This is one of those issues that ought to be shocking, but about which nothing is done. For years — I’ve written about this before — the Muslim waqf that controls the Temple Mount has been systematically destroying archaeological artifacts of Jewish provenance at the site.
Apparently out of fear of inflaming Muslim sensibilities — and we know how easy that is — the government of Israel, which theoretically has sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, has never done more than file mild protests over the deliberate destruction of Jewish history.
Meanwhile, Palestinian officials, including Mahmoud Abbas (like Yasser Arafat before him) actually deny that there was a Jewish Temple on the site, calling it an ‘alleged Temple’! So what do they think their waqfbuddies are smashing up?
But this is only half of it.
Executing their usual maneuver of accusing Israel of doing what in fact they themselves are doing (or trying to do, like genocide), the Palestinians regularly accuse Israel, on the flimsiest of pretexts, of undermining the Al-Aqsa Mosque or otherwise trying to destroy it. There have been countless Friday riots — last week’s was an example— after Arabs are incited by Imams with stories about the ‘imminent danger’ facing the mosque.
Meanwhile Jews are prohibited from praying on the Mount — Jews have been arrested after being seen moving their lips there. The justification for the criminalization of prayer is, of course, that it will anger the Arabs, and therefore is a matter of public safety. As in so many other cases, the Muslim tactic of extorting unreasonable concessions by threatening violence has been successful.
Numerous lives were lost in 1967 in order to reverse the ethnic cleansing of eastern Jerusalem, to rescue synagogues and cemeteries from desecration, and to make it possible for people of all faiths — even Jews! — to visit their holy sites.
Now, as a result of bad decisions, timidity and inaction, Israel is allowing its sovereignty to slip away and the Arabs to destroy the evidence of Jewish history.
Secular Israelis and Jews may think that this does not concern them. They are wrong. These sites — and their history — belong to the Jewish people, and are part of what unites them as a people, regardless of their degree of observance.