When a war begins with an undulating siren, people are terrified, unite and mobilize to take up arms and stand firm in the face of the onslaught of the enemy. However, there are wars that begin with the sound of silence—wars that imperceptibly insinuate their way into people’s consciousness. While they are steeped in a lack of awareness, facts are established on the ground with no apparent resistance, without any rallying in defense of the homeland.
These days, Israel is in the midst of a war on Jerusalem. This is a war that is difficult to identify, as there is no shelling by tanks and cannons or bombing by planes. However, if we continue to close our eyes, we may awaken to a reality in which the heart of the Jewish people, its eternal capital, Jerusalem, is no longer in our hands, God forbid.
When senior Israeli government ministers meet with the chairman of the Palestinian Authority; when the defense minister promotes a long line of gestures and grants to P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas; when the American administration revives the notion of a two-state solution and partition of the land; when U.S. President Joe Biden presses for the opening of a consulate for the P.A. in the heart of Jerusalem as an expression of his aspiration to see it as the capital of Palestine; when more and more Israeli ministers speak out against settlement and in favor of the partition of the land; we find ourselves in the midst of a silent, gradual and dangerous war.
That is why we, the Sovereignty Movement and some 20 other organizations that love the land of Israel and Jerusalem, have initiated protests to call on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his government to stand resolutely and preserve the unity of Jerusalem. For 12 years, our impression was that it was no longer necessary to stage demonstrations and vigils, but, apparently, we were wrong.
We must take to the streets and, in the name of devotion to and love of Jerusalem, to battle in its defense, rouse the people and spur the leaders to action. We will not enable Israeli submission to American dictates.
All Israeli prime ministers have asserted that the unity of Jerusalem is not a matter subject to political dispute, and in that spirit, the current Israeli government, too, should express itself clearly and decisively, even while facing an American government that characterizes itself as friendly.
Throughout Jewish history, Jerusalem has been a unifying and uniting factor for the Jewish people. When Emperor Caligula wanted to place an idol in the Temple, he instructed his governor in Syria, Publius Petronius, to carry out the mission. However, the Jews’ readiness to sacrifice their lives on behalf of Jerusalem convinced Petronius that the mission could not be executed, and it was revoked.
This was also the case during the Six-Day War when the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora united around the realization of the prophecy of our return to Jerusalem. The same is true today.
Despite the polarization and the rift that exists among the people, the consolidation of nearly two dozen organizations in the battle over the heart of Jerusalem is a call to action for the entire people of Israel and for its leadership.
There is only one Jerusalem, and it is not subject to negotiation!
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar are co-chairs of the Sovereignty Movement founded by Women in Green.