Monday, President Donald Trump has formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by opening the new embassy there.
Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, said, “This opening makes the U.S. the first nation to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital.
In the Bible’s book of Joshua, the Gibeonite King of Jerusalem Adoni-Tzede made a separate peace with Joshua and the invading Hebrews. The other Canaanites decided to attack the city before its strategic position fell to Joshua and the Israelis. Joshua miraculously marched his whole force to intercept and defeat those Canaanite kings before they could take the city.
Centuries later a young King David took possession of the city, then controlled by the Jebusites, who called it Jebus, and made it his capital in 1010 B.C. renaming it Jerusalem. His son, King Solomon, would build the First Temple there and make the city the center of the orthodox Hebrew religion.
On March 16, 597 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took the City. King Jehoiakim died during the siege. His 8-year-old son, King Jeconiah and most of the royal family were taken into exile in Babylon. His 21-year-old uncle, Zedekiah was installed as a puppet king by the Babylonians. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians again took the rebellious city after a two year siege. This time they destroyed it and the Temple of Solomon.
In 444 B.C. Nehemiah was appointed as the Governor of Judea by the Persian Empire. He repaired the city walls, repopulated the city and built a much smaller second temple. In 332 B.C. the city of Jerusalem fell to Alexander of Macedonia following the siege of Tyre.
In 168 B.C. the deposed High Priest Jason (Jesus) took the city after wrongly receiving the information that Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes had died on campaign in Egypt. Antiochus retook Jerusalem and responded with a massive persecution of orthodox Jews to speed the Hellenization process. This sparked a Jewish revolt in 167 B.C. under the Maccabees family (Hasmoneans) that eventually took control of the city, the temple, and eventually most of classic Israel including the Edomites who were forced to convert to Judaism.
In 67 B.C. the Roman Republic invaded to settle a Hasmonean civil war and partitioned the country. Julius Caesar and Marc Antony favored the Edomite Antipater and his son Herod. In 40 B.C. the Parthian Empire took Syria and the Hasmoneans took back Judea as a Parthian allied state. Herod fled to Rome who declared him the rightful King of Judea. With Roman help, Herod retook Jerusalem and the country in 37 BC. Herod launched a number of building projects including a massive rebuilding of the Second Temple as a much grander structure. After Herod’s death in 4 B.C. the country was divided among his four sons but the Roman Empire began to exercise much more direct control. In approximately 34 A.D. Jesus of Nazareth was executed by the Romans in Jerusalem at the urging of Jewish leaders.
In 66 A.D. the Roman Governor Gessius Florus plundered the temple and seized a number of Jewish leaders. The country rose in a massive revolt. In 70 A.D. the Roman General Titus took the city after a brutal seven month siege and took it and the temple. The surviving Pharisees then reorganized modern Judaism without the involvement of their rivals, the Sadducees, and the Essenes.
In 115 to 117 A.D. there was a second Jewish revolt. In 130 A.D. the Roman Emperor Hadrian visited the ruins and orders Jerusalem rebuilt, this time dedicated to the God Jupiter and renamed Aelia Capitolonia. In 132 A.D. Simon Bar Kokhba takes the city by force, expels the Romans, renames the city, and is declared the Messiah. In 136 A.D. the Romans retook Jerusalem and expelled all Jews and Christians, a temple to Jupiter is built on the Temple Mount and a temple to Venus is built on Calgary and the city was rededicated as Aelia Capitolonia.
Christians begin returning after Hadrian’s death. In 313 the Emperor Constantine legalizes Christianity. In 324 Constantine calls the Council of Nicaea and renames the City as Jerusalem. In 361 Julian the Apostate becomes Emperor and attempts to reverse the growing Christianization of the Empire. As part of that multicultural effort Julian allows Jews to return to the City and orders the Temple rebuilt. Work on the Temple ends with Julian’s death and a massive earthquake in 363. In 380 the Roman Empire is divided into East and West, Jerusalem is part of the Eastern or Byzantine Empire.
In 611 the Jews revolt and join forces with the growing Sassinid Empire in their War against the Byzantines. The Sassinids take Jerusalem in 614 killing most of the Christians and destroying most of the city. The Jewish leader Nehemiah Ben Hosel was made governor. In 617 Christians revolted and killed Nehemiah. The Sassinids appointed a Christian Governor. In 629 the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius defeated the Sassinids and retook Jerusalem.
In 637 Caliph Umar the Great takes the city as Muslim armies emerge out of Arabia in force. In 750 the Umayads are defeated by the Abassids who take Jerusalem and assassinate the governor. In 878 Ahmd Ibn Tulun, the ruler of Egypt, takes Jerusalem. In 904 the Abassids retake the city. In 969 the Umali Shia Fatimids took Jerusalem.
