American Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel published a passionate full-page ad in the Washington Post, April 16, explaining that for Jews the city's importance is in a realm above politics.
The ad was in response to pressure from the Obama administration for a halt to Jewish building in parts of Jerusalem.
"(Jerusalem) is mentioned more than 600 times in Scripture and not a single time in the Koran," he wrote. "The first song I heard was my mother's lullaby about and for Jerusalem."
"Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming," Weisel continued. "There is no more moving prayer in Jewish history than the one expressing our return to Jerusalem. To many theologians, it is Jewish history, to many poets, a source of inspiration."
"It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city, it is what binds one Jew to another in a way that remains hard to explain," he added.
Wiesel cited the historical record that Jews have been kept out of the city's walls only twice since King David made it his capital more than 3,000 years ago: first, under the Roman invaders, and second under the Jordanians in 1948, when Jews were excluded from the Old City for 19 years.
"Today, for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims may all worship at their shrines," Weisel said. "And contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims are allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city."
"The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate but about memory," he continued.
Weisel asked why the most sensitive issue between Israelis and Palestinians had to be dealt with now and warned that pressure will not produce a solution.
"Jerusalem is the heart of our heart and the soul of our soul," he said.
Wiesel's plea came one day after Ron Louder, president of the World Jewish Congress, wrote an open letter published in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal questioning the commitment of the Obama Administration to Israel's security.
Sources: The Washington Post, Ha'aretz