Norman Podhoretz Commentary Magazine July/August 2007. Discussing the apparent “scandal” of Jerusalem’s particularity – and that of the belief of the choseness of the Jews – writer Norman Podhoretz shows shows them to be paradoxes, not scandals. He brings empirical grounds to accept this particularity as a gift to the world.At a ceremony in Jerusalem on May 24 2007, Norman Podhoretz received the Guardian of Zion Award from the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University. Following is the text of his lecture:
“Being here on the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem reminds me that I was also here in 1995 for the 3,000th anniversary of this city as the capital of King David’s unified Kingdom of Israel. During the opening ceremonies, which I attended with my Israeli daughter Ruthie Blum, one speaker after another arose to proclaim that Jerusalem would never again be divided, and that it would forever remain the capital of Israel. But instead of being reassured, I found myself growing more and more uneasy. After hearing the third or fourth such confident proclamation, I turned to Ruthie and muttered, “Uh-oh, there goes Jerusalem.”
My remark may have been flip, but — even apart from the cynicism that the vows of politicians so often and so rightly inspire — behind it there were serious grounds for being apprehensive. For even while the then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was declaring that “There is no state of Israel without Jerusalem and no peace without Jerusalem undivided,” his government was quietly tolerating Palestinian political activity in East Jerusalem. Furthermore, much of the world was already treating the PLO’s offices in Orient House, in which this activity was taking place, as ministries of the future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Then there was Bill Clinton, the then President of the United States. Clinton might be happy to state unequivocally that “I recognize Jerusalem as an undivided city and the eternal capital of Israel.” Nevertheless, his ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, had just joined with all the European ambassadors in refusing to attend the opening ceremonies of Jerusalem 3000. This was the same Martin Indyk who, as the head of a think tank in Washington, had written a paper advocating that the American embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Now, however, Indyk was lobbying against precisely this same move. Thanks to the perversities engendered by the Oslo peace process, he even enjoyed the tacit approval of the Israeli government in doing so.
So far, blessedly, my apprehensions of 1995 over the future status of Jerusalem have not been realized. In one respect, nothing at all has changed since then: as with the celebrations of 1995, neither the American ambassador nor the representatives of the European Union attended the opening ceremony for the 40th anniversary of the city’s reunification. In another respect, there has even been an improvement: Orient House has been shut down, and the Palestinian Authority has in the past few years been prevented by various means from conducting organized political business within East Jerusalem.
Nevertheless, the stark and simple truth is that today there is more reason, much more reason, to worry about Jerusalem than there was in 1995. In 1995, in spite of the ominous signs of trouble ahead that seemed all too obvious to some of us, very few Israelis outside the fringes of the far Left were willing to contemplate a redivision of Jerusalem. In those days, this was still the reddest of red lines, and not even the promise of a peace treaty could induce the vast majority of Israelis to cross it. Not so today. In fact, according to a recent poll, 57 percent of Jewish Israelis “are willing to make some concession in the city as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.”
One rationale for this willingness has been supplied by my old friend, the historian Walter Laqueur. In a recent book entitled Dying for Jerusalem, Laqueur informs us that “the city is already divided,” and he goes on to invoke the authority of the prophet Isaiah to justify taking a relaxed attitude toward this situation: Isaiah, he writes, said many wonderful things about Jerusalem—that for Zion’s sake he will not keep silent, and that out of Zion will go forth the law. But he did not say that his right hand will forget her cunning unless the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health are located in this city.
And Laqueur adds that nowhere in the Hebrew Bible is it laid down that “sovereignty on part of the city cannot be shared with others.”
Hillel Halkin, a prominent Israeli intellectual and another old friend, agrees. He points out that the great majority of Jerusalem’s Arab inhabitants live in areas of the city that were never traditionally thought to be part of Jerusalem at all. When one speaks, therefore, of “repartitioning” Jerusalem, this is not quite the frightful specter that it might appear at first glance.
