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November 5, 2014 6:48 pm

Israel Surrenders the Temple Mount

avatar by Jerold Auerbach

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The Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Since Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, ending nearly two thousand years of Jewish exile and dispersion, only one other moment has rivaled its stunning historical significance. Nineteen years later, on June 7, 1967, Israeli paratroopers poured into the Old City of Jerusalem. Within minutes Lt. General Motta Gur ecstatically proclaimed: “The Temple Mount is in our hands!” On its southeastern corner, above the Western Wall, soldiers raised the Israeli flag.

Upon reaching the sacred Wall Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared: “We have returned to all that is holy in our land. We have returned never to be parted from it again.” Dayan promised Christians and Muslims that “their full freedom and all their religious rights will be preserved.” But he made no such promise to Jews. Instead he ordered the Israeli flag removed and quickly ceded internal administrative authority over the Temple Mount to the Jordanian Waqf. Jews could visit the Temple Mount, he announced, but they could not pray there. Freedom of worship for Jews at their holiest site, where the ancient Temples once stood, was sacrificed to the fantasy of amicable relations with Muslims.

Recently the preferential status quo for the Temple Mount has been vehemently challenged. There were too many Jewish visitors, some even daring to move their lips in prayer, to please Muslim sensibilities. Enraged young hoodlums threw stones and a Muslim authority declared pointedly: “We reject these religious visits.” Palestinian officials warned of rising friction and conflict if the Temple Mount did not remain Judenrein.

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Last week, amid rising Palestinian violence in Jerusalem – including the attempted murder of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who has strongly advocated and boldly asserted a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the holy site closed for one day to restore calm. That incensed Muslims even more since the chosen day, Friday, is their special day of prayer. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, echoing the Grand Mufti in 1929, stoked violence by urging resistance to Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount by all necessary means.

Netanyahu hastily backtracked. Pledging “responsibility and restraint,” he promised not to alter the status quo even as he acknowledged that the Temple Mount has been “the holiest site for Jews” ever since “our patriarch Abraham.” Promising to oppose the efforts of Islamic extremists to foment unrest, he nonetheless yielded to their insistence that Muslims alone could pray on the Mount. Ostensibly balancing “a strong insistence on our rights” with determination “to maintain the status quo,” he relinquished Jewish rights to appease Muslim demands. Abbas, affirming Netanyahu’s capitulation, praised him.

It comforted some observers (including, predictably, Jodi Rudoren of The New York Times) that until recently only “a fringe of hard-core zealots” were drawn to the Temple Mount. Now, however, brides visit on their wedding day and school groups tour the site. A shanda, for sure.

Personal note: my first visit to the Mount, forty years ago, was guided by a friendly Arab antiquities dealer who walked me through Solomon’s Stables, built  during King Herod’s reign beneath what became the al-Aqsa Mosque. Buried below the dirt floor were layers of Jewish antiquities that were subsequently bulldozed away to build a prayer hall and obliterate remnants of any Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.

Netanyahu’s malleability under pressure, especially when the interests of religious Zionists can be sacrificed, is not new. In 1996, after his first election as Prime Minister, he asserted “We are in Hebron by right.” One year later, under intense American pressure to appease Yasir Arafat following riots in Jerusalem, Netanyahu signed the Hebron Protocol. Dividing the city, it confined Jews to a tiny vulnerable ghetto while relinquishing historic Jewish property.

Yehuda Glick, now recovering from near fatal wounds, insisted that Jews be permitted to pray at their most sacred site. But his left-wing critics blithely tolerate religious discrimination – only against Jews – to pursue peace now. To be sure, as Haaretz journalist Nir Hasson correctly observed, (secular) Zionists from Theodor Herzl to Moshe Dayan – now including Netanyahu – have demonstrated little enthusiasm for religious sites or for Jews who revere them. Settling the Land of Israel comprised the bedrock of Zionism – until religious Zionists seized the opportunity to return to the biblical homeland of Judea and Samaria after the Six-Day War.

Netanyahu’s capitulation to Muslim demands for exclusive control over the Temple Mount, like unfulfilled government plans to expand Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, is trumpeted as political pragmatism. But his promise that prayer by Jews at their “holiest site” will remain forbidden only assures continuing conflict, if not between Jews and Muslims then surely among Jews.

Jerold S. Auerbach is a frequent contributor to The Algemeiner

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  • Michael Fox

    Appeasement only serves to embolden your enemy. It is the way of the coward, It merely postpones the inevitable. Ask Barack Obama.

  • DR Moses

    This could be the same thing to happen in the last days, when pressure will be built up no buying or selling without the mark of the beast.
    Pressure has been built up by UN for the JEWS to sacrifice their land in exchange for peace
    Of course The Lord cares but today we sing the old song peace peace but yet no peace.
    Please Isreal wake up we are entering the end times.

  • Mickey Segal

    The New York Times reported on 6 November 2014 that “Mohammad al-Momani, the Jordanian government spokesman, said Israel must maintain the status quo and not allow “extremists” into the compound to “practice religious practices that are provocative to Muslims.””

