August 2, 2015

I Am Interviewed

Posted in Temple Mount at 10:06 am by yisraelmedad

Why is Muslim harassment of Jews on the Temple Mount increasing?

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD, 07/30/2015

The most practical solution is for police to enforce a policy that restricts Muslim mobs from coming within 20 meters of Jewish visitors to the Mount, one activist claims.

The problem of intimidation of Jews at the holiest site to Jews has reached a critical stage in the last several years, Yisrael Medad, secretary of the Temple Mount Group, said on Wednesday.

“Over the past two to three years, we saw men first sitting in circles studying the Koran, and then, sooner than later, they sat on pathways designated for Jewish visitors, so they couldn’t walk,” he said.

“Then the women got up and followed us around, screaming and yelling ‘Allahu akbar!’ The police will not push and shove them like they will the men, which is why women frequently lead the mobs.”

The Jordanian government pays between 300 and 500 Muslim women and unemployed men to harass Jews, Medad claimed.

The Islamic Movement’s northern branch, based in Umm el-Fahm, compensates 150 additional provocateurs, he said.

While Medad acknowledged that several Muslims with long histories of stirring trouble on the Mount have been barred from entering it for up to three months, he said that harassment of Jews there has continued to grow.

“What happens now is that when we exit the Chain Gate, they follow us out, screaming and yelling,” he said.

“Last Thursday’s yelling at the woman who was later arrested for saying ‘Muhammad is a pig’ was not on the Temple Mount, but in the Muslim Quarter. So, not only are they on the Temple Mount, but they are following Jews outside to the Muslim Quarter as well,” he said.

Medad said the most practical solution, an idea he raised nine months ago at a meeting with the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, is for police to enforce a policy that restricts Muslim mobs from coming within 20 meters of Jewish visitors to the Mount.

“You want to protest against Jews?” he asked. “Fine, [but] do so at a safe distance.”

The central problem, Medad asserted, is that while Jews are told by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu that there is a status quo – and that it cannot be altered – facts on the ground tell a different story.

“The Arabs are altering that status quo from month to month, and year to year,” he said. “More and more, Jewish visitation is being limited during Ramadan, as well as additional closings due to security threats.”

Medad said that wait times for Jews to ascend via Mugrabi Gate have grown exponentially, while non-Jewish visitors enjoy speedy service.

“The best solution is to give them [non- Jews] 90 percent of the place for visits. I’d be satisfied with 90 minutes to two hours a day in a far corner to pray and be a Jew,” he said.

“You cannot be a Jew at Judaism’s holiest site. You must be an unidentified tourist,” he said.

Although Medad acknowledged that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has cracked down on the extremists who fund those who harass Jews on the Temple Mount, he said much more needs to be done.

According to Jerusalem City Councilman Dr. Meir Margalit (Meretz), who holds the east Jerusalem portfolio in the municipality, the root of the violence and harassment is far more deep-seated than provocateurs on an extremist organization’s payroll.

“The question whether these people are paid is irrelevant,” he said on Wednesday.

“It’s not just another small group of Palestinians who hate Israelis. No. This is the main feeling of Palestinians in east Jerusalem, and especially religious ones. They are convinced that the Israelis want to expel Palestinians from the Mount, that they want to destroy al-Aksa Mosque.”

“Of course they hate Israelis,” he continued.

“If [Jews] were in the position the Palestinians are in, we’d have exactly the same feeling. When it comes to religious issues, Muslims, Christians and Jews, all of them, they don’t know what the meaning of compromise is. They are absolute. So, there are people they hate when they think the people are trying to expel them,” he said.

Margalit said that there is no imminent solution to the decades-long conflict.

“In the near future, there is no possibility of coexistence on the Temple Mount,” he said, adding that only the establishment of a Palestinian state and withdrawal of Jewish settlers in the occupied territories will effectively address the issues there.

“Once we come to a compromise with the PLO on the future of the occupied territories, then we will come to a compromise on the Temple Mount,” he said.

“Under these [present] conditions, there is no chance of a compromise.”

Margalit asserted that Muslims at the holy site do not object to Jewish visitors, but rather to right-wing Jews, “who come up with a political agenda.

“When I was there, I was treated respectfully,” the Jewish councilman said of his numerous visits at the invitation of the Wakf Islamic religious trust, which oversees the compound for the Jordanian government. “They gave me coffee and sweets.”

The problem the Muslim extremists have, he said, is not with Israelis or Jews in general, but with Jews who go up to make “provocations” and “political statements.”

Asked why three Jews have been arrested for slandering Muhammad while there have been no Muslim arrests for slandering Judaism and chanting “Death to Jews” at Jewish visitors, police spokeswoman Luba Samri claimed that the law is enforced equally.

“Police operate under transparent and clear procedures, which include the obligation to respect the law and rights of others unilaterally, wherever they are, and will continue to take action against religious offenders who violate the public space,” she said. “Such enforcement is impartial.”


