As we look forward to tomorrow's celebration of Hanukkah we are reminded of the importance of history. This week's papers reported that the Palestinian Authority continues to deny the Jewish connection to historical sites in the land of Israel. The PA even goes so far as to deny that the Western Wall was part of the Temple Mount. UNESCO calls Rachel's tomb in Bethlehem a mosque alone. The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) issued the following statement in response:
"If there is ever to be true peace in the Middle East, the shrines of each of the three Abrahamic religions must be respected by the political bodies in the region and by the United Nations. Referring to Rachel's tomb as a 'mosque' is both factually and historically inaccurate. Similarly statements by the Palestinian Authority that the Western Wall in Jerusalem is not the retaining wall of our Temple Mount ignores established historical fact. Both of these references are disrespectful of Judaism and of the generations of Jews who have consistently venerated these sites; one from the time of Genesis and the second from before the Christian era to the present. Accordingly, we call upon UNESCO, the Palestinian Authority and upon all people and all nations of good will to cease referring to Rachel's tomb as a mosque or the Western Wall as anything other than a treasure of the Jewish people."
In order for peace to be achieved we must affirm each others' claim to the land. Rabbi Irwin Kula rightly noted: "People who want to erase each other inflame each other. This just hardens everyone at a time when we need to soften." You can read more about this issue in last week's Jewish Week.