that of Israel, would almost inevitably turn to the USSR for support and become the Cuba of the Middle East.
- The Palestinians will not be able to overrun Israel by their own force, and whichever Arab state may help them militarily (e.g. Syria) would not even dream of giving the Palestinians complete liberty and independence. The precedent of 1948-1967 when no Palestinian state was allowed by Egypt or Jordan is clear. These observations suggest that the old anti-Zionist policies of the Palestinians are futile and proven destructive whereas they also suggest that through the exile experience and the increasing orientation towards Jerusalem the Palestinians are becoming in fact Zionists without being aware of it. This is paradoxical, yet there are good reasons for Palestinians to regard - even declare - themselves as Zionists in the broader sense of the term as defined here. I shall proceed to show that this is possible and that Zionism, alias Jerusalem-ism, is or need not be an exclusive Jewish movement and that Jerusalem, both Earthly and Heavenly, is the major key for peace that transcends current conceptions.
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5. Jerusalem-ism and Universal Zionism.
The mythological Jerusalem/Zion has spawned many eschatological images and revivalist movements throughout the world, not only for the Jews, who were scattered all around the world but remained united in their focusing on Jerusalem as the Paradise Lost and the Paradise to be regained, but also for Christians, Moslems and other groups worldwide.
There is a conjecture that the roots of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula are linked to Jewish attempts to rally the Arabs there to help liberate Jerusalem from the Christians (Cook and Crow, 1977). Certainly we may recall the Crusades, spurred by Christian outrage at Jerusalem's occupation by the Moslems as a sinister precedent of "Zionism". During their siege of Jerusalem (which united Moslem and Jewish defenders) the crusaders had collective visions of the heavenly city. The crusader's conquest helped bring a flowering of a "Zionist" literature in Islam - the Fadha'il al-Kuds - tracts singing the praises of Jerusalem.
We find "Zionist" literature not only in the Hebrew prophets and in Islam but also in Western literature. Bunyan's (1678) "Pilgrim's progress" to the Heavenly Jerusalem was the most popular text of English literature of its time, and later we find Milton and Blake constructing whole cosmologies and inspired epics in which Jerusalem plays a central role, so that Blake's praise of Milton's enterprise started with a vow to "build Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land". This verse was later picked as the anthem of the British Labour Movement, reflecting its millenia and world-restituting ideals.
The same sentiment for human reconstruction as symbolized by Zion, Jerusalem and its Temple can be discovered in the secret order of the Freemasons in Europe and by groups of nonconformist Christians who left Europe for "The New World" and founded there hundreds of model communities, many bearing the name of Zion. We may perhaps even discern such secret "Zionist" motivations in the American Revolution itself, noting that almost all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons and that the Grand Seal of the United States seen on the one dollar bill carries the six-pointed star made of thirteen regular (pentagonal) stars which is, as I shall show, a primary symbol for the Heavenly Jerusalem.
The same symbolism of Zion can also be found in the developing countries. That same "Zionist Star" appeared as the symbol of many Bantu revivalist churches and sects (Werblowsky,1973) which used Zion as their name, and the two million member strong United African Church holds its mass meetings in so-called "Mount Zion".
Such movements may seem far removed from the modern Jewish political, and largely secular, Zionism which culminated in the re- establishment of the present-day Israel. Many leftist Europeans are anti-Zionist as are many Christians. For most Arabs "Zionism" is one of the dirtiest words imaginable. For Houmeini it must represent something diabolical and he promises to march forth and liberate Jerusalem from the Zionists - a possible Moslem version of the Crusades. Yet paradoxically such intense Arab and leftist anti- Zionism may, I claim, be itself an inverted Zionism which centers on Jerusalem as an important focal point causing possible division and war but also contains possible seeds for higher order and unification centered on Jerusalem.
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6. The Heavenly Jerusalem as Redemptive Archetype
If Zionism is, as I claim, not an exclusive Jewish nationalist movement, but a universal phenomena, it must have some universal and primary meaning for the individual and for society. Zionism can be seen as the orientation towards "Jerusalem" and a drive to gather all the exiled and dispersed people into a safe home in the M.E. (where "M.E" can also allude to the psychological "Me").
Thus Zionism may mean the psychic integration of an individual, the restitution from alienation through the return of the psyche to her home within. For the social group, Zionism also means the restitution from exile, dispersion, and powerlessness into a state of sovereignty, re-integration, and feeling of self-worth. I know that this is a touchy issue but I feel impelled to stress the point that in the Arab world, in the M.E., the Palestinians are in fact staunch Zionists and what they claim they want is precisely Zionism, both literally and metaphorically.
I have allowed myself to diverge very far from the common and conventional meaning of Zionism and Jerusalem, but there are many indications that there is a predestination about Jerusalem and an implicit plan which is beyond common understanding. This is the kind of belief that is the core of the Moslem trust (literally "Islam") in the inscrutable divine plan. In the development of the modern Jewish Zionism we had the doctrine of Rabbi Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine, that there is an implicit Messianic work in modern Zionism, brought about unconsciously and even opposite to its declared secular ideologies. These days there is a growing new support for Jewish Zionism from many Christian sects in the US who see Jewish Zionism as a compatible and needed stage in their own eschatological vision. Above all, there is a strong irrational feeling by Jews, Moslems and Christians that Jerusalem is a key to the mystery of the World to Come.
