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tv   Jerusalem City of Faith and Fury  CNN  December 24, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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>> jerusalem would always be the holy city, the house of one god. the capital of two peoples and the temple of three faiths. jerusalem is the universal city, the chosen city, the holy city. that's its blessing, but it also gives it its danger and its ugliness too, because it means that people believe that they must possess it absolutely. >> the palestinian/israeli
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conflict that we are experiencing today, you've seen it experienced in jerusalem for thousands of years. >> for the jews, jerusalem is where solomon built the holy temple. >> for christians, this is the place where jesus was crucified. >> for muslims, jerusalem is where the prophet muhammed made the night journey. >> people who are said to have conquered the world swept through this city. >> no other individual changed the landscape in the way herod the great did. >> saladin was determined to take on the christians and throw them out of jerusalem. >> at a time of ottoman/islamic rule, the british badly wanted to control the holy land. >> the main case of the arabs is against the british government policy in palestine. >> we are the only people in the world homeless and stateless.
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>> for israelis, the creation of the state of israel is seen as a miracle. and of course for the palestinians, it's a great disaster. >> the history of jerusalem, a very complicated story. and if you don't know it in its complexity, it's very hard to understand what's going on there today. >> the past is never dead. and if there is a city in the world to which that applies, it's jerusalem. ♪
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when you're walking in modern jerusalem, it does not escape you that you are walking in a place where great history has happened. and you see it. you see it whether you're at the dome of the rock, the al aqsa mosque, the wailing wall. there is such remarkable history that we've only, you know, read about. >> you've got people living on top of people, stones built on top of stones, religion based on top of religion. >> the first time i went to jerusalem, i thought it was probably one of the most beautiful places i'd been to on earth. but when i was on the ground and i started to see the tensions between everyone, i felt as though this was a city of contradictions. a city that had much history, but a city that also had a lot of sorrow and a lot of pain. >> jerusalem, besides its
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religious significance, is the center of national aspiration of two communities, the israeli community and the palestinian community. and that adds another layer of complexity. >> it's impossible to imagine fixing the present and building a better future for jerusalem without understanding the many stories of its past. >> for the earliest periods, our major source of information is the hebrew bible, the old testament. >> some of the stories that we have in the bible have been proven by archaeological means. others are stories that we have to take the narrative depending on how you believe in your faith tradition. >> i think what we have to remember is that the religious
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assertions are what made jerusalem what it is. >> for centuries, people who lived in and around jerusalem accepted that as a truth. so when we're reading the biblical stories, yes, we are reading the history of jerusalem. >> and the story of the holy city begins around 1,000 b.c. in the land of canaan. >> in 1,000 b.c., the major kingdoms were the egyptian kingdom to the south and the hittites to the north. this land of canaan in between, that was just a battlefield that the big boys came to duke it out on. >> canaan is the land that the israelites believe that god gave to them as the land that they were to inherit. the problem is, is that there were already people in canaan, the canaanites. according to the bible, god commands the israelites to kill
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every man, woman and child there, what we would call today genocide. and so you can see how in a modern setting, that might be cause for contention between people who might say, this wasn't your land to begin with in the first place. >> after conquering the lands of canaan, the israelites settle into 12 separate tribes united by their shared belief in an early form of judaism. >> the 12 tribes were divided. there were huge rivalries and feuds between them. >> and it's during this period that the israelite tribes had a lot of conflicts with the philistines, who were their neighbors. >> the philistines were israel's archenemy, and it's important to remember that the only history we have of the philistines was written by the people who fought against them.
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so the fact they have become sort of a synonym for being boorish and uncultured is because all of their histories were written by their enemies. >> but in fact they were very sophisticated people. they were expert with sword and shield, technology in fighting. >> and these guys are conquering all of the cities that they're coming across. they're marching eastward towards the judaean highlands. then you've got the israelites spreading out towards the coast. >> after a series of wars with the philistines, including a very bad defeat, the israelites decide that they want to have a king rule over them. >> people are stronger when they're united than when they're divided.
