A message from Minister Natan Sharansky about Jewish unity.As the State of Israel’s minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora affairs, I feel deeply privileged to write this letter to you on the eve of one of our most meaningful holidays.
Yom Yerushalayim, 27 Iyar, which falls this year on May 29, is a significant day in the lives of Israelis and Jews everywhere.
Jerusalem has been the center of our national expression for over 3000 years. And ever since the destruction of our Temple over 1900 years ago, Jews throughout world have prayed three times each day for our return. And now, we have returned.
Jerusalem represents both the highest expression of our Jewish ideals and spirituality – ירושלים של מעלה (‘heavenly’ Jerusalem) – and the strongest force for internal unity ירושלים של מטה (‘earthly’ Jerusalem). Only when King David designated Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, did our people achieve a national identity. And only when King Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem did our people find unified religious focus.
In our time, as well, we have witnessed this power of Jerusalem to unify the Jewish People. When our soldiers reached the Lions’ Gate in their campaign to reunify Jerusalem, we very soon witnessed the crumbling of the Iron Curtain enabling the reunification of the Jewish People. Jews on both sides of that miserable barrier experienced an irrepressible surge of Jewish pride, unity and resolve. When Jerusalem is whole, the Jewish People are united.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in the capital of the sovereign Jewish State of Israel intensely feel its majesty and magic. Not one day passes without my taking a moment to try to fathom the miracle of our return. Yet few of my fellow Jews have visited Jerusalem, and even among those who have, fewer still come today.
Nothing is more crucial to our unity, solidarity, and determination than Jews coming to Jerusalem to visit, if they cannot yet come to live here.
Your presence here gives witness to the importance of our struggle. Your visit here gives testimony to our common destiny. We need your encouragement and your moral support. We need your association and your enthusiasm.
On this Yom Yerushalayim we hope that each Jew who reads this message, and each Jew who holds Jerusalem and the future of the Jewish people dear to his or her heart, will resolve to visit us in Jerusalem at least once in the next year.
לשנה הבא בירושלים המאוחדת (“Next year in united Jerusalem”) – and until then I hope to see you in Jerusalem throughout the coming year.
Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs
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