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August 27, 2019 4:17 am

Anti-Jewish Discrimination at the Temple Mount

avatar by Ronn Torossian

Opinion

The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Photo: Andrew Shiva via Wikimedia Commons.

I recently returned from a visit with my children to Israel. Dominating certain news cycles was the fact that Israel refused entrance to Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. They both support a boycott of the Jewish state, and are fundamentally against the country’s existence — so why on earth would they be permitted to enter?

That’s headline news? What about the fact that Israelis cannot enter many Arab countries? Why is there no reporting on that? It’s simply an antisemitic double standard.

We visited the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday, August 25. It’s one of the most contested religious sites in the world. According to Jewish tradition, it’s the location of the First Temple, and the place where the third and final temple will be built.  It’s perhaps the holiest place in Judaism.

Visiting the Temple Mount is quite an experience. Before passing through metal detectors, we were asked our religion. Then, after we were identified as Jews, we were asked by the Israeli soldiers if we were carrying tefillin or any Jewish prayer books. After affirming that we didn’t have any, we were stopped by what appeared to be a senior police officer to ensure we understood that absolutely no prayer is allowed on the Temple Mount (at least by Jews).

What a racist double standard. Arabs can pray, but Jews cannot.

The area is huge — and uniformed Arabs from the Islamic Waqf enforce strict rules. A couple hugging for a picture near us was screamed at, and instructed not to touch. Anyone entering with shorts is made to wear long pants.

Jews are only allowed to ascend the Temple Mount during very limited hours, and it is closed to Jews on Shabbat. Yet Arabs can mostly pray freely. Is that not racism, right in the center of Jerusalem?

It’s shameful that the world ignores this. There is indeed racism and discrimination alive and well in the Middle East.

Ronn Torossian is a public relations executive.

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