Amin al-Husseini, the exiled Muslim Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, recruited Arabs for Nazi Germany,
and in May 1948,
he called for the Arabs residing in Israel to leave their homes and flee to neighboring Arab countries.
Thus began the ‘catastrophe’ which today is celebrated as Nakba Day.
Space within the Old City of Jerusalem is very limited.
The Arab town of Silwan
is really just down the street from the Kotel, the Western Wall.
The Jewish Quarter of the Old City was attacked in 1948
by the invading Jordanian forces and destroyed.
Jordan did not allow Jews access to the Jewish Quarter for 19 years. Until June 1967,
the only view available to Israelis of the walls of the Old City was from across a vast No Man’s Land.
Many Arabs still live in the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem, but the tragedy is that after all this time,
so many others are still in refugee camps–all second-class citizens
in all the Arab countries to which they fled.
While in Jerusalem, either by day
or at night,
no matter what their attire,
an Arab man can freely walk alone
or with his family.
Even on the recent Fridays of the “Days of Rage” in Egypt, Libya and Syria, men of all ages
did not encounter security or check points in the Old City on the way to prayers.
Public parks are used for playing soccer with the kids
or school outings.
Space may be limited and tight, but if Arab leaders would stop inciting hatred,
stop spending their money on weapons and invest in education,
peaceful co-existence could be achieved.
When 900,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries in1948, they were forced to leave their fortunes behind,
they resettled around the globe and built new lives.
Today, hundreds tried to get through the border to Israel today from Syria in the North…
where would you rather be?