Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Jerusalem the Golden?

Yesterday saw us standing on the Tayelet (Promenade) listening to Shiri Maimon and watching fireworks as Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) came to an end. Another patriotic celebration of Israel's regaining of the Old City and Jerusalem.
Our Palestinian cousins had a problem with Jews and Christians touring the Temple Mount (holiest site for Jews) and proceeded to heave rocks at those in range. The result? Israeli Police ban any more Jews and Christians from going up to the site for the remainder of the day and then an entry restriction on young Arabs to their holy sites in order to avoid another violent stand-off.

I'm not for provocation, but it is a little bewildering how the Arab offenders are not downright condemned for this and how Abbas is allowed to defend their behavior and blame Israel of course. And again - what did they achieve for their cause?

But politics aside, Jerusalem, as Golden as it feels most of the time, is still very much Jerusalem the Forgotten, Jerusalem the Poor, Jerusalem the Terror Town - I could go on all day! As a result of a Palestinian terror (much of which has hit Jerusalem since 2000), tourism has gone through the floor and caused great harm to the capital city's economy. What's more, the high proportion of ultra-Orthodox and Arab residents of the city make it now the poorest city in the country. Pretty embarrassing for the capital city of a fairly modern and successful State of Israel and as the focal city for three major religions.

The blame does lie at the feet of terror and yet there are other underlying problems including the sky high property rental and purchase prices that force most young people to look elsewhere and the shabbiness of the central city (which granted is partly another Arafat and Hamas success story).

With all this in mind, it is a little soothing to read that Bibi and friends will be giving a KIC-start to the re-goldenizing of our once (even) prouder and more beautiful city.

Still, Sderot is suffering a similar disease as Jerusalem while the government pauses, waits and ponders as to what to do next. Meanwhile, Sderot residents bare the frightening brunt of Hamas' bad-mooded days (and most of its happy days too). I am normally fairly accepting of the need to consider 'political considerations' when sending the IDF into action but it is still very painful to watch the Jewish state act so hesitantly in its defense of Sderot citizens who have stood up and taken countless low blows in the past months.

KIC them or watch ourselves get KIC-ed? Or maybe it's just not that simple...

No comments: