Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jerusalem Day (May 31, 2011)

The Israelis celebrate their capital and its long historical significance on May 31 this year. To celebrate, here is the oldest Zionist poem by Judah Halevi, who probably died soon after arriving in Jerusalem in the twelfth century.
My Heart is in the East by Judah Halevi
My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west--
How can I find savor in food? How shall it be sweet to me?
How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet
Zion lies beneath the fetter of Edom, and I in Arab chains?
A light thing would it seem to me to leave all the good things of Spain--
Seeing how precious in mine eyes to behold the dust of the desolate sanctuary

UPDATE: The Israelis have a lot of controversy over Jerusalem Day, based of course in the controversy over Jerusalem itself. See, for example,
Jerusalem Day celebrations will not cover up the city's rot and discrimination: Jerusalem Day is an 'artificial celebration'; Jerusalem is the most ultra-Orthodox city, the most Arab, plagued by negative migration. By Yossi Sarid

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