Latest update: February 26th, 2014
Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin may have single-handedly ditched U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework on Tuesday by brining to the Knesset floor a debate on the prohibition against Jews praying on the Temple Mount.
In advance of the historic debate, the first time the issue ever has been discussed on the floor of the legislature, Arabs rioted and threw rocks at police, who dispersed them with stun grenades and tear gas and arrested three rioters. The violence forced the closure of the Temple Mount to Jews and tourists. Score one for the Muslims.
In Jordan, opposition leaders called on the monarchy to tear up the peace treaty with Israel.
The Temple Mount is the most untalked about core issue in the so-called negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The “status of Jerusalem” is a known basic issue, but there is simply nothing for negotiators on both sides to talk about when it comes to the Temple Mount.
It evokes more emotions than all other issues combined. The Oslo War, popularly called the Second Intifada, erupted after Ariel Sharon ascended the Temple Mount in his campaign for Prime Minister in 2000. The violence was due to happen in any event given the refusal of Yasser Arafat to accept then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer for almost all of Judea and Samaria and most of the areas of Jerusalem that had been occupied by Jordan between 1949 and the Six-Day War in 1967.
Arab riots on the Temple Mount have become more regular as the “peace process” comes closer to another death, following the death of the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap, among other snake oil remedies..
The more Muslim clerics and Arab leaders claim that the Jewish Holy Temple never existed and that the Jews have no connection with the site, the more they are arming themselves with hate and lies that spell “war.”
All it takes is MK Feiglin to set them off, and if Tuesday’s debate is his only accomplishment in the current Knesset session, it will be far greater than almost all combined acts of his 119 colleagues
Israel conveniently washed its hands of responsibility for the Temple Mount after the 1967 war and gave Jordan the right to be custodian through the Islamic Waqf.
Buoyed by the Chief Rabbinate prohibition of Jews praying or even ascending the Temple Mount because of several issues relating to Jewish law on the ruins of the Holy Temple, the Arab world tightened its enforcement against Jews trying to do so.
Many national religious rabbis allow Jews to walk on certain parts of the Temple Mount, and MK Feiglin has been doing so for years. He was barred from the Temple the past year until earlier this month, when he resumed his monthly habit of immersing in the Mikveh and visiting the holy site.
Prayers, of course are forbidden, lest Allah be upset over hearing the Shema Yisrael prayer. No prayer books are allowed, and police remove anyone who starts moving his lips. The Supreme Court has questioned the discrimination but has not issued any direct order that allows Jews to pray at the site.
Feiglin brought the issue to the Knesset after having easily secured the required signatures of 30 Knesset Members to debate the issue.
Tuesday’s discussion, was a debate and nothing more and nothing less, but it was more than enough for the Arab to press the riot button.
Arab MKs in boycotted the discussion, which may have been their best strategy since anything they say makes them look even dumber than they are.
The Arab paranoia of Jews ascending the Temple Mount stems from the same attitude that prompted Jordan to ban Jews from all holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria until the War in 1967.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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