The Return to the Monument

The Looming Absence of the Temple

in Israel Studies Review

abstract

This article examines the gradual conversion of the areas surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem and spaces overlooking the Temple Mount into national symbolic landscape. Within this space, ancient Jewish sites function as national monuments, tied together through landscaping. A continuum of space and time is gradually being created in the shadow of Muslim and Christian monuments, in stark contrast to the Palestinian neighborhoods. The visual and textual symbolism and imagery that accompany the space emphasize the memory of the absent Jewish Temple. Thus, the creation of national symbolic landscape is simultaneously the creation of a new ‘Holy Geography’ and the replacement of traditional forms of Jewish memory by tangible and visual memory. The absent Temple serves as a meta-image of this symbolic national landscape and as the missing national monument, thus reflecting and promoting the rise of a symbiosis between religious and national aspirations.

The future Temple, that we anticipate,
Will descend intact from Heaven,
As alluded to by the verse [Exodus 15:17]
The sanctuary, my Lord, that Your hand established.
—Rashi, on Tractate Sukkah, 41A, Talmud Bavli

A small sanctuary did indeed descend intact in 2009, with some assistance from a crane, onto the skyline of Jerusalm. The small temple landed from above on the rooftop of the Aish HaTorah compound overlooking the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Two years prior, a golden menorah prepared by the Temple Institute was moved from the Byzantine-era Cardo in the Jewish Quarter onto a terrace overlooking the Temple Mount, close to the Rabi Yehuda Halevy stairway, which leads from the Jewish Quarter onto the plaza of the Western Wall. The menorah, embodying the messianic hopes of the institute, was finally removed from its crowded, confined quarters and brought out into the light of day.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Model of the Temple on the rooftop terrace of the Aish Ha Torah building

Citation: Israel Studies Review 32, 1; 10.3167/isr.2017.320104

Figure 2
Figure 2

Golden Menorah constructed by the Temple Institute, the Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem

Photographs © Hava Schwartz

Citation: Israel Studies Review 32, 1; 10.3167/isr.2017.320104

The images of the Temple and the menorah are deeply embedded in Jewish art. The facade of the Temple and the shape of the menorah adorned mosaic floors in ancient synagogues, as well as burial artifacts, ritual objects, and everyday life in the late Roman and Byzantine periods. In the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple, these images recalled an intact, undestroyed Jerusalem, now far removed in space and time. The menorah, in particular, became a key Jewish symbol in a space politically and symbolically controlled by Byzantine Christianity (Levine 2000: 8–32). In this context, the image of the menorah symbolized the fracture between the tangible and visible and between the symbolized and the longed-for—a fracture that was to be expressed across many generations in Jewish literature, ritual, and theology (DeKoven Ezrahi 2000; Mann 2011; Pedaya 2011). Now the menorah stands within the space once dominated by that absent monument it has come to symbolize, opposite the mosques and under the control of a Jewish state; a model of the Temple stands on top of a luxurious and storied religious institution dominating the skyline. As accurate as the models of the Temple and the menorah might be, their reconstruction does not replicate or immortalize their original meaning; rather, it creates a new meaning infused with the power of change in the spatial and political context.

Since the occupation of East Jerusalem and its annexation by Israel in 1967, Israel has been seeking to ensure its physical and symbolic sovereignty over the space surrounding the Old City overlooking the Temple Mount from north, south, and east.1 While the Temple Mount itself

Figure 3
Figure 3

The Old City surroundings as viewed from the Mount of Olives on the East

Photograph © Hava Schwartz

Citation: Israel Studies Review 32, 1; 10.3167/isr.2017.320104

remained (and still is) under administration of the Waqf (the Muslim religious trust) by the decision of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan hours after the conquest in 1967 (Ramon 2002: 296), the space surrounding the city walls was declared a national park in 1974 (Bimkom 2012; Wilkof 2011).

The efforts by successive Israeli governments to cement Israel’s control over the Holy Basin has come up against the lack of international legitimacy for the annexation of East Jerusalem; Palestinian claims for sovereignty in the Jerusalem space confront the Israeli race to acquire territorial and demographic power vis-à-vis the Palestinians (Bimkom 2012; Klein 1999) and denials of a historical Jewish presence in Jerusalem originating in the Muslim world (Shragai 2012: 38–45). The physical and symbolic planning of the space is, of course, deeply affected by these factors as well. In line with the logic that has guided the shaping of the urban landscape in Jerusalem for centuries, the physical planning of space in Israeli Jerusalem is expressive not only of power relations but also of the symbolic perception of the rights for this space, as seen by the city’s planners and architects.

In this article,2 I investigate how Jewish memory is shaped by modern Israeli nationalism as a national, institutionalized ‘realm of memory’, inspired by the logic that guided the establishment of other capital cities in nation-states as part of the shaping of a national narrative (Cannadine 1983: 126–129; Hobsbawm 1983: 274–277). The landscape of capital cities has often been planned as a ‘symbolic national landscape’ by which monuments, museums, and national institutions express and simultaneously shape power relations, consciousness, memory, and identity (Savage 2009; Sharon 2006; Young 1993). The space surrounding these sites plays a symbolic role in the reflection of nationality, just as sojourning and settling in it as a total space plays a role in the formation of a national identity (Savage 2009: 10).

