Next Year in (a Divided?) Jerusalem
What irritated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin most about the demonstrations against him this past July was not the epithets “murderer” and “traitor” shouted by a few hotheads. Such mindless name-calling could be dismissed as the kind of verbal violence expected of a frustrated opposition. It was, rather, the charge of insincerity on the issue of Jerusalem, delivered by speaker after speaker, which made Rabin livid. To accuse him of being prepared to compromise on the indivisibility of Jerusalem, he said, was not only a flagrant falsehood; it damaged Israel’s cause by imparting the impression that there was no national consensus on the matter.
On the face of it, Rabin’s indignation is understandable. After all, he and every other major Labor-party figure have dutifully repeated the government’s catechism on Jerusalem in virtually every speech before domestic and foreign audiences alike: “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Israel. It will remain, undivided, under Israeli sovereignty.” To suggest that they do not mean this is to accuse them not only of hypocrisy but of betraying a fundamental article of faith.
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