The Breaking Point is at Jerusalem's Highest Point
The series of attacks on Israelis in Jerusalem, culminating in a deadly assault by two young Palestinians at the Kehillat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood, which killed four worshippers and a police officer, is more than a renewal of usual violence. Branded as terrorism by the Israeli government, the pattern of spontaneous and individual aggressive actions within a short period of time and in a concentrated area does not fit that description. These attacks arise from frustration, from despair, from Palestinians brought to a breaking point. Not unusual; how much treachery, hindrance, dislocation, physical encumbrances and psychological damage can an oppressed Palestinian endure?
Noting the helplessness of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank in preventing provocations and repelling the onslaughts against them, the Palestinians in Jerusalem view each Israeli action as a decision to implement a similar strategy, debilitate and confiscate. Israel's intention is to join East and West Jerusalem into a single entity, discarding unmarked borders and minimizing Palestinian presence
The shooting of Yehuda Glick, founder and leader of The Liba initiative for Jewish Freedom on The Temple Mount, after a meeting on October 29 titled "Israel Returns to the Temple Mount," at Jerusalem's Menachem Begin Heritage Center serves as an example of how continuous provocation brings people to a breaking point and unleashes a rash of violence. Promoting Jewish freedom on a Temple Mount barren of a temple and as a place for Israelis to return, although few have ever been there, contradicts legal authority and creates tensions that cannot be contained. Why does not the Israel government forcibly halt the actions of The Liba initiative for Jewish Freedom on The Temple Mount and The Land of Israel Faithful Movement? The latter organization has been displaying huge "cut to specification" granite stones on the top of Midbar Sinai Street, in Givat Havatzim, Jerusalem's northernmost district, characterizing them as one of several preparations to erect a Third Temple on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.
The problem Israeli authority has in dealing with its own extremists is that are dysfunctional in thought, militant in action and operating from distortions of history and reality that Israel itself has created. Examine The Liba initiative's self-centered description of its Temple Mount at http://li-ba.org/?lang=En.
The Temple Mount in Jewish Tradition
The Temple Mount, known in the Torah as Mount Moriah, is the holiest spot in the world for all mankind. Here, G-d commanded Abraham, father of the Jewish people, to bind his son Isaac. Hundreds of years later, King David revealed this location, purchased it and built an altar. Here, his son King Solomon built The First Temple. It is the location of both the First and Second Holy Temple.
The Temple Mount is the one spot where G-d chose to rest His presence and to make Himself known to man. Thus we find many expressions in the Torah such as "the place that I will choose" and "the place that I will show you." From the very beginning of time, this one location was set aside and sanctified by G-d as the focal point for mankind's spiritual energy.
Since the destruction of The Second Temple, 2000 years ago, Jews from all over the world have been yearning to return to the Temple Mount. In 1967 Jerusalem's Old City and Temple Mount were liberated by the Israel Defense Forces.
(1) Even if the biblical King David "revealed this location, purchased it and built an altar," and "Here, his son King Solomon built The First Temple," what do these three thousand year old persons and unrecorded transactions have to do with anything and anyone today? Shall the billions of people on Earth be guided by a few, very few, strange people who select their own specific and unverified moments of dubious ancient, very ancient, history and assemble them into a specious strategem? Besides, for the record, the most accepted archaeologists and historians, including Israel's own professionals, have reduced the biblical Kings David and Solomon (if they existed) to the status of minor chieftains, commanding small tribes in confined and loosely populated lands and incapable of raising large armies or engaging in extensive building projects. For more information and references see http://www.alternativeinsight.com/The_War_of_Narratives.html
(2) Would not a poll show that the other six billion plus residents of Earth do not consider "The Temple Mount, known in the Torah as Mount Moriah, is the holiest spot in the world for all mankind?"
(3) "Here, G-d commanded Abraham, father of the Jewish people, to bind his son Isaac." People are entitled to their myths, religious beliefs and Bible interpretations. Nobody is entitled to inflict Biblical renditions of the unknown, unseen, and unproven upon others and use them to advance their own cause.