The encounter between the two parts of divided Jerusalem—East Jerusalem, under Jordanian rule before the 1967 Six-Day War together with the Holy Basin and its multiplicity of historical sites, and West Jerusalem, in which the State of Israel had established its national institutions before 1967—was also a symbolic encounter that brought the question of affinity between nationality and religion close to the boiling point. Therefore, the post-1967 declaration of the space surrounding the Old City walls as a national park expressed more than the territorial and demographic policy of Israel in the aftermath of the Six-Day War (Bimkom 2012; Wilkof 2011). Rather, this decision served, in time, as the basis for the symbolic shaping of the heterogeneous space of the Holy Basin—with its villages, cemeteries, shrines, olive groves, and archaeological remains—as a national space of the Jewish state.3

Figure 4
Figure 4

Map of the national parks in East Jerusalem

Courtesy of Bimkom—Planners for Planning Rights

Citation: Israel Studies Review 32, 1; 10.3167/isr.2017.320104

In contrast to the symbolic national landscapes of capitals where the landscape was designed and planned as a national space, the circumstances of the Holy Basin involve both the conservation and, at the same time, the conversion of an existing landscape already loaded with historical, religious, cultural, and political charges, into a space shaped by a newly assigned national significance.

This approach to archaeological remains and ancient monuments linked to Jewish history has gradually converted these sites within the diverse landscape into components of a symbolic national landscape, playing a role within a “realm of memory,” to borrow from Pierre Nora (1989). Nora articulates the distinction between realms of memory, based on the organized collection of testimonies from the past, unification of these memory collections, and archiving them, on the one hand; and the traditional practices of memory, based on active and living memories, on the other.

With the strengthening of the physical and symbolic Israeli grip over the space in mind, I will examine how physical remains of Jewish history, distributed across the heterogeneous Holy Basin, are now being organized and consolidated into ‘heritage’ sites—appropriated history infused with the consciousness of rightful inheritance (Lowenthal 1998: 22)—as part of the shaping of Israeli national identity. Against the backdrop of the tensions between traditional forms of memory and a national ‘realm of memories’, I will also examine the place and role of the absent Temple in the national memory landscape being consolidated in the Holy Basin, in a space over which the State of Israel claims sovereignty.

Monumentalizing Memory: The Western Wall and the sambusky cemetery

The ancient myths at the bosom of Judaism … became a historical presence. The soldiers who conquered the Western Wall truly were as dreamers. The moment of breaking into the Old City and conquering it was a meta-temporal presence. The present was now also the past. The past was identical with the future. A synoptic vision united all. Divine historicity, which is the meta-historicity, and ordinary, contemporary, secular historicity, seemingly merged and became as one … The distinction between sacred and profane was canceled. From now, everything was sacred, or could become sacred. (Kurzweil 1998: 25)4

In the aftermath of the Six-Day War, conservation activity in the Holy Basin entailed increasing the visibility of these ‘ancient myths at the bosom of Judaism’ insofar as they could be found in a landscape long vacant of monumental Jewish presence. In the attempt to construct Jerusalem as a Jewish-national capital city and to anchor the modern national enterprise in the ancient landscape, the revival of these ‘ancient myths’ involved fashioning a new gaze over the sites representing Jewish presence in Jerusalem. The traditional monument of a symbolic national landscape is usually seen from afar, from below and upward in the space that surrounds it. The Israeli encounter with the ancient Jewish sites involved the creation of new conditions for observation, ones that would convert mere ancient sites into national monuments.

The foundational act of converting a site of traditional memory into a monument took place immediately after the Six-Day War, against the backdrop of national elation with the war’s dramatic results. This was the creation of the Western Wall plaza within the Old City.5 The vast ceremonial plaza, cleared through the hurried demolition of the Mughrabi neighborhood of Jerusalem days after the end of the war, engendered a sharp reversal of the gaze toward the Wall. Until then, the Wall had been crammed in front of houses, and the narrow alley next to it afforded the Jewish worshippers there, for centuries before the Jordanian occupation, a gaze from up close and upward, a near and intimate gaze accompanied by touch. Now, the large ceremonial plaza allows a collective supragaze that overrides the intimate gaze of an individual. From a modest site of prayer, the Wall suddenly became a ceremonial site ensconced in national glory. The ‘Wailing Wall’ became a national monument (Nitzan-Shiftan 2011: 65).

This act of exposure and spatial alteration, meant to tighten the physical as well as the symbolic hold over a site, foreshadowed what was to come. The establishment of a monumental gaze over historical Jewish sites through the creation of new conditions for observation persisted while the Israeli hold on the space around the Old City was consolidated and expanded, particularly in the national park around the Old City walls. One recent example is the Sambusky Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery from the Ottoman period, sprawled along a slope of Mount Zion over the Hinnom Valley near Silwan (Herzog 2011). The cemetery, until recently in a state of neglect, has been incorporated into a conservation project directed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority; it is to be surrounded by trees, with a monument, and observation points (Israel Nature and Parks Authority 2009). Furthermore, 2015 saw the launch of an annual memorial ceremony for those buried in the cemetery, attended by the Chief Rabbis (Ravid 2016). The restoration of the cemetery entails its construction as an object of observation. As with the Western Wall, the cemetery is being converted from a site of local, personal, and modest memory to a memory that forms a part of a national heritage. It appears that the ceremonies and the rededication of the gaze normally meant to help the dead rest peacefully where they lie are intended, in this case, to rally the dead to the flag, ready to march on to the national realm of memory.

