With Olmert busy planning to cut up the city, there is a big debate going on about the Diaspora and its role in determining the future of Jerusalem. There are a 2 basic opposing positions that have been put forward:
1. Jerusalem belongs to all the Jewish people, so Diaspora Jews should have a voice in all matters of dividing Jerusalem and its fate.
2. Diaspora Jews do not live here, don’t serve here, don’t risk their lives here and therefore don’t have a say on matters involving dividing Jerusalem and its fate.
Position 1, when presented by Jews in Israel or in the Diaspora assumes that those Jews in question in the Diaspora are involved, knowledgeable, and connected to Israel and have the same opinion as the presenter.
Position 2, when presented by Jews in Israel or in the Diaspora doesn’t assume that Jews in the Diaspora are involved, knowledgeable, and connected to Israel, also assumes that not living here removes the right to an opinion, and more than likely assumes they don’t have the same opinion as the presenter.
Of course, both positions are wrong (if they weren’t what else would I have to write about).
The reality is that Jews in the Diaspora play a major role and have a major say in the future of Jerusalem.
It is nearly impossible to go to any park, hospital, playground, theatre and so on and not see plaques on the walls thanking the donors for their significant contributions. I recall Olmert standing next to numerous donors from the Diaspora who helped build Jerusalem - and giving them accolades awards, and thanks (and never once did he say they shouldn't push for that new park or playground).
Diaspora Jews have and will continue to play a significant role in building Jerusalem and the future of Israel.
The mistake here is the question itself.
There is no question that Jews in the Disapora don’t have the right to put forward a position involving dividing Jerusalem.
For one simple reason.
Jews in Israel do not have the right to put forward that question either.
Jerusalem and Eretz Yisrael isn’t something given to this generation (or this generation’s politicians), it belongs to all Jews of all generations (that is part of the concept of Yovel buy the way).
No government has the right to give it away. True we can lose parts of it in war, we can be forced to surrender our sovereignty, as has happened. But to willingly give it away!
No Jew in the Diaspora or Israel has the right to negotiate the division of Jerusalem or Eretz Yisrael.
But we all have a say in building its future.
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