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It was on the 6th of December 6, 2017 that President Trump recognised Jerusalem, the ancient capital of the Jewish people, as the capital of the State of Israel.

It was a momentous decision and one that the then Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison followed in 2018. 

Yet the new Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced on Tuesday the Labor Government was going back on the former prime minister's decision to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Australia had previously seen Tel Aviv as the Israeli capital and is where the embassy is located but Prime Minister Lapid lashed out at Ms Wong’s announcement labelling it a rushed and unprofessional decision.

“In light of the way in which this decision was made in Australia, as a hasty response to an incorrect report in the media,” Mr Lapid said. source

From a personal perspective, I tend to think it was just a little more than that.

In fact, it was an insult to OUR brave soldiers who gave their lives to fight to end 800 years of Ottoman rule at The Battle of Beersheba. 

They willingly went to lands unknown to fight and fight they did.

 

As a child, I found Jerusalem was a city of wonder, captured in Bible stories and images of Christ. 

Hymns that were sung at school assembly rejoicing in its magnificence and ( dare I say this ? ) the centre of the Holy Lands.

In fact, the hymn and lyrics are still some of the most beautiful words I have ever heard. They still give me goosebumps.

It was a tribute to Jerusalem's importance to us. 

How those lyrics resonate with me in these troubled times. 

How I miss the stirring messages of hope. When England and Australia and New Zealand seemed to offer so much? Before the Holy Wars arrived.

For, to me, they were and still are the Holy Lands. The " Middle East " seems somehow a rather generic term, devoid of cultural or religious significance.

I cannot help but cast my mind back to a day, back in October 1917, when General Allenby arrived at the Jaffa Gate and quietly dismounted from his horse after the liberation of Jerusalem from the clutches of our enemy at war. 

The last great Cavalry Charge.

After Our brave boys from the Australian Light Horse fought and died to take this city, it seems a kick in the backside to their sacrifice to trivialise what they had done by rescinding a decision that was made in good faith. 

 

I will have more to say about the Battle of Beersheba in coming days, but, suffice to say, this victory on the 31st of October was not just a Battle won for the allies in the First World War. It was won for every one of us who heard those lyrics, penned by William Blake, and that so beautifully articulated what so many of us feel to this day.

Jerusalem is a Holy City to us and we treat it with reverence and respect. 

Allenby Enters Jerusalem, 1917 from CPX on Vimeo.

 As the speaker says in this video, 

" Nineteen years after the Kaiser rode through here in triumphant procession, through this hole in the wall that had been made for him, General Allenby approached Jerusalem from the West. He rode up the old Jaffa Road on his horse, flanked either side by detachments that had been under his command. But as he got close to the city, in a very deliberate lack of show, he got off his horse, and simply walked into town.

This was, after all, a time when you could reasonably expect a bit of grandeur attached to such an important military occasion. But Allenby shunned all of that, instead opting for an approach of plainness and simplicity. He even ignored the big hole in the wall and simply walked through the side gate. The story goes that as Allenby got off his horse, he said, “I won’t ride my horse into the city into which my Lord rode a donkey.”

For an Australian government to shrug off the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel was an act of enormous ignorance or care for history.

But to fail to acknowledge the sacrifice of our Light Horsemen and others is an insult of unprecedented proportion.

Is Australia a Nation of William Blake's vision? A nation with firm and familial bonds to Britain? Or are we now allied with the Moslem faiths that seized Jerusaleum 800 years ago and wish to take it back? 

I have to wonder how much of this is not really about the Middle East?

Or is truly, still about the " HOLY LANDS? " 

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