Stealth Prayer on the Temple Mount

Daniel Pinner has an op-ed over at Arutz Sheva that I find rather interesting.

He writes about how he, and some of his fellow devout Jews, ascended the Temple Mount:

The ritual is well-known. Before being admitted to our holiest site, a policeman told us the rules: it is forbidden to pray, even in a whisper; it is forbidden to display any Jewish or Israeli item (a flag, for example, or a tallit); no Jewish (or any non-Muslim) form of devotion is allowed.

I came up with an inventive solution. I set the countdown alarm on my cell-phone for five minutes. When it rang I pulled my cell-phone out of my pocket, hit the off button, put it to my ear, and as though answering a phone call I said aloud, “Sh’ma Yisrael, HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem echad”.

Within seconds a policeman was by my side, snarling at me, “You know it’s forbidden to pray”. I said into the phone “Just a moment, please”, still as though I was talking to someone, then turned to the policeman. “What do you mean, pray?” I asked him in surprised innocence. “That’s how I always answer the phone.”

It’s just a disgrace.

That’s the holiest spot for world Jewry, and although I understand that the rabbinate frowns upon Jewish visitation to the site, for theological reasons, there are still plenty of Jews who earnestly desire to ascend the Temple Mount for the purpose of contemplation and prayer.

Why are they not allowed to do so?  The fact that the Jewish State of Israel would prevent Jews from praying at the holiest site of the Jewish people makes a mockery of the movement for Jewish national liberation, which is the movement upon which Israel was built.

When I was there, not so long ago, I forgot about the rules against bringing Jewish religious materials up onto the Mount after having just purchased a small shofar at one of the little shops that sell such things in the Old City.  The Israeli authorities confiscated my newly purchased shofar and assured me that it would be returned once I was done touring the site.  And, in fact, it was returned.  It was an inconvenience, but my personal inconvenience on that day is not the point.

The point is that it is bigoted against Jews to prevent Jewish people, or anyone for that matter, from praying on that spot.  Why is it disallowed?  Is it because the local Arabs, or perhaps the greater Arab-Muslim world, objects?  If that is the reason, it is a mighty unjust and bigoted reason for preventing Jews from praying where the Temple of David once stood.  Can you imagine if Jews, somehow, prevented Muslims from praying in Mecca?  Would anyone consider such a thing either natural or just?

Why should we capitulate to Arab-Muslim religious bigotry toward us?  Why do we suffer from such low self-esteem as a people that we cannot even bring ourselves to assert sovereignty on the places where the Temples once stood?

Zionism is (or was) a movement for social justice.  It was the means by which the Jewish people freed themselves from 13 centuries of dhimmitude and persecution on Jewish land.  And while the movement for Jewish liberation has succeeded far beyond anyone’s wildest dreams in 1947, it is still not complete.  The Temple Mount is in Jerusalem, which is in Israel, and which, therefore, should be under Israeli sovereignty, yet it is not.  The holiest place for the Jewish people is in Israel, is in the ancient City of David, and yet it is under Islamic authority and they do not want us even going up there because they consider our mere presence a religious desecration and an affront to imperial Islam.

Furthermore, the Waqf has been known to destroy ancient Jewish artifacts from the Temple Mount in order to erase Jewish history.  So, again, why do we put up with it?

The Arabs have proven themselves to be irresponsible custodians of the Temple Mount and, thus, Israel would be well within its rights to take over the administration of the area.

I very much hope that someday it will, but I won’t hold my breath.


Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

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  1. Andre Lieshmann

    So, how’s that extrajudicial murder of innocent civilians thing working out for you? Pacified the rag heads, convinced them of the justice in you stealing their land and water?

    • Andre, the Jewish people of the Middle East have been a persecuted minority for 13 centuries and as soon as we gained our freedom the great Arab majority launched a war against the tiny Jewish minority that continues to this day.

      It’s not enough that they have kept our numbers tiny and that our friends and family were slaughtered and degraded generation upon generation, but now we have westerners, such as yourself, which claim that the Jewish people are to blame for the ongoing violence against them.

      This, for all intents and purposes, makes you a Nazi.

      So, are you a Nazi of the left-wing variety or the right-wing variety? I am guessing left-wing because the American right, at least, has done a nice job of purging their anti-Semites.

      Is that true in Australia, as well?

      • He isn’t Australian. He is one of yours Mike.!!

        MIAMI. FLORIDA. Postcode 333132

        Found him elsewhere too. He is a “Forum Spammer” with pages and pages of Spam posts daily.

        He’s best ignored

        Quite a reputation. He is coming up on one site after another


    Yet, even though the State of Israel is in full control of Jerusalem, Jews, Christians and all non-Muslims are forbidden entry to the Temple Mount, except during very limited hours. And during those few hours, Jews can only walk in near silence; they may not pray.

    A member of the Wakf, the Muslim religious council, monitors the movements of Jewish visitors, and the Israel Police will arrest any Jew upon a complaint by a Wakf member that a Jew was praying on the Temple Mount.

    This happened to me and my daughter when we visited the Temple Mount the day before her wedding.

    Her swaying in silent meditation was enough to anger our Wakf monitor and land us in the police station for hours for threatening the public welfare.

