In recent weeks, there have been a string of incidents that should have sparked
outrage across the Jewish world but instead were met with stony
On a number of occasions, Jews seeking to exercise their basic
human rights such as freedom of worship and assembly, and freedom of speech,
have seen their liberties callously disregarded, and even trampled
Those wishing to pray have been hushed and even threatened with
arrest, while others have been asked to remove their yarmulkes while in
Needless to say, these detestable acts of anti-Semitism elicited
neither a single press release nor even a peep of public protest from world
Jewish leaders or organizations.
Had they occurred in Paris, London or
New York, the guardian lions of civil rights would surely have made their roars
heard. But since these affronts against Jews have all taken place on the Temple
Mount, in the heart of Jerusalem, the raucous lions have instead turned into
silent lambs, refusing even to bleat in disapproval.
following. According to a report in Ma’ariv (May 22), the Israeli police have
issued new instructions which forbid Jews on the Temple Mount from rocking back
and forth, moving their lips or even closing their eyes, as these all might be
construed as acts of prayer.
Under pressure from the Muslim Wakf which
administers the site, Israel’s finest also warned Jewish visitors against
removing a note of paper from one’s pocket and reading it, ostensibly out of
fear that the offending page might contain Biblical verses or words of entreaty
Don’t let the absurdity of these regulations detract from
their seriousness: this is a shocking and extreme violation of every person’s
It is nothing less than a form of petty
dictatorship which cannot be tolerated. Jews, like anyone else, have the right
to commune with their Creator, sing, dance and yes, even move their lips. The
fact that the police enforce such rules, and interfere with the right of Jews to
pray freely, is scandalous.
Not surprisingly, the police haven’t
hesitated to go even further. On a couple of occasions, they have barred rabbis
from setting foot on the Mount after they gave media interviews in which they
discussed rebuilding the Temple.
TAKE, FOR example, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel,
the founder of the Temple Institute, who as a young soldier in 1967 was among
those who took part in the liberation of the Mount from foreign
Israel’s custodians of law and order apparently deem the 71-year
old rabbi to be a threat, for when he attempted to ascend the Mount last month,
the police informed him that he was banned from the site. Our fearless
constables are reported to be investigating the rabbi for having recited a
prayer on the Mount in memory of Israeli soldiers who died in the battle to
If this does not make your blood boil, it should. It
makes no difference what your political or religious views are. Anyone who
believes in freedom and democracy, and in the responsibility of government to
protect and uphold our rights, should be raising their voices to protest this
imperious behavior on the part of Israeli officialdom.
The root of the
problem lies in the humiliating arrangements that exist on the Mount, where the
extremist Muslim Wakf is allowed a large measure of control. In addition to
doing their utmost to erase any trace of Israel’s historical heritage at the
site, the Wakf has also regularly harassed Jewish pilgrims who, despite all the
restrictions, continue to visit the Mount.
Ten days ago, a young British
Jewish student was reportedly accosted by Wakf officials, who demanded that he
remove his yarmulke, which they said they found to be “offensive.” Rather than
get into an altercation, the student chose to leave, later telling reporters
that, “I have experienced anti-Semitism in England, but I never thought that in
Judaism’s holiest site I would be subjugated to such discrimination.”
is right – and no one else should be subjected to it either.
WE MUST no
longer remain mute about the infuriating disgrace that is Israeli policy toward
the Temple Mount, where the Muslim Wakf effectively calls the shots and Jews are
prevented from praying freely. All people of good faith, whether left or right,
religious or secular, should speak out against this travesty and demand that it
Jewish leaders and organizations who fail to do so are
betraying their mandate and committing an act of perfidy against Jewish history
Long ago, Israel should have asserted full control over the
Temple Mount and stripped the Wakf of any power. Restrictions on Jewish prayer
should be lifted immediately and the harassment of Jewish visitors must be
brought to an end. The government and police hide behind excuses such as
“maintaining public order” to justify the current situation. But let’s drop the
meaningless euphemisms and call this policy by its real name: this is
anti-Semitism on the Temple Mount.
And the time has come for it to end.