New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani hosted a gallery of guests from Israel at a gathering in New York City Hall on Thursday afternoon in a display of unity and support for undivided Jerusalem and Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
Among the guest speakers were Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, Russian immigrant leader Natan Sharansky, Cabinet minister Ronni Milo and Likud MK Uzi Landau. Also present was prominent American Jewish leader Ron Lauder, who aroused criticism from dovish Jews in Israel and the US for attending and speaking at the massive Jerusalem rally on Monday night.
Mayor Olmert opened yesterday's event by repeating his warning to US President Bill Clinton from Monday evening not to become the first American president in history to advocate the division of Jerusalem and the giveaway of the Temple Mount.
In his address, Mayor Giuliani said that he saw the present pursuit of "peace" by Israeli leader Ehud Barak and PLO chief Yasser Arafat as being non-productive from the beginning, because of the countless violations by the Palestinian Authority of all the Oslo accords. He drew on his own experience in managing New York City to emphasize the absurdity of trying to police and keep secure a sub-divided Jerusalem, as Clinton has pressured Israel to do. According to a release from Americans For a Safe Israel, Mayor Giuliani was applauded when he declared, "Clinton's last act should be moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, thereby carrying out an act of Congress."
Center party MK Ronni Milo, the former Likud mayor of Tel Aviv and now Minister of Health in Barak's government, announced before the gathering that he would resign his post at the weekly Cabinet meeting this coming Sunday to protest Barak's willingness to divide Jerusalem and give up the Temple Mount. He stated, "Without the Temple Mount we have no right to be anywhere. No Israeli government can neglect the past and history without giving up the future of the Jewish people." Milo received a standing ovation from the crowd when he announced his resignation.
Sharansky, who became a symbol for democracy and freedom when he was held prisoner in the former USSR, noted that he was born in 1948 when the Israeli state was born, but did not realize his Jewish identity until the Israeli victory of 1967 when Motti Gur declared, "The Temple Mount is in our hands." AFSI reported that he maintained the struggle for Jerusalem is what kept Jews together through the centuries, as expressed in the repeated prayer, "Next year in Jerusalem."
Sharansky referred to the embattled Lauder as being the hero of the Jerusalem rally because he represented the millions of Diaspora Jews who recognized that Jerusalem is not a political issue. Lauder stated, "Jerusalem is the soul of the Jewish people, uniting all, regardless of their religious or secular beliefs." He added that the "450,000 people who gathered in Jerusalem at the January 8 rally would be comparable to 20 million Americans turning out for a demonstration."
Lauder, a cosmetics magnate, serves as chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and president of the Jewish National Fund, but made clear at the Jerusalem rally he spoke in his personal capacity only. He remains under fire from staunchly pro-Olso elements in the US and Israel for participating in the rally. A dozen of the 54 member organizations of the Conference of Presidents are calling for an emergency session to consider reprimanding Lauder, while 17 member groups so far have signed a counter letter supporting his actions.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.