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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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‘Too Jewish’ to Pray on the Temple Mount

"I removed my hat and placed my kippa on my head. I let my tzizit out to fly like a Jewish flag."
Jews are watched by guards on the Temple Mount, to make sure they don't pray.

Jews are watched by guards on the Temple Mount, to make sure they don't pray.
Photo Credit: Lucie March/Flash 90

I know it is not hard news, but it happened to me just yesterday.

I  carefully thought out my preparations for the experience I was planning for my tourists on the Temple Mount.

I went  to the Mikva (ritual immersion) early that morning, and made sure to wear non-leather shoes as Halacha (Jewish law) instructs.

Then I prepared my back pack and  the contents of my pockets making sure there was nothing  that could incriminate me at the security check before entering the site.  My tzitzit were well tucked into my pants. I wore  a hat and hid my kippa in a secret compartment (I can’t disclose where – who knows who might be reading this  article?)

As we approached the security check I was confident that I would pass by as easily as if I were like the non-Jewish visitors. I recognized Motti, the Israeli police officer who has won a reputation for his keen sense of smell. He can detect a Jew a mile away.

He looked me over and I thought I passed. But I was discovered.  All my fault. I forgot an obvious thing! I totally had forgotten about the small prayer, composed by the late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, on behalf of Jonathan Pollard. I was caught red handed! He demanded to know if I knew what this is! I said “yes, a prayer for our brother Jonathan Pollard.” He frowned and declared that it is forbidden material and was being confiscated. I could pick it up later. I was warned not to pray or make any trouble.

I asked myself how these Jews could allow themselves to be used as kapos – in the  very heart of  what is most holy to our people. How do they sleep at night? What do they tell their families when they come home from another day’s work ?

How shamed and shocked I felt, as the long line of visitors filed by.

I was being questioned and threatened by Motti and was wondering if they realized that I just did not succeed in passing for one of  them!

Fifteen minutes later I was allowed to join my rather shaken tourists on the Mount. But the best was yet to come.

As we proceeded, I heard a chanting din coming from another part of the mountain. It sounded much like the chanting of Arab rioters that I have heard so often in the media.

Coming towards me was an elderly bearded man dressed in classic ultra-Orthodox attire. He was accompanied by a few young boys. They were not trying to hide their Jewish appearance, but they had the distinct look of fear in their eyes after running the gauntlet of threats and taunts by an Arab crowd moments before.

I greeted him warmly and he responded  as one greeting a stranger on a desert island. He  and his little group were shadowed by two policemen making sure my new friends did not move their lips in prayer and thus arouse the sensibilities and ire of the Arabs. (I wondered how the Arab boys playing soccer on the holy site did not upset their sensibilities.) Our meeting was immediately reported by the nervous police escort as the walkie-talkies came alive.

After we parted and proceeded alone, I realized that we were being watched not only by the police, but by a large group of Arab youths who had marked us by our association with the bearded Jew.

It was now our turn. They dogged us with chants of “Allah hu Akbar”! ( God is Great ) The yelling of their God’s name spurred them on to increasing taunts and threats and bumping us.

About the Author: Shalom Pollack is a writer and tour guide in Israel. www.shalompollacktours.co.il

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64 Responses to “‘Too Jewish’ to Pray on the Temple Mount”

  1. Larry Lopez says:

    They have more right than Muslims.

  2. Larry Lopez says:

    They have more right than Muslims.

  3. Everywhere in the world Muslims choose the most public and inappropriate places to pray, even blocking traffic, yet on the Temple Mount, a Jewish holy place, praying Is forbidden. Go figure…!

  4. Hopefully all that digging will make it fall, then it will go back to the Jewish ppl, who already have one ready to go up! I saw a report where an archeologist said that all the digging around it , is causing structural damage.

  5. Rubin Helrich says:

    i am a jew every where i go and proud of it!