There is also a variant of this rationale that was given to me privately by another prominent intellectual who once occupied a high position in the Israeli government. Since, he said, the city was already de facto divided to the point where neither he nor anyone he knew ever dared to venture into its eastern part after dark, why continue resisting a de jure acknowledgment of that reality? (To this I replied that there were neighborhoods in New York and other American cities of which the same thing could be said, but that did not mean that they should not remain parts of the United States.)
A third, and perhaps the most telling rationale of all, is demographic. Because the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have a much higher birthrate than the Jews living here, and because so many Jews have been leaving the city, the Jewish majority has steadily dwindled. Furthermore, according to another poll, no fewer than 78 percent of Jewish Israelis do not wish to live in Jerusalem. In addition to being put off by the scarcity of jobs, some feel that there are already too many Palestinians here, and some, if truth be told, feel that there are too many Jews—haredi Jews, that is. There is thus a distinct possibility that Jews will in any case wind up as a minority within their own capital city.
Which is why a hawk like Professor Dan Schueftan of Haifa University can join with a Peace Now activist like the novelist Amos Oz in advocating a redivision of the city. Yet Schueftan — who calls Israel “the eighth wonder of the world” — believes in achieving as much separation as possible between Jews and Arabs, while Oz — who dwells obsessively on Israel’s putative sins against the Palestinians — dreams of an Israeli ambassador to Palestine and a Palestinian ambassador to Israel strolling frequently to each other’s offices in the two parts of Jerusalem for coffee and a friendly chat. Needless to say, no such vision of the lion lying down with the lamb presents itself to Schueftan’s eyes. He favors a re-division only because, as he put it not long ago, “Israel without the parts of East Jerusalem heavily populated by Arabs . . . is stronger than Israel that includes 300,000 [more] Arabs.”
Now, even though I know that demographic projections often turn out to be wrong, and even though I believe that strength cannot be measured by demography alone, I certainly do not deny that the numbers give serious cause for concern. I also freely admit that no comparison can be drawn between Jerusalem and New York, or indeed between Jerusalem and any other city on the face of the earth. In fact, I think that Mayor Uri Lupolianski is exactly right when he declares that “Jerusalem is not only an inseparable part of the Jewish nation, it is the basis of the existence of the Jewish nation.” Conversely, Walter Laqueur is in my judgment exactly wrong when he cites Isaiah, of all prophets, in making his case for a certain nonchalance toward the possibility that Jerusalem might be redivided in some future negotiation.
To understand how egregiously off the mark Laqueur is, we need to recall a little history.
After the death of David’s son Solomon, the united kingdom forged by David was broken apart into two separate kingdoms — Israel in the north with its eventual capital in Samaria, and Judah in the south with its capital in Jerusalem. But in 722 B.C.E., after some two centuries of stormy existence, the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians and its people were scattered to the winds to become the Ten Lost Tribes. About twenty years later, in 701 B.C.E., Assyria, now ruled by Sennacherib, was on the point of meting out the same fate to Judah, of which Hezekiah was now the king.
Having already overrun much of Judah, Sennacherib was laying siege to Jerusalem. At this juncture, what did Isaiah do? Did he propose that Hezekiah negotiate a deal under which Judah’s Ministries of Tourism and Health would be moved elsewhere and sovereignty over the city would be shared with Assyria? No, what he did was to assure Hezekiah that if he held out against Sennacherib, no harm would come to Jerusalem because God would not permit it.
This belief in the inviolability of Jerusalem went very deep. Just how deep it went, we know from what would happen more than a century later to the prophet Jeremiah. Because he was warning that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would lay waste to Jerusalem if a rebellion were mounted against him, Jeremiah was accused of contradicting the promise of God to the people of Israel, and his political opponents advocated that he be put to death for the crime of blasphemy.
It was also in Jeremiah’s time, under the reign of Josiah as king of Judah, that the book which would later be known as Deuteronomy was found in the Temple of Solomon when repairs were being carried out there. Both the king and the people of Judah were already familiar with much of what was contained in that book; but there was also something new and startling. It was a prohibition, stated in the strongest possible terms, against offering sacrifices on any altar but the one in the Temple in Jerusalem.