The Western Wall and the Sambusky Cemetery are historical sites being monumentalized within a landscape over which the Israeli state seeks to prove historical ownership. Ensuring their visibility while grouping memorial sites together through topographic means and national initiatives make these sites into monuments, which by their very nature seek to dwarf the human and ephemeral and subjugate them to their mythic power and timelessness. To quote Kirk Savage, “clustered together in one place,” the monuments create “a memorial landscape that evokes an abiding sense of national identity bound to a ‘high purpose’” (2009: 10); monumentalizing, therefore, is part of a larger move toward creating a visual continuum.

The Visual Continuum

We require a visible past, a visible continuum, a visible myth of origin, which reassures us about our end.

(Baudrillard 1994: 10)

In recent years, archaeology has been employed to create a subterranean image of the past through a network of tunnels leading from one archaeological site to another. This network has created an alternative city of sorts, a city of the First and Second Temple periods, which lays bare the Jewish roots in Jerusalem. As has been the common practice in other national movements, archaeological finds serve, in Israeli Jerusalem, as a kind of ‘deed of ownership’ over the city (Emek Shaveh 2013; Greenberg 2012). It is a hidden continuum that runs underneath Palestinian homes, below the present of the living city, bereft of the monumentality and conspicuous visibility typical of the realm of memories. Indeed, the plan of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (2005) for the City of David notes, “there is no physical continuity between the archeological remains, making it difficult to present a clear image of the past.” The lack of visibility and continuity is perceived as an obstacle, obscuring a past that needs to be revealed.

In parallel to the hidden subterranean continuum, symbolic landscaping above ground gradually links one site to another. The sites leading to subterranean Jerusalem become arenas in their own right, creating a spatial context for the site and ‘reconstructing’ the past. Thus, for instance, the newly grown landscape of olive trees in the Zurim Valley National Park, created in the late 1990s, is described by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (2009) as ‘restoring’ the ancient landscape.6 Audiovisual displays ‘reconstruct’ the environs of the Temple; City of David archaeological

Figure 5
Figure 5

Zurim Valley National Park

Photograph © Hava Schwartz

Citation: Israel Studies Review 32, 1; 10.3167/isr.2017.320104

digs produce gardens of geraniums and olive trees, complete with the sounds of a harp recalling the Harp of David—a recurring motif in the park, which appears on the logo of ‘Ancient Jerusalem’, on the garden furniture, and, in a monumental fashion, at the gate of the visitor center. The choice of the Harp of David as a symbolic motif in the visitor center, rather than some archaeological artifact actually retrieved from the site, celebrates the role of King David as the biblical founder of Jerusalem as a capital city. The attempt to mobilize King David into the tangible, political present transforms him into a myth that needs to be visibly displayed, a national hero whose image hovers over the space.

This mythical space, strewn with past heroes and images, stands, therefore, on its own, often connected indirectly to historical sites or archaeological remains. One relevant example is the proposed park in the Kidron Valley in the al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan: the ‘King’s Garden’, which is not part of the national park surrounding the city walls but serves as a potential link to the continuum of the landscape between the slopes of the City of David, the Hinnom Valley, and the Kidron Valley below the Mount of Olives. The various plans for the park, which entail the demolition of dozens of homes, are referenced in the deliberations by different relevant authorities as carrying “historical and religious importance.”7 According to the plans drawn up by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Development Authority, the religious and historical importance is to be explained through mythical terminology: “This is where it is believed that the Kings of Israel planted their garden; it is widely believed that this is where King Solomon planted his garden, and this is where, in the shade of its trees, he wrote Ecclesiastes. The fragrant flowerbeds that bloomed in the King’s Garden are mentioned in the Song of Songs” (Jerusalem Municipality and Jerusalem Development Authority 2010).

Figure 6
Figure 6

Entrance to the City of David National Park

Photograph © Hava Schwartz

Citation: Israel Studies Review 32, 1; 10.3167/isr.2017.320104

Justifying the demolition of homes by linking the site to as metaphorical a text as the Songs of Songs is startlingly revealing of the transition from traditional memory to a national realm of memory; as observed by Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, the landscapes evoked in the Song of Songs were an inspiration for descriptions of human desire. In the process of exile from the Land of Israel and from Jerusalem, the landscapes themselves became objects of desire; by returning to them, the places evoked in the metaphorical poetry may be transformed from metaphorical evocations into actual rights of ownership. The metaphor now might dictate its own origin; the literary and artistic association of a place becomes a fixed axis around which, and in subjugation to, human reality is commanded to move. Thus, metaphorical places conceived to express the power of human experience become targets of appropriation, sites on a political map, masters dictating the human experience around them (Dekoven Ezrahi 2007: 226).

Creation of a national ‘realm of memory’, then, entails not only the conversion of historical sites into monuments but planning a suitable setting for these monuments. This aspect emphasizes the process of formation of a symbolic national landscape as an aspiration for continuity within a largely non-Jewish environment, in a space dominated by non-Jewish sites that have in time overshadowed the Jewish remains. These sites include Palestinian villages, churches, the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Ottoman walls of the Old City.

