Avraham Burg, a prophetic voice for Jerusalem

Go read the stirring op-ed that Avraham Burg, former Knesset speaker and former chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, published in Haaretz today.
The title is Once justice dwelled in Jerusalem, now settlers do.
Burg, who is an orthodox Jew (and the son of a key leader of the National religious Party), writes:

    Yes, the capital of the Jewish people – the people that always swore not to do to others what it would not have done to it – has become a harlot. Morally wanton, emotionally sealed-off. It is manipulated by its shepherds for their benefit and is full of law – everyone is suing everyone else, hiding behind the laws of injustice. And the judges – as though forced – issue rulings in accordance with discriminatory laws, unique to the “chosen people.” Once justice dwelled here. Now the settlers do, murderers of the nation’s soul.
    And no one utters a word, but for a few patriots. People of truth and morals who refuse to stand idly by while the state of Jewish refugees repeatedly throws Palestinian families into the street and hands their miserable homes over to bearded, blaspheming thugs.
    These people of integrity are the leftists of Jerusalem… They know only too well the city’s ugly truth, its terrible teens, and will no longer look the other way. They are committed to stopping with their body the torch-bearing brutes who seek to set it on fire.
    No one leads the city now, nor will salvation for it come from the country’s elected leader. Sheikh Jarrah is beyond the cognizance of Mayor Nir Barkat and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as though the commotion has nothing to do with them, as though it is happening in Sudan or Tehran. And in the absence of leadership of the state, and the peace bloc, our children have taken on the responsibility, shaken off indifference and despair and brought us here. The circle is expanding and it is full of life, rage and hope. Israeli humanism has been reborn in East Jerusalem. We are there in the summer heat and the winter rains, shouting and calling on others to gather round, seeking both Shabbat and peace. We will not recoil from violent police officers or hotheaded harassers. We stand and pledge: We shall not be silent when Ahmad and Aysha are sleeping in the street outside their home, which has become the settlers’ domain. Is that justice? Not ours! Is that law? No, it is iniquity.
    … How long, Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Mayor? And why do you, judges of Israel, cooperate with the evil that threatens to destroy us? Come with us, return to the Judaism of “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not murder.” Leave Sheikh Jarrah now!

Wow. An amazingly powerful piece.

2 thoughts on “Avraham Burg, a prophetic voice for Jerusalem

  1. Michael W.

    Avraham Burg was an officer in my dad’s platoon (tzanhanim/paratroopers). They’ve had plenty of contact in the IDF.
    I think the idea he advocated – “State of the Jews” instead of “Jewish State” rings well with secular Israelis. My dad was disgusted with the settlers and I’m sure Burg is too. Unfortunately, the conflict entrenches both sides to the right.
    If Burg was still a politician, I think he could be the one who could reach out to the Israeli Arab community.

  2. akkadia

    this is a rousing, impassioned number; however, i could pass on the harlot imagery. to compare a bankrupt, colonial state (or at least its ploys in alquds) to a “bad” woman is lazy. it’s an overworked and anti-woman analogy that i find disturbing. it really draws attention away from the power and eloquence of his style & the urgency of his message. otherwise powerful, it’s not often activist pieces are so evocative and engaging.

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