This week we celebrated the 49th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, the number one achievement of the Six Days’ war in 1967. There is probably no other subject that divides the people of Israel as this one. Many Israelis believe that the return of Jerusalem and of the mountains of Samaria to Israeli hands is the core for most of our problems. And so do many nations. They all say that if we give away a part of Jerusalem, we shall reap peace with our neighbors. Is that so?
Celebrations launched on Sunday in Jerusalem, and will continue throughout this whole year, as this is the 50th year, the Jubilee. Yes, on June 6 next year Jerusalem will celebrate 50 years of being back under a Jewish sovereignty, after nearly 2,000 years of being trampled under the feet of many nations.
A few months ago I took a short vacation in Jerusalem, with a dear friend. So in this post I would like to share with you a little of my Jerusalem. The way I experienced it recently, with much joy.
At the entrance to Jaffa gate we came upon this harpist. If you toured Jerusalem, you might have seen her there too, playing beautiful hymns, based on Old Testament scriptures, to the delight of those who pass by.
So many cultural events are taking place in Jerusalem. Constantly. There is always a parade or a festival or a good show to see. Even a car race. Look at this whimsical display of umbrellas in one of the old alleys. It can get so hot in Jerusalem during the summer, so why not create a little shade for the pedestrians?
Shoshi and I are bibliophiles. Give us a book, as old as you can find, one that has that special aroma and is written in old Hebrew, and we are on cloud nine. We walked up and down the streets, and all of a sudden found this refreshing sight: a bus station turned into a neighborhood library. People bring the books they don’t use, and take what others left. No need to control it. No fees. And it is well kept and maintained.
Some street art: huge billboards, promoting a new national project (called 929), that deserves its own post. These posters refer to Gen. 2:18 at the top – “It is not good for man to be alone”; and at the bottom – Ex. 32:4: “He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf”) in a comical way (the art criticizes using cellular phones excessively).
We were looking for a nice coffee shop for a much needed rest, and found ourselves in the midst of a wedding. “Thus says the Lord, yet again there will be heard in this place… in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem… the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride…” (Jer. 33:10-11). So many years this voice was not allowed to be heard in Jerusalem.
Did you know that under the Huppah (the canopy), every groom says during the ceremony: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Ps. 137:5-6)? No matter how joyful you are in the most exciting day of your life, Jerusalem should be above it. Does any other religion put Jerusalem above all joy?
Derek Prince is burried in a small Christian cemetery in the midst of the German colony in Jerusalem. Whenever I pass by and the gate is open, I enter in. I have my little “Derek” story, as he was one of the main people God used to instill into me the calling to establish Ot OoMofet.
I met him in Jerusalem, a few years before he died, in order to discuss the publishing of his books in Hebrew (back than I had a publishing business). But we ended up talking about God’s heart towards the needy, and especially widows and orphans. He was so passionate about it. We continued to meet on a regular basis, and this was always the main topic he wanted to discuss.
The walls of that cemetery are decorated with fabulous art, of huge scenes taken from the Bible.
Mount Zion hotel overlooks the Judean desert and the old city. Its garden is a masterpiece, and provided us many spots to pose a little.
She is alive
You may be hearing a lot about terror in Jerusalem and how dangerous it is to be there. But Jerusalem is alive, alive and kicking, and creative, and searching for its trues identity. And the most important thing – she is being restored (though as of now, it is mostly in the physical realm).
Centuries have passed since Jerusalem has been in Jewish hands. All this time she was neglected, filthy, stricken with diseases and poverty. She was not special at all to those who ruled her, so they didn’t care to invest in her development or even worship their gods there. That issue rose up only after Israel started investing in this city and restoring it.
So typical to all of us. Don’t we all tend to overlook the broken and needy? Well, maybe we do have compassion and are extending some humanitarian help, but how much hope do we have that they can deeply be transformed? And restored? Do we see them through God’s eyes? Do we know what He promises to do with them and for them, and how much glory He ascribes to them? Read for instance 1 Cor. 12:22-24. But when someone rises up, full of hope and faith for a broken heart, and starts investing in him or her, at some point we are all amazed and attracted to it, and even desire to have a part in his or her life. This is human nature, but when it comes to the restoration of Israel and Jerusalem, it is also prophetic.