ZION AND THE TWO JERUSALEMS
Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-Ma'N.
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1. The Urban Duality Represented by Jerusalem.
The very name jerusalem evokes in many people images not only of a city in this world but also of the World to Come. My first thesis is that the name Yerushalayim-Jerusalem is very meaningful to our discussion, and is a predictor and an important key to World Peace. It is indeed quite common to interpret the name Jerusalem as "The City of Peace", noting the similarity between the Semitic words for peace - Salaam and Shalom. Linguists may deny the past philological basis for this popular etymology and historians can easily show that few cities have known so much war and ongoing tension. Thus there is an added tension because of the gulf between the "earthly" state of Jerusalem and its promised role as coded in her name.
In the prophecies and in the hundreds of mentions of Jerusalem in the Hebrew Bible she is called "Yeru, or Yoru, (there are no vowels in the original Hebrew Biblical text) Shalem". This name can be readily interpreted as meaning literally "(they) Will teach Wholeness/Peace". This is the predictor I mentioned because the future tense is used. The Bible also gives clues of who the "they" are. It is surprising how few people have yet realized that the more direct connotation of the word Yerushalem is "Yerusha", which means "inheritance". So those who would teach wholeness and peace should inherit her. The story of Abraham's welcome to the city of Shalem ("Whole") (Genesis 14:1)8 and the Divine promise (Gen 15:4- 21) imply that Jerusalem is Abraham's inheritance to his children. But this also caused Jerusalem to become the scene for their family feuds.
It is just as surprising that while the original Biblical spelling is "Yerushalem", practically every Hebrew reader spells this name as "Yerushalayim", which is in the dual form of Hebrew words, used for entities that come in pairs. So even the Israelies who vehemently swear in "the one Jerusalem" are meanwhile uttering the implication that there are two cities of Jerusalem. This is indeed paradoxical because the idea of wholeness and peace seem to be unitary, not dualistic. Wholeness is also associated with holiness, and Jerusalem's common predicate is "the Holy City" and in Arabic she is called "El-Kuds" - the sacred.
It is, however clear that duality or multiplicity exist in this city. Between 1947 and 1967 Jerusalem was clearly divided by an international border with walls and barbed wire. The unification of Jerusalem in 1967 removed the visible borders, but there remains a marked division between the Arab and the Jewish cities which is often referred to as the division between Eastern and Western Jerusalem. Another physical distinction of two Jerusalems is between the walled Old City and the New City, both Arab and Jewish, which was built during the last hundred years.
We shall return to examine the spatial and ethnic division in some detail, but let us first realize that there is yet another dimension to the separation of the two cities of Jerusalem. There is a long tradition and many legends (Jewish, Christian, Moslem and others) that apart from the visible and material city "the Earthly Jerusalem", there is also a "Heavenly Jerusalem", a spiritual, (i.e. non-material) city which only the saintly few can perceive.
When we reflect on the idea of the two cities, physical and meta-physical, we may agree that perhaps all large cities have the two aspects, material and mental. The first aspect is the concrete assembly of material facilities and the resources committed to its construction, maintenance and operation. The second is the vast assembly of mental constructions which people hold concerning the city. We may thus speak of many cities as being dual cities - the one visible and physical and the other invisible (Calvino,1972) and meta-physical or mythical. In the terms of both the old Jewish Kabbalah and of a modern philosopher of science (Popper,1980), these two cities belong to two distinct "worlds" of experience.
These can be quite independent, yet they interpenetrate and each influences the growth of the other. A known cybernetic model of urbanization (Forrester,1969) makes much of the lag and possible disjunction between the image of the metropolis for migrants and the actual conditions they may encounter there.
The major demographic and cultural transformation of mankind in this century - the urbanization of mankind and the growth of world cities - is largely caused by this dual function of cities. The migrants from the villages to the slums of the burgeoning major cities of the developing countries may not improve their lot (e.g. Abu-Loghoud,1982 and her study of migrants to Cairo), though they get closer to being incorporated into the emerging global communications economy. The growing world cities provide major reference points and linkage nodes to the emerging "Planetary Brain" (Russel,1983), and they are as yet the only such nodes in the developing countries.
It is noteworthy that an earlier account of planetary unification (de Chardin,1955) already distinguished between two emerging layers of the planet, the urban "technosphere" and the cultural "noosphere" like the distinction between the human body and mind. This may mean that mankind may become unified not only by technology but also by a common mythos.
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2. The Mythical Jerusalem as a Determinant of the Actual City.
