Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Dissonant Temple Mount Status in Focus as Religious, Political Forces Collide (VIDEO)

August 9, 2013 5:08 pm 6 comments

A view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo: wiki commons.

Before Jerusalem becomes the stage for the US-led peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority next Wednesday, an Israeli Knesset committee will meet on Sunday to tackle a question religious Jews have been asking since 1967, when Israel gained control of the Temple Mount and left authority over the religious hotspot in the hands of the Muslim Waqf Council.

The confounding issue of Israeli police not allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount is being taken up by Likud lawmaker Miri Regev’s Interior Committee, according to The Temple Institute’s Rabbi Chaim Richman, who led a prayer vigil at the Temple Mount as a peaceful protest this week.

“There has been a grass roots awakening of the plight of the beleaguered Temple Mount,” Rabbi Richman told The Algemeiner in an interview. “Recently, there has been a lot of clarification, an enlightenment to be more aware of the importance of visiting there, and a great upswing of numbers, with the whole subject becoming much more a part of the national and political discourse.”

In honor of Rosh Chodesh Elul, this past Wednesday, the first day of the final month of the Hebrew calendar, a time of repentance with a daily shofar blowing, before Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Repentance, ten days later, Rabbi Richman led a 7:30 AM minyan, or prayer quorum, of 200 men at the Mugrabi Gate, beyond the site where the Jewish Temple once stood, now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.

The protest on Wednesday aimed to draw attention to the fact that Jews were denied access to what is considered the holiest site in Judaism for nearly the entire Muslim holy month of Ramadan, “in an unprecedented move to appease Islamist threats against Jewish visitors,” Rabbi Richman said.

What concerned the rabbi and his supporters more than the attitude of the Israeli police towards Ramadan, was their disrespect for Tisha B’Av, the 9th of the previous Hebrew month of Av, when Jews mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples on that site.

“This was a big precedent, as its never happened before, even when the month of Av coincided with Ramadan; even during Roman rule Jews were allowed to pray here on Tisha B’Av,” the rabbi said. “After having received assurance from police that we would be able to ascend, we found, once we got here, fasting all day in the heat, and without any announcement that it would be closed to us.”

Zeev Elkin, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, was also denied access to the Temple Mount on Tisha B’ Av, his office said, although he was able to return for a brief, 20-minute visit the next day.

His press attache confirmed to The Algemeiner that police refused access by the political leader, adding, “The question of the Temple Mount has been an important issue for the Deputy Foreign Minister even before being the head of the coalition, and he’s been leading lots of discussion around the topic at the Knesset. He sees the Temple as very important for Jews, and he’s very interested in the question.”

But his office declined to comment on when they thought this divisive issue would be broached by US Secretary of State John Kerry, or his emissary, Ambassador Martin Indyk, or how it might be handled in the context of peace negotiations. The underlying theme of Tisha B’ Av, beyond commemorating the destruction, has been the lack of unity among Jews, with the conflict over even praying at the ruins being the example that proves the rule, Rabbi Richman said.

“Israel is the sole bastion of human rights in the Middle East, but expediency is denying Jews their due. We are well known here [in Israel] for protecting the rights of minorities through our High Court of Justice ever person has the rights to pray in all the holy places, but there is a police practice, that officially doesn’t exist; really, it’s a practice of discrimination.”

“An Orthodox man walks up to the gate, he has to identify himself as a Jew, his name is registered in a book. He’s told if he moves his lips, closes his eyes, shuffles, rip his shirt, or any other ‘sudden movement’ that might be interpreted as praying to his G-d, he could be forcibly removed, arrested, thrown in jail. Last time they let me in, I was accompanied by a a phalanx of guards, from both the Muslim Waqf and Israeli Police, who were standing there, next to me, just waiting for me to act like a Jew. It makes no sense,” he said.

Moshe Feiglin, a Knesset member who heads the Manhigut Yehudit faction of Israel’s governing Likud party, and a member of MK Regev’s Interior Committee, echoed Rabbi Richman’s sentiments, speaking to The Algemeiner while on a trip to meet supporters in New York this week. “Spirituality, politics, all of this comes together around today’s discussion of the Temple Mount; it is all one question we need to resolve,” he said.

Watch a video of the 200-man minyan at the gates of the Temple Mount, below:

6 Comments

  • The building of the third Temple and the freedom of the Jews to be ‘Jewish’ on the Temple Mount will not occur UNTIL HaShem ordains it. Please note, there are 4 back-to-back Blood Red Moons and 2 sun eclipses scheduled for Passover and Succoth in 2014/2015/2016 patterned after the same BRM in 1949/1950 and 1967/1968, just succeeding the birth of Israel and the recapturing of Jerusalem. The Jewish people did not possess the Temple Mount then because it was not time yet. Is it just a coincidence that there will be a finalization of the peace deal brokered by the US by Nisan, 2014? HaShem has declared that this will be a ‘covenant of death’ for Israel (Isaiah 28:14-18)which will begin the 70th week period (Daniel 9:24-27, the second half of which will be the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). Oh Israel, seek Adoni while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near, seek the truth (emet) above all things – and He will set you free.

  • Dearest friends of G-d, I am a Christian in South-Africa. My heart goes out to all the Jews and Christians in Jerusalem for what you should go through at this stage. I know that our beliefs might be different, but if you could just grant me a second of your time. Jesus foretold and said that we as believers in Christ will be persecuted for our faith, so we will be treated unfairly, but with that comes the most beautiful reward-eternal life with our G-d. I pray that above all things, all of us will deepen our relationship with our Heavenly Father to hear and listen what His will is, and what each of us should do for the Kingdom of Heaven. May we walk in peace, hope and above all – Love …

  • Dr Gedeon Herschberg

    This issue should be included in the so called “Peace Talks”

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    When is this world going to stop kow towing to the muslim bloodsuckers who think that the world owes them all the freedoms and rights with respect but nothing in return. They should be slapped down like a spoiled child and made to understand right from wrong and proper behavior.

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      Islam as a religion is steeped into intolerance and hostility to all other faiths. This is not to say every Moslem is that way, especially in America, or even most–but at least a huge minority are. What is galling is that Israel out of expediency permits these bigots to exclude Jews from the Temple Mount. Why? Because Moslems claim it to be exclusively theirs. But they claim the same thing about all of Jerusalem and all of
      “Palestine.” When oh when will the Israelis stop coddling Arabs? They should be plainly told: Look, the Temple Mount is sacred to you and to us. So you and we are going to share it. Moslems and Jews will have full access to worship equally. AND THAT IS THE WAY IT’S GOING TO BE!!!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →