Aerial view of Temple Mount.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Those who deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are simply embarrassing themselves President Reuven Rivlin, a seventh generation Jerusalemite, said on Thursday.
Rivlin was speaking to children decorating the sukkah at his official residence, in advance of the projected UNESCO vote on a Palestinian resolution to rewrite history and ignore the fact that Jews made pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem long before the advent of Islam.
Rivlin recalled that when he was a boy prior to the establishment of the state, he used to accompany his father to the Western Wall before the recitation of the final Yom Kippur prayers, so that they could hear the shofar at the conclusion of the service.
Today, he said, there is an attempt to silence the shofar. “It’s not that they don’t want to hear it. They just don’t want us there,” he said of Wakf and UNESCO attempts to remove the Jewish presence from Jerusalem.
Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel called the resolution “a combination of stupidity and antisemitism.”
“Let me suggest a few more resolutions for UNESCO: The moon is made of cheese, Jews have horns, the Tanach doesn’t exist and UNESCO is a committee for denying Jewish heritage. Though, come to think of it, the final suggestion isn’t so crazy,” she quipped.
Gamliel said it is not only ridiculous for UNESCO to try to deny the past, but it is also destroying chances for hope, peace and coexistence in the future.
“Only the world and the Palestinians’ recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State will create hope for a shared future with respect between neighbors,” she stated.
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) placed the blame for the UNESCO vote on the government, saying that Israel’s diplomatic situation has never been worse.
“The resolution is shameful and meant to pressure Israel and try to erase the proven historic connection between the Jewish People and the Temple Mount and Western Wall,” she wrote on Twitter.
In a letter to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Livni argued that the resolution was turning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious one.
“This resolution, while claiming to maintain the administrative status quo, in fact changes it,” by bringing in a religious element, Livni wrote. “I sincerely feel that this resolution brings us no closer to a just and agreed-upon solution. We can argue and critique policies, but when it comes to the historical facts connecting the Jewish People to these holy sites, there can be no politics.”
“It is my hope that the international community can arrive at an understanding of the distinction between religious, national histories and contemporary politics,” she concluded.
Simon Wiesenthal Center Dean and Associate Dean Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper denounced the resolution, saying it “has one motivation – to try to erase the Jewish People’s age-old links to its holiest sites.
“Should the resolution pass, it will have the immediate impact of encouraging and validating more Palestinian terror attacks on Israeli civilians,” they added.