In the late spring of 1967, I was a 17-year-old high school student about to graduate from the Hebrew Institute of Long Island. But instead of dreams about prom night, what occupied my mind--and I expect those of most American Jews--was the "second Holocaust" in the making. After aligning with Syria and Jordan, blockading Israel's Red Sea, kicking out United Nations peacekeeping forces and moving his vast army and air force into the Sinai, Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser had declared that the time had come to "annihilate the State of Israel once and for all."
It seemed likely. Our enemies had double the planes and tanks and almost 100,000 more soldiers. In Tel Aviv, rabbis of the chevra kadisha (burial society) were busy consecrating public parks to be used as cemeteries, and warehouses had stockpiled enough body bags to accommodate 40,000 casualties.
And then came the miracle: the lightning preemptive strike that not only eliminated the military threat but brought the magic news that Jerusalem was back in Jewish hands for the first time since the days of the Maccabees.
I will never forget the stunning and absolute joy that I, a young American Jew, felt at that news. I trembled, I cried and I sent up a prayer of deepest thanksgiving to the God of my fathers.
More than 50 years later, a similar joy enveloped me as the U.S. Embassy finally moved to Jerusalem. This is the key element missing from nearly all American and international coverage of the move--and without it, no observer can grasp the magnitude of what has changed. For Israelis, the embassy's relocation was not simply logistical. It was a full-throated rejection of a decades-long Arab campaign of vicious historical revisionism, which seeks to promote the absurd and obscene claim that the Jewish people never had any connection to Jerusalem. Just recently, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's senior advisor Mahmoud al-Habbash was quoted in the Algemeiner calling any Jewish connection to the holy city "an imperialist myth that exploited and distorted history and the holy sites in order to advance and justify imperialist projects."
That Muslims should claim exclusive ownership of the capital of the Kingdom of David, settled by Jews continuously since 1007 BCE, is as ugly a piece of cultural appropriation as is imaginable. Nevertheless, the lie has made enormous inroads, as evidenced by the December 21 UN vote in which 128 nations condemned the U.S. decision to move the embassy...