Sunday, October 26, 2014
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

A hot day in Jerusalem

Share Link: Share Link: Bookmark Google Yahoo MyWeb Del.icio.us Digg Facebook Myspace Reddit Ma.gnolia Technorati Stumble Upon Newsvine

hurva-synagogueby Adam Keller

On the pages of the right-wing "Makor Rishon" columnist Uri Elitzur lamented "I had to spend this year's Jerusalem Day in Tel Aviv, where I felt pretty weird and unusual with my holiday clothes and the Blue and White flags hanging on my car. It must be admitted that this day of celebration has a rather limited impact – and not only on the streets of Tel Aviv. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, remarked in his speech from the podium that unfortunately only a particular sector marks that day, namely the religious-nationalist knitted kipa wearers. "Alas, the city is not united nor knitted together. Jerusalem Day was defined as a National Holiday by law, but the nature of the festivities in Jerusalem and the identity of those dancing in the streets teach us that the national holiday in its current form is more reminiscent of a sectorial holiday."

Prime Minister Netanyahu was the guest of honor at the Jerusalem Day celebrations at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, ideological stronghold of the knitted  kippot and the cradle out of which the Gush Emunim settler movement arose in the 1970's. "We came back to Jerusalem as prodigal sons coming home, we returned to Jerusalem as builders" stated the prime minister. "Jerusalem is in one of its Golden Ages. As all can see, residents of Jerusalem walk its streets with security and pride". And the PM concluded "May we meet next year in an even more built up Jerusalem" and was greeted with a thunderous applause.

And several hours later the religious-nationalist youths congregated in great numbers on the streets of East Jerusalem for the Dance of Flags which has become their annual tradition. They had come to show the Prime Minister and the Knesset Speaker and Rabbi Shapira and their other political and spiritual leaders how nationalist religious youths can walk with security and pride on the streets of an ancestral city, to which they had  come as prodigal sons rather then as conquerors. "Let your village burn, burn it down!" they chanted while marching and dancing with their multitude of Blue and White flags, and also "Muhammad is Dead! Muhammad is Dead!" and also "Slaughter the Arabs!" (this much of Arabic they knew and used, so as to make their words very comprehensible) and "Jerusalem is ours forever!" and "Death to the leftists!". Some moderates contented themselves with "Death to the terrorists! Death! Death! Death!"

And on one shop's door they left as a souvenir the graffiti "A stinking Arab son of death with a beard full of fleas". And so they continued and continued to march and sing and dance, from the mosque in the Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood to the Damascus Gate and through the alleys of the Old City, with songs and  chants of hate and punching and kicking the closed and locked doors of the Palestinian homes and shops, none of whose residents  appeared on the street and only their faces peered from the windows.

With one exception. At the very eye of the storm in the heart of the Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, right next to the houses where in recent years settlers have entered in late night hours and threw their inhabitants out and set up residence in the homes and raised on the roof the Blue and White flag and the big sign "The sons have come home." One of the neighboring Palestinian families, who (still?) reside at their home, went out into the street and placed a small table and chairs on the sidewalk and sat down - father and mother and two grown daughters - calmly sipping tea. Between them and the furious crowd, cursing and dancing in ecstasy with flags, interposed dozens of activists who had answered the call of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement.

Shoulder to shoulder they stood, students from the Hebrew University and veteran activists whose air was streaked with grey and residents of the threatened neighborhood. "Fascism will not pass, no, no it will not pass!" they chanted, and "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies!" and "Sheikh Jarrah, do not despair, we will end the occupation yet!". An older woman in a traditional Arab dress tapped on a flat pan and cried out: "Obama and all the world, look and see what they are doing to us!", and  at her side a bearded Israeli activist held a more standard drum. One of the Sheikh Jarrah children, sitting on the shoulders of an activist, waved a Palestinian flag and called out in Hebrew "Thieves, thieves, get out of the houses now!" Opposite, beyond the police cordon, the forest of flags swayed in the hands of the dancers and from the very long song they sung only the refrain could be clearly discerned: "How I hate you, how I hate you all".

