Should I Laugh or Cry?

My kids were so excited when I told them they would be joining me this year on the Jerusalem Day Flag Parade
As I did for the past 15 years, I pulled out my flags from the Machsan and got ready to feel that warm proud feeling I get every time I walk around the Old City of Jerusalem with the Blue and White Israeli flag waving high above my head.

As I arrived in town I found the FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND Jews dancing through the streets of Jerusalem and once again that warm feeling of Am Yisrael Chai came over me and even succeeded in producing tears of happiness.

This was not a political demonstration or even a statement being made to the world, it was just an outpouring of love by the Jewish people to G-d Thanking Him for returning us to the eternal holy city of Jerusalem.

It was a moment of meditation, of realization, of understanding that we the Jews beat the test of time. We survived 2000 years of homeless history and we have finally come home!
Like a mother who has been reunited with her long lost son of so many years, so to were the vibrations of celebration in the streets of Jerusalem.

At first, my family didn’t march; we just stood in awe and watched as the future generations of Israel danced by us. They were free of any conformity or peer pressure, they didn’t care what was being said or thought about their joyous flag dancing, they were just happy!

As we joined the dancers towards the walls of the Old City, it was hard not to imagine those brave soldiers who put their personal lives in danger 40 years ago so that Jews can once again walk freely in their own home.

As we were deciding which one of the Old City gates we would walk through, my father said,
“Today we take Damascus Gate!”
Although the Damascus Gate is open all year around, it is usually Jew free due to the threat of violence from Arab terrorists.
My reaction at first was one of agreement, “YES! Today we go where we want!” Before I had the chance to smile, I realized what I had just said!

I once heard a story of a boy who lived in one of the Ghettos and was once allowed to roam freely, he too said,
Today I go where I want!”
Am I in a ghetto?!

It was then that my happiness was put on pause. A terrible realization hit me like a brick! While we are free to hold a Jerusalem day parade and remember when Jerusalem was liberated from the racist fascist hands of Muslim rule, I am still not free!

Although I swear never to forget Jerusalem and I call it my Jerusalem, I am a stranger in my own home and Jerusalem is mine, BUT… only for one day a year?
TODAY we go through Damascus gate”?
Am I limited to where I can go in my own home?

Just before the tears of happiness were on the verge of being overtaken by tears of sadness, the unified voice of song emanating from the crowd of hundreds of thousands of Jews praising Jerusalem saved the day.
A half a million Jews singing with fervor and love joined together as one, to sing songs of praise and once again the warm happy feeling was restored.

As we made our way down the narrow alleyways of the Shuk, singing and dancing, I had almost but forgotten what had saddened me.

The only thought that kept echoing in my head was
“WHY”?If Jerusalem is mine, then why is it that I can’t walk through any street I choose on any given day?!This is MY COUNTRY! Isn’t it?AND THEN THE ANSWER HIT MY DAUGHTER ON THE HEAD!
As we made our way towards the Western Wall, there was a great scream and then the sound of rocks and pebbles hitting the ground. Arabs vigilantes threw rocks from their windows onto the crowd. As I looked up, I saw an Arab with a glass bottle in hand ready to throw it onto the Jewish crowd. I pushed my kids towards cover where my parents where standing, and made my way through the very crowded street till I reached a policeman.
As if to say, “
Although you cops disappointed me with your violent attacks on Jewish settlers and your past history of hatred towards the ‘right’,
I still have trust that you are here to protect Israeli citizens”.

I tapped the officer of the law on the shoulder and told him that I spotted the Arab who was responsible for this violent attack. As I was picking up my finger to show the Israeli Policeman where the Arab assailant was, the cop turned to me with eyes full of anger.

I was under the impression that he too was angry with the Arab terrorists who were trying to injure innocent Jewish marchers. I thought he too felt the historic irony of the Jewish nation celebrating the coming home to a safe Jerusalem and having to fear Arab anti-Semitic terror!
I was sure the Israeli police would charge the Arab assailants and arrest them.

Although the attack was an unprovoked one, the Policeman’s reaction put the blame on the Jews!
He called the rest of his brut squad, and as if they were dealing with a group of terrorists who dare to March through the streets of Jerusalem, they pushed as hard as they could, while screaming at US!
We were at fault!The police were angry with the marchers! As if to say,
“you Jews have no right to be here!”
Many fell to the floor including elderly and children.
As I regained my posture I turned to the same Cop and started yelling. “Why are you pushing us? The Arab guy with the bottle (which was already shattering over the crowd) is the terrorist, GRAB HIM!”
But the police had no intention to deal with the Arabs.
The police had no intention to protect the citizens of Israel.
In fact I have absolutely no idea what the police force’s intentions were?!
Why were they there?
Who were they protecting?