The landscape of national memory in the heterogeneous space of the Holy Basin aspires to resurrect the Jewish past, drawn as a single historical axis stretching from the days of the two Temples to the modern return to Zion—from the glorious foundational past to its redemptive resurrection (Schwartz 2013: 49–51). But this past is interrupted by random presences that obscure the ‘picture of the past’ that ought to be clearly laid out. The continuity of this picture is conditioned on the continuity of the landscape so that it may serve as an appropriate backdrop for memory, national yearnings, and the articulation of the Israeli-Jewish national identity.

The “Realities on the Ground” and “Vision”

“The area is inhabited by a hostile population, which is continually growing, and there is a dramatic discrepancy between the vision and the desire to preserve and maintain everything properly and the realities on the ground … within the national reality, which is more powerful than desires and wishes.” (Bimkom 2012: 16, quoting Uri Shitrit, Jerusalem Municipal engineer, 2003)8

The visual continuum of the national-symbolic landscape has been created against the backdrop of dissonance with the Palestinian landscape and the conspicuous Muslim and Christian structures that challenge the uniformity of the memory landscape. The original plans for the area envisioned the King’s Garden replacing the entirety of the al-Bustan neighborhood (Ir Amim 2012). The City of David’s visitor center was designed with aesthetics that contrast sharply with the surrounding village of Silwan. As the comments of the city engineer quoted above suggest, the conflict between the institutional Israeli space and the Palestinian space is multidimensional, encompassing both space and time: between the Israeli space threatened by “a hostile population” and between “vision” and the “realities on the ground.”

The aesthetization of the landscape creates a dichotomy between cultivation and the mythic air characterizing national sites on the one hand and the poverty, crowding, and neglect in the Palestinian villages surrounding them on the other. This dichotomy is revealed—albeit only in the corner of the vision—on every visit to the ‘touristic bubble’ created by the sites and becomes one of their aesthetic characteristics, acquiring a symbolic dimension of its own.

Thus, landscape defines not only national memory but also national oblivion. While the tangible space emphasizes the symbolic landscape by way of contrast with the Palestinian surroundings, visual representations of the City of David and its surroundings retain only the national memory landscape, with the Palestinian environment expunged: photographs displayed on the City of David website show the views of the national park without so much as a hint of the village where it is located. Similarly, the pictures hung around the archaeological digs in the Givati parking lot opposite the gate to the City of David present the Jewish Sites as standing amid lush green hills (Be’er 2009). This, it seems, is the aforementioned “vision” overcoming the “realities on the ground.”

It follows that the attempt to create continuity in the symbolic landscape is also an attempt to overpower everything alien to it, if not in reality then at least in depiction. Thus, the connector from the Old City to the new one via the Jaffa Gate plaza and the Mamilla pedestrian shopping mall, slowly crafted by architects since 1967 and carrying the majority of tourists into the Old City, doesn’t afford the new Jerusalem the national clarity it so craves: visitors passing through the Jaffa Gate see a diverse, multifaceted Jerusalem with an Arab market, a Christian quarter, an Armenian quarter, an Ottoman fortress gate, and a Second Temple–era tower. All these refuse to yield to the logic of a national Jewish ‘realm of memory’. In the City of David, conversely, the recently confirmed ‘Kedem Compound’ proposed by the Elad organization strives to create a visual whole that will act as a continuous spatial realm of memory (Ettinger 2016). This structure, which will serve as the visitor center for the City of David, will tower above the village of Silwan, seen as obscuring a slice of the Promised Land.

The plan proposes a coherent alternative to the eclectic space of the Jaffa Gate, one more appropriate for monumental landscapes: the new structure will be linked to the modest Dung Gate and will comprise a monumental gateway to signify the ‘right’ city it overlooks, because the connection between its different sites—the Mount of Olives, City of David, the Western Wall and Temple Mount, the Western Wall tunnels, and the Museum of the Chain of Generations—was hitherto too loose. Together, they will comprise the corpus of a ‘Jewish story’, continuous and complete, linked together and anchored by the Kedem Compound, which will serve as “a geographic, historical and value core”—to quote Aryeh Rahamimov, the architect of the plan.9

The symbolic national landscape emerging to bind together the heterogeneous space becomes a landscape that rejects any sign of heterogeneity as a foreign object. Against the backdrop of churches, mosques, and Palestinian villages, the boundaries of the national landscape are starkly drawn by the sharp transitions between the national parks and the Palestinian villages that surround them. The ‘desired’ Jerusalem emerges from the landscape as if a mystical being, the embodiment of Jewish history hitherto concealed.

A Holy War

Come discover Biblical Jerusalem’s secrets. Walk in the footsteps of kings and prophets in the place where many of the Biblical stories took place.

(City of David 2016)

The aesthetic contrast between the national symbolic landscape and its Palestinian environment is also religiously charged as frequently revealed by the terminology employed in and around the national park. Thus, in an institutional gaffe followed by an apology, an operation by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to clean, evict, and demolish houses to make way for the Mount Scopus Slopes National Park was called “They will not know or understand,” (Hasson 2012), likely a paraphrase of Isaiah 44:18, referring to idol worship: “They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand” The use of the biblical idiom hints that the damage caused by the park project, met with intense opposition by the residents of nearby Isawiyeh and a-Tur, is justified by the needs of a holy war against those holding on to theological falsehoods. A holy war binds together national aspirations and theological drive and endows the symbolic landscape with a second dimension as both an Israeli ‘realm of memory’ and as a ‘sacred geography’ that emerges from the landscape to hallow every tree and rock, making them monuments and integral parts of a sacred whole.