(4) If it is true that "The Temple Mount is the one spot where G-d chose to rest His presence and to make Himself known to man," why not let Him rest? Why disturb Him? Does not the Bible claim G-d spoke with Abraham and Moses, and do not many people claim to have spoken with G-d?
(5) Were exact coordinates given for the locations in these statements? "Thus we find many expressions in the Torah such as 'the place that I will choose' and 'the place that I will show you.' From the very beginning of time, this one location was set aside and sanctified by G-d as the focal point for mankind's spiritual energy." The Torah has a place in religious myths and beliefs but it has no legal authority.
(6) I have known thousands of Jews from all over the world and never met anyone who "Since the destruction of The Second Temple, 2000 years ago, has been yearning to return to the Temple Mount, " but, admittedly, I do not attend meetings of The Liba initiative for Jewish Freedom on The Temple Mount. Thank G-d.
Promotion of the inanity of the The Liba initiative for Jewish Freedom on The Temple Mount is upsetting. Hopefully rational security can control irrational behavior, but the Palestinians prefer to remain cautious and alert; they have witnessed too many times that allowing Israeli extremists a slight forward movement leads them to take advantage and copy their hero, the Juggernaut Ariel Sharon, and bulldoze ahead until they occupy the entire neighborhood. The transition of the Western Wall from being a supporting wall for Herod's platform to becoming the most revered site in Judaism tells that story.
The Israel newspaper Haaretz, Prayers, notes and controversy: How a wall became the Western wall at:
reports of the contrived manner in which an ancient supporting wall from Herod's time, which did not hear worshippers, became a place of prayer for Jews in the 16th century after Muslim authorities permitted Jews a safe place for worship, and suddenly morphed into "the most revered site in Judaism," during early modern times.
While sources describe the wall surrounding the ancient Temple in Jerusalem as being a site of pilgrimage and prayer for hundreds of years, only relatively recently did its western section evolve into the sanctified focal point of worship and national renewal that it is today.
The development of the Western Wall as a site for worship during the past 100 years is connected to the building of the adjacent Jewish neighborhood - the Old City's Jewish Quarter - and with the fact that this was the piece of the Temple Mount's retaining wall that was closest to it. Jewish Quarter residents had convenient access to it, whereas other parts of the wall were inaccessible or even outside the city limits.
The custom today of placing notes among the stones of the Wall apparently was imported from Europe in the 19th century. Special scribes would help those who needed to write their notes in Hebrew, and then they were placed in the cracks between the stones. At regular intervals, the notes would be removed, gathered in a sack and buried in synagogue genizahs.
Essentially, "the most revered site in Judaism" was only a convenience for a few hundred Jews and had no relation to the prayer preferences of the millions of Jews throughout the world at that time.
There is a moral here.
Trying to make something significant out of nothing significant, exposes having nothing except deception. Those who bring their children for Bar Mitzvah and those who pray at the Western Wall have decent objectives but fail to recognize they are not following religious tradition but political machinations. One feature of the Jewish religion is that G-d is omnipresent; He is everywhere, and He hears Jewish prayers in all places. No specific place is more holy than any other place.
After praying quietly at the Western wall for centuries, worshippers in the 20th century decided they needed a wall to separate men from women. Then they needed chairs and tables for seating themselves and for placing books. The Muslim authorities objected, perceiving the arrangements as a Zionist intention to expand control of the area. According to the Jewish Daily Forward, Remembering the Hebron Riots, August 20, 2004, at:
The affair began August 15, Tisha B'Av, when a few hundred Jerusalem schoolchildren held a flag-waving demonstration at the Western Wall - allegedly inciting a group of Arabs to violence. The next day, following Friday afternoon worship, 2,000 Arabs burst out of the Mosque of Omar on the Haram al-Sharif, or Temple Mount, and came down to the Western Wall, where they chased off the few Jews who were around, beat the shammes, tore up prayer books and burned the little notes stuck in the wall by Jews.
