Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, examines the position of Jerusalem in the three monotheistic religions and its current role in the Arab-Israeli conflict and world politics. He shows that while Jerusalem remained central for Judaism since King David made it the capital city of his kingdom, its position in Christianity and Islam was usually marginal, and it temporarily took center stage only as a result of political developments within the two latter religions (e.g., during the Ummayad period in Islam and during the Crusader Wars of Christianity). The first three chapters analyze the role of Jerusalem in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This is followed by an examination of the diplomatic struggle over Jerusalem, its position among the Palestinian Arabs and under Hashemite rule, and the role of Jerusalem in the Arab-Israeli peace process. Gold then examines the role of Jerusalem in radical Islam, showing how the conquest of Jerusalem is regarded as a preliminary step toward the conquest and Islamization of the West. Elaborating on the failure of Muslim regimes and international bodies to guarantee freedom of worship and movement in Jerusalem, Gold concludes that these freedoms can be guaranteed only by Israel. He believes that giving parts of Jerusalem to a Muslim régime will not guarantee peace and security; on the contrary, this will be regarded as victory on the way to a universal Islamic state. While strong in its well documented historical analysis, the book is vague regarding the implementation of the desired outcome. Illustrations, index, maps, and notes.
Ruth Seif is a retired chairperson of English at Thomas Jefferson High School in NYC. She served as administrator in the alternative high school division.