July 25: Temple Mount discrimination is a disgrace

Danny Danon's call for 'religious freedom' there gets mixed reactions.

Not in our hands
Sir, – MK Danny Danon was 100 percent right when he spoke of the discrimination against Jews wearing kippot going up to the Temple Mount (“Danon visits Temple Mount,” July 21). I was there the day before Tisha Be’av and our group of 12 had to wait for over an hour to go up. We had to hand over our ID cards and sit there till police felt there were not too many Jews on the Mount. At the same time, hundreds of tourists were going through the checkpoint without even having to stop.
Once up on the Mount, we were accompanied by an Israeli policeman and a member of the Wakf to make sure we didn’t do anything that resembled praying. If this is not discrimination, then nothing is.
It is a disgrace and an embarrassment that we are subjected to this harassment. What happened to the words of Motta Gur when he recaptured the Old City in 1967 – “Har Habayit b'yadenu” (the Temple Mount is in our hands)? Apparently, it isn’t.
BILL WEBER Jerusalem
Sir, – Danny Danon’s dramatic call for “complete religious freedom” on the Temple Mount, and his statement that “Jews wearing kippot – religious Jews – who wish to go up to the Temple Mount can only do so in groups of 10 or 15 people at a time....” makes it sound as if virtually the entire Jewish world is just waiting to go there.
The fact is – and no matter how politically “incorrect” or disappointing it might be – the majority of rabbinical authorities still tend to hold by the age-old prohibition on entering any area of the Temple Mount because of issues of spiritual purity and discrepancies in pinpointing the exact location of the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest could enter on Yom Kippur.
It is certainly true that many highly respected and knowledgeable rabbinic leaders, led first and foremost by the late chief rabbi Shlomo Goren, have ruled that a Jew may enter and stand in specific areas there (and I certainly respect those who follow their rulings). Yet most Jews who choose not to enter the area do so not because they are intimidated by the Wakf or motivated by any fear or feeling of not enjoying religious freedom. Rather, as with most other truly religious issues, they are following rabbinical directives and nothing more.
Danon may be doing a lot for demonstrating Israel’s political sovereignty over the Temple Mount, but this has nothing to do with “religious freedom.”
GERSHON HARRIS Hatzor Haglilit
Stunning is the key
Sir, – Regarding “Police stunned after Supreme Court doubles cop’s prison sentence” (July 22), this very sad and regrettable incident could have been totally avoided if Shahar Mizrachi had been provided with the weapon that would have enabled him to temporarily incapacitate a very dangerous suspect without endangering anyone’s life.
All police officers engaging in dangerous work should be armed with stun guns, which at close range enable an officer to make a decision without fear for his life or that of the suspect, or fear of ruining his career. Also, there are numerous other devices that would be of assistance in bringing a violent suspect under control.
There is really no debate that stun guns are desperately needed by the police to cope with our ever-growing violent society. The only stumbling block will no doubt be the Treasury, as stun guns, while very effective, are not cheap.
Sir,– I wonder why the public is aghast at the verdict handed down in the appeal by Shahar Mizrachi? According to the scale of justice in this country, it is exactly as it should have been. Had the miscreant not been an Arab criminal but a Jewish settler, Mizrachi would have been commended for his excellent response to a dangerous situation!
Put down that axe
Sir, – I want to express my appreciation for the column by Judy Montagu (“Foodless in Zion,” My word, July 21). As always, she put her finger on important and significant facts that are embedded deep in our society.
It would benefit all of us to ponder her words on the subject of sinat hinam (baseless hatred). This is such a simple concept to grasp, and all of us do – except when it comes to our own particular axe that we are busy grinding.
Sir, – “Foodless in Zion” is the most literary, thoughtful, valid and compact summary of proper ideas and feelings that I have read in a long time.
My own belief is that the hatred of the Second Temple period was not sinat hinam. It was ideological, and ideological hatred lasts and lasts. The difference between the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and other factions of the time were not arbitrary. They were based on and rationalized by deeply held theological and social views not easily given up.
I have another caveat on this issue. I claim that even if the Jews of the time were united fiercely, the Romans would have hated and attacked them.
Our enemies, ancient and modern, do not persecute us because of our internal divisions.
On the contrary, according to the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other manifestos purporting our aim to control the world, they hate us because they see us as being united in this goal.
Jewish unity was of no interest to the Nazis in the face of their racial hatred although, of course, they did turn Jew against Jew in the process of extermination.
Sir, – Judy Montagu writes about the rifts in our society that may be preventing the Temple from being rebuilt.
However, the word “God” does not seem to be mentioned even once in her otherwise fine essay.
In Jewish tradition, the Third (and final) Temple (of light?) is to descend from heaven. The temporal-political problem of having to remove the current mosques on the Temple Mount would be obviated.
Also, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hacohen Kook, the great former chief rabbi here, held that animal sacrifices would not be performed in the third and eternal Temple.
May the Temple be rebuilt or appear in our day.
Why that emphasis?
Sir, – So Tel Aviv is reaching out to the international gay and lesbian communities (“TA’s ‘Gay Vibe’ touted to help set tourism records,” July 21).
It’s a shame the city can’t think of more worthwhile attributes to advertise in its tourism campaign, for example, the cultural life and beautiful beaches. Does Israel have to be known and advertised for its gay and lesbian life? When Tel Aviv advertises in foreign cities, it reflects on Israel as a nation. It’s amazing that our Tourism Ministry and El Al support this campaign. Is that what our holy country is coming to – a place for gays and lesbians?
Start up the PR
Sir, – Regarding the article on comments by outgoing Ambassador to the UN Gabriella Shalev (“Shalev: Israel is world’s most isolated country,” July 21), if we have the brains of a ‘startup nation,’ there is no excuse that we cannot win the PR war.
Because the media are so influential, we have to master the war.
This is not like the time Ben-Gurion said he didn’t care what anybody else thought or said.
Wake up, government, and do something quickly! The people of Israel deserve the respect and acknowledgement of the whole world.
Herzliya Pituah