Sacred geography is hostile toward the urban landscape that also includes the present-day, unhallowed, everyday, and profane; it justifies institutional violence and likens itself to the Via Dolorosa, where visitors follow in the footsteps of sacred heroes; while the heroes overdub the landscape with the lightweight symbolism of tourist sites, they also still act as saints, whose footsteps are to be revered by those walking the high road to salvation.

The Temple: The Absent National Monument

The peak of the symbiosis between the landscape as a ‘realm of memory’ and as ‘sacred geography’ is in the affinity between the landscape and the Temple Mount as a signifier of the missing Temple.

The focus on remains from the First and Second Temple periods and on following in the footsteps of Second Temple pilgrims from the City of David to the foot of the Temple Mount make tangible the memory of the missing Temple. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority planning documents repeatedly reference those pilgrims. For example, the Zurim Valley National Park is presented as a “functional and visual link to the Mount Scopus promenade, re-creating the observation points of ancient pilgrims, re-creation of the agricultural cultural landscape bordering on the desert, the entry to the Valley of Kings, and the Jerusalem Trail” (Israel Nature and Parks Authority 2009). The Israel Nature and Parks Authority presents the national park on the slopes of Mount Scopus as a gateway to Jerusalem by quoting a verse from Psalms, “Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem” (122:2), describing the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Development Authority (2008) describes a planned national park to the north of the Old City, in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, thus: “This would be a biblical park, which tells the story of pilgrims to Jerusalem. The area has ancient caves from the Second Temple period and the course of the Kidron riverbed that serves as entry to the Kidron stream and the road of the pilgrims toward the City of David and Temple Mount.” The invocation of the ‘pilgrims’ perspective’ in the Israel Nature and Parks Authority planning papers celebrates the link between the monumental space and the conspicuously absent Temple; a visitor is perceived as someone following in the footsteps of a pilgrim and seeing in his mind’s eye that which the pilgrim would have seen the Temple still standing on the Mount.

The Temple also features in the many models that adorn the sites around the Temple Mount, such as the Davidson Center and the Temple Institute, and in illustrative images and audiovisual displays that comprise the touristic experience of visitors to these sites. In the Western Wall tunnels, at the foot of the Temple Mount and underneath the Muslim Quarter, the closest place to the Holy of Holies is prominently indicated. The Zurim Valley National Park contains a center for filtering the soil and debris discarded by the Waqf during its unauthorized digs below the mosques within the Temple Mount (Greenberg 2013). The sorting of the debris in full sight of the Mount serves as a symbolic act of ‘rescuing’ the Jewish past from the claws of Islam while gazing toward the coveted former site of the Temple.

Thus, the Temple is constructed as the supreme absentee of the symbolic national landscape. The absence is made present until it becomes a metapicture overlaying the space to which reality, ostensibly, does not do justice; the Temple becomes the absent monument of the symbolic national space emerging in the Holy Basin.

The model of the menorah and the model of the Temple, embedded into the routes of visitor groups touring the space, make this absence a veritable flaw in the landscape—an eyesore. The repeated depictions of the Temple across the memorial realm recasts the mosques looming in the background seem like a historical mistake, an error. The Temple is the missing link in a landscape that comprises a coherent, monumental Jerusalem, where myths appear plainly to be seen instead of serving merely as triggers for memory or imagination. The conversion of the fractured landscape into a cohesive ‘realm of memory’ imposes a unifying visual logic upon both landscape and memory. This logic cannot abide open ends, even implicit ones, in the shape of hidden structural remains, hopes left hovering in midair, or the implied ritualistic gestures that have been integral to Jewish history since the destruction of the Temple; rather, a full and explicit visualization is required.

Therefore, in plain view of the Temple Mount, the golden menorah on the terrace is not merely another symbolic menorah of old Judaism or new Zionism, of the kind that shaped national symbolism in West Jerusalem. The menorah of the Temple Institute is made ‘like for like’ in the manner of the looted menorah of the Temple, and it is accompanied with a sign expressing the hope that the Temple will soon be rebuilt. As a Palestinian colleague, a tour guide with whom I guided a group shortly after the menorah was placed in its new position, told me, “We don’t see this menorah as a symbol but as a statement of intent.” The images of menorah and Temple, long regarded as symbols of the Jewish longing for Jerusalem, now appear in a tangible, precise form within the landscape they were meant symbolize, reducing the distance in time and space that refashioned them as symbols of memory and hope; the new proximity and tangible connection to the place of the Temple replace memory with mannerisms of dominance and hope with demand. In the shade of the Temple on the skyline and the menorah overlooking the Mount, the boundary between the symbolic and the programmatic is blurred.10

Conclusion

As traditional memory has vanished, we have felt called upon to accumulate fragments, reports, documents, images, and speeches—any tangible sign of what was—as if this expanding dossier might someday be subpoenaed as evidence before who knows what tribunal of history. The trace negates the sacred but retains its aura.

