Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ascent to Temple Mount an Undemocratic, Irresponsible Provocation?

By Moshe Feiglin

7 Iyar, 5773
April 17, '13

Editor's note: A Jerusalem woman sent a letter to MK Moshe Feiglin in which she criticized his visit to the Temple Mount. In her letter, she claimed that Moshe Feiglin broke the law by entering the Mount, that he irresponsibly provoked Arab anger and that his actions should conform to the will of the "majority." The following is Moshe's answer.

Dear S.,
Thank you for your letter and the social involvement that you express.

1. In your letter, you claim that I broke the law. I am sorry to say that from your letter it is obvious that you are not familiar with this issue. The legal situation on the Temple Mount is the complete opposite of what you describe. There is not and there cannot be a law that prohibits the entrance of Jews to the Temple Mount. There is not and cannot be a law that prohibits Jews from praying on the Temple Mount. There are laws that emphasize the rights of all religious groups to enter their holy places (similar to their right to enter any other public place) and to pray there.
For example, there is the Jerusalem as capital of Israel law that dictates in clause 3 as follows: "The holy places will be guarded against desecration or any other damage or actions that may undermine the free access of people of all religions to the places holy to them, or offend their sensitivities toward those places."

I would like to remind you that the Nation of Israel also has a faith; it also has a holy place and - wonder of wonders – the Jewish People also has feelings such that this law relates to me as much as it does to any other citizen.

I will not trouble you with all the other fundamental laws and other laws that address the freedom of worship that was withheld from me. I will also not explain the special immunity of Members of Knesset and the serious undermining of the Knesset's sovereignty when these laws are trampled upon by the police. Nor will I quote judges, including High Court justices that time and again uphold our legal right to enter and pray on the Mount. I will only mention that on Sukkot of this year, I was arrested for praying on the Temple Mount. Despite all the police efforts, I was released by the judge without bail, due to "absence of guilt." This is actually the basis for my lawsuit against the police for unnecessary detention.

Thus, I suggest that you may want to think if the situation is not completely the opposite of what you had claimed. Perhaps it is me who is abiding by the law, while those who are trusted with keeping the law are actually breaking it. As you are a responsible citizen, I am certain that this disturbing possibility will cause you to lose some sleep.

2. Your claim that I acted irresponsibly:
Although you try to be objective, this claim is up to its neck in a typically one-sided world view. You see the Arabs' threat of violence and conclude that we must give in. You place the responsibility for the outcome on whoever does not surrender. I wonder if you would respond in the same way if a bully would take over your house and prevent you from entering. How would you relate to someone who would point the accusing finger at you, reprimand you for demanding that the police arrest that ruffian and blame you – and not the intruder - for the outcome? In other words, your claim stems from your point of view, which has already surrendered the Temple Mount. That, of course, is your right. But it is not fair to attempt to force your point of view on others. Is that not so?

But it seems to me that even if your current viewpoint prevents you from accepting the claim of Jewish rights, perhaps you will be able to accept the security claim.

You are correct that in light of the de facto surrender (in secret, against the will of the public, without any Knesset decision and against the law) of Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, there is a certain probability that my entrance to the Mount would initially arouse attempts to react violently. Does capitulation to the Arab threat of violence bring quiet? Perhaps, in the not-so-distant future, it will create a security threat and war under much more difficult conditions?

It seems to me that our experience on every front on which we have tested the capitulation innovation is completely clear. Both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have become legitimate targets for rocket attacks as a result of our recent withdrawals. As a Jerusalemite, you certainly must remember the exploding buses. Try to remember a similar attack before the Oslo Accords. Violence is like a malignant growth. The operation to remove it is painful, but capitulation brings about disaster.

Simple logic shows that it is not he who refuses to capitulate to violence and demands his legal and ethical right to enter the Mount who is irresponsible, but vice versa. Those who evade their responsibility to maintain Israeli sovereignty on the Mount are irresponsible. Ultimately, they will find themselves in a never-ending bloody conflict over our sovereignty over the entire Land of Israel. The thousands of Oslo victims – soldiers and civilians – who paid with their lives, and the constant danger that there will be more victims – are the direct result of this irresponsibility.

3. Democracy:
This claim is a bit awkward, both from a factual standpoint and even more so – in its essence.

I do not know how you justify your statement that I do not represent the views of the majority of citizens. I have read numerous studies that reinforce the fact that our nation feels a strong connection to the Temple Mount.

But that really does not matter. The argument that a Knesset Member must toe the line of the majority – not because it is law, but because it is the majority opinion! – may be applicable to the understanding of democracy in the People's Republic of China. There is no need to further belabor the point and I suggest that you rethink your position.

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