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and ancient israel realized that as long as they were separate tribes, they weren't going to be very strong. >> and therefore they decided to elect a king, and the king they chose was saul. >> saul had the advantage of being a military man and also being very charismatic. but he was insanely paranoid about his position. you know, there had never been a king before. there wasn't any sort of lineage that he could hang his legitimacy on. and so he was always terrified once he became king that it was going to be taken away. >> shortly after saul is named king, the israelite and philistine armies meet at the valley of elah. >> the philistines say, look, you pick a champion. we'll pick a champion. the two champions will fight
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each other. >> the idea being that whoever won the one-on-one battle, the losing army would serve the winner, and that might be a way of sparing the massive loss of life on both sides. >> what the israelites don't know at first is that the philistines have goliath. and goliath is described, sometimes he's 9 feet tall. he is this almost mythic hero. he is this supernatural force. >> if you're on the israelites and you go out onto the battlefield and you see shaq, you're not feeling so good about
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your chances. >> their assumption here is that saul, the king, is going to take the challenge. saul has absolutely no intention of taking this challenge. he's just not going to do it. >> but there is one israelite who has the courage. an unassuming shepherd who is about to fight one of the most legendary battles in human history.
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the 12 tribes of ancient israel have united under king saul and met the philistines in battle. >> the philistines have sent a man, goliath, out onto the battlefield, who has challenged any other israelite to battle. and because of his size, none of the israelites were willing to take him up on the offer. so at this point david enters the story. david was the youngest of eight sons, and the story goes that david was basically a shepherd boy who would take his father's flocks out. >> altogether, he's one of history's most fascinating characters. he was a poet. he was a singer. >> he's a little guy. he's not a smooth politician. he's not an administrator. he's not a schemer. he's the opposite of all of that. he acts on impulse.
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>> david took on goliath, according to the story, because goliath was defying god. he was defying the jewish god of israel by taunting his armies. so for david, this was more than just a battle. it was also symbolic of the power of the god of israel. >> david isn't even in the army. his father tells him to take lunch to his brothers, who are fighting in saul's army. and this is the picture that we get painted of the boy david, right? this punky little kid who is like, nobody's going to talk to my god like that, right? and everyone else is like, calm down, man. you don't know what you're doing. but he's willing to die to protect the honor of god.
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>> goliath doesn't believe his eyes. he's like, are you mocking me? what is this supposed to be? this is not a contest. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> throughout the history of
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israel, we see this theme of the remnant that god chooses to do his greatest work through the leftovers, through the disadvantaged. and david's defeat of goliath was proof to this struggling, desperate people that the god who had established them was still with them. it elevated them as a nation. it allowed them to take pride in who they were as a people. >> this young david, when he kills goliath, he got rewarded by king saul by being appointed as the general of the army. and king saul also gave david his daughter to marry. so in a way, he brought him very close to himself. but then king saul realized later that david became too popular and a source of competition. >> he's the equivalent of a social media icon, right?
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david is the guy that everybody's tweeting about and writing songs about. >> people were going around and singing, saul has killed his thousands and david his ten thousands. so even though david's victory over goliath was great and was celebrated, in fact, it made saul feel very insecure. >> it began to seem to saul that david was a bit of a nightmare who had infiltrated the family and was taking it over. and you've got to remember that saul had just been elected king. and when you have an elective king, people can always elect another king. and that was his fear. >> so what we see saul doing is acting out of paranoia, acting out of jealousy, and acting out of fear. >> saul becomes so jealous of david that he tries to have him put to death. he tries to kill him.
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>> david manages to escape saul's attacks but is forced to spend the next two years in exile. >> with david's absence, the war between israel and the philistines ramped back up again. we'd see saul losing and losing, and finally saul mounts, you know, one more desperate battle against the philistines. and it goes so badly that saul's men are driven back. all three of his sons are killed in front of him. and he sees the philistines coming. he knows that this is it. this is the end. and so he turns to his armor bearer and he begs to be killed by one of his own. >> and so the armor bearer does just that and then runs back and tells david that saul has died. instead of celebrating that saul was dead because saul had been
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trying to kill him for so long, david publicly mourns saul's death to such an extent that he has the armor bearer killed for killing the king. david knew that politically, it was important to mourn the death of the king of israel. >> now the entire kingdom recognizes there is only one man to lead them.
