Publisher’s Point: Alabama “Makes Aliyah”

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Last year, Athens Now had the privilege of writing about the 75th anniversary of some state history that in the minds of many Alabamians was nothing short of miraculous. In 1943, a full two years before the harrowing footage of the Holocaust was filmed in April, 1945, both legislative houses called unanimously for the formation of the State of Israel. The resolution was hand-written, passed into law, and we became the first state in the Union to do so. This was before Harry Truman was referred to as Cyrus, as he defied his cabinet and called for it; this was before Adlai Stevenson saved the day by arguing brilliantly for it before the nascent UN while defying the Arabs, before the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, and everything since. We have the distinction of being the state whose legislative body made history with global repercussions.

Last week, Alabama passed the political equivalent of what is known amongst Israelis as “making Aliyah.” Loosely defined, when one makes a physical trip to Jerusalem in order to honor the city and its history, that pilgrimage is referred to as “making Aliyah.” I did so in 2014, and one of the personal highlights of my life-changing trip was finding out how much it meant to the Israeli people that visitors potentially put themselves in harm’s way to come there. The mayor of Jerusalem sees to it that each visitor receives a signed certificate commemorating the occasion. He also thanks them. I don’t know of any other nation that acts in kind when you visit their capital, except perhaps Kurdistan. When you visit Erbil, the capital city, whether you served in Operation Iraqi Freedom or not, if you are an American, you are a rock star.

So, how did Alabama make Aliyah? By “going there” in the form of passing legislation that honors and designates Jerusalem as the “eternal, undivided capital of Israel.” In 2018, President Trump saw to it that a decades-old federal law was upheld by placing our embassy up on a well-protected Jerusalem hill on land that we already owned which was purchased for $150,000. There was a predictable push-back and an attempt to shut down the celebration, but we Americans believe in the rule of law, and our president saw to it that this resolution, which was passed in 1995 and again in 1999, became a reality. Governor Kay Ivey showed the same courage by signing into law last week Alabama Joint Resolution (Act 66, SJR 27, 2019 Regular Session), which says in part:

WHEREAS, the U.S. Embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence; now therefore,
That we do unequivocally recognize Jerusalem as the eternal undivided capital of Israel, and do fully affirm and celebrate the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
That it is directed that copy of this resolution be forwarded to the President of the United States, to the Alabama Delegation to the United States Congress, to the Governors of all the United States of America, and to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., for transmission to all the proper authorities in the State of Israel.

I for one am one proud resident of Alabama the Beautiful and am planning on letting Governor Ivey know she made my day. How about you?