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May 14, 2014 11:45 am

U.S. Congressmen Surprised by Discrimination Against Jews, Christians on Temple Mount During Jerusalem Visit (VIDEO)

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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U.S. Congressman Dr. Andrew Harris atop the Temple Mount, on May 14, 2014. Photo: Screenshot.

U.S. Congressman Dr. Andrew Harris atop the Temple Mount, on May 14, 2014. Photo: Screenshot.

U.S. Congressman Dr. Andrew Harris on Wednesday said he was “surprised” by the limited access for non-Muslims to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the “discrimination against Jews” he witnessed during his visit, along with Congressman Ron DeSantis.

According to a video statement made during the visit on Wednesday, Harris said, “It’s a pleasure to be here on the Temple Mount, obviously an area of religious significance for many religions including Christians like myself, Jews and Muslims… but I’m actually surprised that access is so limited, and especially the discrimination against Jews above any other religion in visits to the Temple Mount.”

“It surprises me as an American, believing in religious freedom, that [such conditions]would exist,” Harris said.

The visit was coordinated by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute, which described what happened, in a statement: “The group witnessed how outwardly looking Jewish groups are singled out and accompanied by both Jordan Islamic Waqf guards and Israeli police officers that scrutinize their behavior for signs of prayer or non-Muslim worship. In addition to the usual entourage, the Congressmen were also followed by an Israeli intelligence officer that filmed their every move for much of the visit.”

“Both were clearly moved by the experience and expressed concern at the lack of religious freedom for Jews and Christians at the site,” the Temple Institute said.

Harris and DeSantis, Republicans from Maryland and Florida, respectively, are in Israel as part of a week long visit organized by the Yes Israel Committee in conjunction with the YESHA Council, which represents the Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria.

Watch Congressman Harris give his impressions on the discrimination against Jews on the Temple Mount below.

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  • Harold T: You need to re-read the article. It is not the Israeli’s who are preventing them from accessing the Temple Mount, it is the Palestinians. In fact, just a few miles away in Bethlehem, a Christian Church and her members were attacked. Why, because Palestinians don’t want Jews or Christians in their neighborhoods. The goal is to make all of Israel Judenrein (Jew free).

  • Tamara

    Merci à Sofia et à tous ceux qui lisent et comprennent bien ce que veut dire cet Américain mais il est vrai que nul ne peut comprendre qu’Israël ne puisse être responsable du Mont du Temple et que lui, Israël, est bien gentil et humain de respecter et faire respecter la Mosquée El Aqsa (et c’est normal) mais il est grand temps que le Monde se pose les vraies questions et qu’Israël fasse tout juridiquement pour avoir le maintien de ce lieu qui est dans son pays. Car ici les gens ne savent pas que lorsque Yéroushalaim était occupé par les Jordaniens, ces derniers avaient brûlé 27 synagogues!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!et çà personne ne trouve rien à redire. Alors respect oui mais Israël est souverain et sa capitale est Jérusalem toute. Tamara

    “Sofia thank you and all those who read and understand what it means that American but it is true that no one can understand that Israel can not be responsible for the Temple Mount and that he, Israel, is very nice and human respect and uphold the El Aqsa Mosque (which is normal) but it is high time that the world is asking the right questions and do everything legally Israel for maintaining a place that is in his country. Because here people do not know that when Yeroushalaïm was occupied by the Jordanians, they had 27 synagogues burned!!!!!!! Here and no one find fault . So respect yes but Israel is sovereign and its capital is Jerusalem all.”


  • HaroldT

    Shame on the Israeli’s for not permitting freedom of religion on temple mount

    • Yes, SHAME SHAME SHAME ! At times liked these I wonder why I am still a supporter of Israel -why, it makes no sense, we are in the realm of the absurd, sheer madness and folly, and no wisdom at all. Israel, wake up and STAND YOUR GROUND!

    • Ignorance no longer can be condoned or seen as bliss! You are WRONG!! eco!!

  • Alan Kennedy

    Proof that the “average” American knows squat about the rest of the world, especially Israel and the Isaac/Ishmael debate

  • estie

    It is disgraceful that muslims are in charge of Judaisms holiest sight. It is tantamount to Jews being in charge of what goes on in mecca. Can you just imagine THAT!!!!It is about time we stood up for ourselves in our own country!!!!

  • Mike P


    You are misrepresenting the central point here. Jews and Christians cannot pray ANYWHERE on the Temple Mount EVER.

  • Sofia

    It is reality that the Arabs are bent on destroying Israel, in any way possible. The Holy Land of Israel is open to all Religions and people.

    People are brain washed how Israel is treating Arabs, if only the Arabs would treat the Israelis with just half that amount, it would be a great place.

    There is no appeasing of the Palestinians or other Arab Nations, except the destruction of the only Democratic Nation – Israel – that gives to the world.


    • Julian Clovelley

      Sofia, people aren’t brainwashed as to how Israel is treating the Arabs, rather they are deeply concerned at what is happening in the Middle East to all of the people of the region.

