Thursday, July 19, 2012

Criminals on the Temple Mount

It’s maddening when government organizations which are supposed to protect the public against terrorism and crime, trade logic and proficiency for appeasement and political correctness.  Think TSA officials searching a 95 year-old woman.  Unfortunately, Israeli officials seem to have taken a page out of the TSA handbook on how to humiliate its own citizens while placating its enemy. 

Muslim clerics in Israel are notorious for crying “wolf!” (i.e. “Jew!”) causing the Israeli police to spring into action.  For example, whenever a Jewish holiday approaches, Islamic clerics work their followers into a frenzy over the possibility of Jews visiting the Temple Mount.  Recently, before Jerusalem Day, the day that marks the reunification of Jerusalem and the liberation of the Temple Mount, a leading Muslim cleric, Sheikh Yousef Ideis, made such claims.  He warned Arabs to "be alert for possible infiltration of fanatic Jews" onto the Temple Mount.  Instead of ignoring the obviously staged incitement, the Israeli police validated the cleric’s claims.

According to the Israeli police, “fanatical” Jews did “infiltrate” the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day.  Rabbi Yisrael Ariel was one such “fanatical” Jew.  His actions were so fanatical that he has been barred indefinitely from ascending the Temple Mount and is under criminal investigation by the Israeli police.

Rabbi Ariel, who is 78, fought in the 1967 Six Day War.  He was one of the famed Israeli paratroopers who took part in the liberation of Jerusalem.  He was at the Temple Mount when Lt. Gen. Mordechai Gur famously declared, “The Temple Mount is in our hands.”  What elation Rabbi Ariel must have felt that day.  The elation was mixed with grief though, as 180 of his fellow comrades fell that fateful day.    

As you can imagine visiting the Temple Mount on any occasion is special for Rabbi Ariel, founder of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, but especially on Jerusalem Day.  Marking the 45th anniversary of the liberation of the Temple Mount, Rabbi Ariel along with other Jews, including Knesset members, visited the Mount.  Surprisingly they were left uninhibited by both the Islamic Waqf officials and Israeli police and so they sang and prayed.  The special moment was captured on video and Rabbi Ariel can be heard saying, "I have waited forty-five years to be able to say the Shehechianu (literally, "He who has kept us alive,") here on the Temple Mount."  He then said a memorial prayer for his fallen comrades.

After Jerusalem Day, Rabbi Ariel tried to ascend the Mount again, but to his surprise was prohibited from doing so by the Israeli police.  He was informed that he was barred indefinitely from the Mount and that he was under criminal investigation for actions, “that were not in compliance with the law.”  Which begs the question, which law?  Sharia law? 

The lauded democratic law in Israel assures the freedom of all religions at holy sites.  How pathetic that the Israeli police and government would set aside their own laws, logic, and decency to capitulate to the demands of Muslims. 

Who would have thought that Jews, of all people, would be criminally investigated for praying on the Temple Mount?   But due to “delicate status quo agreements,” (which translates into the asinine belief that appeasing Muslims will somehow lead to peace), Jewish worshippers are sometimes allowed to visit the Temple Mount during certain hours but are not allowed to openly pray.  
Rabbi Ariel is not the first Jew to be under investigation for disrupting the “delicate status quo.”  Another fanatical Jew recently visited the Temple Mount.  Yosef Hacohen, age 76, felt ill while touring the Temple Mount so he needed some water.  Before drinking the water he said a blessing.  Hacohen’s actions made members of the “peaceful and tolerant” religion of Islam angry.  So naturally what did the Israeli police do?  They arrested Hacohen.
The Israeli police have even stopped Knesset Members from praying on the Mount.  MKs Michael Ben Ari and Uri Ariel also joined a pilgrimage to the Mount to commemorate Jerusalem Day.  While on the Mount, Ben Ari and a number of the other members of the group started praying. Police immediately asked Ben Ari to stop.  After a number of the group refused to stop praying, they were arrested.  Itamar Ben Gvir, spokesman for Ben Ari, accused the police of “doing the work of the Waqf."
In recent years, Israeli police have also threatened activist for merely raising awareness of the need for religious freedom on the Mount.  Rabbi Chaim Richman, Director of the International Department of the Temple Institute, who has a radio show on Israel National Radio, encouraged his listeners to write, call, or fax the Israeli government and request religious freedom for all on the Temple Mount. 
Rabbi Richman’s efforts got the attention of many people, including an officer from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.  The Temple Institute was established in 1987.  No US government official has ever expressed interest in their work.  But suddenly, after Rabbi Richman publically decried the fact that Jews were not allowed religious freedom on the Temple Mount, an official from the US Embassy couldn't wait to talk to Rabbi Richman about the "work of the institute."
After Rabbi Richman was visited by the embassy official, he was also visited at night at his house by Israel's National Security Agency, known as the ISA or Shin-Bet.  During the "visit," Rabbi Richman was told to desist from all his efforts to influence the public or the government into taking action on issues regarding the Temple Mount. His actions, he was told, were “damaging the relationship with the United States, placing a stumbling block in the path of the peace process, and inciting Arabs to violence.”  He was then threatened with being arrested. 

