January 23, 2006

Slipping Through Our Fingers

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:28 pm by yisraelmedad

One of the most resonating declarations in the history of the state of Israel originating as if from the nation’s soul, was that of Motta Gur, Paratroop Division commander, on the morning of Wednesday, June 8, 1967.  His voice was heard over the army walkie-talkies and then, recorded, over the radio announcing that “the Temple Mount is in our hands!”.

And now, 33 years later, the Temple Mount, as a Jewish sacred site, continues to slip through our fingers, as our hands open to achieve a dubious peace with the PLO’s Yasser Arafat.

The place which Prime Minister Ehud Barak termed the “nation’s sanctified treasures” was almost immediately shunned and its Jewish character relegated to benign neglect. Moshe Dayan handed over symbolically the key to the Temple Mount gates to the Moslem Waqf officials on June 17 and committed the site to their administration. 

Throughout the three decades since then, no Jew has been permitted to pray on the site, neither as an individual nor in a prayer quorum.  If he is too overtly recognizable as a Jew, if his fringes are outside his trousers or if he his carrying a Bible or other religious book, he will be banned from entrance.  If he does succeed in passing thought the green doors, he will be accompanied by an Israeli policeman and a Waqf guard lest he murmur a Psalm.

A Jew, the reality dictates, does not belong on the Temple Mount.  Not in the portions the laws of ritual deem outside the former precincts of the temple courtyard nor any other area except if he de-Judaisizes himself and assumes the form of a neutral tourist.The Chief Rabbinate doesn’t want him there.  The police do not want him there.  And his government doesn’t want him there.

Israel’s Antiquities Department cannot excavate there but the volunteers of the Islamic Movement together with the Waqf employees bring in bulldozers and gauge out tons of earth containing artifacts and debris from over 2,000 years ago.  Jewish history in dirt and stones are desecrated, both religiously and scientifically.  The same Barak who left the negotiating table at Camp David over the Temple Mount issue, allows the destructive activity to continue unabated while claiming in a conversation with Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjorn Jagland last week that Friday, “we are barred, for religious reasons, from conducting excavations on the Temple Mount”.   Barak’s office later added that Israel wants an arrangement that would ban all archaeological excavations there. But Moslem digging and construction continues unabated.

The law of the land guarantees free access to the site.  Women who wish to pray at the Western Wall have already achieved the backing of the High Court for Justice but neither Jewish men or women have be graced by that same court to be permitted to exercise that same basic freedom and right of prayer at a site most respected by them.  How easy it is for the black-robed judges to ignore the secular law they have elevated to near-sanctity when Jewish sensitivity is the issue.

The camp of political progressives and liberals, normally so critical of clericalism, have championed any and all proposals that would wrest Jewish sovereignty from the site, including the idea of a “Divine sovereignty” which even arch-visionary Shimon Peres has ridiculed.

The Temple was twice destroyed by enemies of the Jews.  We are now witnessing another effort to erase its memory from our national consciousness.  How odd of Jews to be so confused.

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