November 6, 2014

MEDIA COMMENT: Mounting the news

Posted in Temple Mount at 11:23 am by yisraelmedad

Media comment: Mounting the news


Israel’s media for the most part lacks perspective when it comes to the Temple Mount.

This past Monday morning, Barak Ravid of Haaretz provided his readers with a remarkable insight into the quirkiness of news reporting here in Israel when the platform, be it a newspaper, web site, radio or television station, is more interested in either spinning news or managing it, rather than fulfilling the first commandment of journalism: to tell it as it is.

In this case, the news was of the supposed, at the time, meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdallah II. Ravid wrote of the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida which was his source that it had “been used in recent years as a means for leaking and whitewashing information by sources in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.

More than once, the newspaper has published stories on goings on at Netanyahu’s bureau that later turned out to be true. However, in other instances, its reports about Netanyahu’s office were proved false.”

A reader would reasonably expect that with the source having an approximate 50% success rate, the headline for that story would have been something like “Unreliable Arab newspaper claims Netanyahu-Abdallah meeting.”

But no, it was ‘Report: Netanyahu, Jordan’s King Abdullah secretly meet… has not been confirmed by the Israeli or Jordanian governments.” This is but another instance of “reporting,” where the media is not a channel for providing reliable information and proven data but an instrument for the brainwashing of the media consumer.

The evolving stories of Jewish rights to and on the Temple Mount, diplomatic relations with Jordan, Israel’s not-quite-a-process of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority were all dramatically heightened by the recent attempt to assassinate Rabbi Yehuda Glick of the HaLiba project, an incident which provided insight into the workings of Israel’s media.

As we pointed out in our column of October 6, 2012, Israel’s media for the most part lacks perspective when it comes to the Temple Mount. At that time, reports on the increasing level of Muslim fabrications concerning the Jewish presence on the Mount were meager.

The Islamist campaign of incitement intended to deny Jewish rights and foment violence was somehow “understood” and “accepted” by the press. Israeli Arab leaders were not called upon to condemn the Arab incitement and violence as are Jewish leaders upon every so-called “price tag” incident.

Earlier that year, on August 15, we noted that the lack of Israeli media interest in the Temple Mount story consistently resulted in the relegation of the Jewish side of the story to “eccentricity status.” Too often, our media does not accept that in the national struggle between Jews and Arabs there even is a Jewish side.

The attempted assassination of Rabbi Glick by a Muslim fanatic did make waves, but was it enough to change the attitudes of the editors, reporters and columnists who set the media agenda? A November 1 Haaretz headline read: “Not your typical Temple Mount zealot.” In the story, author Roi Arad informed readers that “Glick is an exceptional right-wing activist, who also befriends secular Jews and left-wingers” and “views the [Temple Mount] matter as a question of freedom of worship for members of all religions… [and] he doesn’t arouse anger among the Left….” While appearing empathetic, this narrative again reinforces the view that the issue of freedom of religion on the Temple Mount is “not normal” and not readily accepted by Haaretz’s readership.

And it isn’t just our media establishment.

US spokespersons and even Secretary of State John Kerry have demanded that Israel preserve “the historic status quo.” Would Kerry demand that America’s Supreme Court seek to preserve a status quo that discriminated against the blacks? Not one reporter informed Israelis that Muslims are acting just like the Christian activists at the Cordoba Cathedral in Spain which had been turned into a mosque and was returned to its previous status as a Christian place of worship. Muslims have traveled to the Cathedral from as far away as Austria to conduct pray-ins, but Muslims will not tolerate similar actions by Jews in Jerusalem who want to pray at their holy site. Neither will they consider adopting the arrangement that exists in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs for the Temple Mount.

The media discourse on the issue is mostly shallow, and the media seems to find it extremely difficult to reflect Jewish values rather than seeking a non-partisan universalist framework.

The circumstances of the assassination attempt assured that Glick personally was treated (mostly) in a positive light, even in ideologically hard-left media platforms. Uri Misgav, who had published an article calling Temple Mount activists “abnormal nut-jobs” the very morning of the shooting felt the need to remove it – but only because right-wingers were “dancing on the blood” and exploiting it to further their cause.

The link between the “quiet intifada” in the capital, the attacks on Jerusalem’s light rail, the Jewish construction in the City of David neighborhood and the Temple Mount, together with a heavy-handed tone of condemnation emanating from the United States (not to mention outright slurs) clearly complicate the ability of reporters to deal with the theme professionally.

As it was when Ariel Sharon ascended Mount Moriah in 2000 and Gershon Solomon did in the 1990s, the media is more equipped to deal with a personal drama – currently Glick’s – than substantive issues, and in fact prefers that framework.

The media could review decades of decisions of Israel’s High Court of Justice to help media consumers understand the legal issues involved. It could include contextual information such as Middle East history and examinations of the “patronage” claim of the Hashemite kingdom over the holy sites in Jerusalem. Coverage should include diplomatic documents, deliberations in the Knesset plenum and its committees and those of Israel’s governments, as well as archaeological reports, Jewish history and more. The media should press Arab MKs, too, not just Jewish ones.

