Tuesday night saw an historic Knesset debate on the issue of freedom of religion and Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site.
The debate was the initiative of Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, a long-time campaigner for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount, where non-Muslim prayers are currently forbidden.
"If you will go up with me to the Mount, I'll show you how the remnants of Solomon's Temple and the Temple of the Jews who returned by Babylon are wallowing in ashes," said Feiglin from the podium. He sarcastically added "maybe, Mr. Chairman, we'll invite the maintenance crew to dismantle the symbol of the nation," a reference to the destruction of artifacts on the site by the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust).
Feiglin attacked the discriminatory management of the holy site, which is under the de facto rule of the Waqf. Jews are often forbidden from entering and arrested for having religious or national symbols.
"Behind the back of the people we have given up on any Israeli sovereignty on the Mount," remarked Feiglin. "Any terror organization can wave its flag there -- the flag of Israel? Don't mention it even. And a verse of Psalms is pretext for an arrest. The police even recommend taking the kippah off your head."
"When we run from the Mount we lose the legitimacy to our presence in Tel Aviv," argued Feiglin. "The Temple Mount is like the heart in the organs," said the MK, quoting poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg's famous line "whoever rules the Mount rules the country."
Feiglin called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to immediately apply Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and to halt the destruction of antiquities at the site by the Waqf.
"I call on the government of Israel to stop the discrimination and embarrassment of Jews in entering the Mount and on the site," declared Feiglin. He further called on the government "to allow free access to all Jews to the Temple Mount from every gate, and prayer on the Mount, as required by it being part of the state of Israel, the Jewish state," which stipulates freedom of worship.
Netanyahu supported Jewish rights to the Temple Mount in 1994
MK Shuli Muallem (Jewish Home) stepped in by reading a letter written by Netanyahu in 1994, before his first term as prime minister.
In the letter Netanyahu wrote "the right of the Jewish people over its holy site - the Temple Mount - can not be questioned; I think that Jewish prayer rights at the site must be arranged, all the more so because we give freedom of religion to all religions in Jerusalem."
Muallem added "when Jews can't go pray freely at the Temple Mount it is clear that the Temple Mount is not in our hands. From the debate today must come a declaration calling to allow every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount at any hour."
MK Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu) joined in, saying "everyone in the state of Israel will be able to go up and pray at their holy place." She called for the Temple Mount to be managed like the Cave of Machpelah in Hevron, where Jews and Muslims have rotating days to pray.
Arab and leftist opposition to the debate
Leading up to the debate, riots broke out on the Temple Mount Tuesday morning, as Arabs threw rocks and firecrackers at police when they opened the Rambam Gate, the only entrance through which Jews are permitted to enter. As a result police reportedly closed the site to Jews.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, argued that the riots were directly related to the Knesset debate, commenting "on the very day upon which the Israeli Knesset will be considering this very issue, we see before us today a stark reality check, and a lesson on who is really sovereign on the Temple Mount."
Response to the Knesset debate was also heard from Jordan's parliament, where Islamists in the opposition called on the government to freeze the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
Not all MKs agreed with Feiglin on Tuesday night that Jews should have equal rights to the Temple Mount, and that the holiest site in Judaism should be part of the Jewish state.
MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) spoke in the debate, saying Jews have rights to the site, but that she "distinguishes between the right and exercising the right."
The far-left MK accused Feiglin of having an agenda "to make provocation and derail the national process" of peace talks. She added that "sovereignty over the Temple Mount won't be attained by your provocations."
Hareidi MK Yitzhak Cohen (Shas) added his voice to the opposition against Jewish prayer rights at the site, saying "you're trampling on the holiest place to the Jewish people." Hareidi Jews largely believe that Jews should not visit the Temple Mount at the present time due to the holiness of the site and the fact that most people are ritually impure (tamei) according to Jewish law (halakhah).
Cohen sidetracked the debate into the law being worked out on hareidi IDF enlistment, saying "you're severely pursuing the holy yeshivas, defining one who studies Torah as a criminal, the yeshivas are the holiest place for the Jewish people. Jewish Home is instigating a fight, creating a commotion, creating the burden."
Friday, February 28, 2014
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 2/28/2014 11:21:00 AM
By Tuvia Brodie
When the United Nations passed UN Resolution 181 (November, 1947), it intended to divide British Palestine into three entities: (1) a Jewish State; (2) an Arab State; and (3) a separate Jerusalem under UN control.