The reason this was so startling was that, from the time of Abraham on down, a variety of altars had been built and dedicated to the God of Israel in a variety of places, and nowhere in the laws of the Torah as they were known at the time, or in any of the oracles and sermons of the prophets who had come earlier, had there been the remotest hint that there was anything wrong with offering sacrifices on them. Yet now God was commanding the destruction of all these altars and shrines wherever they might be located and however ancient they might be. From now on, there was to be no sacrificing and no celebration of the festivals anywhere except in Jerusalem. Jerusalem thus became not only the capital of Judah but also, so to speak, the capital of Judaism.
In wondering about this singling-out of one city from among all the cities in the Land of Israel, I find myself ineluctably led into its larger and even more mysterious context, which is the singling-out of one people from among all the nations of the world. And in puzzling over this belief that the children of Israel, and their descendants who would in later centuries be called Jews, were the chosen people of God, I find myself relying for help on an intriguing Christian concept: the one that Christian theologians call the scandal of particularity.
There are many elaborate definitions of this concept. But in my opinion, it was most strikingly elucidated not in any theological disquisition but in a little jingle often wrongly attributed to the British writer Hilaire Belloc. Actually, it was written in the 1920’s by a British journalist named William Norman Ewer, and it goes like this: “How odd/of God/To choose/the Jews.”
Given the sly touch of anti-Semitic malice concealed beneath the whimsy of this jingle, it was inevitable that there should have been responses in kind. One of them, of uncertain authorship, runs: “But not so odd/as those who choose/A Jewish God/but spurn the Jews.” Another, also of uncertain authorship, is more succinct: “Not odd/of God./Goyim/annoy’m.”
Ewer, incidentally, was not only an anti-Semite; he was also, it has emerged from recently declassified files of MI5, a Soviet agent. Make of that what you will, a strange fact remains: in composing his jingle, this Soviet agent could have been speaking as a believing Christian who had no choice but to accept what the Bible told him; and the Bible told him that God had indeed chosen the Jews. Ewer thought this an oddity. But to weightier and more solemn Christian minds it was more than odd, it was nothing short of scandalous, that the one true God, the universal God, the God of all, should have singled out any one people on whom to bestow His special favor. And as if this were not scandal enough, the particular people he had singled out was the Jews: a scraggly tribe only just freed from slavery and now wandering in the desert.
True, the often bitter fruits of this special privilege would in the distant future sometimes lead the descendants of those scraggly wanderers in the desert to pray: “Dear God, please choose someone else for a change.” But that in itself could have been taken — at least by the humorless — as an updated version of their incessant complaining against God, so richly documented by the Book of Exodus, along with their readiness at every moment to rebel against the Law revealed to them at Sinai — the very Law that, through the instrumentality of God’s choice of them, would at the end of days be accepted by all mankind.
Of course, Jewish complaints against God have also come from those who adhere strictly to His law, and who are at a loss to understand why they have been punished instead of rewarded for it. We find such complaints magnificently expressed in the Book of Job, and by the prophets Jeremiah and Habakkuk, both of whom actually summon God to what would in later centuries be called a din Torah, a lawsuit before a rabbinical court, to answer precisely such charges. Nor did this end with the prophets. Perhaps the most deliciously poignant latter-day example we have is the 18th-century Yiddish folk song called the “Qaddish” of Reb Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev, or A Din Toyreh mit Got. It goes in part like this:
Good morning to You, Master of the Universe,
I, Levi Yitzhak, son of Sarah of Berditchev,
Have come to swear out a complaint
against you on behalf of Your people Israel.
What do You have against Your people Israel?
Why are You always setting Yourself
upon Your people Israel?
We shall see in a few moments the answer that the likes of Reb Levi Yitzhak have usually settled on. Meanwhile, to return to the Christians, they were ultimately able to reconcile themselves to the scandal of particularity as applied to the Jews for a different reason: they discovered how useful a concept it was when applied to the very cornerstone of their own religion. Here, for instance, is how a British divine, preaching not long ago in Salisbury Cathedral, has put it:
It’s scandalous that, in some way, God . . . cares for the Jews more than anyone else. . . . This is known as the scandal of particularity — that it was through a particular nation that God especially made Himself known. But then it was also at a particular time, in a particular place, and in a particular person, that God fully revealed His purposes and presence.
