ISIS on the Temple Mount


The “Status Quo” on the Temple Mount

Every country has its problems which it can conveniently ignore behind a wall of bureaucracy and Israel is certainly no exception. The “haves” make sure to steer clear of said problems and the “have nots” have to figure out how to deal with them on their own. We normal folk know not to walk around south Tel Aviv near the bus station at night, we know to be weary of rock throwers in Judea and Samaria, and we know that if a Bedouin steals your goat or your smartphone and takes it back to his village the cops won’t help you get it back.

These are all things that act within a certain status quo and the country doesn’t really deal with. They get worse slowly but theoretically the country would crack down on them if they were to get out of hand.
So it would seem the same for the Temple Mount- deal with it, you can wait three hours and go up and see it if you really want to, you get arrested if you pray, and rush through because you know they only let one group of Jews on the Mount at a time.
You’ve got to understand, we don’t want to provoke anyone, this is a sensitive place that has the potential to “set the Middle East on fire,” as if Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, and Sinai are not part of this particularly peaceful region.

So the current status quo is a problem in and of itself, but the real problem is that there is no steady status quo, and the situation is exponentially getting worse and worse. I recommend watching videos on youtube for anyone not familiar with the reality for Jews ascending the Temple Mount but I will give a quick summary:

People wait an hour before the Mount opens at 7:30 to get in after a reasonable wait. As soon as the police come everyone shoves to hand their identity cards first to the officers. Without your ID you cannot ascend because you’re leaving Israeli sovereignty. Two to three hours you wait in a small area with no chairs in the sun for permission to ascend. Every time Jews are called by the names on their ID cards they have to shove through to get through the narrow gate. Whenever groups of non-Jewish, non-Muslims arrive, (usually Christian tourists) they are allowed up after a few minutes of waiting for permission and without showing identification.

Most of the police officers are non-Jews: Israel does this on purpose lest Jewish police officers have mercy on the humiliated Jews (which in extreme situations actually happens). After waiting hours you won’t know whether your group will be let up for only five minutes or a full half-hour stroll until right before.
One group of fifteen Jews is let up at once, hence the long waiting times, and once let up the real fun starts- you meet the Waqf who really are in charge of the Mount.
In the eleventh century Saladin conquered the Temple Mount from the Crusaders, who handed him the keys to the Mount, that the Holy place not be harmed. He created the Waqf to guard the Holy site, and almost a thousand years later, in 1967, Moshe Dayan conquered the Temple Mount from the Waqf, who handed him the keys.
The next logical step would have been for Israel to create some sort of religious committee to protect the Holy site, but this did not happen and within six hours Dayan returned the keys to the Waqf (insert conspiracy theory here), and though there is a long history to this, it led to the current status quo wherein there is a Jordanian enclave in the heart of Jerusalem that does not abide by Israeli law! This is an absurd reality that does not exist anywhere else in the Land of Israel!
For this reason once on the Temple Mount, you are surrounded by Muslims screaming different slogans: Allahu akhbar, in spirit and in blood we shall redeem Palestine, etc. Soon you notice that the fifteen Jews are surrounded by just as many police and Waqf guards, and around these two circles there is a third circle of dozens to sometimes over a hundred screaming Muslims.
I watch videos on YouTube of organized instructed tours from a year ago where they can actually explain to a group of students what they see. I unfortunately am relatively new to the Mount and know what I know from having someone more knowledgeable screaming into my ear right next to me over the cries of allahu akhbar.
For anyone who doesn’t connect to the religious side of the Mount, there are incredible archaeological finds that prove the existence of the first and second Temples, including cedar beams from Solomon’s Temple that were botanically and carbon-14 dated to circa 1000 BCE. Muslims “excavated” things that an archaeologists wouldn’t touch with a toothbrush, with bulldozers and dumped outside the old city.
Despite their efforts, Jews excavated this small amount of Holy Land that we could access and found incredible Temple artifacts, such as the half-shekel offering. These finds are very important to show that the Bible isn’t just a storybook and that our people has real legitimacy and heritage in the Land.
After your half-hour of being rushed through by the police and yelled at and threatened, if you followed the rules of the game and you’re not unlucky you’ll make it through unscathed, though humiliated, and probably won’t get arrested. Now you go back into normal Israel where you can freely pray again, walk anywhere you want without an ID card, drink from public water fountains, and have an Israeli flag on your shirt.
And now you find yourself wondering what the hell just happened.
And now you’re changed forever and understand that there is a huge injustice being done.
This is most of the story but there’s another aspect that is getting very serious and this is the Muslim hate speech on the Temple Mount. Tzvi Yehezkeli, an Arabic scholar and TV show host, exposed to what extent it got this past Ramadan a few months ago (Muslim Incitement to violence on Temple Mount from 14:52-16:10).
I recommend to everyone to watch the video, even if you don’t understand. I’m sorry it’s in Arabic with Hebrew subtitles, but if there’s much request for English subtitles I can make. In the area between the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock where the Temple once stood, ISIS flags waved in the wind with thousands listening in person and multitudes more on social media to speeches of the Caliphate being reborn out of Jerusalem and millions of Shahids (matyrs) marching to Jerusalem.
The image seems like some sort of biblical evil… the kind of things I could imagine a prophet seeing thousands of years ago and no one believing him. I didn’t know what to do with these images and I will end this leaving you thinking and with the poem/message I came up with:

Our sages called the Temple Mount the Heart of the Nation.
The Heart that would once pump Light and Inspiration

to the far reaches of the Land
Is now injured and bleeding and pumps poison and violence

to all the Land.
But we shall not give up as this poison is only a signal that was sent

to heal our broken heart!
Ascend the Temple Mount.

Demand that Israel’s leaders declare sovereignty on the Mount and to allow religious freedom to all who wish to pray in this holy site.
Change the Prophet Jeremiah’s Den of Thieves to

the Prophet Isaiah’s House of Prayer for all the Nations.