In 975 the Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimiskes took Syria and much of the holy land, including Nazareth, but was defeated just outside of Jerusalem. In 1054 the Patriarch of Jerusalem joins with the Eastern Orthodox Church against the Pope in the Great Schism.
In 1073 the Seljuk Turks take Jerusalem from the Fatimids. In 1077 the city revolts against Seljuk rule. Emir Atsiv Ibd Ubaq then returns and retakes the city slaughtering many of the inhabitants. Amidst a Seljuk civil war the Fatimids retook Jerusalem in 1098. In 1099 the First Crusaders arrive and besiege Jerusalem. Many of the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants of the city are killed. Baldwin I is named the first King of Jerusalem.
In 1187 the Christian army was defeated by Saladin at the Battle of the Horns of Hattin. Saladin then besieges and takes Jerusalem. In 1192 the Third Crusade, led by English King Richard the Lionheart, fails to retake Jerusalem. In 1219 the Emir of Damascus destroyed the walls of Jerusalem to prevent the Crusaders from taking the City as a fortified town. From 1229 to 1244 the Christians controlled Jerusalem by treaty. In 1244 the city fell to Muslim control again after a siege. In 1250 the Seventh Crusade ends in failure with the Christians unsuccessful in their attempt to retake Jerusalem.
In 1260 Jerusalem was raided by the Mongols; but were ultimately defeated by the Egyptian Mamluks just to the north of the city. In 1267 Jerusalem only had two Jewish families still living there. In 1291 the Mamluks took the last independent Crusader state, Acre. In 1300 a joint Mongol and Armenian army took Jerusalem but withdrew after just a few months. In 1347 much of the population was killed by the Black Death.
In 1516 the Mamelukes were defeated by the Ottoman Turks who took all of Palestine. In 1771 to 1772 the Christian Mamluk rule of Egypt took Jerusalem with Russian help. He ultimately withdrew. In 1799 the French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, was forced to end his effort to take Jerusalem after his defeat at the Seige of Acre.
In 1831 Wali Muhammed Ali of Egypt conquered the city. In 1834 the city revolted against Ali. In 1839 and 1840 Jewish Rabi Judah Alklai published books urging Jews to return to Palestine. In 1840 the Ottoman Turks retook Jerusalem with British help. Beginning in the 1860s, Jews from Holland and Germany began resettling in Jerusalem and Jewish neighborhoods began expanding.
In 1897 the First Zionist Congress discussed Jerusalem as a possible capital of a future Jewish state. In 1901 Ottoman authorities placed restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine. In 1914 World War I begins. The Ottoman Empire sides with Germany and Austria against France, Russia, Italy, Great Britain, and eventually the United States.
In 1917 British forces under Allenby defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Jerusalem and entered the city. The Ottomans lost control of Palestine to Great Britain in the Treaty that ended World War I. The Holocaust decimated Jewish populations in Europe during World War II. Israeli nationalists and Arab nationalists increasingly were at odds over the future of Palestine.
On November 29, 1947 the United Nations partition plan called for making Jerusalem an international city separate from any state. In 1948 the City was divided between Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan. On June 7, 1967 the Israeli Army took the old city of Jerusalem from the Jordanians. Israel eventually moved its capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The United States now recognizes Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. Israel is either a nation that is 75 years old or promised by God to Abraham’s descendants in the Book of Genesis well over 4000 years ago, depending on which point of view you want to adopt.
Ivey urges Alabamians to complete census or risk losing federal funding, seat in Congress
Gov. Kay Ivey urged all Alabama residents to complete the 2020 census before the Sept. 30 deadline in a 30-second video released on Friday.
In the video, Ivey said, “Complete your 2020 Census today. We only have until Sept. 30th. Without you, Alabama stands to lose billions in funding, a seat in Congress and economic development opportunities.
“It only takes minutes to complete. Go to my2020census.gov or participate by phone or mail. Be counted – if not for you, for those in Alabama who depend on you for a brighter tomorrow.”
Jones says Mitch McConnell failed country by adjourning without COVID-19 aid
Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Friday expressed his concern over the Senate majority leader adjourning the Senate without passing another round of COVID-19 relief aid.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, adjourned the Senate until Sept. 8 without passage of relief aid that Jones said is critical for struggling citizens and businesses.
“Mitch McConnell’s decision to adjourn the Senate without any further efforts to fulfill the Senate’s obligation to the American public during a healthcare and economic crisis demonstrates an unconscionable failure of leadership. Congress acted swiftly in March as the pandemic took hold and every American who put their lives on hold and stayed home for weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 did so out of a patriotic duty and a belief that it would give our government leaders time to implement a plan to get this virus under control.
“Now, it’s been five months and not only do we still have no national strategy, our nation is facing some of the highest rates of coronavirus spread in the world, over 167,000 Americans dead, unprecedented housing and eviction crises on the horizon, and we are slowly coming out of the worst economy since the Great Depression and the highest level of unemployment ever recorded.