Obviously, Jews could not and cannot subscribe to the second half of this expanded definition of the scandal of particularity: that is, what Christians call the Incarnation. Yet neither do many Jews subscribe even to the first half, in which the election of Israel is openly acknowledged. And it is not only because they wish that God had chosen someone else for a change that they reject the whole idea of a chosen people.
To Jews such as these, the idea of a chosen people is just another ridiculous myth that no enlightened person could possibly accept. Nor is its putative irrationality the worst thing about it. In their reading, it was precisely through this idea that the evil of racism came into the world — the very evil which ultimately mutated into the claim of the Nazis that they were a master race, and of which, by a tremendously tragic irony, the Jews themselves would become the major victim.
Most Jews who feel this way simply do not believe in God. But there are also Jews who in some sense or other do believe in God and who nevertheless regard the idea of chosenness as a primitive tribal superstition to be outgrown. An especially juicy example of the lengths to which such Jews can go in dealing with the doctrine of chosenness comes from the Reconstructionist movement, one of the branches of American Judaism. Here is what the movement recommends be told to young people who are disturbed by the partiality that God shows to the Israelites:
The Bible describes a time when the Israelite religion was becoming different from the religions of the neighboring peoples. Part of the “sales pitch” was the idea that the Israelite religion was all good, and that the other religions were all bad. . . . Sometimes that sounds very unfair to our modern ear, but it is really just an ancient “hard-sell” campaign.
Needless to say, to Jews like this, Deuteronomy’s restriction of all ritual practices to a single city, Jerusalem, only deepens the scandal of particularity. In their eyes, it was bad enough for the earlier books of the Torah to maintain that the one true God, the God of all, had revealed Himself to one people alone from among all the nations of the earth. But then came Deuteronomy to make it worse by particularizing Judaism even more narrowly.
The British clergyman I quoted a minute ago comes up with a good riposte to this objection:
We sometimes hear people say, usually as an excuse for not coming to church, that God is everywhere all of the time, and so we can worship him everywhere — but the fact of the matter is that, even though there may be some truth in that statement, we don’t experience God everywhere all of the time — the scandal of particularity is that we experience Him at particular times and in particular places.
This, by the way, is a very remarkable statement. To appreciate just how remarkable, we have to remind ourselves of a central argument of Christian apologists throughout the ages in dealing with the relation of their religion to Judaism. While acknowledging — as how could they not? — that Christianity was born out of Judaism, they have claimed that it represents a higher stage in the evolution of religious understanding — from, precisely, particularism to universalism. Yet here, in the words of a Christian divine, we have an explicit recognition that matters are not quite so simple as all that. Here we have an explicit recognition that the particular and the universal are not opposites at war with each other. Here we have an explicit recognition that the universal is rooted in the particular and can only be reached through the particular.
Now if this British divine is representative, it would seem that Christian thinkers have come to understand that what they used to regard and still characterize as a scandal is not a scandal at all, but rather a paradoxical truth. But what about the Jews?
Well, it goes without saying that, among those who in some sense or other believe in God, the Orthodox accept the idea of chosenness literally and without qualification or equivocation. First God appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him and with the line of his descendants running through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Then He revealed Himself again in a burning bush to Moses in Egypt, and to the children of Israel as a whole at Sinai, where He promised that if they kept His covenant, they would become “a peculiar treasure to Me above all people.”
To the extent that Orthodox believers bother to justify all this in the eyes of anyone who considers it an unseemly or even a sinful species of pride, they tend to emphasize that being chosen is as much a burden as a privilege — the burden of bearing the yoke of the commandments. Or, to cite the answer that was given by the prophet Amos and that the likes of Reb Levi Yitzhak had to accept: “You only have I known of all the families of earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
Like the Orthodox, those observant Jews who belong to the Conservative branch of Judaism in America find nothing scandalous about the particularity of chosenness. If they are less literal than the Orthodox in their understanding of the doctrine, they still seem relatively comfortable with it. But there are two other modern Jewish movements, both of which arose, at least in part, out of embarrassment over the doctrine of chosenness.
