Controlling Jerusalem is a special obligation. Israel is up to it


National Post, 14 December 2017

Whichever power controls Jerusalem has an obligation to be generous, knowing it must be a worthy custodian of the city’s universal dimension

Last week I wrote about Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and how Jerusalem, like the Jewish people itself, has both a particular and universal identity. Abraham receives the promise that he will be both the father of a great nation (particular) and a blessing for all nations (universal).

How both of these dimensions ought to be lived is not straightforward. There are very few cities that have a universal dimension. Perhaps New York, as host to the United Nations officially, and as a crossroads of the world, unofficially. London is also a crossroads and, during its imperial days, served as a multinational, if not universal, capital. The Vatican City State was created in 1929 specifically to provide a particular (micro-) state in which the universal dimension of the pope’s ministry could be given suitable international legal expression.

But only Jerusalem is Jerusalem, spiritual capital of the human race, chosen not by statute or treaty, but divine election. I saw a rather churlish headline last week following America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: “Why Evangelicals are obsessed with Jerusalem.” One might equally ask why God is “obsessed” with Jerusalem. Because God is, Jerusalem belongs in some way or another to all to profess faith in the one God, the God of Abraham.

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