On the other side of the struggle, in an increasingly irreligious and secular Western world, about the only thing left to re-establish that link are the ancient ruins buried beneath the surface of Israel’s homeland. And in recent years, with little or no help from the Israel Antiquities Authority, archaeologists like Eilat Mazar have been making fantastic discoveries—palaces, pottery, city walls and bullae—much of it dating to the First and Second Temple periods...
We should expect these new discoveries to find a more prominent place in Israel’s future political discourse, especially after peace talks with the Palestinians break down. But will they lead to a spiritual revival within the deeply divided Jewish state?..
This past, of course, is grounded in the Hebrew Bible, where Jerusalem is referred to more than 650 times. Founded by King David, Jerusalem became Israel’s capital city one thousand years before the establishment of Christianity — 1,700 years before Islam.
For Arab propagandists to erase that from their history books is one thing.
But for Israel’s own leaders to separate themselves from that heritage?
Columnist Shmuel Schnitzer asked years ago in the Israeli newspaper Maariv, “[W]hat kind of Jewish people will this be with no attachment to its land, without all the places of the book of Joshua, the wonderful vistas there, without the intensity of the prophetic vision, without the heritage of our fighters who spilt their blood for the country which was promised them and their descendants?” (Sept. 14, 1994).
Surrounded by enemies bent on de-legitimizing their right to exist, Israel’s survival depends on winning the fight for its own history. The Bible, Schnitzer pointed out, can’t become a historical curiosity. It must be their calling card. Otherwise, as Schnitzer intoned, they will become a new Jewish people — “a nation which doesn’t belong to its land.”
Israel’s enemies have always believed the Jews don’t belong where they are. And by denying their past, Israel’s Jews are essentially saying the same thing.
I can but agree.