Teddy Kollek On Jerusalem


“Never before have Arabs made a capital in a kind of holy city. Take Saudi Arabia. They have Mecca, Medina, to build their capital there. They took a village called Riyadh and turned it into a capital. The Jordanians had Jerusalem, but they built a capital in Amman and not Jerusalem. I think the Arabs have — the Muslims have great rights in Jerusalem and they must be safeguarded to the tiniest little bit, as the rights of other Christians.

We were there a little earlier. In another four or five years, we celebrate 3,000 years since David the King came and made his capital of the Jewish Kingdom in Jerusalem. When we came back to a unified city after the Six-Day War, we were attacked, we drove them away, the city became one. We didn't touch any of the holy places. We gave freedom of access and freedom of prayer, of course, and freedom of education to every one of the many groups in the city.” (CNN, October 28, 1991).


“For three thousand years, Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish hope and longing. No other city has played such a dominant role in the history, culture, religion and consciousness of a people as has Jerusalem in the life of Jewry and Judaism. Throughout centuries of exile, Jerusalem remained alive in the hearts of Jews everywhere as the focal point of Jewish history, the symbol of ancient glory, spiritual fulfillment and modern renewal. This heart and soul of the Jewish people engenders the thought that if you want one simple word to symbolize all of Jewish history, that word would be ‘Jerusalem.’” (Teddy Kollek, Jerusalem, DC: Washington Institute For Near East Policy, 1990, pp. 19-20.)

 

Teddy Kollek is the former mayor of Jerusalem.