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david is named king of the israelites. but while the 12 tribes may have
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united to fight a war, they remain divided in spirit. >> david realizes that with his charisma, he can really unite them, and that united they're a force to be reckoned with at a time when in the middle east, virtually all the great powers such as egypt are in decline, and that's a time when a relatively small power can achieve great conquests. >> so how does he maintain the peace? what can david do to prove to the 12 tribes that he's not just going to favor his home tribes? he's going to choose a capital that will be a compromise. >> he settles on a small mountain enclave built by canaanites over 2,000 years earlier, jerusalem.
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>> jerusalem is a particularly unpromising spot to have become as important as it became. it doesn't have a strategic location. it's not even on a waterway, on a river or anything like that. >> jerusalem was chosen as a capital city because of where it lay. it was right in the middle, kind of like washington, d.c. in the united states. >> the great thing about jerusalem was it was impregnable. it was a fortified strong point, which made it very attractive. >> walled cities were not all that common in the ancient near east. so conquering a previously built walled city made a whole lot more sense than trying to establish one of his own. >> when the israelites had first settled the country a couple of centuries earlier, they had not taken jerusalem.
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jerusalem had remained in the hands of the native population, which the bible describes as jebusites. >> and the jebusites were holdouts. they were still hanging on to that last little bit of canaan. >> the jebusites today are invoked essentially, again, in a political discourse whereby some modern palestinians argue that they are their ancestors. >> it's so important to understand jerusalem's history because many of the modern conflicts are rooted in the past. so if you can prove that you are descended from the jebusites, then you can say, we have the earliest claim to the city versus the israelites. >> but if david wants the jebusites' city, he'll have to take it by force. >> david says to his troops, if
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any one of you is able to get in, penetrate the defenses, then i will make you captain of the army. ♪ >> they knew about this water shaft that went inside the city of jerusalem. and his general, joab, sneaked up the water shaft and then threw open the gates, and they were able to go in and conquer the city. now, david wants to make sure that everyone understands that jerusalem is not just the political capital of israel, but it's the religious capital of his kingdom as well. and so what david does is he brings the ark of the covenant to jerusalem.
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>> the ark of the covenant is the splendid golden container that holds the scrolls which contain the laws of moses and which are carried by the israelites throughout their wanderings in the desert. >> it had two cherubim, who were thought to stand in the presence of god, mounted on it. and between those cherubim was this empty space. and the empty space was the presence of god. >> david has this giant ceremony, and he marches the ark of the covenant up the hill and into jerusalem. david wants this big show to show the people that they're no longer a nomadic people. >> the problem with it is before he moved the ark of the covenant to jerusalem, god lived with his people.
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after he moved it there, god lived at jerusalem, and that just sets up centuries of coming conflict over this physical place. >> but for now, the united kingdom is thriving. 12 rival tribes have finally found peace under king david's rule. >> david has worked all of his life, has trusted god. he's worked hard. he started off as a simple shepherd. he's fought all of these battles, and now he's the king of israel. what a time to let your guard down. >> at the height of his power, david will make a decision that will jeopardize everything he's built. architecture firm.
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king david has brought the 12 tribes of israel peace and created a new capital city known as jerusalem. >> the bible says that in the time that kings usually go out to war, david stayed behind.
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it's almost as if that now that david's finally reached the position of king, he decides, eh, that's enough, and he lets his guard down. and that's when bathsheba comes into his life. >> david is out on the roof of his palace, and he look as cross and sees this beautiful woman having a bath. and he's struck by her great beauty. of course he's being a peeping tom, right? >> he knows that she is the wife of one of his commanders, but he admires her. he decides he has to have her. >> i wonder if david could take back any moment in his life, if
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he wouldn't take back that day that he saw bathsheba bathing on the rooftop. >> we talk a lot about helen of troy, but we don't talk about bathsheba in the same way, and maybe we should because her beauty starts a series of events that become very problematic for king david's reign, and all of it is his fault. >> he shows no acknowledgement of her as a person. he shows what is for the time a very typical view of women as possessions, that if you want it, you take it. >> i know we want to think today of women having complete agency and stuff like that, but it didn't work like that in the ancient world. women were dependents. >> bathsheba has no right to tell the king no when he calls for her. >> she has to go because that is the king of israel.
