In The Struggle For Israel – Names Matter

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It is no secret that names play an important role in telling a story or setting a scene.

Since 1967 – the Israeli Left who may have purposely forgotten some of their Jewish roots and heritage, refer to the lands that were “liberated or conquered” by Israel from Jordan in the Six Day War as the West Bank (ie/ of the Jordan) or the Occupied Territories. The Israeli religious Right refers to the same lands as Judea and Samaria (Yehuda VeShomron) or the “biblical heartland” of Israel.

Each terminology represents a different ideology and expresses a totally different agenda.

This “word battle” grabbing the media by its horns, is no more pronounced than in neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Is it Jerusalem or Al-Kuds? Haram El Sharif – El Aksa or the Temple Mount? Moslem Quarter or the Kotel / Mixed Quarter (Old Jewish Quarter)? Shiloach (Yemenite Village), and the City of David  or Silwan? Maaleh HaZeitim or Ras El Amud?Shimon HaTzaddik or Sheich Jarrach?

Words mean everything. For a generally ignorant world who is constantly fed in news reports and updates – Silwan Silwan Silwan and only interviews with the Arabs of Silwan – then of course the implications and questions are asked – why are Jews trying to usurp these poor Arabs from their “generations old neighborhood”. The tone and agenda has been set! But if reports and the news were impartial and spoke of the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach or the City of David, then it makes perfectly good sense for Jews to return home and to reclaim old Jewish properties from illegal Arab squatters.

Yes -words do set the tone.

On the flip side of the coin – do we use the term Tel Aviv or Sheich Munis? (The name of Arab village in the area of Tel Aviv pre 1948). Maybe the same “Left of Tel Aviv” who keep using Sheich Jarrach for Jerusalem, should look into their own backayard re names….or not?

This writer will be true to his own Jewish identity and be historically correct and honest. I live in Maaleh Adumim in Yehuda Veshomron and i walk the streets of the City of David and the Shiloach (Old Yemenite Village) and in the alleyways of the Old City in united Jerusalem including the old Jewish Quarter. I look down onto Har Habyit from Beit Hanof or Beit HaTzalam, I visit the Jewish neighborhood of Maaleh HaZeitim and Kidmat Zion and i will continue to ensure a vibrant Jewish life in OUR JERUSALEM – in and around the Old City. 

Article by Daniel Luria

Daniel Luria is the Executive Director and International Spokesman for Ateret Cohanim. He is considered a global expert on Jerusalem, with a focus on urban land reclamation initiatives. he is a sought after speaker, guide, and informal educator in relation to his work in Jerusalem.

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