Several of the marchers decided that they have had enough and they decided that if the police were not going to deal with the Arab threat, then matters must be taken into their own hands. A group of 20 Jews ran towards the Arab assailant’s house and it was then that the Police decided they had to intervene.

The police charged the Jewish group and grabbed them with such force and intent.
How worried the police were that the Jews might injure the Arab assailants!

Where was this force when that Arabs were trying to injure Jewish innocent bystanders?
Why are Israeli police protecting Arab vigilantes instead of protecting innocent citizens of Israel?
Where is the logic?

My daughters started crying as did so many other children whose only crime was to celebrate the freedom of Jerusalem.
When I asked my daughter why she was crying, she turned to me and said,
“Why are the police getting angry at us and not at the Arabs?
Who is the enemy, the Arabs or the police?”
I had no answer.

It was then I realized why Jerusalem is not mine.
It is not because she does want to be ours!
It is not because G-d is keeping her from Jewish sovereignty!
It is not because we lost some war or that we were chased out by Arab mobs!
It is not because of the UN!

Jerusalem is not ours because we don’t believe she is!
Because we don’t scream:
We are embarrassed and careful not to make such statements as it might upset the same Arab vigilantes that threw rocks and bottles at Jewish dancers.
It was the grandparents of these Arabs who slaughtered the Jewish population of Chevron in 1929 and it is with these murderers that the Israeli Government is making deals.

If we believed this was our home, there would be no deal,
There would be war!

We would stand up and fight for what is ours; we would fight for our home!
One does not give up his home to terrorists!
He fights against them to protect his family and his home!
This is why Jerusalem is not mine!

The Israeli Policeman who took his anger out on Jewish dancers is a symptom of Israel denying Jewish ownership over Jerusalem.

The cop pushed us because he saw Jews walking through the Old City of Jerusalem as an act of incitement!
Since when is an owner considered a criminal because he decides to dance through his own home?!

This is why Israel is in danger.
The Arabs do not really threaten Israel’s existence.
Not even a nuclear Iranian missile!
What threatens Jewish existence in the Land of Israel is the fact that the Police and the Israeli public see Jewish presence in Jerusalem, Chevron, or Gush Katif as an act of incitement!

When people actually believe that the key to peace is a Jew free area in the land of Israel, you know we are in trouble!

When the JEWISH solution to 60 years of War that were forced upon us, is dismantling Jewish settlements and implanting Judenrein as a way to peace, chills rush up my spine. I contemplate who the last person in history was who saw Jew free areas as a way to peace!

This is the imminent danger that Israel is facing.
Wars are not won with guns or firepower!
We were the underdog throughout seven wars when the Arabs tried to annihilate us!
We won not because of tanks or bullets but because of our belief!
It was the Jew coming back to the Land of Israel that kept the soldiers so strong!
It was Jewish history and pride that kept the Muslims at bay!
If we lose that belief, if we forget Jerusalem, then we have forgotten who we are and no military power will keep us safe!

Without getting into a Halachic debate, if we accept the fact that the Temple Mount is closed to Jewish worshipers, if we accept the reality that the Damascus gate is safe for Jews only once a year, then there really is no reason to celebrate, just to worry!

How can we expect the world to take us seriously when Israel claims that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, when we , the little people, are scared and embarrassed to say so ourselves?

Israel is the Jewish homeland and as long as we hold that flag up high and say so with conviction and intent, then all who hear our cry will understand that no people or nation has the right to strip the nation of Israel from the Land of Israel and certainly not from Jerusalem!
As the parade ended at the Kotel and I looked over a balcony and saw 500,000 Jews dancing, I understood through their happiness and prayer that they have not given up on Jerusalem.
It was then that I realized that although there are those who have lost their faith in their people and their land, I have stayed loyal and strong, as will my kids (G-d willing).

An inextinguishable flame of belief has been passed through 2000 years of Jewish exile longing the return to Jerusalem.
As I stood overlooking the
western wall I found a half million Jews who were dancing and committing to pass on that flame.
It was then that the warm happy feeling came back, as I found myself dancing with my nation in my home.

Longings for Zion and Jerusalem have accompanied the Jewish people in their exile, for more than 2,500 years, from the time of the Babylonian Exile (by Nebuchadnezzar in 598-537 bce), and since the conquest of Jerusalem and its destruction by the Roman army of Titus in 70 ce, after which began the great dispersion of the Jewish people. Longings for Jerusalem are mentioned more than 1,000 times in the Bible as well as in the Talmud, and in daily and holiday prayers - and are summed up in vision and hope at the end of the Passover Haggadah; in the supplicatory words,
"Next Year in Jerusalem."Some of the most poignant expressions of these feelings were composed by the author of the Psalms:
"By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres" (137, 1-2).

"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither, let my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy." (137, 5-7).

"Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!" (147, 12)


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