web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Take Back The Holy Sites

Freund-Michael

Displaying their customary respect for Jewish holy sites, Palestinian vandals struck again last month, desecrating an ancient synagogue in Naaran near Jericho.

In addition to damaging priceless relics, the perpetrators spray-painted swastikas, Palestinian flags and political slogans, adding insult to injury in their hate-filled assault.

The defilement of the site was discovered by a group of Israeli worshippers who visit it regularly to maintain a Jewish presence in the area.

The synagogue in question was built more than 1,500 years ago, predating the establishment of Islam and serving as tangible proof that the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel preceded that of our foes.

Indeed, perhaps that is one of the reasons why the Palestinians attacked it. After all, the Naaran synagogue gives the lie to their dubious claim to the land.

Needless to say, this latest outrage received virtually no coverage in the mainstream press. Only a handful of Israeli news outlets bothered to mention it, and the international media showed no interest in sharing the story with their audiences.

Contrast this with the whirlwind of reports last October when an Israeli Arab mosque was desecrated and you begin to get a sense of the hypocrisy at work in the media. Indeed, the incident in Naaran is just the latest in a long line of Palestinian acts of sacrilege that have targeted Jewish religious sites.

Remember Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem (Nablus)?

It was nearly twelve years ago, on October 7, 2000, that the IDF withdrew from the site under cover of darkness after a joint assault launched by Palestinian police and terrorists. The Palestinians, of course, agreed to protect the tomb, but that promise quickly went up in smoke. Several hours later the burial ground of the biblical Joseph had been reduced to debris.

Palestinians armed with pick-axes and hammers attacked the tomb, smashing the stone structure and ripping it apart, brick by brick. They burned Jewish prayer books and other religious articles and subsequently began transforming the site into a mosque. It was then and there, at Joseph’s Tomb, just days after the start of the Second Intifada, that the Palestinians learned two very dangerous lessons – lessons that continue to haunt Israel until today.

First, they saw that violence pays. Israel’s retreat from Joseph’s Tomb was the first time Israel had fled under fire, abandoning territory to Palestinian control under threat of the gun.

Second, the Palestinians learned they could deliberately assault Jewish sites of immense historical, religious or emotional significance without fear of retribution from Israel.

The same holds true of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where successive Israeli governments have failed to stand up to wanton Palestinian acts of desecration. And therein lies the “original sin” of various Israeli policymakers, who have consistently capitulated, retreated and withdrawn whenever the Palestinians have trampled on some of our most important national symbols.

Instead of displaying some elementary Jewish pride and confronting the Palestinians to prevent them from assaulting what is holy to us, we prefer to shrug our collective shoulders, look away in shame, and hope for the best.

That may have made sense when the extent of our national power was limited to community councils in the shtetls of Eastern Europe, but surviving in the modern-day Middle East requires an entirely different approach.

For far too long we have inculcated in the Palestinians a sense of impunity when it comes to vandalizing or defiling Jewish holy sites, and it is time for this to change. In light of the Palestinians’ serial abuse of Jewish holy sites, it should be clear to all that they cannot, must not, be entrusted with safeguarding or administering them under any circumstances whatsoever.

The Palestinians have once again failed to demonstrate even the modicum of decency and civility that calls for respecting houses of worship that belong to others.

And so Israel should not hesitate to do what should have been done already: take back Joseph’s Tomb, reassert its sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and eject the PA- controlled Muslim Wakf from the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

These three sites, more than any others, symbolize our ties to this Land, and the abiding faith upon which they are based. It is time for all of them to return to sole Israeli control, along with all Jewish holy sites in Judea and Samaria.

Such a step would send a clear and unequivocal message to the Palestinians that there is a price to be paid for treading on Jewish religious rights and assaulting our holy places.

It would also underline Israel’s determination to retain these sacred spaces in any future arrangements that might be reached.

There is a limit to what a nation can be expected to tolerate when its most hallowed places repeatedly come under attack.

Israel’s patience reached that limit long ago. It is time we let the Palestinians know that their abuse of our heritage, and all we hold dear, will no longer be tolerated.

Michael Freund is chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which assists lost tribes and hidden Jewish communities to return to the Jewish people.

About the Author: Michael Freund is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s leading English-language daily, and he previously served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Take Back The Holy Sites”

  1. Thank you for this well documented exposition. The Palestinians appear undetered in their objective to establish judenreim.

  2. Why does spraying the words price tag on a wall get worldwide coverage, but desecrating a 1,500 year old synagogue does not merit even a whisper of protest from the same critics?

  3. Stan Harder says:

    How can ordinary people make this happen?

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iran’s Zarif Paints Iran as a Lamb, Israel as the Lion
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from Michael Freund
Michael Freund

Speaking in his native German, Schulz used the opportunity to blast Israel.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeieris is browbeating Israel in public.

Ever since he vanished, the American government had repeatedly asserted that Levinson was a private businessman — his own safety.

For the second time in the past three months, Israel on Sunday declared its intention to build over 1,000 housing units in areas beyond the 1967 lines.

Nearly seven decades since the end of World War II, Poland is once again turning on its Jews.

In a stunning move last week, the lower house of the Polish parliament rejected a bill that would have restored the legality of shechita, or kosher slaughter, by a vote of 222 to 178.

Last Friday, the Western Wall underwent an unwelcome transformation from sacred site to media circus as the group known as the Women of the Wall sought to hold a decidedly non-traditional prayer service.

The state of Israel this week turned 65, defying history and the odds to celebrate its continued existence in a very dangerous part of the world.

As I write these words, a Jewish toddler injured in a Palestinian terror attack is lying in a hospital bed struggling for her life.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/fundamentally-freund/take-back-the-holy-sites/2012/06/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: