The slogan of a “united Jerusalem” is one of Israeli politicians' favorite electoral clichés. But while it can be understood when coming from right-wingers, it becomes confusing when it is repeated by center-left leaders, who want to prove that they are no less Jewish and patriotic. Thus they, too, collude with one of the great falsehoods that politicians and others have been telling the Israeli public for many years.
Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, both of whom actively avoid the left-wing label, distance themselves from concretely dealing with the future of Jerusalem in a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. They make speeches about the two-state vision, but at the same time repeatedly recite the false mantra about a united Jerusalem. They are trapped in a right-wing Catch 22 and left unable to courageously explain to the public that detaching from the fringe Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem is not equivalent to “dividing the city.”