The first of these, Reform Judaism, was born in Germany in the 19th century. The Reformers did hold on, if somewhat tenuously, to the belief in chosenness. But they agreed with the then prevailing Christian view in drawing a sharply invidious line between the particular and the universal. The next step was to denigrate the ritual side of the Law as the expression in action of the primitively particularist idea of chosenness, and to elevate instead the moral or ethical commandments that were held to be universal and therefore more advanced and enlightened.
If the Jewish people were chosen, the Reformers said, it was in the sense that they had a “mission” to uphold these moral values. Hence their favorite parts of the Bible were a few verses selectively culled from some of the Latter Prophets, especially Amos, Isaiah, and Micah — who, I once unkindly quipped, often seemed to be regarded by the Reform movement in the United States as very high-class fund-raisers for the liberal wing of the Democratic party.
The second of the two modern Jewish movements, this one born in America in the 20th century, was Reconstructionism. From what I quoted in alluding to it a few minutes ago, it was obviously more audacious than Reform. In fact, it even went so far as to purge from the liturgy any and all references to the doctrine of chosenness, including even the phrase asher baḥar banu mikol ha-ạmim (“Who has chosen us from among all the nations”) in the blessing one recites upon being called up to the Torah.
Am I then saying that a belief in the Jews as the chosen people can be seriously held only by observant Jews and believing Christians? My answer is no.
For one thing, I strongly agree that the universal can only be reached through the particular —and not just in religion alone, but also in art and science which, in the words of the English poet William Blake, “cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars.” True, I still find it hard to make theological or even just plain logical sense out of the election of Israel — so hard, that I cannot altogether dismiss the old view of it as an oddity to Reason and a scandal to Theology. At the same time, however, I also find myself, if a little mischievously, beginning to think that if the idea of the Jews as the chosen people is taken not as a matter of faith that can never be proved, but as a hypothesis subject to empirical verification, it actually seems to make scientific sense.
Having outlasted all of these mighty empires by creating ways of surviving statelessness, the Jews then remained alive as an identifiable people for another two-thousand years: in spite of persecution by Christians and Muslims; in spite of forced conversions on pain of death; in spite of the murderous rampages that periodically broke out against them; and in spite of wholesale expulsions from countries like Spain and France and England in which they had temporarily been granted refuge.
In another of these European countries, and in our very own time, there even arose a tyrant who set out to achieve a “final solution” of “the Jewish problem.” His technique was much more direct than any that had been employed before. He simply murdered as many individual embodiments of that “problem” as his forces could reach, which turned out to be a full third of the 18 million of them who were still around by the early decades of the 20th century.
Meanwhile, in yet another country, yet another tyrant was doing his best to make it impossible for the more than 3 million Jews still residing in his domains to practice their religion or maintain any other ties to their ancient traditions. And we know that only his death in 1953 prevented him from adopting even more extreme measures to push the still “unsolved” Jewish problem closer to its final solution.
Yet all this, too, failed — and the Jews, though much diminished in numbers and grievously wounded in spirit, were once more still here as an identifiable people, while Hitler and Stalin and the empires they had built crumbled into the same ignominious dust as had the long line of their predecessors. And so, I make bold to predict, will it be with the Persians of today and their Arab allies who, even while denying that there was a Holocaust during World War II, threaten to enact another one by wiping Israel off the map during our present war, the one I insist on calling World War IV.
Israel: the state the Jews succeeded in building after nearly two full millennia during which they had lived or died, been tolerated or persecuted, on the sufferance and at the whim of the regimes under whose rule they found themselves. What is more, they built it on the land from which they had originally been driven into an exile so lengthy that it became for them a general touchstone of virtual eternity (azoi lang vi di goles, “as long as the exile,” they would say in Yiddish of anything that seemed endless).
