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January 23: Jerusalem as Capital City

Lawrence Bush
January 23, 2010

imageOn this date in 1950, Israel’s first Knesset declared Jerusalem to be the the capital of Israel — defying Jordan’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1949 as well as the United Nations’ partition resolution of November 29, 1947, which had envisioned the city under UN administration. “We see fit to state,” Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had declared the month before, “that Jewish Jerusalem is an organic, inseparable part of the State of Israel, just as it is an integral part of Jewish history and belief. . . . We are proud of the fact that Jerusalem is also sacred to other religions, and will gladly provide access to their holy places and enable them to worship as and where they please, cooperating with the U.N. to guarantee this.” Nevertheless, most countries, including the United States, established their embassies in Tel Aviv.
“Jerusalem is a festival and a lamentation. Its song is a sigh across the ages, a delicate, robust, mournful psalm at the great junction of spiritual cultures.”
—David K. Shipler

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.