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What a mess the world is in. I could not help but cast my mind back nearly 5 years and consider how different the world is today.

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 current Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced  last year that  the Labor Government was going back on the former Prime Minister's decision to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Australia is now, like so many western countries, experiencing rallies and protests where people are chanting " From the River to the Sea " as some sort of war cry to support Palestine and encourage the destruction of Israel as a country..... ?

It seems to me that we all need our Jerusalem. Our place that we call HOME.   That city that symbolises the birthplace of humanity.

Jerusalem is sacred to three major religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It contains important religious sites such as the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. The city's religious significance makes it a focal point for adherents of these faiths, and disputes often revolve around control and access to these holy sites.

And people have fought for " ownership " of it for thousands of years.

Will that battle ever end? No doubt Jerusalem will be a pawn in politics and religious wars for many years to come.

It is not my intention to argue over the ownership of Jerusalem or the ins and outs of ownership of Australia. But I do see similarities. Australia is now, like so many countries, embroiled in a war over ownership of land and who is the rightful owner.

Who " owns " Jerusalem? Who " owns " Australia? Who " owns " anything these days? 

I can only look to history and see that to the victor go the spoils.  We are in a battle and the stakes are high. 

In fairness, Australia helped end 800 years of Ottoman rule in the Battle of Bersheeba,

In fact, it was an insult to OUR brave soldiers who gave their lives  - they willingly went to lands unknown to fight and fight they did.

Because it really is a fight about OUR Jerusalem. isn't it? Who " owns this place? "

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 - people from all religions and all countries around the world. . 

How those lyrics resonate with me in these troubled times. 

I think 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. 

Detail of Allenby Entering Jerusalem

The last great Cavalry Charge.

After Our brave boys from the Australian Light Horse fought and died to take this city, it seemed 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 Bersheeba 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.

In all honesty, I have to wonder whether Jerusalem should be declared a " sacred site : and no one owns it. Because, afterall, it does mean too much to too many to perish in the name of politics.

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