Jerusalem is possibly the epitome of this duality of the real and the mythical city. There is little doubt that de Chardin, a deeply Christian thinker, was influenced by Saint Augustine's theory of the establishment of the New Jerusalem, the City of God on Earth and of the vision in the Book of Revelation at the end of the Christian Bible of the appearance of the Heavenly or the New Jerusalem. The part played by Jerusalem in contemporary global urbanization, together with her traditional symbolic role, and the disproportionate scale of the Arab-Israeli conflict in world politics all make Jerusalem not just a M.E. city but an important world city and a major focus of the emerging Planetary Brain. My second thesis is that many of the current happenings in the concrete worldly Jerusalem can be understood only in light of the influence of the corresponding mythical city.
Jerusalem is so enmeshed in its myth that it is not even clear which came first, the real or the mythical city. Both Jewish and Islamic legends claim that the Heavenly Jerusalem was created first as a model for subsequent earthly realizations. Common sense would, however, declare that since the Jews first had their glorious capital in Jerusalem and then were exiled from her, they must have developed the visions of restoration and the legends of the Heavenly Jerusalem only later. Whatever the case, the myth certainly preceded the modern Jerusalem. The massive investments made during these last decades in the growth of Jerusalem are understandable only in the light of the immense Jewish emotional investment in the metaphysical Jerusalem over two millennia which culminated in a modern socio-political movement called "Zionism".
Admittedly, this name, Zionism, means different and conflicting things for different people, but it literally means just "Jerusalemism". The motto of the movement's founder was: "If you will it, then the myth becomes real".
We can follow the success of Zionism, and thereby of the most recent influence of the mythical Jerusalem on her earthly double, via the demographic trends in Jerusalem. If we start with the 1838 estimates by Robinson quoted by Cattan in the accompanying paper, we can find that the current "Judaisation of Jerusalem" started about 140 years ago due to Jewish mystical revivals that preceded Political Zionism, but it was the latter that gave the force to "the return to Zion". By 1844, Jews were already the largest religious community (7,120 Jews; 5,000 Moslems; 3,390 Christians) and by 1870 the majority of the city's population. The first reliable census was made in 1875 and found about 20,500 residents, of whom 10,500 were Jews, and in 1880 there were 24,000 people in Jerusalem, 13,920 of whom Jews. At the beginning of the 20th century, when Zionism was already a recognizable force, the city's population was estimated at 45,600 (15,200 Ashkenazi Jews, 13,000 Sephardi Jews, 8,700 Christians and 8,600 Moslems). The census of 1922 counted 62,578 people (33,971 Jews, 14,699 Christians and 13,413 Moslems) and before the 1948 war the population of the whole city was estimated at 165,000 (100,000 Jews, 40,000 Moslems and 25,000 Christians). The 1948 war brought a decline of population on both sides of the divided city (70,000 on the Israeli side and 40,000 on the Jordanian side). The Israeli rule brought an increase in the Western city population which reached 185,000 by 1967 whereas the Jordanian city reached a population of just over 60,000 people (including about about 25,000 within the Old City walls. One of the significant changes after the re-unification 1967 was the restitution of the Jewish quarter of the Old City from which the Jews were expelled after its Jordanian occupation in 1948.
As noted earlier, one of the apparent dualities of Jerusalem is between the old walled city, which has many structures hundreds and even thousands of years old, and the contemporary city, which was built over the last hundred years. I use "contemporary" rather than the common term "the New City", to avoid confusing it with "the New Jerusalem" of the Book of Revelation. The latter is, in fact, similar to the common term of "the Eternal City" as referring to the heavenly Jerusalem, the opposite of "the Temporal City".
Due to the recent trends noted above, both the Old City and the contemporary city are both Jewish and Arab. This united Jerusalem is made, in fact, of a mosaic of many diverse social and ethnic groups, and this diversity is one of the city's most notable features. Here is another dimension to understand. The orthodox Jews of Mea-She'arim versus the secular Israelis, or the different Eastern versus Western Christian sects, do not seem to belong to the same historic era, yet they exist side by side in Jerusalem. A visitor to Jerusalem may feel as if he used some "time machine".
"Contemporary" means existing in the "same" (externally measured) time. It does not mean synchronicity. Being in Jerusalem one may start doubting the facile Western assumption of "modern man" as the most up-to-date or future-oriented person. Certainly the orthodox, be they Jewish or Moslem, regard their own lifestyle as nearer to that of "the World to Come" of the future. Thus we may regard some of the many divisions in contemporary Jerusalem as temporal divisions or as different degrees of infusion of the Heavenly Jerusalem into the image of the earthly city.