Sadly, the treatment of the esteemed Rabbi Ariel, along with other Jews, is an indicator that Israeli officials still believe that appeasement is a viable method of dealing with one’s enemy, while throwing their own law-abiding citizens under the bus.  As Rabbi Richman said, “It is unconscionable that Rabbi Ariel, who served with the paratroopers that liberated the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six Day War, risking his life and burying his comrades for the sake of the Jewish sovereignty of the Temple Mount, should be served with an order distancing him from the Temple Mount indefinitely. His ‘crime’ was giving thanks to God, in that very spot for the return of the site to the Jewish people.  Has it indeed returned to the Jewish people?  Is the Temple Mount ‘in our hands?’ Every day that this situation is allowed to continue is a step backwards for the State of Israel.”

Thankfully, secular and religious members of the public are speaking out against the recent actions of Israeli officials against their fellow-Jews.  A demonstration was organized outside of the Prime Minister’s residence.  Also, it should be noted that some members of the Israeli government are publically coming to the defense of religious freedom for Jews on the Temple Mount.  MKs Uri Ariel, Aryeh Eldad, Danny Danon, Tzipi Hotovely, and Moshe Feiglin are among those who have been the most vocal regarding the recent actions of the police.  Hopefully, their voice of passionate reason will be heard and acted upon. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Ultimate Soapbox

I don’t like reading propaganda against Israel. It’s a bit hard to avoid though, as daily a barrage of propaganda makes its way into the media via people or organizations whose favorite sport seems to be Israel bashing. The U.N., Mahmoud Abbas, Jimmy Carter, the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood leader of Egypt Mohamed Morsi, EU's Catherine Ashton, actress Emma Thompson; they, along with countless others, provide a litany of lies about Israel that the media feeds upon and then regurgitates to the masses.

Even more vexing though, is when some of the “best” Israel bashers are Jews. You know the kind I’m talking about. The ones who can’t say Israel without tagging on the phrase “brutal occupiers.” The ones who blame practically every problem in the world on the “radical right-wing settlers.” The ones who can’t speak about terrorism without a tagging a “but” as big as a double-wide onto their sentence. It’s the sick “blame the victim for getting raped” song and dance. “I hate the violence that is perpetrated against Israel, BUT __________.” And then they fill in the blank with an absurd example of moral equivalence.

I joined a dialogue on Facebook recently with one such Jewish basher of Israel. When another Jew boldly defended the sovereign rights of Jews in the Land of Israel, he immediately launched into defending and championing the rights of Arabs who according to him “have lived under the brutal occupation of Israel for 45 years.” After asking him what his favorite flavor of Kool-Aid was that he shared with his drinking buddy Jimmy Carter, I found and read some of his other posts and articles on Facebook. Oy vey! Unfortunately, since he is a writer, his propaganda is prolific.