And there is even more to the story than this. For in addition to the new state of Israel, there was also America, to which over a century ago Jews began fleeing by the millions from two great modern principalities that have likewise disappeared: the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the Hapsburgs and the Russian empire of the Romanovs. These Jewish immigrants called America di goldene medineh, “the golden land,” and they were right. Of course, there was no gold in the streets, as some of them had imagined, which meant that they had to struggle, and struggle hard. But there was another kind of gold in America, a more precious kind than the gold of coins. There was freedom and there was opportunity. Blessed with these conditions, and hampered by much less virulent forms of anti-Semitism and discrimination than Jews had previously grown accustomed to contending with, the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these immigrants flourished to an extent unprecedented in the experience of their people.
Thus it was that even before the remnant of one segment of the Jewish people had returned to its ancestral home, another portion had found another home in a new place and in a new world such as they had never discovered in all their forced wanderings throughout the centuries over the face of the earth.
Nor have the Jews simply survived in the material sense. Listen to Mark Twain writing in 1899, long before America had truly become a new home for the Jews and even longer before they had built a state of their own in the Land of Israel. As it happens, while living in Vienna Mark Twain had gotten to know Theodor Herzl, and though he did not altogether oppose Herzl’s plan “to gather the Jews of the world together in Palestine, with a government of their own,” he did think that it would be “politic” to stop such a “concentration of the cunningest brains in the world,” because “it will not be well to let the race find out its strength.” Considering that he began by characterizing the Jew as “a money-getter” from the time of Joseph in Egypt and up to the present day, Mark Twain might have been expected, like the pagan prophet Balaam in the Bible, to curse, or at least disparage, the Jews. But instead, and again like Balaam, he ended up by showering blessings on their heads. Here is what he said:
The Jews constitute but one-quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous, dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. . . . The Jew . . . is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?
Only recently, an attempt to unravel one particular aspect of this secret was made by another American Gentile, the brilliant social scientist Charles Murray. But after examining various theories purporting to account for what he calls “Jewish genius” — that is, the extraordinary and wildly disproportionate intellectual and cultural achievements of the Jews — Murray rejected them all as unsatisfactory and finally threw up his hands. “At this point,” he wrote in COMMENTARY, “I take sanctuary in my remaining hypothesis. . . . The Jews are God’s chosen people.”
If this is the conclusion, however playful it may be, that a self-described Scots-Irish secular Gentile from Iowa finds himself forced into on the basis of the empirical evidence, who are we Jews to say him Nay? And if, on the basis of the same empirical evidence alone, and without necessarily relying on the evidence of things unseen that is provided by religious faith, we instead say Yes, then we are driven to join with those of our fellow Jews who, like Mayor Lupolianski, contend that “Jerusalem is not only an inseparable part of the Jewish nation, it is the basis of the existence of the Jewish nation.” And if we agree about the centrality of Jerusalem, we are driven still further: into a spirited rejection of the reprehensible post-Zionist and anti-Zionist ideologues who are only too eager to see Jerusalem divided yet again, or else transformed into the capital of a bi-national state that would eliminate the Jewish particularism of Israel, to be replaced not even by the fantasy of a universalist utopia but rather by an all too real Arab/Muslim particularism. And we are also driven into a rejection, though a much gentler one, of the position taken by certain Zionists who, however regretfully, are ready to accept such a division as the price of peace with the Palestinians.
Alas, the hopes of peace today and in the foreseeable future are as illusory as they were in the day of the prophet Jeremiah when he denounced all those false prophets and corrupt priests who soothed the hurt of the people with cries of peace, peace, when there was no peace. Fortunately, however, the same poll that shows 57 percent of Israelis willing to pay in the coin of a divided Jerusalem for peace with the Palestinians also shows that a whopping 84 percent are not taken in by the promises of peace issuing from the mouths of the false prophets of today.
A moment ago I made bold to predict that the Persians of our own time and their Arab allies will fail in their evil efforts to wipe Israel off the map. Now I will conclude with another and even bolder prediction: that their regimes, like the long line of their anti-Jewish predecessors who in generation after generation rose up against us to destroy us, will be the ones to bite the dust, while the Jewish state, which is indeed the eighth wonder of the world, lives on — with, yes, Jerusalem as its undivided capital.