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.