Who’s Afraid of Jerusalem?
Who’s afraid of Jerusalem?
Who loathes and despises her?
Who execrates her, heart and tongue?
Who says, What am I doing in this city of black hats
This city of blood and enmity
Where Hillel the Elder pursues peace
Amid the broken cups and carnage?
Who hates Jerusalem
For the love wherewith he loved her once in secret
Courtyard shadows of the vine
Twilight, jasmine blue?
How cruel is the hatred of Jerusalem
A very flame
Many waters cannot quench it.
After the terrorist attack at Café Hillel in September 2003
From “And So Said Jerusalem, Poems and Hymns” (Devarim/Carmel, Jerusalem 2009).
Translation from the Hebrew by Betsy Rosenberg (sponsored by the “Museum On The seam,” Jerusalem).