Thursday, June 30, 2005

Jerusalem of...

Lihiyot Am Chofshi B'artzeinu... To Be a Free Nation in our Land

From Hatikva (The Hope), Israel's national anthem

Today, the fourth annual Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade will be held Thursday under the theme of 'Love Without Borders' after a Jerusalem District Court ruled earlier this week that the city had to allow the event.

Now, forgive me for echoing a similar theme to that of my last posting, but today's parade perfectly highlights the conflicting ideologies inherent in Zionism. In a society that were to describe itself as promoting western, liberal, secular, pluralistic and democratic values, today's parade could be seen as an event showing the strength of the given society.

True, many people may not agree with the message of the Gay Pride Parade, but that is the essence of pluralism and democracy, whereby there is freedom of expression and tolerance for those of varying beliefs.

"The trial and the event are all about freedom of speech and the right for everyone to have dignity, visibility and equality in Jerusalem," said Hagai El-Ad, Director of Jerusalem Open House, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender advocacy group.

The burning question is, is that what the State of Israel is meant to be?

Turning again to Israel's national anthem, "Our hope is not lost, our hope of 2,000 years... to be a free nation in our land, in the land of Zion and Jerusalem", was it truly the hope of the Jewish People, over a 2,000 year exile, who hoped, yearned and prayed for a return to Eretz Yisrael, simply to be a "free nation in our land" or to be "the only democracy in the Middle East"?

"Love Without Borders"... in Jerusalem?

"These are issues that are of concern not just for the gay community but for everyone that holds Jerusalem dear to their heart", said Hagai El-Ad.

The Prophets also describe Jerusalem as a place of "Love Without Borders", but this love is not a love of the perverse, but a love of G-d and all that is holy. "For my house (The Beit HaMikdash) will be a house of prayer for all the nations of the world, who seek out G-d".

The challenge and mission of the Jewish People today is to decide which Jerusalem we want as the capital of our state, one that will be a source of 'Gay Pride' or one that will be a source of 'Jewish Pride'.


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