|BYU Jerusalem Center - artwork by J Kirk Richards|
(by Yair Rosenberg tabletmag.com 5-15-15)
In 1986, ultra-Orthodox pop star Mordechai Ben David released a single titled “Jerusalem Is Not for Sale.” From its name and overwrought opening stanzas—“Jerusalem, her holiness crying, defiling her dearest location”—one could be forgiven for thinking it is a religious protest song against dividing the city in a peace deal. But then comes the chorus:
Jerusalem is not for sale!
Voices crying, thundering throughout our cities.
You better run for your life, back to Utah overnight,
Before the mountaintop opens wide to swallow you inside.
Far from an anthem against encroaching Palestinians, the song is actually a call to arms against Mormons. It is a relic of the explosive debate that engulfed Israeli society over the construction of Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem campus, which marks its 27th anniversary this week. The incendiary affair brought thousands to protest in the streets of Jerusalem, precipitated a no-confidence motion in the Israeli government, and led hundreds of U.S. Congress members to intervene in the Jewish state’s internal politics.
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