January 8, 2008
Dear Prime Minister Olmert,
I know I am expressing the hopes and dreams of world Jewry when I wish you success during President Bush’s visit to Israel. Jews all over the world are united in the hope that some day a durable peace will be reached that can provide the people of Israel with the security that they deserve.
Reports about the upcoming discussions clearly indicate that the future of Jerusalem will be a central topic under discussion. As a former Mayor of Jerusalem and defender of the Holy City you know how important Jerusalem is to the identity of the Jewish people.
Our people streamed back to their ancient capital re-establishing their majority here over 150 years ago. The words, “Next year in Jerusalem,” were on the lips of our people in the darkest days of our recent history and at our most joyous moments as well.
As you know Jerusalem is at the core of Jewish identity. And when in 1967 Jews were once again permitted to live, work, and pray in the Old City — Jews around the world rejoiced. Israel has also earned world-wide recognition for successfully guaranteeing religious freedom and security for millions of people who visit each year.
I know that given the importance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people you will take into
consideration the prayers, the hopes, and the views of Jews around the world when you discuss the future of the city. Jerusalem has been both the capital of Israel and the capital of the entire Jewish people for 3,000 years. While recognizing Israel’s inherent prerogatives as a sovereign state, it is inconceivable that any changes in the status of our Holy City will be implemented without giving the Jewish people, as a whole, a voice in the decision. I can assure you that the international Jewish community will be praying for your success in these upcoming discussions.
Ronald S. Lauder
World Jewish Congress