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3. A Biblical Perspective of the Palestine-Zion Conflict.
Jerusalem figures prominently in the three so-called "Abrahamic Religions" as the site for World Formation, Spiritual orientation, Sacrifice, Resurrection, the Last Judgement and the symbol for the final Redemption for all mankind (Werblowsky, 1973,1983; the paper was handed in the conference to fill all the essential material). In Judaism, Jerusalem is the Mount Moriah, the site of the Akeda (or "binding" for sacrifice) of Abraham's son Isaac. Legend says that Isaac did in fact die at that time and his soul departed there and then came back again. Other legends place the corner- stone for the formation of the world at Mount Moriah, as well as the gathering place for the dust from all over the earth to form Adam's body. More concretely, this was the place of Israel's past glory, the capital of David and the site of the First and Second Temple. Their destruction fixed Jerusalem as the hope and symbol for the restitution and the resurrection of the exiled people. Christian myth takes Isaac's binding as a "type" (Frye, 1983), recapitulated and magnified by Jesus's Crucifixion and later resurrection in Jerusalem. The Christian Bible acknowledges all of the Old Testament prophecies for Jerusalem's future role and ends with the vision of the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven at the time of the Messiah's return.
In the Islamic myth, Mohamad first made a spiritual Hijrah from his hometown Mecca to Jerusalem where he ascended to heaven and where the downpouring of the Kor'an was initiated. Mohammad's physical and political Hijrah from Mecca to Medinah and his return to Mecca in triumph came subsequently. .
The Hebrew Bible, which forms the basis for the canons of the Abrahamic religions, namely of the New Testament, the Talmud and the Kor'an, ends with the "Zionist" command by God's Messiah (in that case King Cyrus of Persia) for everyone who has the Lord God with him to rise up for the building of Jerusalem (Chron.II36,23). It may be instructive to examine the light shed by the Bible on "the Palestinian Problem" in relation to Zion. The Bible mentions the Philistines in connection with Abraham who was saved from their persecution by initially having to give up his wife to their leader, after which she was returned by God's help, and a treaty was subsequently drawn. Later the same story was almost repeated with Abraham's son Isaac, but the Philistine leader who had already encountered^ Abraham's God knew better and avoided the trouble. Philistinian Harrassements to Isaac's people persisted until their leader realized that Isaac's people were blessed by Allah and sought a treaty with them. We may regard this story as instructive for the future. In a later phase, the Philistines appear as the oppressors whose pressure forced the tribes of Israel to unite and found a kingdom. David was first a Philistine vassal who later overpowered them and only then turned to the conquest of Jerusalem making her into the capital of his kingdom. The Arabic name Filastin derives from the name Palestina which was given to the country of Judea by the Romans just after they destroyed Jerusalem and exiled the Jews. The Romans, who meant to obliterate the Jewish character of the land, called it after those old rivals of the Israelites, the Philistines (who probably no longer existed by the time the country was named after them).
It would be very instructive to note here that these historical Philistines fulfilled exactly the same role that nowadays the Palestinians attribute to the Zionist Jews. The very Biblical name for them, Plishtim, means "invasions from abroad" (Plishot) and they were the people who invaded the land from over the sea and brought from the West their superior military technology and organization. These they used to occupy the plains and drive the natives and the Israelites (who entered that land from the desert on the East and South) out and up the hills.
When we reflect on the contemporary conflict in the light of the above we can see that the contemporary Palestinian identity and consciousness arose largely through the opposition to Jewish Zionism. Prior to the modern Zionist migrations and under Ottoman rule there was no country of Filastin, but three districts - of Damascus, Beirut and Jerusalem - and the country was regarded by the Arabs as the Southern part of Syria, (as it is still regarded by the Syrian government and even by those Palestinian terrorist organizations it controls). The country was called "Palestine" only in 1921 under that British rule which separated it from (the French ruled) Syria and gave transjordan (as it did to Iraq) to its allies who had to flee Hijaz. The adoption of the name by the local Arabs was natural. Unconsciously the local Arabs have come to call themselves by the name of the mythical enemies of Zion.
Arabs were neither aware that the name "Philistine" traditionally means in English "a hater of culture", not that this name connote to the Jew the archetypical rival. Arabs are likewise generally unaware that "Zionism" is another name for the adoration of the city which they regard as holy.
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