By Tuvia Brodie
Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people. It has been the Jewish national centrepiece for more than 3,000 years. Almost 1,900 years ago, Jews were exiled from Israel, their national homeland. The flower of their nationhood—the Temple and the Temple Mount—lay in smouldering ruin. Jerusalem was leveled.
The Romans raped Israel. They ploughed under the Temple Mount. By the year 135, the Roman conquest was complete. The Holy Temple disappeared. Rome had wiped Israel off the map. They renamed Israel, ‘Palestina.’ The land was laid barren. Judaism was devastated.
For almost 1,900 years, Jews wandered. They were hunted. They were persecuted. They were driven away.
Always, someone had reason to kill Jews. Always, Jews died because they were Jews.
But if the Jewish homeland was destroyed, Jewish hearts were not. In each of those almost 1,900 years of exile, Jews prayed to return to their homeland.
Even Jews who were allowed to remain behind in Israel prayed. Every Jew prayed. They would not forget the flower of their life: Jerusalem, the home of the Temple Mount-- and the Holy Temple.
Jews everywhere prayed to return. They prayed more than three times a day—every day. They never stopped praying for their Holy city, their Zion—their Jerusalem. Millions of Jews individually prayed specifically for Jerusalem more than a thousand times a year. For 1,900 years, millions of Jews prayed millions of times for just one thing--Jerusalem.
The Jewish people prayed a million million times: in Heaven, the din must have been ear-splitting: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem. There was never relief from it. It never stopped. Because of time-zone differences, Jews prayed literally every hour of every day. Heaven got little rest.
It was always the same for the Heavenly Hosts. Jews in the lower world never gave up. It was always Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem.
No one in history has prayed for a city the way Jews have prayed for their Holy Jerusalem. Today, Muslims tell the world that Jews must be forbidden to ascend to the Temple Mount. Muslims say the Temple Mount is holy to Muslims. Jews, they say, defile it.
Muslims say Jerusalem cannot be ‘judaicized’.
But Muslims don’t face Jerusalem to pray. They don’t face the Temple Mount the way Jews do. Muslims pray with their behinds facing Jerusalem. They turn their backs to the Temple Mount.
They say the Temple Mount is too holy for Jews to step upon. Then they send their children there to play soccer.
That’s what the Muslim thinks of the Temple Mount.
On January 19, 2014, a Jewish woman in Jerusalem decided she wanted to ascend to the Temple Mount. In Israel, she is entitled to do that. But she couldn’t do it. She was refused entrance by Muslims officials. They told her that her dress did not meet Muslim standards.
As reported on Arutz Sheva (“Temple Mount: Jewish Woman Barred Over 'Muslim' Dress Code”, January 19, 2014), an Israeli police officer at the site explained to the woman that while her clothing was sufficiently modest under Jewish law (halacha), and while the Israel Police saw no problem with her attire, the authority to enforce dress codes belonged to the Islamic Waqf –not to Jews.
It had been an official representing the Muslim Waqf who had decided that the woman’s dress was not acceptable. The Israeli police enforced his decision.
The Waqf (Muslim authority) wages war against Jews on the Temple Mount. It works to deny Jewish history on the Mount—and to deny Jews entry there.
But in 1993, Jordan and Israel signed a Treaty. In that Treaty both Jordan (which manages the Waqf) and Israel committed to provide freedom of access to all holy sites in Israel—and freedom of worship to all religions at those sites.
The Waqf violates that Treaty. Why does Israel tolerate that violation?
Here’s a suggestion: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should tell US Secretary of State John Kerry that if Jordan does not enforce its own Treaty with Israel, then Israel cannot even begin to consider a Treaty with Abbas, whose rhetoric and behaviour have always been far more hostile than Jordan’s.
If the less aggressive Jordan won’t abide by a Treaty with Israel, why should anyone believe that the far more hostile Abbas would?
It is disrespectful for the Waqf to stop Jews from visiting Judaism’s Holiest site. But it is absolutely unconscionable for the government of Israel to allow such blatant violation of a standing Treaty.
Mr Netanyahu, if you don’t show any respect for what is yours, no one else will. If you don’t defend what you have a right to defend, no one else will.
If you do not stand up for yourself, you will be isolated and delegitimized.
Mr Netanyahu, it’s time you stood up for Israel.