Politics bore me. The news completely disinterests me. But one would have to be completely isolated to not know that there is a man who wants to blow up Israel, completely demolish it with nuclear weapons. So, although real estate is yet another topic of conversation which I tune out, I know enough to assume that if a country is the latest potential target of nuclear war, the real estate market in that location should be at an all-time low.
Yet, once again, Jerusalem defies logical assumptions.
From where I live, I can see Jerusalem from my porch. It is sprinkled with construction cranes. Every corner of this holy city is being renovated. Throughout the city, temporary white walls are being put up around construction sites, and signs boasting "Luxury Apartments Coming Soon" are hung. Where dilapidated warehouses and deserted parking lots once echoed with emptiness, now stand beautiful modern apartment buildings. Even the cities old rundown apartments are now worth disproportionate amounts of money, simply because they are located in the holiest city in the entire world. The rich are buying them, gutting them and building beautiful exclusive homes. Apartments that were bought for a few thousand dollars are being sold for a million.
When I came to Israel ten years ago, I would walk almost daily past a huge deserted monastery just outside the Old City. Over the course of the past several years, that monastery was also razed and in its place Mamilla stands. Mamilla includes luxury apartments, an elite hotel and a modern mall, reminiscent of the upper-class outdoor malls of America where one would find Saks Fifth Avenue and Brooks Brothers.
The Jerusalem Light Rail, the city's new intra-city train, is due to begin running in 2011. Enormous amounts of energy, time and money have been invested in this project that makes the Old City quickly accessible from all corners of Jerusalem. The intercity train has also undergone major renovations; new tracks are being built to include cities that had hitherto not been reachable by train. New highways are being set to speed up traveling time from one end of Israel to the other. Bridges are springing up to connect new roads to old roads.
I can not help but laugh every time I see another building project. Iran is threatening nuclear war and our country is building as though we are going to host the Olympics. Why? Why are the prestigious members of American, French, Belgian and English societies purchasing apartments in the X that marks the spot on the terrorist's map of the world? Why is Jerusalem not quaking in fear of nuclear war?
We've been here before. We have been in Jerusalem during its peak of glory and the Romans dragged us out in chains. We were the cream of Spanish nobility, living in exquisite estates that were then usurped by the church as flames licked our feet. We lived in Germany and Hungary during times of physical and spiritual plenty, and then were carted out on cattle cars. But today, the Romans, the Spanish Church, and the Nazis—world leaders have come and gone, yet we remain. We stand, proud of our heritage, excited for our future. An ancient divine promise that Zion will be rebuilt is the lyrics to the latest new releases of pop Jewish music. It is sung in our early morning prayers and in the lullabies to our children. So, we build and build and build. Cities, settlements, homes, schools, parks, families and communities. The Jewish focus is forward.
This passionate Jew hater that is planning nuclear war on us is flesh and bones. Albeit, he may very well possess the means to initiate war with Israel, we still are not afraid. Because G‑d, who is not flesh and bones, loves Israel, gave it to us and it will always be ours.