    Any discussion of changing this woeful crushing of religious freedom elicits threats of severe violence from the Wakf, Arab Knesset members and the Islamic Movement in Israel. This incitement works wonders, as Israeli law enforcement officials regularly cite these threats in defending their discriminatory treatment of Jews on the Temple Mount.

    During Jewish holiday periods, the level of incitement is raised, often accompanied by the hurling of blocks of stone at Jews on the Temple Mount and at Jewish worshipers in the Western Wall Plaza.

    Read the whole article

  3. I don’t understand how this situation came about, or why it continues.

    • Why?? Good question, because we might be a clever people but we are idiots. That is pretty much it in a nutshell.

      We can’t seem to grasp the fact that we play fair and do the right thing, but the other side doesn’t.

      • They won’t agree that we have the right to exist
      • They produce maps with no Israel on them, even though Eretz Israel was there before they were
      • Even when Abbas says he will agree to two States, he proclaims his will be ‘Jew free’ but we have to have Arabs in our State
      • They claim that 500,000 Jews living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are an obstacle to peace, but 1.4 million Arabs living in Israel are not.
      • We release over 1,000 murders/terrorists for one man
      • We give them the cement they say they need for building, because international agencies label us a criminals. They use that cement to make bombs and worse of all tunnels to kidnap people, so they will get hundreds freed from gaols in exchange.
      • We have the right according to the Oslo Accords to pray on the Temple Mount, if it is done in a quiet and orderly manner, but their idea of that is us not to breathe. !!!!!

  4. If you only knew the number of times I have seen cases where Jews who dared to pray at the holiest site in the world to the Jewish people are arrested and charged with “disturbing the peace” or “threatening public order”, while the Arabs who attacked them are NOT charged with assault! It makes me sick! It’s a great pity the mosques on the Temple Mount weren’t blown up during the course of the Six Day War!

    • I just don’t get what the powers that be, just ‘don’t get’

      Time and time again we give them what they want and time and time again they renege on what they say.

  5. I think they are afraid of what will happen if they are allowed to pray. Maybe they are remembering Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

    • Sure they are afraid to pray, some well meaning Arab is likely to shoot them for doing so.

      • I meant that it seems like for some reason Muslims are afraid of Jews praying.

      • hereticsclub,

        it’s not that the Muslims who object to a Jewish presence, or Jewish prayer, on the Temple Mount are afraid of Jews praying, but that they consider it an abomination before Allah and have for 1,400 years.

        The Jews are considered unclean and their presence anywhere near the al-Aqsa Mosque is thought to be in violation of the will of Allah and Mr. Muhammed.

        The terrific irony is that if we say, “Gee, theocratically-based anti-Jewish malice is embedded in the Koran and the hadiths and thus hard-coded into the religion of Islam,” it makes us the racists in the minds of a great many, probably most, western “liberals.”

        They tend not to mind the blatant, genocidal race-hatred toward Jews, but they very much mind us pointing it out.

        As for why that is, I am still not satisfied with an answer, but slapping a label on it doesn’t answer the question.

  6. Michael

    right here I think you could intercede with a relevant definition of the new term of “Islamophobia”.
    From ethical soap boxes, Islamophobia has emerged as a retort to “antisemtism”. Islamophobia is a new category which wants to inculcate: inequitty, unfairness, oppression, distortion of moral standards, unfairness, political/social/cultural/religious deprivation, all kinds of inhuman treatement etc.
    These made up tenets need to be exposed as farcical because they are gaining currency in all important international fora and, once valid, then the real impositions, restrictions and tangible Islamic obstructions will reign. Thus the genuine exclusivist, intolerant character of Islam is working assiduously on insidious strategies and this small local Temple Mount incident is just one symbolic element.
    Israel , by protecting Islam at the Temple Mount the way it is happening before our eyes right now, is playing into the hands of those who are promoting precisely this new Islamic “ethical” onslaught . It acts in the typical Islamic forked-tongue manner precisely upon those who are striving to introduce FAIR tolerance, the Western civilised world, one within which Israel is a leading light.

    • Daniel Pipes, way back in 2005, exposed the lie of Islamophobia, an expression invented by Islamists.

      Sadly, despite it being an obvious fraud, the term has gained currency, especially amongst Westerners.

      • Pam, thanks for the link. Daniel Pipes is as reliable as ever. Perhaps you’d remember his appearance on ABC’s Q&A a while ago when he was simply excellent, particularly as he was replying to that Labor Senator sitting next to him who was a making all kind of incredible remarks about Israel, behaving like a proper clown.
        Anyway, in his text re “Islamophobia” Pipes reffers exclusively to the notion of “fear” of Islam. My take is that “phobia” in this case is used as an object of claimed “hatred” and “detestation”, “loathing” etc. all stridently negative aspects which Islaimists would have us, practically any non-Muslim objecting to unwanted aspect of Islam, accused that we would inflict upon them. So, we are all a bunch of haters of Islam. As simple as that and they, Islaimsts, ,what esle, but victims !!!

  7. It’s ridiculous that while Israel allows complete freedom of religion, and is the only country in the Middle East to do so, within its borders freedom of religion is denied to non-Muslims.

    Surely this is against Israeli law? You’d think there would be some Israeli human rights lawyers (real human rights, I mean, not the left-wing pretend human rights mob) who could challenge this in the courts.