A tornado hit East Jerusalem on Saturday, and it received very little media coverage – possibly because it was East Jerusalem, Mississippi, and not its more famous namesake. Yet as the world argues over the fate of East Jerusalem in Israel, it seems that the fates of the two cities, with identical names on opposite sides of the globe, are remarkably intertwined.
Over the weekend, a massive hurricane in the American south created a tornado which ripped through Hattiesburg, Mississippi, killing four and ravaging East Jerusalem, a small Hattiesburg neighborhood with a peculiar name whose history is oddly connected to its Jerusalem cousin.
Like its American counterpart, Israel’s East Jerusalem was also recently a target. Just a few weeks ago, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution declaring it illegal for Jews to live there. But this is not the first time the two were simultaneously targeted: four years ago, in February of 2013, another tornado in Hattiesburg coincided with another anti-Israel UN resolution, which called for Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria to be immediately withdrawn without preconditions.
It turns out that the connection between the two locations goes even further back. East Jerusalem, Hattiesburg was also hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, just eight days after the Israeli government initiated an operation in Gush Katif in which 9,000 Jews were forcibly removed from their communities in the Gaza Strip. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a major religious leader, reacted to the US disaster – one of the worst in the nation’s history – by saying that Hurricane Katrina was the “direct result of support for the disengagement plan”.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, explained the possible connection.
“It is impossible for me to ascribe a cause to a specific disaster, to say this is what God had in mind, but our actions do affect divine judgement,” Rabbi Berger explained, quoting King Solomon.
As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man. Proverbs 27:19
“The Bible is saying here that the way people treat each other does not just stay in the moment. It flows like water, spreading into the world and is reflected back in how God treats the world. Thoughts become a reality,” Rabbi berger explained. “This isn’t true just for interpersonal relationships. It is also true globally, and is especially true in respect to how the world treats Israel and the Torah.”
The rabbi’s perception of cause and effect seems accurate since so many of the milestones in the misnamed ‘peace-process’ have been accompanied by natural disasters.
“Individuals and governments need to ask themselves if they are bringing good into the world or bad, and how will God react,” said the rabbi, quoting the Book of Numbers.
Blessed be every one that blesseth thee, and cursed be every one that curseth thee. Numbers 24:9