Editors need to be more informed, and real experts invited to serve as sources and panelists, rather than the usual boring public figures whose opinions are known in advance.

It would be better if the desk managers could direct their reporters to sources capable of providing varied angles on any given story.

The new TV Channel 20 treated viewers to a confrontational format coming from the nationalist viewpoint, which demonstrates that journalists can be better balanced and pluralistic and provide the media consumer with a better product. But if the atmosphere in the news rooms is uniform, it is difficult to go in another, more professional direction.


August 6, 2014

The fire that burned on the Temple Mount

Posted in Israel/Zionism, Temple Mount tagged , , at 9:49 am by yisraelmedad

The fire that burned on the Temple Mount

By YISRAEL MEDAD. 05/08/2014

Israel Police spokesman’s office noted that over the month of Ramadan, more than 400 Muslims had been arrested on the Temple Mount for disturbing the peace and some 135 charge sheets had been presented to the courts.

Josephus witnessed the moment, over 1,900 years ago, when the Temple first began to be engulfed in flames.

He writes in his The Jewish Wars, “…one of the soldiers… snatched something of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the Holy House, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward the Jews made a great clamor… .”

And he adds to his description that, “While the Holy House was on fire, everything was plundered that came to hand.”

On Thursday night, July 24, which marked Laylat al-Kadr, the anniversary of the revelation of the first verses of the Koran, when Muslims believe that God blesses everyone, and forgive all sins, a sacking of a building and the burning of its contents on the Temple Mount was repeated.

This time that structure was an Israeli police station located on the raised platform section, north of the Dome of the Rock. An ecstatic crowd of Muslims were the perpetrators.

Despite the great embarrassment, we can be thankful that no policeman was killed or wounded. That is not because back-up forces raced to the rescue, the heroic defense put up by the police barricaded inside the small building or because they managed to escape, some would say flee, through the back windows.

The simple fact is, as Jerusalem Commander Yossi Parienti announced on Channel 10 television, that the police left the building, locking it and walking away earlier on in an orderly fashion.

They did not desert it, he insisted.

Whether the police prematurely fled before the attackers or beat a strategic retreat in expectation of a worse development, the result was one police station looted, ransacked and burned. To top this activity, literally, two masked Arab youth climbed up the roof and planted a Palestinian flag atop the “Islamic-conquered” police station. The expensive security cameras affixed to the station were destroyed.

But there was more damage. Confidential documents dealing with security issues, including identities of suspected Arabs instigators of violence, as well as Jews, were found dispersed at the site, uncollected.

Have the police learned from their errors of planning and judgment? Monday morning this week, once again specially-equipped police officers were required to enter the courtyard following the throwing of rocks as well as the shooting off of Roman candles.

A surprise awaited them: blockades had been set up that halted their advance temporarily. At least five were wounded.

But why are the police, time after time, still surprised? Why is entrance permitted during the evening hours and if so, why is the Temple Mount not cleared toward morning? Why can the rioters gain the benefit of hours to prepare, to bring in dangerous materials? Why do the police to fail, repeatedly, to deal with what one would presume is a simple matter of security? Several members of the force admitted to Channel 2 TV reporter Shimon Ifergan that they were ashamed at the decision that was made and that they were ordered to withdraw from the Mount for their own protection with the full knowledge that the station was the target.

But how is it that given the dangers faced by police, the policy of our law enforcement is to allow such riots to develop, to be the norm? In a response from the Israel Police spokesman’s office, it was noted that over the month of Ramadan, more than 400 Muslims had been arrested on the Temple Mount for disturbing the peace and some 135 charge sheets had been presented to the courts. Nevertheless, the taking of preventive measures seems to be the police’s weak point.

One could argue that the police are caught in the middle. On the one hand, they are responsible for maintaining peace and order but on the other, the political echelon, ever since 1967, seeks to placate Jordan as the holy site’s patron, hoping to offset any real local Arab control, as via the Palestinian Authority, for example. But this paradigm of false coexistence ignores Jewish rights and involves willful blindness to the inroads of the Islamic Movement.

Israel’s government is not obligated to begin the construction of the Third Temple.

However, the government is obligated to not allow the destruction of state property, the trampling of basic human rights of non-Muslims, the provocative, violent behavior of male and female Islamists, the holding of pro-Hamas assemblies and the flying of terrorist flags and planting of banners on the mosque buildings in support of anti-Jewish propaganda.

Exerting Israel’s sovereignty on the Temple Mount, applying the law of the land, promoting religious freedom, protecting the site’s legacy above and below ground are all things the state must do, in the interest of the Jewish character of the state, for the commitment to human rights for all and even for the Waqf authorities who have proven less than capable of administering the site.

The author serves as the secretary of the El Har Hashem NGO which promotes Jewish rights on the Temple Mount.