April 4, 2011

Jewish Rights on the Temple Mount: The Acid Test: By Moshe Feiglin

25 Adar Bet, 5771
March 31, '11

It is just one of the laws of nature here in the Middle East. When the Arabs feel that we are not determined to maintain Israeli sovereignty over our Land, when we apologize all the time and project transience, when they understand that we are not motivated by the feeling that we are right, the missiles and bombs are just a matter of time. It is not the massacre in Itamar, the rockets on Be'er Sheva or the bomb in Jerusalem that should surprise us, but the relatively long time that the fa├žade of quiet held up.

The point where we lost our spirit and feeling of justness has a name and an exact topographical location: It is the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is the quintessence of the Land of Israel. There is no place holier to the Jews - and only to the Jews - than this place. There is no other place in the world that has been the focal point of our prayers and our destiny over the millennia. The entire trek of Abraham, Moses and King David leads us to the Temple Mount. Without it, our presence in Israel loses its meaning.

The Nation of Israel has longed for the Temple Mount throughout 2000 long and cruel years of exile. It is this longing and focus that preserved our Jewish identity and that brought us back to our Land. It is also the dynamic that provided the national foundation for the establishment of the State of Israel.

The Temple Mount was liberated during the Six Days of Miracles. The paratroop commander announced, "The Temple Mount is in our hands" and a wave of jubilation swept over us all; religious and secular, alike.

But just a few hours after the Temple Mount was liberated, the Israeli flag was removed from the site. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan gave the keys to the Mount to the Moslem wakf. Ever since then, the legitimacy for Israel's existence has slowly but surely eroded. "He who rules the Mount rules the Land," wrote poet of faith and rebuke Uri Tzvi Greenberg. He understood that the grand victory parades were obscuring the fact that when we left the Temple Mount, we lost the war.

Today, almost 44 years later, Jews essentially have almost no rights on the Temple Mount. Try your luck and go to the Temple Mount - not as a tourist, but as a Jew. Put a kippah on your head and try to say a few words of Psalms or any other prayer. Before you are even allowed to enter the Mount, you will be detained at the side while all the tourists enter. Then you will be subjected to a thorough search - just in case you, Heaven forefend, are carrying a book of Psalms or prayer book. When you enter, a wakf worker and a policeman - often a Moslem, as well - will accompany you and scrutinize your every move. If your lips move in prayer - and it makes no difference if nobody else is there - the wakf worker will tell the policeman, who will hurriedly arrest you and take you off to the police station.

All of this is a patent violation of the basic human right of the Jewish People to pray at the place most holy to them - but the "human rights" organizations could not care less. The Supreme Court explains time and again that it is permissible for a Jew to pray on the Temple Mount, but that it is up to police discretion to authorize each prayer. It is actually just a game. The Supreme Court awards the police with responsibility when it fits its agenda; to negate the most basic rights of the Jews in their own Land.

It is on the Temple Mount that we lost the justness of our hold on this Land. He who consciously gave the royal crown to his enemy can no longer claim that his presence in any other part of the Land is just - not in Tel Aviv and not in Haifa.

***
On Tuesday, the Knesset Interior Committee, chaired by MK David Azulai of Shas, held a hearing on the violation of the rights of the Jews on the Temple Mount. The hearing was summoned by Coalition Chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin along with MKs Yariv Levin, Tzippy Hotobeli, Uri Ariel, Michael Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad in the aftermath of the report on Jewish Rights at the Temple Mount recently published by Manhigut Yehudit.

Police "representative" in the Knesset, MK and former Police Chief Aryeh Bibi attempted to claim that the discriminatory and scandalous behavior of the police on the Temple Mount is caused by Jewish provocations. Police Chief of the Old City Avi Ruoeff also attempted to make similar claims. Arab MKs present at the hearing attempted to claim that all the trouble was being made by an "extremist and dangerous" Jewish fringe group.

These attempts, which had been successful in the past, totally failed. The police representatives embarrassed themselves with their contradictions and lies.

The faithful to the Land and the Temple prevailed not because of the power of their claims, but because of the stature of the claimants. MKs Uri Ariel, Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari spoke eloquently and did excellent work. But when the key speaker is Coalition Chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin and he is followed by Likud MKs Yariv Levin, Tzippy Hotobeli and even MK Otniel Schneller from Kadimah, the hearing cannot be squelched simply by demonizing the claimants.

At the next hearing, the police will be required to present the committee with the rules for ascent to the Temple Mount, the list of people prohibited from entering the Mount and the reasons for their disqualification and - most importantly - an explanation of what the police consider a 'provocation.' Is it a provocation to enter the Mount with a Jewish prayer book? Wearing an IDF uniform?

Michael Fuah and I were at the hearing. We did not speak. But everyone present knew that without Manhigut Yehudit the entire hearing would not have taken place.

The position of the Israeli government and Israel's Police force on Jewish rights on the Temple Mount is an acid test for the State of Israel's commitment to its Jewish identity and its democracy. We will continue to work hard on this issue, which is a reflection of the state of our sovereignty over the entire Land.

No comments:

Post a Comment