MIAMI: Traditionally, Judaism begins with Abraham the Patriarch about 4,000 years ago.
Around a thousand years later, King Solomon built the First Temple in Jerusalem and it became officially the holiest site of the Jewish people.
Sixteen hundred years after that Prophet Muhammad revealed the religion of Islam in the cities of Mecca and Medina. The City of Jerusalem isn’t mentioned once in the Quran.
Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. Throughout its troubled history, Jews have never left the area and are indigenous to this part of West Asia.
After the Second World War, the United Nations conceded that because of the immense suffering of the Jewish people, they should be allowed to again control their own land.
However, the border of the new State of Israel went right through the heart of Jerusalem. Somewhat like Old Delhi and New Delhi, there was an Old Jerusalem and New Jerusalem. The Jews had New Jerusalem, and Old Jerusalem was part of the Arab country of Jordan.
When Old Jerusalem was part of Jordan, there was almost zero international interest in Old Jerusalem. I know because I was there in the early 1960s. It was a laidback calm place, with no religious agitation. In fact this was true of much of the Arab world at the time.
The two Jerusalems were separated by the Mandelbaum Gate, and going through was like being in a science fiction time machine. Old Jerusalem was a quiet old-fashioned place that seemed not to have changed for hundreds of years. New Jerusalem was a fast-paced bustling modern city, home to the Israeli Parliament and many government buildings.
Since then, two major changes have brought us to where we are today. First was the 1967 war the Arab countries launched against Israel. They expected to obliterate her, but were shocked to find themselves quickly and completely defeated. One of the prizes Israel took and kept was the Old City of Jerusalem.
Israel conquered this territory a half-century ago. Since then, numerous other lands have been taken around the world, such as Sikkim, Northern Cyprus, Tibet, Crimea, etc. However, public opinion fastens on Jerusalem as somehow the most heinous of border changes in the last 50 years.
This brings us to the second major change—the oil crisis of the 1970s. All of a sudden a group of Muslim-majority countries around the Persian Gulf became enormously wealthy. The religious authorities demanded and received a tithe on income that ended up giving them huge economic and political power over much of the globe.
All that power is what has been turbo-charging the spread of Islam to the four corners of the world. Islam is now dominant in more than 50 countries and 25% of the world population is Muslim.
Unfortunately for Islam, Israel is in the middle of the Muslim world. Its presence causes two kinds of shame in her neighbours’ shame/honour societies. First of all, it’s enormously successful and makes neighbouring Arab countries look inept by comparison. Second, it’s the source of the monotheistic “Abrahamic” religion from which Islam and Christianity have descended, and it’s impossible for Islam’s religious authorities to acknowledge their fundamental indebtedness to Judaism.
This is the context of President Donald Trump’s historic decision on Jerusalem.
He is saying that “We, the most powerful country on Earth, hereby validate the Jewish people’s claim to their historic capital of Jerusalem”.
The noise and yelling and fighting and rage you hear, is the impotent squealing of billions of dollars and thousands of imams who just cannot bear the thought of losing to a tiny group of Jewish people they so vastly outnumber and dearly wish would go extinct.
Tom Paskal is an award winning American journalist, author and screenwriter.