Police at al-Aksa Mosque, Temple Mount, Jerusalem, October 13, 2014.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
The scene recurs with monotonous regularity before every Jewish holiday: Jews seek to visit the Temple Mount on the eve of the holiday, and Arabs stage meticulously preplanned riots to prevent them. But last Wednesday, on the eve of Sukkot, it ended in a different manner than usual. Instead of police turning away the Jews to appease the rioters, they fought the rioters and let the visits proceed. It’s not yet clear whether this represents a new trend: On Sunday, police closed the Mount to non-Muslims again due to fear of rioting; Monday, they fought the rioters and reopened it to visitors. Yet all Israelis should hope it becomes one, because the police’s longstanding reluctance to confront Arab thugs has negative consequences that go far beyond the Temple Mount. Large swathes of Jewish Jerusalem, facing what has been dubbed a “quiet intifada,” have suffered from this reluctance for months. Israeli Arabs nationwide have suffered from it for years. And all hope for improved Jewish-Arab relations in this country remains doomed as long as it persists.