The plan for Jerusalem was to keep all the city’s Holy sites intact. The UN wanted to make sure that each of the three major religions which held Jerusalem to be Holy—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—would have free access to and freedom of worship at all Holy sites. They made rules to ban discrimination.
The Arabs did not like any of the UN’s ideas for Jerusalem or a Jewish State. They rejected every idea. They attacked the Jews.
Within a year, Israel was a sovereign state. The war was over. But Arab Jordan had captured the Old City of Jerusalem. They had captured the Temple Mount. They would keep it.
Muslims destroyed almost every Jewish synagogue they found. They blocked Jews from the Western Wall. They blocked Jews from ascending to the Temple Mount. They declared that the Temple Mount was theirs: no Jews allowed.
The UN idea of freedom of worship ended. In the Arab Jerusalem, there would be no freedom for Jews.
There would also be no Jews. All Jews living in the captured Old City were exiled.
In 1967, Israel fought another war against the Arab. During that war, Israeli troops re-captured the Old City—and the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount was in Jewish hands. Jews could now pray there. Jews could now have free access to their religion’s holiest site.
Israel celebrated. Then it did a strange thing. It handed over the administration of the Mount to the Waqf, the Muslim religious leadership of Jerusalem. From that moment on, Jews have been restricted from and discriminated against on the Temple Mount.
Since 1967-9, Israel has had laws to protect the freedom of religion for all faiths in Israel. Israel is proud of its record of protecting access to holy sites.
Israel gives freedom of religion to all religions in Jerusalem—except Judaism. Jews in Jerusalem do not have free access to the Temple Mount. They do not have the freedom to worship at the Mount.
Israeli police have told MK (Member of Knesset) Moshe Feiglin that restrictions against Jews come from the Waqf. The Israeli police simply enforce those restrictions.
The Waqf does not want Jews on the Temple Mount. He claims that the Temple Mount is Islamic, not Jewish.
Increasingly, Jews have tried to ascend to the Temple Mount. As Judaism experiences a religious revival, the Mount has become a focal point of Jewish interest.
Visiting non-Jews can ascend the Mount without trouble from police. Only Jews are restricted.
Israeli police operate on the assumption that the Waqf owns the Mount. That is not correct. Israel has that control.
That’s why MK Feiglin has brought the issue of Israeli anti-Jewish discrimination at the Temple Mount to the Knesset. He wants to make sure that all understand that Israel owns the Mount. He wants to make sure that Jews at the Mount are no longer discriminated against.
The Arab world is incensed. Hamas calls for an urgent Arab meeting to discuss the ‘repeated Israeli attacks and aggressions’ against Al Aqsa (the Muslim name for the Temple Mount). Hezbollah decried the "increasing Zionist attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque [the Temple Mount area]” (Ynet, “Knesset holds volatile discussion on Temple Mount sovereignty”, February 25, 2014).
The Arab League announced it will hold an emergency session to discuss ‘recent Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque’ (“Arab League to Discuss 'Israeli Attacks' on Al-Aqsa,” Arutz Sheva, February 26, 2014). The Palestinian Authority’s Ambassador to Egypt declared that this policy of allowing Jews to go to the Temple Mount proves that Israel ‘does not want peace but continues to violate international laws’ (ibid).
These accusations are all false. First of all, there have been no Jewish attacks on the Temple Mount. Arabs have been attacking Jews there.
Second, the offense which so outrages Arabs is the very presence of a Jew on the Mount. That presence is the ‘attack’ to which they refer. The Arab’s language, however, misrepresents what happens on the Mount. That language distorts—and makes it appear that Jews are aggressors on the Mount when in fact they are the victims there.
Third, the UN has, since 1947, expressed its desire to see freedom of access and worship at the Mount. Israel has consistently protected that right for Muslims. Muslims have consistently violated that right by discriminating against Jews.
Fourth, Jewish interest in praying on the Mount is not a violation of international law. Instead, it is a right promised to Jews by a 1994 Treaty between Jordan and Israel. Look it up. The Treaty is called, The ‘Treaty of Peace Between The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan And The State of Israel’, dated October 26, 1994. The promise of freedom of access and worship to all religions in Jerusalem is found in Article Nine.