The following two weeks featured attacks on Jews in several cities close to Jerusalem, most occurring in Hebron, where 68 resident Jews were killed. Provocation led to violence.
By capturing Jerusalem during the 1967 war, Israel gained control of the Western Wall and succeeded in promoting it as world Jewry's most sacred locale. While insisting it was bringing religious freedom to Jerusalem, Israel destroyed a Mosque close to the wall, evicted all Arab residents in the vicinity and constructed a plaza for hundreds of worshippers and onlookers. A place for Jews to safely worship at the Western Wall, due to the benevolence of the Arab leaders who controlled Jerusalem in the 16th century, evolved into total control by Zionists who destroyed Muslim worship and displaced Arabs while creating a spurious story concerning the site.
Why this spurious reference?
Israel needs an above ground focus of an ancient religious significance to share claims of attachment to the Old City and to provide a central place for welcoming Jewish tourists.
Should anyone acquiesce to Israel's demand for incorporating all of a Jerusalem into its country when there no ancient Hebrew religious institution is apparent in the Holy City? The answer is conditioning - the constant repetitions of "If I forsake thee Jerusalem," and "Jerusalem is indivisible" - internalization of a dubious argument and done for covert reasons.The religious association is a reach; the Western Wall is a part of the structure that surrounds the Haram al-Sharif, and Israel hopes to eventually uncover and claim the entire structure and thus control the ancient Herod platform, which is worth a lot of tourist shekels
The number of Jews who may want to pray at the area they call the Temple Mount is undoubtedly a relatively small, very small, percentage of world Jewry. After all, a relatively few Jews, very few, ever prayed there, none have prayed there for almost 2000 years and Jews today have no problem in reciting their prayers elsewhere.
Nevertheless, an uncontrolled number of extremist Jews praying on the Haram al-Sharif will undoubtedly escalate into confusion, charges, countercharges, conflict and violence. Where in Israel do Jews and Muslims pray together? Recall the massacre at The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron after Jews started praying there -- American-born Israeli Baruch Goldstein, a member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement, killed 29 worshippers and wounded 125 inside the Ibrahimi Mosque.
Realizing that the attempt to have Jews pray atop the biblical Mount Moriah will incite to violence, why do Israeli authorities allow their extremist organizations to fester and why do they fan the flames? Some observations of both occurrences:
In no civilized nation are relatives of radical activists, resistance fighters, terrorists or criminals made to suffer revenge, such as demolition of their homes, for illegal actions by their brethren. Although knowing that house demolitions have not curbed extremist actions and have added to incitement, Israel continues these counterproductive punitive actions.
Where in a lawful nation can any person settle on property of others without permission or when in violation of domestic and international laws? Nevertheless, Israel's leaders often use the phrase, "Jews should be allowed to settle everywhere," to rationalize its expansion. According to Israel's democracy, Jews are allowed to settle on lands owned by others but Palestinians are not allowed to settle on any lands, including property they own and temporarily vacated. Jews can settle in East Jerusalem and the West Bank but Palestinians cannot purchase property in Israel or live in West Jerusalem.
If it impedes their objectives, Israel suspects a strong backlash from extremists and is willing to allow them maneuvering room. In the case of an Israeli extremist push generating a Palestinian shove, which escalates into uncontrollable violence, the Palestinians know that the Israeli government will defend and protect the Israeli extremists. This places Palestinians in a "no-win" situation, and the frustrating dilemma brings then to a breaking point.
The Haram al-Sharif is one of the world's treasures, a sanctity of peace, serenity and replenishment, where people are able to wander free and enjoy splendid views of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. From observation, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, which has governed access to the area since the Muslim reconquest of Jerusalem in 1187, has maintained the site in the tradition and atmosphere for which it was intended. Any changes in control, administration, operation, and present arrangements would be a catastrophe for Jerusalem and for all peoples of the world. Protecting the Haram al-Sharif against arbitrary intrusions should be high on the agenda of the world's governments, and that includes Israel.
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