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and so we don't get to hear from the narrative what she's feeling and what she's thinking. in the course of what happens with bathsheba, the rape that she endures by king david, she becomes pregnant. >> david realizes that he has a problem because the husband, uriah, is away at war, and so it's going to be clear that bathsheba must have had an affair with somebody. and of course that somebody was david. so what does he do? he calls joab, the commander of his army, and he orders him to send uriah into the battlefield, at the front of the battle lines, and to have everybody
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else withdraw and leave him vulnerable. >> and then all of the enemy fire is focused on uriah, and of course he gets killed in battle. and then david gets to paint himself as consoling the mourning widow, bathsheba. so david orders what is essentially the murder of her husband in battle. >> it's this immense moral failing that is right at the center of the story of david. >> and it's the beginning of his downfall as king of israel. >> despite his best efforts, it isn't long before news of david's actions spread across the kingdom. >> the prophet of israel goes to
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david and says, if i told you a story about a rich man who went and stole the sheep of a very poor man, and david says, i would kill that man. and the prophet says, your majesty, it's you. >> you had all of the power, and you went, and you took something away from someone who had no power, and you treated both this man and his wife with disdain and with lack of reverence. >> and david is terrified because he knows that god knows that he has not only committed adultery, but that he's committed murder. >> he disregards public outrage and forces her to marry him. >> it was not something that sat well with lots of people, especially in the court of david because by marrying, it created
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a feud on the part of the other wives of david. >> if you go back and you read all these biblical stories, you'll see that all of these guys had lots of wives, and they all had lots of kids. ultimately the significance of the story is that david's personal family, his house, right, is no longer going to have any peace in it. david's going to be engaged in war in his family relations. there's always going to be war. clearance
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by marrying bathsheba, king david has brought turmoil to the royal family. several decades pass, and the remaining years of his rule are consumed by chaos. >> as david's about to die, you can imagine the people in israel asking themselves, what's next? what's next for our kingdom? what's next for israel?
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what's next for this golden age? >> david has to pick a new heir, and it's really important to remember that at this point, the tradition of the crown always going from father to eldest son is not that well established. we're talking about a world in which until very recently, the strongest guy got the crown. this creates this knot where we don't know who the crown is going to go to. >> all the mothers of the different sons were all arguing for their sons to be made king. >> just as much as kings were making alliances, wives were making alliances too in order to make sure that they would be taken care of. >> but bathsheba was david's favorite wife, and bathsheba used her influence to make sure that david named her son, solomon, as the next king of israel.
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>> for david, this is a way of atoning to her for what he did. he took her husband away, but now he's going to make her the queen mother. her son is going to rule over israel. >> after 40 years ruling ancient israel, king david dies around 970 b.c., and solomon takes his place. >> if you want to talk about a coldhearted, calculating, manipulative, hard-nosed individual, look no farther than solomon. >> solomon doesn't have david's charisma. that is one thing that is very, very clear from all of the accounts. he doesn't have the same ability to make everybody follow him through sheer force of personality. so you see political shrewdness, but unfortunately not a lot of personal integrity in solomon. >> king solomon was a very spoiled kid who grew up in the court of power and wealth, who
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was so consumed with his aura as king that he essentially tried to exploit it to his advantage. >> and he has to somehow make sure that he holds on to power. instead of doing what david would have done and making people love him, he does what any other ancient near eastern dictator would do, and he carries out a palace purge. >> he kills all the princes, all the brothers, all the guards, all the courtiers who served other people, and he brings in his own people. a bit like an american president arriving in office except with murder added. solomon's ruthlessness is demonstrated in the bible by the story of the two women who both claimed the same baby, and solomon smiles and says, fine. we'll cut the baby in two, and
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you can share it. >> and this, of course, instantly produces the real mother because the real mother says, no, no, no, no. she can keep the baby. she can keep the baby. >> and that story was held up as great wisdom because solomon knew the mind of a mother. but that's a pretty sadistic thing to do. i think it's evidence that he was a ruthless man that just didn't want to deal with petty things. he wanted grandiose things. >> that is solomon's image in history, but his importance is because he does something astonishing in jerusalem. >> as a king, solomon is always laboring in the shadow of his great father. he doesn't have the same opportunity to distinguish himself as a warrior, nor does he have the inclination. but he's got to distinguish
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himself in some way. >> solomon's greatest accomplishment was the construction of the temple in jerusalem, and this was a house for the ark of the covenant. >> solomon's father, david, had brought the ark of the covenant to jerusalem and planted it apparently on a rocky high point overlooking the city. so what solomon does, on top of that rocky outcrop, solomon builds a permanent house for the god of israel. >> temple mount, haram al sharif for the arabs, is the place where the first temple built by solomon stood. almost certainly on top of the rock that today is the foundation stone of the dome of the rock, the gorgeous islamic edifice that stands there today. it probably is the most holy place in western and middle eastern civilization.