Despite that Treaty, the Arab acts as if he owns the Mount. He does whatever he wants. He discriminates against Jews.
Then he accuses Israel. He libels Israel. He demonizes Israel.
Right now, he does all of this with impunity. Right now, he exercises what is called, ‘incidents of ownership’ over the Temple Mount.
‘Incidents of ownership’ means you are in control. Right now, the Arab appears to control the Temple Mount.
He says he owns it. He acts like he owns it.
This question should never even be asked. The Temple Mount is Jewish. It is in Jewish hands. It belongs to the Jewish people.
Yet, there are Jews in Israel who support the Arab. These Jews do not want to see Jewish Israel control the Temple Mount. If we are silent, they could succeed, they think.
Wonder what would the G-d of Israel thinks of that and them?
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 2/28/2014 11:16:00 AM
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 2/26/2014 07:48:00 PM
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Historic debate calls on government to give Jews equal prayer rights at holiest site in Judaism, and to implement Israeli sovereignty.By Ari Yashar
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 2/25/2014 10:35:00 PM
By Moshe Feiglin
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 2/25/2014 10:26:00 PM
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 2/25/2014 10:21:00 PM
Monday, February 24, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
To the Knesset Members,
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 2/20/2014 08:21:00 AM
By Moshe Feiglin
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 2/20/2014 08:19:00 AM
by Gil Ronen
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu) ascended to the Temple Mount Wednesday after 10 months in which security forces refused to let him set foot there.
Feiglin reported afterward that he had toured “all corners” of the Temple Mount, including the Ramah – where the Temple building and inner courtyard were located, according to Jewish sages. Feiglin said that he had also prayed on the Mount.
Feiglin had toured the Mount every month, for years, but in April of 2013, the Commander of the Israel Police's David Precinct called him and informed him that he was no longer allowed to enter the site.
Feiglin's pilgrimages to the Mount received growing media attention after he became a Knesset Member in early 2013, and in one of his visits, he insisted on entering the Dome of the Rock – a request that was denied.
The maverick MK has been a long-time campaigner for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount. Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, under Muslim pressure authorities enforce a raft of draconian restrictions, including a ban on praying. Religious Jews are sometimes arrested for attempting to worship at the site - which was the location of the two Temples in Jerusalem.
The Musim Waqf was angered by Feiglin's visits and in the Arab world, he was accused of “polluting” the Mount. The Justice Ministry said that the decision to make the Mount out of bounds for MK Feiglin was reached after the Attorney General approved it and that the relevant political echelon was also in favor of the decision, as were police and other security elements.
The decision, explained the Ministry at the time, “was based on past experience, including [the experience] relating to Feiglin's patterns of behavior at the Temple Mount, and MK Feiglin's recent announcement that he does not intend to coordinate his visits at the location with the Israel Police in the future, for various reasons.”
"The police and security forces estimated that given the circumstances, MK Feiglin's ascent to the Mount could potentially harm the security of the state, and his ascent to the Mount was therefore prevented,” summed up the Justice Ministry.
“I see my ascent this morning as the beginning of the return of full Jewish sovereignty to the Temple Mount, MK Feiglin said Wednesday. “The Israel Police proved that when they receive the correct orders, they can carry them out in the best possible way.”
Feiglin's visit was preceded by a protracted process of negotiation between him and the police, which was assisted by the Knesset Speaker and unspecified legal elements in the Knesset.
Next Tuesday, the Knesset is to debate the issue of Jewish access to the Temple Mount, “I hope that the Israeli Knesset will tell the Israeli Government in a clear way, that it is time to implement sovereignty and to allow every Jew to ascend from every gate,” pronounced Feiglin.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, speaking on behalf of the Temple Institute, congratulated MK Feiglin Wednesday on returning to the Temple Mount "after being banned from the holy site by Prime Minister Netanyahu for the past year."
“This is a great step forward in the struggle for Jewish sovereignty -- which is synonymous with Jewish prayer -- on the Temple Mount. Knesset member Feiglin’s ascent to the Temple Mount is a positive step towards the building of the Holy Temple and gives hope to all of Israel,” he said.
Deputy Speaker Moshe Feiglin will be a special guest on the Fifth Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day, which will be broadcast on March 30.
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 2/20/2014 08:17:00 AM