Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Construction in Jerusalem: an ethical move

Construction in Jerusalem: an ethical move

Dr. Haim Shine

The Israeli government's decision to build thousands of new housing units in Jerusalem and the surrounding area is clear proof that our leadership in Jerusalem has vision. The government has internalized the fact that behind the tempestuous remarks uttered in New York, Ramallah and Gaza stands an enormous battle over Jerusalem — the eternal capital of Israel and the hope of generations of Jews.

The United Nations is mired in an ancient hatred toward the Jews, which, after the establishment of the state, was replaced with hatred toward Israel. The Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations commemorating righteous gentiles at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial is very small. It would take one bench in the sprawling U.N. headquarters to seat all the world's nations who possess a modicum of morality and truth.

The State of Israel has absolutely no chance of winning in the international arena. The mantra that most of the world is against us is not just a saying; it is an accurate reflection of the historical and current reality. Even the Biblical Abraham, who is said to have stood on one bank of the river while the rest of the world stood on the other bank, realized that this was true. As did Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who knew that the important thing was not what the world's nations said, but rather what the Jewish people did. The State of Israel changed the course of Jewish history. The state put the Jews back into history. The Jews turned from a passive people, whose fate was left up to strangers and whose entire essence was surviving exile, into a free people whose fate is in their own hands and whose future lies within their own power. Never again will the Jews relinquish their freedom to decide on their own future and determine their own fate.

After thousands of years of incessant attempts to eradicate the Jews, Israel haters have finally realized that inflicting physical harm on the Jews will not bring them closer to their goal. As the Bible says in Exodus 1:12, "The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad." The last attempt was the Holocaust, when it became clear to our enemies that despite the terrible, enormous cost, the people of Israel continue to live. From the ashes of the victims emerged the State of Israel — a confident, powerful nation.

Now the enemies of Israel are trying a new approach: to target the core of the nation, the beating heart that, for thousands of years, gave life to the beaten and downtrodden body. The Arabs' real battle, under the auspices of the international community, is for Jerusalem, Israel's eternal capital and home of the Jewish Temple. Jerusalem — the city that lit the lives of Jews in exile and illuminated their path — is now at the center of a global war.

The Israeli government's decision to build thousands of new housing units in Jerusalem and the surrounding area is precisely the appropriate response to those who seek to take our capital. Only strengthening Jerusalem will prevent a blow to Israel's security.

Israel must build housing in Jerusalem and the surrounding area tirelessly and with determination. Small apartments, large apartments, apartments with yards, penthouses, apartments for ultra-Orthodox Jews and apartments for secular Jews, apartments for veteran Israelis and apartments for new immigrants. We need to build quickly and without delay, because the battle over the city is the real war for the eternity of Israel.

The government of Israel now has to appoint the most capable minister, with a proven record of getting things done, to promote construction. Israel's skyline needs to be filled with cranes.

Only when a corporeal link is forged between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will a great spiritual connection occur as well, ensuring the future of the State of Israel as a light unto the nations, and a light unto the Jews.