(Nora 1996)

The violent events in Jerusalem in the latter part of 2015 and throughout 2016 arose against the backdrop of tensions around the Temple Mount, as a place and as a symbol. In the absence of any evidence of intentions by the Israeli authorities to harm the mosques, in the national consciousness increasingly molded by the symbolic national landscape, the absent Temple is becoming a national monument, all the more conspicuous through its absence. The Zionist project is rearticulated in the national memory landscape. The symbolic national core constructed in West Jerusalem before the reunification is losing its primacy as the raison d’être of Israeli nationality, edged out by the national memory as reformulated by the landscape of the Holy Basin. In the words of Shlomo Ne’eman: “Zionism has already constructed its temples, on Mount Herzl and on Givat Ram. It constructed Yad Vashem, the National Military Cemetery with its Plot of the Great Leaders of the Nation, and presumed to thus establish our right to live here: we are here because of Auschwitz; we are here because of the fallen. It actually worked, but it is time to go forward, to go East, from Mount Herzl and Givat Ram to the Temple Mount” (Segal 2013). And true enough, King David and the Temple Mount are central to the iconography of the space that serves as the focal point of pilgrimages for tourists, students, and soldiers, and a central arena for the shaping of the Jewish-Israeli identity in its current form: juxtaposed to the gentiles and in light of the Temple.

The more institutional memory is refined through the national instruments of monumentalizing, landscape unification, multiplication of models, and visual imagery, and the formation of a kind of visual archive of Jewish memory, the more the disappearance of direct, personal, and spontaneous memory, as described so aptly by Pierre Nora, is exposed. Organizing memory into a uniform landscape archive indicates the shrinking of traditional memory, under a feeling of threat. It seems that the external threat—the repeated denial of the existence of the Jewish Temple from Muslim circles—alongside the internal threat, that is, the sinking of the Zionist collectivist ethos (Persico 2015: 51–64), combine into fertile soil for the growth of the Temple as the absent national monument. This, it seems, is that “high purpose” around which the landscape—and Israeli nationality in its new form—are being organized.

notes
1

Discussion of activity in the Holy Basin in this article encompasses the space surrounding the Old City, particularly the national park around the Old City walls and the Mount of Olives.

2

The article is based on my master’s thesis (Schwartz 2013).

3

For a history of the construction of the national park around the Old City walls, see Wilkof (2011).

4

All translations are by Dimi Reider unless otherwise indicated

5

Most of the sites discussed in the article are within the national park surrounding the city walls. The Western Wall is not; it is under the authority of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (Elon 1996: 89). Moreover, the Aish HaTorah Temple model and the Temple Institute are not within the National Park; they are in the Jewish Quarter within the city walls.

6

The park was constructed on the private land of Palestinians, designated as an open landscape zone where construction was prohibited in outline plans (Bimkom 2012: 6, 19–20). The olive trees planted there were given to the authority by the Jewish National Fund, which had received them from the Ministry of Defense, which had previously uprooted them from Palestinian olive groves to make way for the construction of the separation barrier in the West Bank (Rapoport 2006).

7

The political debate around the King’s Garden was based on the assumption that the Jerusalem municipality had failed its responsibility by not enforcing the construction ban at the location and thus avoid demolishing houses, because the area was meant to remain an open space as stipulated in the conservation plan for the valley. See Protocol no. 127 of the State Comptroller Committee of the Knesset, 16 November 2010.

8

Excerpt from the protocol of Meeting No. 107 of the National Parks and Nature Reserve Council, 2 January 2003.

9

From the minutes of the Subcommittee on Objections, Interior Ministry, 13 February 2012.

10

I should note that even as I underscore the inevitable positioning of the Temple in the symbolic perception of the space, I do not suggest, as do claims often voiced in the Muslim world, that there exist institutional plans to demolish the mosques and rebuild the Temple. For sources documenting the claim, see Shragai (2012).

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  • Emek Shaveh. 2013. The Lower Jerusalem: Digging of Burrows Tunnels and Subterranean Spaces in The Holy Basin. Jerusalem: Emek Shaveh.

  • EttingerYair. 2016. “Giant Visitor Centre above Silwan Approved Following Pressure by the Ministry of Justice.” [In Hebrew.] Haaretz24 March. http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/local/1.2893297.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GreenbergRafi. 2012. “Manufacturers of the Past.” [In Hebrew.] Odyssey 17: 1625.

  • GreenbergRafi. 2013. “Radical Exposure: Archeology in Jerusalem, 1967–2008.” [In Hebrew.] Emek Shaveh website (accessed 1 October 2013).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HassonNir. 2012. “Name of the Plan to Create a National Park in Place of Houses of Arabs: They Know Nothing, They Understand Nothing.”[In Hebrew.] Haaretz13 November. http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/education/1.1863634.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HerzogDoron. 2011. Sambusky: The Story of the Jewish Cemetery on Mount Zion. [In Hebrew.] Ed. Eyal Meron. Jerusalem: Megalim.

  • HobsbawmEric. 1983. “Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe, 1870–1914.” In The Invention of Tradition ed. Eric J. Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger263308. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ir Amim. 2012. The Giant’s Garden: The “King’s Garden” Plan in al-Bustan. Jerusalem: Ir Amim.

  • Israel Nature and Parks Authority. 2005. A Program for the City of David. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Development Authority.

  • Israel Nature and Parks Authority. 2009. “National Park Circling the Walls of Jerusalem: Planning Principles and Program Status.” PowerPoint presentation. http://www.parks.org.il/ (accessed 9 March 2017).

