Sinai Today: Olympic Games and ‘illegal occupation’

...How is it possible that the only nation in the world whose borders are not arbitrary, and who has an ancient, unbroken connection to its land is accused of illegal occupation? It is a particularly bitter irony when young nations of the world, barely a hundred years old themselves, accuse the oldest nation of all of colonialism, and deny its right to exist within its ancient borders.

Modern-born countries, such as South Africa and others, arrogantly seek to label goods from the “occupied territories,” and yet they were not even a glimmer on the horizon of human history when there was already a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. Thousands of years before the United States, or Britain, even existed, ancient Israel was a thriving Jewish country with great cities such as Jerusalem, Shiloh and Hebron and many others which the world today classifies as the “West Bank” but which the Hebrew Bible calls Judea and Samaria. Since Joshua conquered the land about 3,300 years ago there have been three Jewish commonwealths and an unbroken Jewish presence in the Land of Israel.

The audacity of those who contest Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is historically bizarre and unconscionable. Three thousand years ago the great capitals of today did not even exist; there was no London, Paris, Washington or Moscow – but Jerusalem was a Jewish city, and it was the capital of the Jewish state. Since the Roman conquest of Israel about 2,000 years ago, Jews mention the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple at every wedding and funeral; we pray for their rebuilding in every prayer service and every time we say Grace after Meals. If Jerusalem is not the capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state, then the very concept of a capital city has no meaning.

The Olympic Games officially open on the 27th of July. It is remarkable that on the Jewish calendar this date corresponds to Tisha Be’av – the very day which, more than any other, demonstrates the eternal Jewish connection to Jerusalem and Israel. It is the fast day on which we mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple some 2,500 years and then again, almost 2,000 years ago....

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