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Why the Temple Mount Crisis Is Calling Me Home — to Israel

avatar by Fred Menachem

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ZAKA volunteers responding to the scene of the July 14 terrorist attack at the Temple Mount. Photo: ZAKA.

This has been a particularly tough few weeks for the Jewish people.

The ‘crisis’ at the Temple Mount has given extremists in the Arab world the opportunity to use fallacious arguments, staged violence, propaganda and a skewed version of history to justify inciting and igniting violence and committing barbaric murders of Israeli Jews and non-Jews alike.

Oddly, but, not surprisingly, the mainstream international media — many of whom can’t see past their hatred of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu — seem to have forgotten that this entire crisis was triggered when three Arab-Israelis shot and killed two Druze-Israeli police officers. Sadly and ironically, these police officers were keeping the Mount safe for everyone, including Muslims.

Yet this fact has been mostly ignored, and this crisis has sadly proven that violence does pay.

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Furthermore, it seems that — once again — the international media has blatantly and recklessly allowed itself to be manipulated and used as pawns. They reported the news using the facade of ‘unbiased media coverage,’ while inaccurately and irresponsibly spreading malicious lies and propaganda that falsely portray Israel as the ‘Goliath.’

Many other outlets — both in the West and the Arab world — have gone even further, using the Temple Mount crisis as an excuse to incite violence, putting the lives of innocent people at risk. It seems that the murder of Israelis is all but ignored by the media, while any death of a Palestinian murderer or terrorist is often justified and given more or equal weight.

Watching these events and this entire charade unfold — after having come back to the US after a year in Israel — has renewed my lifelong commitment to the Jewish state, and the Jewish people.

Although I had made aliyah, I recently moved back to the US to continue the work that I had started in Israel. I initially chose to move to Israel in 2016 to search for purpose within the context of my Judaism. In hindsight, I realize that I came ill prepared, I wasn’t ready for the cultural barriers that existed, and the tough adjustment of moving to a new country where I couldn’t speak the language and had limited financial resources.

Yet, in hindsight, I now realize that this suffering was necessary — because it is the glue that holds the Jewish people together. These trials and tribulations have given us the strength and resolve to carry on and thrive for thousands of years, despite the historical and consistent persecution and systematic murder by those who have made every effort to destroy us.

While I was in Israel, I initially searched for Judaism, but then ran away; it was too overwhelming, Yet, now I crave it. I often turned my back on Shabbat, Yet now I seek it. I was frustrated with the harshness of the Hebrew language and my lack of fluency, yet now when I hear someone speak it, I feel safe and protected — knowing that my family is close. And when I hear Hatikvah and Am Yisrael Chai — and see the waving of the Israeli flag with the Jewish star — knowing the price our people paid to freely fly it, I cry with pride.

Our fate and our future depend on a powerful IDF, on continued practice of our Judaism and on a strong and prosperous Israel.

I’m certainly not advocating for special treatment for Israel, just reasonable and fair coverage. Journalists should certainly hold the Israeli government and politicians accountable — but this should be done ethically and responsibly. So when I see the anti-Israel media bias on TV and elsewhere, my blood boils. But after the initial anger and sadness subsides, it motivates me and gives me greater purpose. It strengthens my resolve and my deep commitment to never stop doing my part in fighting for injustice — no matter where in the world it exists, helping to maintain the US-Israel relationship and fighting and standing up for my people with unwavering loyalty, no matter the cost.

While I was living in Israel, I was terribly homesick, I longed for the comfortability and familiarity of my home in the US. Yet once I came back here, my soul felt empty; something was missing. In hindsight, I now realize that the majority of Israelis are my family, even if we’ve never met. And while the Aliyah journey was arduous, it changed me and nothing for me can ever be the same.

Eventually, when the time is right, I’ll permanently return to my ancestral homeland to fulfill my deep responsibility and continue to do my part to make sure that the Jewish people continue to persevere, thrive and survive long after my time on this planet. That’s my covenant with God, the Jewish people and the future of the democratic and Jewish state of Israel. It is the Temple Mount crisis and the savage murders of my people that have sealed my fate and cemented that commitment.

The author is the Chief Booker at i24NEWS and has been a political commentator and contributor to ILTV, Miami Herald, MSNBC, The Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Jerusalem Post and Israel National News. He is also a member of the POLITICO Caucus team. He is formerly a political strategist and fundraiser and co-host and producer of the Gray Zone Radio show, a Bloomberg Affiliate news breaking political talk radio show in Miami, Florida. He is currently living in New York, New York. Twitter @FredMenachem. A version of this article was published in the Jerusalem Post. 

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