Take a whirlwind tour through this animated history of Jerusalem and discover 4,000 years of history in under two minutes. There’s battles, conquests, destruction, rebuilding, and that’s just the first 30 seconds! Check it out to discover the high points – and the low points – of Jerusalem’s epic history.
The History of Jerusalem is a partnership between The Jewish Story and Jerusalem U.
KAREN ARMSTRONG, JERUSALEM, ONE CITY, THREE FAITHS
The city had become little more than a terminus of roads from the coast. It was “at the end of a narrow corridor with roads leading nowhere,” recalled its future mayor Teddy Kollek. “Half the time you drove down a road or a side street, you ran into a sign reading, ‘STOP! DANGER! FRONTIER AHEAD!’ ”
NATAN SHARANSKY, FOREWORD TO GIL TROY’S THE ZIONIST IDEAS
The Zionist Idea gave me – and millions of others – a meaningful identity. In June 1967, when I was 19, the call from Jerusalem – “The Temple Mount is in Our Hands!” – penetrated the Iron Curtain.
Democratic Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War, defeating Arab dictatorships threatening to destroy
it, inspired many of us all over the world to become active participants in Jewish history… Forging a mystical link with our people, we discovered identity, or as we call it “peoplehood.” Suddenly, we Soviet Jews, Jews of silence, robbed of our heritage by the Soviet regime, realized there is a country that called us its children.
RABBI ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL, ISRAEL AN ECHO OF ETERNITY
[In 1967], it was not justice as an abstract principle which stirred so deeply… A new life in Israel has bestowed a sense of joy upon Jews everywhere, by creating a society based on liberty, equality and justice, by the great moral accomplishments, by their scientific, technical and economic contributions…One of the insights learned from the great crisis in May 1967 is the deep personal involvement of every Jew in the existence of Israel. It is not a matter of philanthropy or general charity but of spiritual identification.
RABBI YITZ GREENBERG, JEWISH WAY, 1988, QUOTED IN GIL TROY’S THE ZIONIST IDEAS
Since Independence Day fell during the Sefirah period, the modern Exodus reclaimed one day from the ranks of the days of sorrow and added it to the days of joy. But a question remained: Was this merely a respite, a short-term upturn from an unchanged long-term trend of oppressive sorrow, or was this the beginning of a major reversal of historic proportions from sorrow to joy? This question was answered in the Six-Day War. By a far greater margin, would-be destruction was turned back. The margin of victory made clear the incredible accomplishment of two decades of state building… A second day of celebration was added – Yom Yerushalayim.
MOTTA GUR (COMMANDER OF 55TH PARATROOPER BRIGADE), FROM MICHAEL OREN’S SIX DAYS OF WAR: JUNE 1967 AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST
Motta sat on the ground and gazed at the walled city. It was a bright, cool morning, and the sun was on his back. The gold and silver domes of the Temple Mount glowed before him. He closed his eyes, as if in prayer. He was about to enter the Jewish pantheon, along with King David, who’d conquered Jerusalem and turned it into his capital; Judah the Maccabee, who’d purified the Temple after its destruction by the Hellenists; Bar Kochba, who’d thrown himself against Rome and lost the Jews’ last desperate battle for Jerusalem. Then came the centuries of enforced separation, landscape transformed into memory. And now landscape was reemerging from dream, shimmering back into tangible reach.
TEDDY KOLLEK, QUOTED IN GIL TROY’S THE ZIONIST IDEAS
Within an undivided city, everything is possible, all kinds of adjustments can be made, all kinds of accommodations can be considered, all kinds of autonomy can be enjoyed, all kinds of positive relationships can be developed… I do not think you can find any Israelis who are willing to give up Jerusalem. They cannot and will not. This beautiful golden city is the heart and soul. If you want one simple word to symbolize all of Jewish history, that word would be Jerusalem.
YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI, LETTER TO MY PALESTINIAN NEIGHBOR, LETTER #2: “NEED AND LONGING”
I went on a pilgrimage of sorts to the Arch of Titus, a monument to the destruction of Jerusalem. On the arch is carved the image of our ruin: Jewish slaves carrying the Temple menorah through the streets of Rome. During the exile Jews made a point of not walking under the arch, symbolically rejecting submission to defeat. I entered the arch and offered a prayer of gratitude for living in a time when Jewish persistence has been vindicated. How had the Jews done it?
After the destruction of the Second Temple, a national Jewish presence in Jerusalem was greatly reduced until 1967. Yet the longing for a return to Jerusalem was always present. Where do you see examples of the longing for Jerusalem in the national and religious memory of the Jewish people
Throughout history, many have fought long wars and shed blood over the right to control Jerusalem. Given this fact: a) what does this teach us about the importance of sacred space in imbuing meaning in the lives of others and the fact that people are willing to fight to the death over that sacred space? and b) how can we uphold a right to sacred spaces while mitigating conflict as much as possible?
Thinking about Zohar Raviv’s talk referenced above, what are some of the ways Jerusalem is a lived reality for some and an imagined reality for others
Which of the excerpts above helps you identify with Jerusalem in a more personal way, and why?
Aristotle famously said that “it is the mark of an educated person to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Looking back at the religious thinkers and philosophers: Whose ideas do you find yourself entertaining and thinking about deeply without necessarily accepting it, and which thinkers’ ideas have you actually accepted to the point where you view Jerusalem differently?