      Outside of Israel, what we have to go in is a group of clear decisions, made by the most respected international and human rights bodies, that are against aspects of the Occupation of Arab territory. To many it is abundantly clear that the settlements east of the security wall along the 1967 boundary will never be acceptable and cannot remain under Israeli control, however much any party may want them to, or believe that they have a Divine right to be there. So long as a dominant Right in Israel does not really want peace, they will remain there as a guarantee it will never arrive. The question for many outsiders is, do the two sides want peace or don’t they? The Hamas Charter gives just as clear a negative answer from the Arab side as the settlements do from the Israeli

      Many identify with the frustration of the approaching fifty percent of Palestinians born since the conflict that created the present impasse, and wonder if any peace settlement can ever occur unless one nation at least remains firmly on the moral high ground

      Often in column comments I read claims about how the British callously dismissed the Jewish needs at the outbreak of war. I go back and read the documents of the time – including Hansard – the record of all British parliamentary speeches and debates, and I find that the participants agonised over every decision they were forced to make, and that there was great opposition to many particular decisions, especially from the Labour Party group.

      The bottom line is that there seems to be a mountain of misinformation on all sides and that this ignorance helps fire the conflicts. To my mind the total resolution of the conflict will require much greater informing of those involved and massive theological reform on all sides, starting with an abandonment of Fundamentalist attitudes and beliefs

      I’d like to hear from Israel’s secular citizens and from secular individuals within the Jewish communities, especially amongst academics. What do they think?

    • Eco


    • Skip past the next comment Sofia. The writer is obviously not in control of a credibility factor! Jews promote more equality in the region than any other State. Truth! Judaism does not promote Intolerances against any other Religion! Fact! Religious Freedom is a Gift of God who would not demand, would not condone or expect Religious persecution! By what stretch of the imagination do Fundamentalist’s believe that coercion in Belief is not only against the Will of God, it is against the Will of Mankind! God knows the Soul of Mankind and can identify Belief for what it is? BELIEF!!

  • It’s good that those U.S. Congressmen witnessed blatant discrimination against observant Jews on the Temple Mount. It is proof that the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf is an “apartheid” institution.

  • Efram

    Wonderful attitude. Now what is he going to do about it? Obama would never fight it, he wants the same thing to be true in every single Jewish holy place. Kerry is not going to oppose it, Hagel is not going to oppose it, NO ONE in the executive branch would dream of opposing it. And what about congress? The Democrats are in lock step with Obama’s pro terrorist beliefs, and do not have the guts to stand up for what is right, and are too cringing to stand up to our terrorist-in-chief. Even the Knesset, to its everlasting shame, refuses to change the situation. It is a crime, blatantly unfair and wrong, and nothing will ever be done about it.

  • Debra Michels

    Boy, does it feel good to be understood and supported! I hope they come back to the USA and educate people about what Israel faces in the Middle East – so that more and more people will understand and not blame and shame Israel any more, but instead, befriend her.

    • judorebbe

      The lap-dog (mainstream) media will see to it that such observations never make their way to the dumbed-down public. The media will be “encouraged” (intimidated) to ignore this sort of politically incorrect information.

  • yussie

    why were they surprised? Prior to the 67 war started by the arabs and won by Israel,other religions had NO ACCESS!!!!The muslims are an abomination and if everyone continues to look the other way they will take over the world and change civilization as we know it.

    • G Bern

      You are correct. The when Jordan, illegally destroyed places of Jewish worship and desecrated cemeteries including tombstones as paving or as latrines, who noticed? Who cared?
      Israel’s mistake was to cede control over the Temple Mount after 1967.

    • yussie? You are so wrong and out of kilter with any Belief system. Tolerance above all is expressly required by those whose God sees us sharing in a world of others! That said, Muslims are not to blame for the wrongs done by Criminal elements, fundamentalists and those who see a power structure gained from Intolerances against others on any grounds, let alone Religious boundary’s!

  • Selina Owen

    Such a behaviour all mounts to their main objective to destroy Israel and her Jewish national. Obviously, the Bible says it all. So we expect the countdown is on and will culminate at Jesus return where no power on earth will be able to stop the final take over of Israel award it to its rightful land lords: the Jewish and Christians.

  • Julian Clovelley

    You’d have to be pretty dumb to fall for this one. I suppose we can expect a Conga Line of Republican Congressmen and Senators dancing their way across the Temple Mount, expressing innocent surprise at the conditions there. The police up there who have to prevent violence, must be really fed up with this game. I feel genuinely sorry for them.

    We are told to actually believe that two Republican Congressmen did not know what to expect – that they had not been briefed as to what to expect, and how to play their vote catching roles. Both, I understand from the net, have served in the American Armed forces in the Middle East, Harris as a Lt Commander in Desert Storm, and De Santis was assigned to SEAL Team one in Iraq and later to the Guantanamo Bay Joint Detention Facility. Neither seem likely innocents in terms of political knowledge of the situation on the Temple Mount. Both retain strong military connections.

