JERUSALEM — Small groups of Jews are increasingly ascending the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, a sacred site controlled for centuries by Muslims, who see the visits as a provocation that could undermine the fragile peace talks started this summer.I guess they're fine with rioting, because they don't mention any threats made by the sickos.
For decades the Israelis drawn to the site were mainly a fringe of hard-core zealots, but now more mainstream Jews are lining up to enter, as a widening group of Israeli politicians and rabbis challenge the longstanding rules constraining Jewish access and conduct. Brides go on their wedding days, synagogue and religious-school groups make regular outings, and many surreptitiously skirt the ban on non-Muslim prayer, like a Russian immigrant who daily recites the morning liturgy in his mind, as he did decades ago in the Soviet Union.No, they aren't warning, or else they'd say it's in danger from themselves and their vile egos.
Palestinian leaders say the new activity has created the worst tension in memory around the landmark Al Aksa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, and have called on Muslims to defend the site from “incursions.” A spate of stone-throwing clashes erupted this month: on Wednesday, three Muslims were arrested and an Israeli police officer wounded in the face. And on Friday thousands of Arab citizens of Israel rallied in the north, warning that Al Aksa is in danger.
“We reject these religious visits,” Sheik Ekrima Sa’eed Sabri, who oversees Muslim affairs in Jerusalem, said in an interview. “Our duty is to warn,” he added. “If they want to make peace in this region, they should stay away from Al Aksa.”I think he's got it backwards. And if the NYT wants peace, they'll clear out too.
The 37-acre site is perhaps the most religiously contested place on earth. Jews revere it as the home of the First and Second Temples 2,000 years ago. For Muslims, who call the site the Noble Sanctuary, it is the world’s third holiest spot, from which Muhammad is believed to have ascended to heaven. More than 300,000 foreign tourists also flock there annually, many of them Christians drawn to the ruins of the temple Jesus attended.Look how they blur history, even with Islam, avoiding the fact that early jihadists and caliphate conquered it from the Jews.
Politically, the competing claims to the area are the nut around which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict revolves, the symbolic heart of each side’s religious and historical attachment to Jerusalem that has made its governance one of the thorniest issues in peace negotiations.I wonder why they don't name said general as Moshe Dayan? Maybe because they don't want anybody to know what a dhimmi he was. A most shameful man who thought returning control to the Waqf would save Israel a lot of trouble, and lo, it didn't.
Israel captured the site along with the rest of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, with a general declaring dramatically, “The Temple Mount is in our hands!” But the government immediately returned control to the Muslim authorities, and ever since, a de facto accommodation has prevailed in which Muslims worship at Al Aksa above and Jews at the Western Wall below, a remnant of the retaining wall around the ancient Second Temple.
Here's where it gets a little better:
Over the last few years, a cause long taken up by only a fringe group of far right-wingers has increasingly been embraced by the modern Orthodox — known here as religious Zionists — who have also gained political power. At three recent Parliament hearings, religious lawmakers and cabinet ministers questioned the status quo, in which non-Muslims can enter the site only for a few hours five days a week, and those identified by the police as Jews are separated, escorted by police officers and admonished not to dance, sing, bow down or even move their lips in prayer.Gee, if she could pay a visit, there must be other "secularists" out there doing the same. Who said this was just a religious fight per se?
“The Temple Mount is in our hands — but is it really?” asked Michael Freund, a Jerusalem Post columnist who visited the site as a child in 1977 and returned for the first time last year, with 50 members of his synagogue. “It particularly offends me that the Israeli government puts into place restrictions which prevent Jews from fulfilling their basic right to freedom of worship.”
Jack Stroh, a cardiologist from East Brunswick, N.J., who visited on Wednesday, has been bringing friends for five years before the holidays of Sukkot and Passover — two of three pilgrimage festivals when ancient Jews were required to pray at the temples.
“My cousin said that if Jews don’t go up to the mountain there is an increased chance that the government will say Jews are not interested and will give it away,” he said as his group waited to enter. “I’m taking them up. Someone took me up. They’ll take other people up; it’s a growing phenomenon.”
Amid the religious pilgrims on Wednesday was Michal Berdugo, 25, a secular Israeli who said it had been her “dream for three years” to visit. “It’s part of who we are,” she said.
Experts who have observed the phenomenon also see it as a reaction to Israel’s evacuation of Jews from the Gaza Strip in 2005, a redirection of Messianic energy once devoted to West Bank settlements that many fear could soon succumb to the same fate to make way for a Palestinian state.And it's got something to it. Now, here's where the NYT dips back into the gutter again:
“The war for the land of Israel is not just political, but essentially spiritual,” said Yossi Klein Halevi, author of a new book that traces the lives of paratroopers who seized the Mount in 1967. “Given that the Temple Mount is the focal point of holiness in the Holy Land, the thinking is that we need to go to the source in order to prevent the further partition of the land.”
While the numbers remain tiny compared with the 10 million annual visitors to the Western Wall below, Palestinian officials say what used to be a trickle of individuals has given way to groups of 40, 60, 90. They were particularly alarmed that the Israeli police commissioner told a newspaper this month that “every Jew who wishes to pray at the Temple Mount can pray on the Temple Mount,” though his subordinates said afterward that did not change the police policy on the ground preventing non-Muslim prayer. A recent visit by the right-wing housing minister also stirred outrage.Oh, how facinating, someone who wasn't democratically elected and has no legal authority is still the "governor" of the east side of this city! And making remarks all without saying he hopes the people inside the al-Aksa mosque won't get stirred up over nothing.
“Before, it was some settlers from here, some extremists from there; now we start to hear it from the real officials,” said Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem. “When they get inside with this big number, it’s sure that they will make some kind of religious activities and there will be more friction between them and the people inside the mosque.”
I'm happy about the increased efforts to make it legal for Jews to pray and tour atop the Temple Mount, and MK Miri Regev has also joined the march. The fight must keep on, and those who campaign for Judaism revived on the Mount are doing the right thing.