A young and energetic settler with a baby on his arm broke through the police cordon. "No, no, I don't want violence. Just a moment. Wait, I want to talk to you! We are all Jews, aren’t we?" No, here we are Jews and Arabs standing together, and some English people, too". "But let me ask you this, why you are demonstrating only here? What about Jaffa and Ramle and Acre, they all used to be Arab towns, too? "." We are for peace between two states, Israel and Palestine, on the basis of the 1967 borders, as Obama said." "But I just want to have the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Abraham bought it with good money. It is you leftists who stole the village Sheikh Munis and built on it the Tel Aviv University". "How about this: We will agree on a solution of dividing the land, and the people will decide in a referendum what they prefers to give up, Tel Aviv or Hebron?", "But do you not know that the Iranians want to deploy missiles on the Golan Heights?" "I asked you if you are willing to let the people decide whether to give up Tel Aviv or Hebron, do you have an answer?" The young man mutters "Oh, these leftists" and returns to his dancing partners, from among whom rises the chant "Sheikh Munis! Sheikh Munis! "And "Leftists in exchange for peace."

Suddenly a new factor appears on the scene: Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari, disciple and successor of the notorious Rabbi Kahane, pushed forward through the flag dancers, along with his assistants Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir, and entered into an animated exchange with the police commander.  It was not possible to hear what he said, but a journalist who stood nearby heard and published it verbatim on the following day's Yedioth Ahronoth: "Don't you see how these leftist Nazis are stirring up the Arabs? What are you waiting for?" The results were soon to come. The police suddenly stirred into action and began to energetically shove the solidarity demonstrators. "Back! Back! Move back!" "Why are you pushing? This is a peaceful and non violent protest!" called one of the organizers on the loudspeaker, whereupon  the police intensified their pressure. "The settlers already know - the law is only for the right-winger!" chanted the protesters while being pushed back and back. "They arrested some of us!" -  the information passed down the line to those who had not seen it themselves, who broke out into "Beatings and detentions do not break our spirit!". The three detainees were dragged into the police van waiting on the next street.

After half an hour Ben Ari and his aides left the place along with many of the dancers and flags. The street began to empty, and solidarity organizers announcing the conclusion of the protest asked any who could to stay the night with the residents. But first, everybody joined in "We will not stop singing" which had become the unofficial anthem of the Sheikh Jarrah protesters -  based on the Israeli song made famous by Yehoram Gaon and to which new words are occasionally added to fit new events.

Click for video evidence of the "Dance of the Flags"

If the officer / puts you in detention / do not be surprised / by soldier of the occupation
All who rise / end behind bars /  and for them
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing

If the officer / drags you off to gaol/ don't be surprised / serve the occupation he will
All who demonstrated / a night in Abu Kabir /  and for them
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing


They have already arrested / Haggai and Daniel / but will they / turn on settlers who make hell?
They find it easy to catch / Bashar and Samir / and about them
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing


If in Bil'in / Supreme Court rulings are flouted / do not be surprised / It is a soldiers' country
All who demonstrate / immediately becomes prisoners / and for them
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing


If in Hebron / Shuhada Street remains closed / though everyone knows / it is illegal
All who protest / lightly threatened with death / and for them
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing

If you wonder/ When Law is only for the Jews
All who cry out/ wake up the public conscience / and for them
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing


If bombing civilians/ is authorised/ don’t wonder / occupation hates morality
All who dissent / will be widely defamed / and for them
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing

If shacks are destroyed / at Umm el-Hir / Ofra settlement / put off for another time
All who / will pay a heavy price / and for them
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing


If ISM activists are expelled / and photographers all removed
There are those/ who make it known, not left hidden/ and for them
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing

If shamelessly / Apartheid parades / and Foreign Minister/ racist, settler and what else
Get out, get out/ wake the city with great shout/ and for you
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing

If the judge / sends me to gaol / do not be surprised / That's occupation for you/
But if you keep silent / tomorrow you'll be a prisoner too/ and for you /  no one will be left to sing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing
We will not stop singing


blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Make a donation to MWC News

Enter Amount:

Featured_Author

Login






Login reminder Forgot login?
Register Register

Comments

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page