In order to come to closer terms with this sense we may have to go beyond words to those primary or archetypical forms that have been associated with Jerusalem by seers and sages as codes for their intuition. We may mention here the twelve and the thirteen-fold forms as symbols of the Heavenly Jerusalem as well as the symbols of the star-and-crescent, the Star of David and the cross.
The form of the twelve divisions of the circle and the central thirteenth point may have derived from the twelve lunar changes during the solar year to the theories of heavenly influences held sacred in the ancient world. We find this form in the Bible in the twelve tribes of Israel as well as of Ishmael and of Essau's children. It stands to reason that this tradition was instrumental to the maintenance of the Temple and of the court of King Solomon where each tribe was to share in its maintenance for one month of each year. Even so, its occult aspect was primary and it appeared in the scheme of the camping of the tribes of Israel around Mount Sinai during their communal Revelation of the Torah and around the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) during their wanderings in the desert.
This was to be the schematic model for the settlement of the whole land of Israel with natural allowance made for its very diverse geography. The arrangement of the whole Land of Israel into twelve tribal regions was kept in various Biblical accounts even when the identity of the tribes changed somewhat. In the prophetic visions, the whole land forms a mandala-type pattern with three tribes to each of the cardinal directions. In the visions of Ezekiel this twelvefold form will return to prevail at the end of days. The visions of Ezekiel undoubtedly influenced the visions of the Book of Revelation which also mentions the restoration of the then already missing twelve Tribes of Israel and the appearance of the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven in the form of a giant cube (e.g.- like the Ka'aba?) with twelve gates, each for one of the tribes to enter that perfect city. Other clear influences on the Revelation of John and even more on the Gospel of John are the Platonic-Pythagorean teachings from Alexandria such as those of the philosopher Philo the Jew, who developed the concepts of the Logos and of The City of God. The Pythagoreans who revered the Platonic Solids considered the four known ones as symbols for the four "earthly elements" while they held as their great secret the fifth, the dodecahedron, as the symbol for the heavenly element. We may get closer to the secret by realizing that the dodecahedron has twelve equal faces, each a perfect pentagon (also a symbol for the human form). Each of these pentagons can be taken as the base for constructing another dodecahedron, resulting in a bunch of thirteen equal and connecting dodecahedrons, thus multiplying that "heavenly element" and its influences.
The number thirteen has strong occult connotations. While it is feared in the West, it is revered by the Jews, and I counted about ten sacred uses of it in Judaism, from the 13 attributes of Divine Mercy to the Kabbalistic view of "the Assembly of Israel" (Knesset Yisrael) as "the thirteen petaled rose". Yet this is not an exclusive Jewish symbol and graphic realizations of such a rose appear as the twelve-pointed star in the Rosary windows of Gothic cathedrals and in the Moslem Dome of the Rock situated in the sacred center of Jerusalem. It is the archetypical representation for the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Most of the above regarded the Heavenly Jerusalem as the ideal or "Platonic" form preceding its earthly realization. Christian and Moslem views of Heavenly Jerusalem see the Redemption as a "top to bottom" process of divine emanation or Grace. Jewish sources include also a "bottom up" description of the redemption where earthly actions precipitate the divine ones. One Midrash says that God constructed a Jerusalem in heaven above the earthly Jerusalem, but swore that He will not enter this Heavenly City until His Sons (the Children of Israel) return to Jerusalem. One way to view the "Star of David" a as sign of the Redemption (e.g.- Rosenzweig,1972) is as the balance and interpenetration of construction from below and from above.
In Christianity it is the Cross, the junction of the vertical and the horizontal, that stands for the Redemption. The bleeding heart at the center forms the channel for Divine Grace to earth. This form can be seen in Jerusalem not only on the tops of its many churches but in the very plan of the Old City as it evolved over the centuries with its four quarters (Armenian, Christian, Moslem And Jewish) and the cruciform of the main streets dividing them. We have already surveyed the disjunctions in the modern world (and modern man) between East and West on the horizontal plane and between the material and the spiritual in the "vertical" plane. These are so clearly illustrated by Jerusalem that this city seems as perfect a stage as ever for the Messiah to come and bridge those gaps through whatever sacrifice this takes.
It is not correct, however, to see the present form of the Old City of Jerusalem as a simple Cross or Mandala. There is a fifth element there, the Temple Mount or the Kharam ash-Sherif situated on approximately a fifth of its land area. Being almost empty, in contrast to the densely built Old City, and with the octagonal star of the Dome of the Rock in its center, the aerial view of the Old City is somewhat reminiscent of the Moslem symbol of the Crescent and the Star in its hollow. I am not sure of the full symbolism of the crescent, but I find it is evokative of the whole ME, in the form of the historic "Fertile Crescent", inspired by a seemingly eccentric yet essential star.
The psychological importance of the Mandala and other symbols as mentioned here was explained in our time by C.G.Jung (1972) who elaborated the "theory of the Archetype". Clearly the pattern of the Heavenly Jerusalem discussed here and elsewhere (Michell,1973, 1983 and 1985) is a prime archetype of the Redemption and of psychological integration. To aid discussion and introduction of this archetype in the M.E., a shorter name may help and I chose here the acronym "HEJERA" (for the Heavenly Jerusalem Archetype) as a name that evokes the Islamic term "Hijra". Much like it, the HEJERA is a call for leaving the old partisan associations and the in-group orientation and to rise to the full dimensions of the divine calling.
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