After work today, I went over to the rally organized to protest any possible redivision of Jerusalem. I support such demonstrations for two main reasons. Firstly, no Jew should ever disregard the uniqueness of Jerusalem. "Ten portions of Sanctity descended to the world, and Jerusalem received nine of them" records the Mishna of Kelim. More than any other symbol of the Jewish People's connection to the Land of Israel, Jerusalem is a powerful force. The fate of Jerusalem and that of Judea and Samaria are bound up. If the nation has been weakened spiritually and nationalistically to consider accepting the ideas of Ehud Olmert to partition the city, we of Judea and Samaria are in a difficult situation. To think that we can rally support disinct from Jerusalem, that to ignore Jerusalem's fate will somehow not affect Judea and Samaria is unreasonable. In fact, we may be able to save Judea and Samaria by saving Jerusalem.
The second reason was more mundane. One of the speakers was Representative (R., West Virginia) Eric Cantor. He flew in special to speak and the organizers needed someone to sit next to him to translate (so, if you do see a picture of him with a white-bearded gentleman in a dark green windbreaker, that's me). And truth tell, he made the most forceful, passionate speech. I joked with him when he sat down that I hadn't needed to translate Natan Scharansky or Naomi Ragen or Boogie Ayalon or Nir Barakat. His words contained their thoughts and more but he had said it better (I had met with him during the summer so we were "old friends" as the Jewish globe goes).
On the way back to pick up some things I left at the Begin Center, I took a cab and my driver was an Arab from the village of Um Tzuba. It's near Har HaChoma. He wanted to know if I had attended the rally. Finally, I said to myself, I am experiencing the "cabbie" story.
I responded affirmatively and he asked, "does Olmert have the power to redivide the city?" and I replied that I didn't think he was politically strong enough and that his coalition couldn't survive too many shennanigans.. My driver was relieved.
"Do you know what a hell it is to live under the PA?", he asked. "Do you know that these hoodlums steal, ransack, take pretty woman to themselves and act as if they are a gang. I spoke to a friend in Bethlehem and another in Shchem. They mourn the day Israel left. I only hope, he went on, that the Israeli people will defend their city and defeat Olmert". The city, if redivided, I mentioned gingerly, will not be secure from the Hamas. The city will be unstable economcially. I turned to him and smiled and said, "sure, after all, how will you be able to make a living dfriving a car around Um Tzubah.
There was full agreement in that vehicle that Olmert is crazy and will not be helping the cause of peace and security in his plan (if it is a plan). I had found a cab driver after my own heart.