Ultra-Orthodox Jews look towards the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The haredi weekly newspaper Mishpacha created a social media firestorm on Thursday after it published an opinion article in Hebrew and Arabic asking terrorists to “stop murdering us,” since haredim do not ascend the Temple Mount.
The article, written by Mishpacha deputy editor Aryeh Ehrlich, explained that the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community refrains from going up to the Temple Mount, due to a ban by their rabbinic leadership.
Almost all leading haredi rabbis and arbiters of Jewish law rule that Jews may not visit the Temple Mount, since they might tread there in areas that are forbidden without undergoing purification rituals that cannot be conducted today.
Ehrlich wrote, “The haredi community has no interest in going up to the Temple Mount at this time.
We oppose this vehemently. Jewish law sees this as a severe prohibition, punished by spiritual excommunication.
“So even if you have solid information on Israeli desires to change the status quo at the Dome of the Rock, which is incorrect to the best of our knowledge, the haredi community has no connection to it. So please, stop murdering us.”
Ehrlich observes that several victims of the ongoing terrorist attacks have been from the haredi community, and writes that he is trying to understand why this is the case.
Ehrlich was subjected to fierce condemnation on social media once awareness of the article spread.
“How wretched and ghetto-like can you be? Is this your version of loving your neighbor as yourself? Of loving your fellow Jew?” asked one person on Twitter. “Are you are calling on Arabs not to murder haredim because they don’t go up to the Temple Mount, but insinuating ‘go and murder’ those who do? Disgusting. What about just calling on Arabs not to murder. It would be more humane and more Jewish.”
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan tweeted sarcastically that a Hamas official had accepted the proposal, but had requested the addresses of national-religious and secular people, to murder them instead.
Former MK and far-right politician Michael Ben-Ari tweeted, “Mishpacha is turning to murderers to ask them not murder haredim… everyone else is okay apparently.
(He forgot that the 1929 pogrom occurred because Jews went to visit the Western Wall).”
Following the outrage prompted by his article, Ehrlich took to Twitter and said that he was trying to explain in his article that the Islamic Movement was trying to create a religious war and has urged Palestinians to attack people with a religious appearance.
“My article in Mishpacha says that this religious war is fueled by wild incitement based on imaginary rumors. Most people who observe the religious commandments don’t go to the Temple Mount, if only because of the religious prohibition.
The article was trying, naively it must be admitted, to tear the away the mask from the murderous Palestinian aggression which has been going on for decades, and to neutralize the false Islamic incitement.”
Mishpacha itself issued several tweets explaining the rationale of the article, stating that all Jews had a joint fate, adding that the article sought to expose the lie that the reason for the recent wave of terrorism was Jews going up to the Temple Mount, when in actuality they kill Jews whether they visit the site or not.
“In accordance with Jewish law, we oppose going up to the Temple Mount. As a haredi newspaper whose path is of Jewish law, we do not distinguish between one Jew and another. We stand in this struggle shoulder to shoulder with the entire Jewish people, pray for the peace of the people and the peace of the soldiers of the IDF.
As a newspaper, we are sorry if the article was understood differently.”
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