Do you really think that retreat from the very foundations of our lives will bring us quiet?
How is it that you don’t understand that the struggle for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the struggle for your home in Tel Aviv?
Yes, you are very afraid of war. Of course you are afraid. Who wants a war? But look where you have led the nation of Israel with the disgrace of Oslo. Did you lead us to peace?
You have chosen the path of dishonor. It is the approach dictating that we do not have any holy places, that all is simply real estate and that there is nothing worth dying for. Not even for what is most holy to the nation – the object of all of our longing, the foundation of our identity and destiny. Has your cowering surrender to the belligerence of certain Muslim riffraff brought us peace?
“You were given the choice between war and dishonor,” said Winston Churchill after Chamberlain signed the Munich pact. “You chose dishonor and you will have war.”
“Only Muslims can enter here,” said the Muslim wakf guard at the entrance to the Dome of the Rock, which, until two years ago, had been a tourist attraction for one and all. “This is Muslim territory,” the police officer concurred. “It belongs to the wakf. Your entrance is prohibited – even if you are a representative of the Israeli parliament.”
I have gone up to the Temple Mount, according to law, in keeping with my personal faith and tradition. One television interviewer saw that as a ridiculous act, as if his Feiglinite demon had come out. That TV interviewer was relatively gentle. But TV reporter Moshe Nussbaum, also in the studio, was much more aggressive and determined when he condemned my actions. It was as if he was personally offended. Nussbaum’s reports generally reflect the police establishment’s view, and this time he sounded as if he was talking from their mouths. All they want is for quiet to reign in Jerusalem so that they can continue to eat their sambusak.
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If Chamberlain’s dishonor got him World War II, what will we have to go through in exchange for a good sambusak?
The British learned the lesson. They went to war with Argentina over the remote Falkland Islands, across the ocean. This is how the mother of Western enlightenment understands the importance of earth under its feet. But for us Israelis, connection to our land is the connection to the burdensome identity that we have been trying for so long to discard.
The Canaanite experiment that relates to the return to Zion as a pagan connection that skips back in time over the Bible, landing in ancient Canaanite culture, has failed. We cannot be connected to our land without a connection to God. That is why we keep trying to give our land to the Muslims. We will make do with only the outer shell – with the Kotel, the supporting wall of the Herodian expansion. We will cling to the religious wall, to the graves of the righteous, to trees and stones, instead of connecting to the only place that God actually chose for His Presence.
“He who controls the [Temple] Mount controls the country,” said Uri Tzvi Greenberg, the poet of accusation and faith. And we have given up the innermost heart of Jerusalem so that the police can keep eating their sambusak.
Israel is facing its biggest challenges ever. Until the 1980s, the state struggled for its security and financial existence. From the 1980s on, the threat of direct destruction has melted away. Today, there are no more Arab armies on our borders. Parallel to that development, Israel’s economy has been going from strength to strength. The massive number of Russian olim quickly adapted to a competitive market, catapulting Israel to the forefront of the world economy.
The security and economic challenges are making room for the next challenge: the spiritual one.
The threat to our existence is not from the Iranian bomb. First and foremost, it is the result of the flourishing delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist. The Yad Vashem Holocaust museum is the temple of our mere existence. But it no longer fulfills its role. The VIPs who are led there no longer blame themselves for the sins of their fathers – and they are right. They want real answers to justify the Zionist “occupation” in Sheikh Munis – an occupation that threatens world stability! We must make the move from the Temple of existence to the Temple of destiny.
When we retreat from our identity and destiny, both embodied by the Temple, we have no chance to justify our existence in Ramat Aviv (Sheikh Munis). Not to ourselves and not to the world.
This column was translated from the Hebrew version, which appeared in Makor Rishon.
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