    • Export Citation
  • Jerusalem Municipality and Jerusalem Development Authority. 2010. The King’s Garden Plan. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Municipality and Jerusalem Development Authority.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jerusalem Development Authority. 2008. Reinforcing the Holy Basin and Temple Mount Government Plan Status Report. [In Hebrew.] January. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Development Authority.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KleinMenachem. 1999. Doves Over Jerusalem’s Sky: The Peace Process and the City 1977–1999. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KurzweilBaruch. 1998. “An Outside Perspective on our Situation.” In Baruch Kurzweil—Beyond the Boundary: Debate and Satire on Current Affairs ed. Yaakov Abramson2430. [In Hebrew.] Jerusalem: Carmel.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LevineIsrael. 2000. “The History of the Menorah and Its Meaning in the Ancient Period.” [In Hebrew.] Cathedra 98: 732.

  • LowenthalDavid. 1998. The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • MannBarbara. 2011. Space and Place in Jewish Studies. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

  • Nitzan-ShiftanAlona. 2011. “There Are Stones with Hearts of Men: On Monuments, Modernism and Conservation at the Western Wall.” [In Hebrew.] Theory and Criticism 38–39: 65100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NoraPierre. 1989. “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire.” In “Memory and Counter-Memory” special issue. Representations 26: 724.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NoraPierre. 1996. “General Introduction: Between Memory and History.” In Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past vol. 1 ed. Pierre Nora and Lawrence D. Kritzman trans. Arthur Goldhammer120. New York: Columbia University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PedayaHaviva. 2011. Expanses: An Essay on the Theological and Political Unconscious. [In Hebrew.] Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hame’ukhad.

  • PersicoTomer. 2015. “Privatization of Religion and the Hallowing of the State: The Collapse of the Zionist Collectivism and its History.” [In Hebrew.] Academot 30: 1528.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RamonAmnon. 2002. “Delicate Balances at the Temple Mount, 1967–1999.” In Jerusalem: A City and Its Future ed. Marshall J. Breger and Ora Ahimeir 296–332. New York: Syracuse University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RapoportMeron. 2006. “Evyatar Cohen Won’t Divide Jerusalem.” [In Hebrew.] Haaretz17 January. http://www.haaretz.co.il/misc/1.1076194.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RavidShira. 2016. “A Memorial for the Nameless Poor of Jerusalem.” [In Hebrew.] Kipa18 March. http://www.kipa.co.il/now/66936.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SavageKirk. 2009. Monument Wars: Washington DC the National Mall and the Transformation of the National Monumental Landscape. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SchwartzHava. 2013. “The Symbolic National Landscape around the Old City of Jerusalem.” [In Hebrew.] Master’s thesis Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SegalArnon. 2013. “Visions of the Underground Detainee: A Train to the Temple.” [In Hebrew.] NRG Maariv6 September.

  • SharonSmadar. 2006. “Planners, the State and the Shaping of the National Space in the Early 1950s.” [In Hebrew.] Theory and Criticism 29: 3157.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ShragaiNadav. 2012. The “al-Aqsa Is in Danger” Libel: The History of a Lie. [In Hebrew.] Tel Aviv: Maariv Library.

  • WilkofShira. 2011. “‘A Historic Opportunity’: The Planning and Construction of the Park Circling the Walls of Jerusalem, 1967–1970.” [In Hebrew.] Master’s thesis Technion.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • YoungJames. 1993. The Texture of Memory. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

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Contributor Notes

hava schwartz is a tour guide and teacher of art history. She received a bachelor of arts in art history and a general degree in humanities at the Hebrew University, as well as a master of arts in theory and policy of the arts at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, with a thesis on “Symbolic National Landscape around the Old City of Jerusalem.” She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Hebrew University in the program for cultural studies.

  • View in gallery

    Model of the Temple on the rooftop terrace of the Aish Ha Torah building

  • View in gallery

    Golden Menorah constructed by the Temple Institute, the Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem

    Photographs © Hava Schwartz

  • View in gallery

    The Old City surroundings as viewed from the Mount of Olives on the East

    Photograph © Hava Schwartz

  • View in gallery

    Map of the national parks in East Jerusalem

    Courtesy of Bimkom—Planners for Planning Rights

  • View in gallery

    Zurim Valley National Park

    Photograph © Hava Schwartz

  • View in gallery

    Entrance to the City of David National Park

    Photograph © Hava Schwartz

  • BaudrillardJean. 1994. Simulacra and Simulation. Trans. Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

  • Be’erYizhar. 2009. “The City and the Dogs: A Psychedelic Tour of Jerusalem’s Hallucinatory Realms.” [In Hebrew.] Ha’okets5 May (accessed 9 March 2017).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BimkomPlanners for Planning Rights. 2012. From Public to National: National Parks in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem: Bimkom.

  • CannadineDavid. 1983. “The Context, Performance and Meaning of Ritual: The British Monarchy and the ‘Invention of Tradition,’ c. 1820–1977.” In The Invention of Tradition ed. Eric Hobsbawm101164. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • City of David. 2016. “Biblical City of David Tour—Summer 2016.” http://www.cityofdavid.org.il/en/tours/city-david/biblical-city-david-tour-summer-2016 (accessed 9 March 2017).

    • Export Citation
  • DeKoven EzrahiSidra. 2007. “‘To Whom Shall I Compare You?’ Jerusalem as Ground Zero of the Hebrew Imagination.” PMLA 122: 220234.