The more I read of his postings the more my heart rate went up. I found it both peculiar and infuriating that he didn't seem compelled to label terrorists who are killing Jews as “brutal” or as “left-wing radicals.” He didn't seem compelled to address and blame Jordan or the other Arab countries who created the Arab refugee “problem” in the first place via warmongering and have used the "plight" of the Palestinians ever since as pawns in their continued quest to wipe Israel off the map. He wrote with passion and emotion (and probably with Itzhak Perlman playing in the background), as he described standing side-by-side with Arab farmers “as they gaze across the metal barriers to their former land.” (Of course he fails to mention why the metal barriers are needed.) His penchant for solidarity with Arab “victims” made me wonder if he had ever stood side-by-side with Tamar Fogel as she longingly gazed at her family’s gravesite because terrorists got through the metal barriers and brutally killed her parents and siblings.

The pinnacle of his warped view of Israel came when he wrote about the Gaza rocket fire. Part of his sentence read, “Regarding continual rocket fire from Gaza (which thankfully the army and government do not seem to want to escalate . . .)." That was the last straw. I couldn’t read anymore. Do you understand what he was saying? He was basically saying that he was thankful that Israel did not fight back. Which in his warped view wouldn’t even be deemed fighting back. No, if Israel responded to the over 10,000 rockets fired at them from Gaza, it would be an escalation. An offensive affront. Basically, Israel defending itself is a provocation.

Do you understand the ideology the Jewish basher of Israel is really deeming as the only appropriate action for Israel? To do nothing. Or even better, in the basher’s opinion, to surrender. Unfortunately, the Jewish bashers of Israel have joined the world not only in blaming Israel for most of the ills of the Arab world, but also for simply wanting to exist in their own Land. As the character in the Princess Bride was want to say, “Inconceivable!”

In some ways, the Jews have miraculously arisen after the Holocaust. But in many other ways, and who could blame them, they have remained curled in a fetal position hoping that any hatred or violence directed at them will pass. And as tragic and illogical as it sounds, the Jewish bashers of Israel are the ones kicking Israel the hardest. Kicking Israel mercilessly hard, not in hopes of awakening and prodding their brothers to get up and fight. But kicking Israel harder and harder to make them stay down.

The propaganda continuously manufactured against Israel makes me as a writer want to find a bigger and better soapbox to jump upon to defend Israel. But as my heart rate slowed and my anger lessoned after reading the Israel basher’s articles, I realized there is no soapbox big enough for me or any other defender of Israel to get on right now. Except for one. And it’s not even really a soapbox for me, a non-Jew, to get upon, yet. The Jews need to get on it first.

The biggest and only soapbox, if I dare even call it that, is the Temple Mount. It’s time for the Jews to rise up from the defensive fetal position and to ascend. Ascend the Temple Mount. And as loud, direct, and compelling of a message that would be to the world, the real message would be to Someone else. Jews ascending the Temple Mount en masse would be the boldest and loudest message to the world, counteracting the world-wide bashing of Israel. Yet at the same time, it would be the most intimate and personal message to the G-d of Israel.

A Jew ascending the Temple Mount, is a Jew who is changing the world, changing reality. Or perhaps better said, pulling back the veil and illusions of this world and saying, “Psst, this is what life is really supposed to be like.” Because a Jew ascending the Temple Mount is acknowledging that, “This is where reality began and can begin again. This is the foundation stone; the portal between Heaven and Earth. This is where my Beloved left, where everything went wrong. This is the place to make it right again. This is where I will wait for my Beloved to return and while I wait, I’ll make ready our Home.” 

Sadly, the Jewish Korach’s and the goyim Balak’s, i.e. the modern bashers of Israel, are literally fighting tooth and nail to keep the Jews out of the Land. Because if the Jews are out of the Land, the House on the Hill will never be built. And if that House is never built, everything can continue as is, which serves the powers of this world quite well. If the Jews are out of the Land then the ultimate unification between the Jews and Hashem, which will bring unification to the world, will never happen.

But alas, the plans of this world will not and are not standing. Miraculously, Jews are in the Land. So it is to those Jews whom I appeal to. Please get up. Go. Run. Ascend the Mount. Get on the most powerful soapbox in the world. Send a message to me. To the world. To Your G-d. Tell us, tell Him, that you are ready for everything to change. Tell Him that you are ready to be to your Beloved as He is to you.