Israeli Sovereignty on the Temple Mount: Slip Sliding Away
By Moshe Feiglin
There is nothing more harmful to the ‘status quo’ that is in place (more or less) today on the Temple Mount than the senior Israeli officials’ demand of Knesset Members not to visit the Temple Mount.
To our chagrin, the ‘holy status quo’ has always prohibited Jews from praying on the Temple Mount. But their free entry to the Mount – certainly the free entry of Knesset Members – during all hours of the day and to all places on the Mount, including the Dome of the Rock and the El Aktza Mosque – were always part of the ‘status quo’.
The rights of the Jews on the Temple Mount are slipping away. Pressuring the Knesset Members to give up the last remnants of the Israeli sovereignty that they are trying to retain on the Mount has nothing to do with preservation of the ‘status quo’. Israel’s leadership has simply caved in to Jordan, which constantly tries to erode any sign of Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount. The sovereign is the Knesset. Thus, the Jordanian king doesn’t like it when Jewish MKs visit the Mount.
And so, the Prime Minister, President, heads of security and of course an enthusiastic army of journalists have all converged to incite the public against its elected representatives and to blame them for the Arab violence. By doing so, they encourage terror.
Why is it so easy to turn public opinion around and dupe the Jews into once again blaming themselves for the Arab murderousness? If the Arabs were to riot because of aliyah to Israel and Jordan’s king would recall his ambassador would the Prime Minister run to Jordan to appease him and stop aliyah?
Of course not.
It is not fear and flaccidity that have brought about the abandonment of the Temple Mount – and as a result, the precarious security situation in the entire country. Just the opposite. Our emotional detachment from the Mount, our inability to connect to its essence, to the destiny that it represents – just as we connected to the idea of aliyah to Israel – this abandonment of the heart of our nation leads to the flaccidity and lawlessness that we are currently experiencing.
The first Zionist principles like aliyah and settlement were easy to explain from a purely nationalist standpoint. But in order to ascend to the next dimension of the fulfillment of the Return to Zion – the ascent to the Temple Mount – we need a new spirit. The narrow nationalist consciousness is nothing more than its foundation.
When G-d restored the Mount to Israel in 1967, the consciousness of Israel’s leadership was too narrow to perceive its significance. “Who needs this whole Vatican?” Defense Minister Moshe Dayan scoffed and hurried to give the keys to the Mount to the Moslem wakf. The religious leadership adopted the narrow dimension of religion alone, instead of daring to advance to the all-inclusive vision of the Temple.
But without destiny, existence is empty. When the Temple Mount was not in Israel’s territory, our spiritual batteries were powered by the destiny that was out of reach. But in the Six Day War, when General Mota Gur declared, “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” the destiny became tangible. Its denial became tangible, as well.
Since the Temple Mount was liberated, Israel has grown and become unrecognizably stronger. But the stronger we grow, the less existential legitimacy we retain. Even our ability to preserve our current existence is slipping away.
For there is no existence without destiny. And for the Jewish People, there is no destiny without the Temple Mount.