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  • DeKoven EzrahiSidra. 2000. Booking Passage: Exile and Homecoming in the Modern Jewish Imagination. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ElonAmos. 1996. Jerusalem: City of Mirrors. London: Flamingo.

  • Emek Shaveh. 2013. The Lower Jerusalem: Digging of Burrows Tunnels and Subterranean Spaces in The Holy Basin. Jerusalem: Emek Shaveh.

  • EttingerYair. 2016. “Giant Visitor Centre above Silwan Approved Following Pressure by the Ministry of Justice.” [In Hebrew.] Haaretz24 March. http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/local/1.2893297.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GreenbergRafi. 2012. “Manufacturers of the Past.” [In Hebrew.] Odyssey 17: 1625.

  • GreenbergRafi. 2013. “Radical Exposure: Archeology in Jerusalem, 1967–2008.” [In Hebrew.] Emek Shaveh website (accessed 1 October 2013).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HassonNir. 2012. “Name of the Plan to Create a National Park in Place of Houses of Arabs: They Know Nothing, They Understand Nothing.”[In Hebrew.] Haaretz13 November. http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/education/1.1863634.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HerzogDoron. 2011. Sambusky: The Story of the Jewish Cemetery on Mount Zion. [In Hebrew.] Ed. Eyal Meron. Jerusalem: Megalim.

  • HobsbawmEric. 1983. “Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe, 1870–1914.” In The Invention of Tradition ed. Eric J. Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger263308. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ir Amim. 2012. The Giant’s Garden: The “King’s Garden” Plan in al-Bustan. Jerusalem: Ir Amim.

  • Israel Nature and Parks Authority. 2005. A Program for the City of David. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Development Authority.

  • Israel Nature and Parks Authority. 2009. “National Park Circling the Walls of Jerusalem: Planning Principles and Program Status.” PowerPoint presentation. http://www.parks.org.il/ (accessed 9 March 2017).

    • Export Citation
  • Jerusalem Municipality and Jerusalem Development Authority. 2010. The King’s Garden Plan. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Municipality and Jerusalem Development Authority.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jerusalem Development Authority. 2008. Reinforcing the Holy Basin and Temple Mount Government Plan Status Report. [In Hebrew.] January. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Development Authority.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KleinMenachem. 1999. Doves Over Jerusalem’s Sky: The Peace Process and the City 1977–1999. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KurzweilBaruch. 1998. “An Outside Perspective on our Situation.” In Baruch Kurzweil—Beyond the Boundary: Debate and Satire on Current Affairs ed. Yaakov Abramson2430. [In Hebrew.] Jerusalem: Carmel.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LevineIsrael. 2000. “The History of the Menorah and Its Meaning in the Ancient Period.” [In Hebrew.] Cathedra 98: 732.

  • LowenthalDavid. 1998. The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • MannBarbara. 2011. Space and Place in Jewish Studies. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

  • Nitzan-ShiftanAlona. 2011. “There Are Stones with Hearts of Men: On Monuments, Modernism and Conservation at the Western Wall.” [In Hebrew.] Theory and Criticism 38–39: 65100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NoraPierre. 1989. “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire.” In “Memory and Counter-Memory” special issue. Representations 26: 724.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NoraPierre. 1996. “General Introduction: Between Memory and History.” In Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past vol. 1 ed. Pierre Nora and Lawrence D. Kritzman trans. Arthur Goldhammer120. New York: Columbia University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PedayaHaviva. 2011. Expanses: An Essay on the Theological and Political Unconscious. [In Hebrew.] Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hame’ukhad.

  • PersicoTomer. 2015. “Privatization of Religion and the Hallowing of the State: The Collapse of the Zionist Collectivism and its History.” [In Hebrew.] Academot 30: 1528.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RamonAmnon. 2002. “Delicate Balances at the Temple Mount, 1967–1999.” In Jerusalem: A City and Its Future ed. Marshall J. Breger and Ora Ahimeir 296–332. New York: Syracuse University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RapoportMeron. 2006. “Evyatar Cohen Won’t Divide Jerusalem.” [In Hebrew.] Haaretz17 January. http://www.haaretz.co.il/misc/1.1076194.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RavidShira. 2016. “A Memorial for the Nameless Poor of Jerusalem.” [In Hebrew.] Kipa18 March. http://www.kipa.co.il/now/66936.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SavageKirk. 2009. Monument Wars: Washington DC the National Mall and the Transformation of the National Monumental Landscape. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SchwartzHava. 2013. “The Symbolic National Landscape around the Old City of Jerusalem.” [In Hebrew.] Master’s thesis Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SegalArnon. 2013. “Visions of the Underground Detainee: A Train to the Temple.” [In Hebrew.] NRG Maariv6 September.

  • SharonSmadar. 2006. “Planners, the State and the Shaping of the National Space in the Early 1950s.” [In Hebrew.] Theory and Criticism 29: 3157.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ShragaiNadav. 2012. The “al-Aqsa Is in Danger” Libel: The History of a Lie. [In Hebrew.] Tel Aviv: Maariv Library.

  • WilkofShira. 2011. “‘A Historic Opportunity’: The Planning and Construction of the Park Circling the Walls of Jerusalem, 1967–1970.” [In Hebrew.] Master’s thesis Technion.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • YoungJames. 1993. The Texture of Memory. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.