Benjamin Netanyahu keeps assuring Barack Obama, and the American Department of State, that Israel intends to maintain the status quo at the Temple Mount.
EOZ columnist, Vic Rosenthal, proprietor of Abu Yehuda, has a few thoughts on the matter.
But the bottom line is that the status quo in Israel toward Jews, and all non-Muslims, in the Old City, on the Temple Mount, is entirely prejudicial. I am not a particularly religious person, but I am offended at the idea that only Muslims are allowed to pray on the holiest place to the Jewish people.
Israeli policy on this question is unethical and unjust toward Jewish people, toward all non-Muslims, and it must change.
It is, in fact, a policy grounded in al-Sharia because Moshe Dayan, who obviously should have known better, made a very big mistake. But now this mistake needs to be corrected.
At one time all the religions in the Middle East were political in the sense that they were total social systems.
Throughout the great majority of human history there was no distinction between the dictates of the faith and any aspect of the life of the individual. The same, of course, was true for Judaism and Christianity until the European Enlightenment of the 17th century. Thankfully, both religions embraced the Separation of Church and State.
Islam has yet do so and, in fact, is moving in the opposite direction. European Muslims – with their screeching and their stomping and their violence and their religiously grounded hatred – do not seem all that different from their Jew-Hating Middle Eastern counterparts.
So as the world burns, my natural question is, “what should Israel do?”
If you look at the scope of Israeli history the general tendency has been to defer to the West.
It was primarily due to the western governments that the United Nations acknowledged the existence of Israel to begin with. Sometimes people will say that the UN created Israel, in order to imply the illegitimacy of the Jewish State. This is false. Israel was created via the blood and sweat and deaths of many thousands of Jewish people – Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, Sephardim – who built the necessary infrastructure for the emergence of the state. All the United Nations did was take a vote. It was the Jewish people in the Land of Israel at the end of the 19th century and through the 20th century who did the work and who drained the swamps and who built the roads and who created the schools and developed the political leadership, that made it so that the UN almost had to recognize it.
But the UN did not do the work, nor did they die in the fields. That was Jews. You know who else it was, of course? It was also untold numbers of Arabs who migrated into Israel because of increasing economic possibilities. Israel is the Jewish State, but Arabs helped build it for simple, human, economic reasons. They may have thought of the Jews as the children of swine and orangutans, but they still needed employment for the purpose of feeding their children. Their Koranically-based anti-Jewish racism did not override their basic social need to provide for their families.
This has changed.
The Narrative and the Temple Mount
Due to the Muslim Brotherhood, Yassir Arafat and his heinous side-kick, Mahmoud Abbas – and all their little off-spring like the PLO and Fatah and Hamas and Islamic Jihad – they have succeeded in raising an entire generation of Israeli Arabs who believe that they have a religious-political-moral imperative to stab Jewish people in the neck or run us down with their vehicles. They have been fed on the Narrative of Pure Palestinian Victimhood and thus honestly believe that they every right to take any Jewish life as a matter of social justice.
If we object we are spit upon by ideological morons, mainly in the western-left, who call us racist.
What Israel needs to do is take charge of the situation. If the Israelis back down it will give the Arabs good reason to advance. By handing the Temple Mount over to the Jordanian waqf it gave the Arab world reason to claim it as their own.
As we know, Arab-Muslims do not so much venerate Al-Aqsa as a place of religious contemplation, but as a violent political site in their never-ending hostility toward the Jewish minority in that part of the world.
The very last thing that is needed is maintenance of the status quo.
I’ve been thinking about status quos (stati quo?) lately.
There’s the one on the Temple Mount, the absurd one that says that Jews may visit but may not pray. Lately Muslims have been trying to prevent Jews from visiting altogether. When you consider that this is and always has been the holiest site in Judaism, that Muslim colonialists built a triumphal shrine atop the ruins of the Jewish Temple – which those Muslims now say wasn’t really there anyway – the absurdity is even more manifest.
It is one thing for Arabs to discriminate against Jews, that is to be expected. It is another thing entirely for the Jewish State of Israel to discriminate against Jews. That is simply unacceptable.
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. Recently he joined Vocal International a news magazine out Brussels, Belgium, as an analyst, writer, and a member of the Academic Board of Trustees. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel, Elder of Ziyon, and at his own blog, Israel Thrives. He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org