  6. Accused of being too Jewish by anyone is a compliment whether they are bright enough to understand it or not. The guard should have been thanked. ;-) But don’t worry, the Temple Mount -Har HaBayit will be ours again soon. And we wouldn’t want gentiles praying in a sacred area either (I wouldn’t).

  7. Eduardo Mazo says:

    Let pray at heart not anyplace.

  8. Get off our mount ARAB MUSLIMS

  9. Ray Buchmann says:

    It’s not right that a jewish person can’t pray on the holiest location in Jerusalem

  10. I DONT THINK SO!!! GOOD LUCK!!! BY THE WAY GET SOME MASONS AND OPEN UP THE EASTERN GOLDEN GATE!!! CHANGE THE NAME OF THE ARAB NAMED”DUNG” GATE TO “LION OF JUDAH GATE”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Get rid of the Muslims, the temple mount belongs to the Jews.

  12. enough of this abuse pray and don’t be bullied

  13. The Ishmaelites defile the land on which they brazenly walk. At least they take off their shoes.

  14. I don’t know how this escaped my attention. How is it possible for any Jewish person to be “Too Jewish to Pray on the Temple Mount?” I am not Jewish but as a Christian I would be hard pressed not to pray at the most Holy Site in the Land of Israel. G_D only knows where this madness will all end.

  15. Seriously? Why would you deny any one the right to pray? PERIOD! If what you say is true then you are no better than the Arabs,

  16. Someday not only will you pry but see the Messiah here.

  17. Brian Somers says:

    Soon, don’t know when, the Temple mount well be fully yours and prayer will be at more than just the western wall

  18. Do you understand the subject? The sacred area I refer to is the same area gentiles were always prohibited from on pain of death. It would be no different in the future. Why would a gentile want to enter into an area he was not wanted reserved to those who worship the G-d of Israel? So yes, very seriously; and my personal opinion is that Christians are no better than Arabs; they’re bad perhaps but so far Christians have been much, much worse until recently. They are no better than Arabs on their best day. “Christian” is about the dirtiest thing I would call someone, the tormentors and murderers of the Jewish people for hundreds of years. And it will not surprise me when these murderers start killing Jews again.

  19. I.e., “bright enough” refers to the PA guard.

  20. Too Jewish to a plishti guard means that the guy looked as if he would be most likely to want to pray on the mount and thus break PA rules.

  21. I should not be surprised at your hostility and vitriol towards Christians. You keep that attitude and you will get your wish. If all Christians felt the same way you do towards us in reference to the Jewish people the Nation of Israel would never have come into existence in 1948. Instead of hating us you should be thankful for the support we have shown your people otherwise you would not even be here to hate us.

  22. Thank you, Massa’

  23. Any guesses who that Messiah will be?? ;-)

  24. It only needs for people to believe it is holy for it to be as holy as they believe.

  25. Get rid of religion.
    The land belongs to no one.

  26. We should be careful of people who are using Jews to carry out there own purposes whether they be Christians, Muslims, atheists, or anyone else. Jews with allies? Jews who owe other religions and gods for what they have? There is only One we owe anything to and need to obey and trust in and when we do that the rest will be accomplished.

  27. Queen Rivka ;-), Israel could remove the gentiles anytime it it decided to do so. Who is stopping it? Muslims?? No. Time for the next step. ;-)

  28. rights are equal in life
    religion only obscures that.

  29. Ah, the joys of religious bickering.

  30. Shemaya – Agreed! Time for the next step


  32. You are welcome Shemaya. :) Joseph Vance Visual-Artist It really is such a waste of time.

  33. I have found, that religious people work well with their own kind, that follow their own beliefs.
    The problem ensues when someone either questions that belief, or steps into where the religious person thinks they should not have right to.

    This thought stems from low self-esteem and a power hungry people with a god complex.

    It will not be until people recognize their humble equality with all things that sense will be made. These places are not holy to themselves, all places are sacred, as all things existent and non-existent are sacred.

    Playing religion is much like playing politics, only the Masters on top get benefit and know that it is all an illusion.

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