    Let me ask Jewish readers a question. Isn’t it a desecration of a sacred site to use it for bland political purpose, for that is what we are seeing? Do you really want every American politician arriving at the Temple Mount, stirring up those there at the time, and forcing Israeli security forces there to keep the peace, into circumstances of avoidable danger? If you find such propagandising acceptable, I am sure the Republicans, and Democrats catching up on the game, can arrive there in busloads. Better open a few more parking spots at the closest access point. Do these people genuinely think that the Jewish vote can be bought so cheaply?

    Instead how about a Government statement that it is considered a breach of etiquette for the area to be treated in this manner? Stop the provocations, for that is what all of them are, including the parties of children, and perhaps a more acceptable access possibility for Jewish Prayer can be agreed.

    In the meantime maybe one could look a little closer at what prayer is. Is it just words thrown into darkness, or recited against a wall – which if the truth be known really isn’t listening? Is it about words recited in particular locations? Is it about appeasing and flattering a deity?

    Or is it really about how we live every minute of our lives, how we perceive the needs and distress of friend and enemy alike, and seek through love to compassionately assist them? Is it perhaps about how we behave in creating a better world for everyone – one in which the Temple Mount can be truly liberated through a willingness to share it?

    US Republican Congressmen surprised indeed! – The right leg is the one with bells on it.

    • Kate Ratigan

      Misdirection. Take an offensive act and turn it around. Blame the person who brought it to everyone’s attention. It is their fault. Ascribe no fault to those wbo engaged in the bad actions that caused the complaint. It is not about the response of outrage, but about the unjust act itself.

    • Sonia Willats

      The way I see it, there is a difference between knowing about something, and experiencing it first hand.

      At the very least, the man is being supportive and we should support him in this, without criticism.

      LASTLY, I think it would be good to see an initiative where Christians are barred from a holy site in Jerusalem, by consent, for a few days. This would demonstrate some sort of solidarity with Judaism for being effectively barred from its most holy site.

      I’m not holding my breath for this to happen, but the whole world is simply numbed to outrage when it affects only Jews.

    • Plain Talk

      You have a long winded response that side steps the point of the article. The point made in the article is that the Temple Mount discriminates towards Jews and Christians.

      Whether this Congressman was truly surprised or was doing some role playing does not change the point of the article.

    • howiej

      The only “provocations” are the facts that Israel and the Jews exist. All should have freedom on The Mount and the exclusive use of any areas should be limited to the insides of the mosques on top.

    • Lynne T

      Deal with the issue, windbag: Muslim Arab control over Temple Mount, not whether or not the two American politicians had a full understanding of the discriminatory practices prior to actually witnessing it.

      But for you, the Palestinians are the “righteous oppressed” and no facts will dissuade you.

    • Deb

      First of all, your comments show an immense lack of knowledge of both Islam and Judaism.

      Secondly, what you suggested be done, “Instead how about a Government statement that it is considered a breach of etiquette for the area to be treated in this manner?” is what was done via a representative of said government issuing a statement via the video. Breach of etiquette? Your milquetoast view on life is extraordinary.

    • William Channon

      “In the meantime maybe one could look a little closer at what prayer is. Is it just words thrown into darkness, or recited against a wall – which if the truth be known really isn’t listening? Is it about words recited in particular locations? Is it about appeasing and flattering a deity?”

      This paragraph gives us the true perspective of the writers beliefs. ‘…a deity…’, ‘Words thrown into darkness?…’.

      Clearly, a man who is intolerant of any person who does not believe that God exists.

  • Steve Klein

    I mean no disrespect. This is a Congressman; a doctor. Twelve plus years after the 9/11/2001 jihad terror attack in New York and Washington, he is surprised Islam considers Jews and Christians inferior to “the best of the peoples” in the eyes of Allah?

  • C.Kirk

    Wheer has this man been hiding all the years ?
    What planet did he arrive from ?
    When was he born ?

  • It’s apparent that USA citizens are insulted from reality when it comes to religious freedom. Judging by this report what we experience is nothing by comparison to Temple Mount. My question, is the world ever going to overcome religious discord? This is happening where religion originated and still can’t come to terms.

  • Otto Schiff

    There is no glory in discriminating.Those who engage in that are showing their limited intellect in public.
    Shame on them.

  • Holybacon

    Where is the press release from CAIR standing in solidarity with the Jews who want to pray at the temple mount?

  • rulierose

    there should not be any square inch of Israel where Jews are not allowed to pray openly and proudly.

    • Kerry Berger

      Basically, I agree with you, but there are obnoxious ultra-orthodox Jews and Christians who do not observe the rules when walking through the Temple Mount and purposely pray in areas that are sanctioned as Muslim use only. There has to be a certain amount of give and take among Muslims and Jews to make the Temple Mount accessible to all believers or non-believers.

      • howiej

        The only areas where prayer is limited to Muslims only should be within the mosques. The only give and take for the Muslims is you give and we take. There are those Muslims who declare that there never was a Temple on the site and the Jews have no connection to the Mount.

      • vivarto

        Muhammedans are the occupiers of the Temple Mount.
        They should be chased out back to their Muhammedan “countries.”