  • mika

    The only problem is that the so-called “Temple Mount” is in reality Herod’s built fortress of “Antonia”. In ancient Israel this area was considered the most vile spot in Israel because that’s where the Roman Army was stationed. That’s where the Romans conducted their pagan rituals, and that’s where they conducted their genocide against the Jews from.

    People really need to educate themselves about the deceptions played on them, read the research and essays by ERNEST L. MARTIN, and most importantly, understand that “our” Rabanut and “our” government are surrogates of Rome/Vatican and are deceiving us at every turn.

  • Helena

    Why doesn’t someone give a speech in the United Nations with these points in it? If it is a speech in the UN, then the whole world hears it and it will make people think. Not everybody reads the ALGEMEINER and in the press (mostly left wing), these points will never be made.

  • Sonia Willats

    Muslims claim to pray to one g-d. Do they implicitly recognize that their g-d is a g-d of war, and not the g-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

    If this was not so, they would feel and know that Jews, praying, are praying to the only true G-d.

  • If the things you say of Netanyahu are true, he needs to wake up to reality and take a stand against the impossible. With YHWH, all thing are possible. He needs to go vertical instead of horizontal.

  • steven L

    The IL gvts since they recaptured the old part of Jerusalem have adopted the “dhimmi status” in their own capital.

  • Moshe Dayan, like all Israelis wanted peace. The leaders of Israel at the time saw the victory in The Six Day War as an opportunity to seek peace. We cannot blame them for trying. 20-20 vision is only available to those who live long enough or write history.

  • Efram

    Amen to that.

  • Bongo

    What is the difference? How many bodies is praying up there worth? How many shiva calls? How many mothers’ tears?

    Is it worth starting another Intifada? Really?
    Is it worth giving Hamas and Hezballah reason to slaughter innocents.

    If you want Shalom you have to be pragmatic. We have the wall they have the mosque.

    The Haredim don’t get it. It’s not worth a holy war.

  • SHmuel HaLevi

    Israel has not abandoned Temples Mount. The renegade unJewish gangs have feverishly worked to do that since the MAPAI_MAPAM times and guided Dayan on his betrayal.
    Their intent has not changed and all of the offspring from that cesspool, including political transvestites Netanyahu, Livni, Weinstein as well as the self elected courtiers contribute to erode our National and religious rights everywhere.
    Netanyahu is not longer difficult to identify. He is at the head of the betrayal forces. Forget his speechsterisms, TV face making and cardboard prop red lines.
    Only an US styled sweep out can stop the betrayals.

  • I’m a Christian Zionist, l know that Israel and everything in it belongs to the Jewish people, not the heathen nations…no lsraeli leader has the right to promise Christians nor Muslims any property on Jewish land, Hashem bless you and one day soon the world will have to acknowledge, that any holy sites in Israel belong to the Jewish people..

  • BARBARA SHABO

    We should support PM Netanyahu. He’s trying to avoid giving our enemies ammunition to use against us. This is a smart move on his part. We waited 2,000 years for a homeland. We can wait a few more years to pray at the Mount.

    We are facing the most vicious world-wide anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda, and violence I’ve seen in my lifetime. We can’t move in a straight line. We have to zig-zag through mine fields. Qatar is funding Hamas to wage a powerful media campaign against Israel on Al Jazerra, and mainstream American news shows.

    Fox is the only TV station that reports fairly on Israel. We need lots of squeaky wheels to demand accuracy and fairness from other news stations. Ambassador Dermer showed us how. For instance, CNN reported that “Israeli police shot a Palestinian teenager,” but neglected to mention that he threw firebombs at Israeli police. We should contact the media to educate them.

  • David

    Does this mean that Jews, Christians etc. can no longer go to the Western Wall and pray? That now it is totally in the hands of and for the use of Muslims?

    I find that hard to believe.

  • Doc Smith

    Ditto my comment re the recent vehicular terrorist
    attack column….read it….GET..IT…DONE!!!!!!

  • los musulmanes deben abandonar el monte del templo, es una obligacion,moral, espitual, y material,los musulmanes fueron vencidos militarmente gracias Ha Shem, como vencidos no tiene derecho, y otorgarseloe es una debilidad, que es imperdonable

  • Kerry Berger

    I’m afraid Jerusalem must be an international city operated by both Israel and the PA. Access to all areas for Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc should be open to all.

  • Howie Subnick

    WHAT NEXT, WE GIVE THOSE TERRORISTS THE KEY TO ISRAEL? I CAN SEE OBAMA GIVING THE KEY TO THE UNITED STATES, BUT BIBI GIVING UP THE HEARTS OF EVERY JEW LIVING AND DEAD?! ICANNOT IMAGINE WHAT IS NEXT. SHALOM

  • NCS

    Laws are made by legislators. Israel, elect those who will mirror your wishes. There has been compromise because of the opinions of other countries. Accommodating her neighbors’ wishes is a good thing until it compromises the reason for Israel’s existence.

  • Are u insinuating what I think you’re insinuating???

    A civil war???

  • David

    The reason it has not been given to jewish religious authorities is, which authority? Whoever would control the mount would be a de facto high priest and an immediate counter balance to the elected government. Every other sect would be offended… Messianic fever would explode… As long as it remains in Muslim hands those are not problems.

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