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>> but at the time the temple is done, it represents israel moving into this place as a prosperous, settled nation with a king whose power is acknowledged by all. from the original idea that god was going to dwell with his people and you didn't need a physical place for him to be. s. >> solomon spared no expense in building his temple in jerusalem. he brought in the cedars from lebanon. he brought in the best stone cutters. he wanted this to be the most beautiful temple in the region. >> he is determined to be greater than his father, and one of the greatest flaws in solomon's personality was that he really believed bigger is better with all of his heart. >> to build his extravagant temple, solomon forces his
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people to work grueling hours without pay. >> solomon is a ruthless leader. he rules on the backs of his own people. and anybody who disagrees with him is going to have a problem. people call leaders like this a despot. >> and so all of this begins to put pressure on the kingdom. >> when the situation gets this bad, insurrections aren't uncommon. you can see people rising up and trying to overthrow the king.
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so show up, however you can, for the foster kids who need it most— at king solomon has built the great jewish temple in jerusalem. but it comes at the cost of alienating the very people he has sworn to protect. >> by the end of solomon's rule, the people are incredibly unhappy. you have to work forced labor. he also forces you into the military. you're also being heavily taxed. so it's not really a peaceful kingdom. >> solomon's generals come together to plan an insurrection.
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but their king is one step ahead. solomon crushes the rebellion. but the seeds of revolt have been planted. >> so his reign essentially ended up being a very brutal reign, featuring a lot of revolts as a result of his policies. >> finally in 931 b.c., king solomon dies. >> one of the ways you can look at it is that king david was the real deal. even with all of his faults, he was the king that israel fell in love with.
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and then his son solomon was the pretender. but he was strong. he was at least strong enough to force these tribes to stay together. and by the time solomon was gone, it all fell apart. >> and from that point on, the united kingdom is split into two parts. a northern kingdom, was known as the northern kingdom of israel, and the southern kingdom, which is called judah. and they each have their own monarchic successions, their own kings. >> both judah and israel will spend the next few centuries at war. >> when this united kingdom comes apart, it becomes israel and judah. and that would later become sumeria and judea. and these are the components
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that would constitute the west bank and israel. >> so when you study the history of jerusalem and you appreciate the religious symbolism, then you begin to think about, okay, so then what went wrong? what created this big fissure between these communities? >> the clash today over the narrative of jerusalem is largely tied to the way history gets exploited. politicians who would like to go back to the story of king david claim that what happened in jewish history is a kind of deed that gives judaism and the jews, for that matter, perpetual ownership of the city of jerusalem. so essentially what you see is biblical history not as history, but as political propaganda. >> jerusalem wasn't supposed to be all about politics.
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but we see over and over again in the history of jerusalem, we see the rise of kings who may pay lip service to the ideal under which the country was founded, but succumb to the temptation to preserve their own power. >> power corrupts. and absolute power corrupts absolutely. we've heard this expression. and nowhere does it apply more than to jerusalem. jerusalem was made into the city that it is today because of stories like david, like solomon. not the natural resources, not the gold, not the oil. it's the history of jerusalem that makes it the center of the world. >> after solomon's rule, jerusalem remains in a state of
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chaos for centuries. but that will all change when a towering republic arrives on the shores of palestine with one clear goal -- to conquer the entire world. jerusalem is the universal city, the chosen city, the holy city. that's its blessing but it also gives it its danger and its ugliness too. because it means that people believe that they must possess it absolutely. the le


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