“The House of Representatives passed a relief bill on May 15th – three months ago – because it was clear even then that this virus would be with us longer than we had hoped and that more support to American businesses and American citizens would be needed to save lives and save livelihoods. Sadly, however, instead of using this legislation as a framework for a bipartisan relief package, Mitch McConnell buried it in his office and sat on his hands, letting vital programs expire without even participating in efforts to reach agreement.
“His decision to send the Senate home for the next three weeks is an insult to every sacrifice made, every job lost, every small business that has had to close its doors, every person who had to say their final goodbye to a loved one over Facetime, and every graduation or wedding or birth celebrated over Zoom instead of in person. The American people have done their duty, and today Mitch McConnell has thrown in the towel and given up on doing his.”
Jones calls for fixes to USPS delays and reduced costs for election mail
“Like voting itself, the U.S. Postal Service is vital to our democracy,” wrote Sen. Doug Jones and 46 other senators to the U.S. postmaster general.
Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and 46 Senate colleagues in a letter to the U.S. postmaster general on Thursday expressed serious concerns over changes that will increase the cost of citizens to vote.
“Like voting itself, the U.S. Postal Service is vital to our democracy. Since you assumed the role of Postmaster General, there have been disturbing reports regarding changes at USPS that are causing significant delays in the delivery of mail. Under normal circumstances, delayed mail is a major problem – during a pandemic in the middle of a presidential election, it is catastrophic,” the senators wrote in the letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
President Donald Trump on Thursday repeated statements he’s made that the U.S. Postal Service won’t be able to process mail-in ballots in the November election without the needed federal funding, which he is withholding.
“They want $3.5 billion for the mail-in votes. Universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion—billion—for the post office. Now they need that money in order to have post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo Thursday morning. “Those are just two items. But if you don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting. Because they’re not equipped to have it.”
DeJoy in recent days has ordered major reshuffling in the Postal Service’s management ranks, ordered a hiring freeze and made other cuts. Secretaries of state nationwide were also notified that instead of the 20-cent bulk rate for election mail, as has been used for decades, now it would cost 55 cents to send such mail via first-class postage.
The Postal Service in previous elections treated all election mail, no matter how much was spent on postage, as first-class and as such expedited delivery. The recent announcement signals that election mail not sent first class will not receive the same expedited delivery times, worrying many that DeJoy, appointed by the Postal Service’s majority-Republican board in May, is attempting to exert political influence into mail delivery just before the presidential election.
Trump has repeatedly said, without factual cause, that mail-in ballots are ripe for fraud. Mail-in voting has surged across the country in recent elections and even more so amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Several states — including California, Colorado and Washington — conduct all elections almost entirely by mail.
Mail-in voting fraud is incredibly rare, according to The Brennan Center for Justice, which noted that in Oregon, a state that votes primarily by mail, only about a dozen cases of voter fraud were proven out of 100 million mail-in ballots since 2000.
“As Postmaster General, you have a duty to our democracy to ensure the timely delivery of election mail. Millions of Americans’ right to vote depends on your ability to get the job done. We urge you not to increase costs for election officials, and to direct all Postal Service employees to continue to prioritize delivery of election mail,” the senators’ letter continues.
Voter Protection Corps recruiting local organizers in Alabama
The national nonprofit March On is recruiting regional leaders for its Voter Protection Corps, a grassroots network of organizers who will be trained to spot and counteract voter suppression ahead of the 2020 election in 14 key states, of which Alabama is one.
“With closed polling places, broken machines, long lines and the assault on mail-in ballots, voter suppression efforts have reached dangerous new heights in 2020,” said Andi Pringle, March On’s director of strategic and political campaigns. “Coupled with a global pandemic, these efforts threaten our ability to hold a free, fair and safe election in November. March On is looking for young leaders who are fired up to turn out the vote and protect democracy.”
Selected recruits will function as captains who then recruit at least five volunteers to form a squad. There will be about 20 squads in each state, Pringle said.
Captains will be trained by lawyers to know the ins and outs of their local election laws. They will train their squads to help voters exercise their rights to mail-in voting and early voting and will establish relationships with local election protection initiatives, election officials and community leaders.
Voter suppression can take many forms, Pringle said, including misinformation about polling locations, voter ID laws and various legal and administrative obstacles that can prevent average people “who don’t live and breathe this stuff” from casting their vote. Fighting such tactics is generally talked about in terms of attorneys and happens on or after Election Day, but that doesn’t prevent bureaucratic disenfranchisement that occurs in the days and weeks before the election, Pringle said.
“So the vote is already suppressed before they even get to the polls,” she said.
March On is recruiting captains from the Divine 9 Black fraternities and sororities, as well as women, veterans, young professionals, college students and recent graduates. It plans to have more than 7,000 corps members nationally.