Middle East

Oct 3, 2012

Jerusalem, a city of two halves, united only by disunity

For all the popular phantasm that Jerusalem adheres to, the image of an ancient ethnic melting pot is not one of them. It is a city still strangled by the barbed wire which separates it.

Matthew Clayfield

Journalist, critic, screenwriter and playwright

The first thing that strikes you about Jerusalem is its specificity. Tel Aviv could be almost any beachside city in the world. It reminded me of Surfers Paradise or a toned-down version of Venice Beach, while the guidebooks all seem to think that it has something in common with Miami. But Jerusalem calls to mind only Jerusalem: what you’ve read about it, seen of it on television. A city that adheres closely to the popular phantasms. You couldn’t be anywhere else.

8 comments

8 thoughts on “Jerusalem, a city of two halves, united only by disunity

  1. Clytie

    Well-written and perceptive: thankyou.

  2. CML

    Wonderful article, Matthew! Jerusalem is the most fascinating city I have ever visited (was there in 1985), and that is saying something for this old atheist!! It is like walking through a history book, thousands of years old.
    Although the situation was much different at the time, I wondered then as now why Jerusalem has not been made an “international city”, under the auspices of the United Nations. I say this because it is THE most important place for almost all of the major religions on the planet, not to mention a capital city for both Jews and Palestinians.
    It is simply unacceptable that the Jews are forcibly removing the Arabs from Jerusalem as fast as they can get away with it. Jerusalem is not only for the Jews, this city belongs to the world.

  3. 81dvl

    This is not a serious comment – just a thought – If Fukushima’s disaster could have happenned to Jerusalem, rendering it uninhabitable forever……

  4. Steve777

    CML’s suggestion is a sensible, logical solution for the future of a City central to the World’s three major monotheistic religions. But logic and common sense does not get much of a look-in in this conflict. It’s the people who say God gave them the land 4,000 years ago versus descendants of those who have been living there for perhaps as long. Pretty much the definition of intractable.

  5. AR

    Three lots of believers in their Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, supposedly the same one.
    Why give a flying…? Religion is a blight of the world.

  6. CML

    Thank you Steve777. I know you are correct, but how sad it is that such an important city as Jerusalem undoubtedly is, has become just another “war” zone.

  7. [email protected]

    This is the best piece I have read about what is going on in Israel for a long time. Well done, Matthew-I will watch out for your work from now on.

  8. yeastbite

    If Jewish nationalists got exactly what they wanted-no palestinians /arabs (the same people)in Jerusalem, Jewish law and ethnicity totally dominant, the city would be Jerusalem no longer. It would be like an empty shell of what it was,and it would be hard to see how anyone could feel good or proud about the result.

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