Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spotlight on neighborly sentiments

Would you buy an apartment in a place where you're not wanted? Where your neighbors hate you and would like to see nothing better than the day when you will be forced out? Why on earth would you do that? Because the apartment is larger and cheaper than where you lived before? Because your great great grandfather is buried nearby? Because you've been brought up on the belief that this is your place, not theirs? Because it is a "very holy place"? All of the above?  You mistrust your neighbors; they don't love you and you don't love them. -- This, as reported by Jodi Rudoren in today's New York Times, is the state of affairs in Ma'alot David, in Beit Orot, in Kidmat Zion, and many other small apartment complexes that have sprung up across the eastern perimeter of the "holy basin," the area around the Old City that includes the most important sacred sites of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, the Temple Mount/Haram ash-Sharif, with the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the ancient cemeteries outside the Ottoman walls, the City of David/Village of Silwan, the Garden of Gethsemane, and Mount Olives. -- Whatever happened to the command to "love thy neighbor" (Leviticus 19:18)? Perhaps Francis I can put in a good word. He seems to have the right idea.

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