Two unrelated events Tuesday about the Temple Mount threw the spotlight on Judaism’s holiest site, which the Obama administration has been trying to avoid in its peace talk show because it knows it will spell the end of its illusory dream for a piece of peace paper.
A seemingly harmless court decision in Jerusalem backed a lawsuit by Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, who won $8,500 in damages from the police for discrimination and arrest without cause. The second event was a front page article in The Washington Post entitled “At Temple Mount, Dreams of Prayer Raise Fears of Violence.”
The Temple Mount was restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967 after nearly 2,000 years of rule by foreigners, including the Jordanian occupation from 1948-1967 during which time no Jews were allowed to visit. For that matter, Jordan also prohibited Christians from visiting their sites, unless the visitors were important world dignitaries, but let’s leave that for CNN.
Unknown to most foreign and even many Israeli journalists, who know what they know by hanging out with Haaretz reporters, Jews regularly prayed on the Temple Mount in 1967.
In the following years, the Arab world started to think again about getting rid of Israel. Empowered by Moshe Dayan’s handing religious authority over the Temple Mount to Jordan, and backed by a Chief Rabbinate prohibition against Jews ascending the Temple Mount because of issues of ritual impurity, it has become a de facto Muslim site.
That has changed somewhat since many national religious rabbis have ruled that Jews may visit certain areas of the Temple Mount without fears of violating Jewish law against walking on ground that is part of the Holy of Holies in the destroyed Temples.
The Arab world, including the Palestinian Authority, has conducted a campaign in recent years to convince the world that the Jewish Temples never existed. Jerusalem police, worried more about Muslim violence than freedom, enforce Muslim rules forbidding Jews from bringing any religious articles when visiting the Temple Mount, let alone praying.
Enter Yehuda Glick, whose activism has promoted groups to ascend the site, after ritual immersion. Police routinely harass orthodox Jews while letting non-observant Jews and Christians visit. Lately, some Jews have been brazen enough to utter a prayer on the Temple Mount, prompting quick removal by police.
Glick appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court in 2009 with a complaint that the police were discriminating against him personally by not allowing him to ascend the Temple Mount. The court rejected his appeal but told him to come back again if he saw that the police methodically barred him and no one else.
Glick than armed himself with a camera and photographed police at the checkpoint at the Temple Mount. Police arrested him twice for taking pictures, and Glick went back to the court with a lawsuit for slander, false arrest and discrimination.
Tuesday’s ruling is a significant victory for him and a slap in the face of the police, who have been told in the past by the Supreme Court that the prohibition against Jews uttering a prayer on the Temple Mount is illegal discrimination. However, the Court said the police can invoke the very convenient excuse that prayer “endangers the public order.”
Of course, the presence of Jews in Israel endangers the public order, but we will leave that for the next expulsion of Jews from their homes, God forbid, because U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is worried the Arabs might try to wipe out Israel by going to the United Nations instead of by “negotiations.” Kerry wants all the credit.
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, “The complainant was arrested not for any specific action but because of the fact that has been singled out by the defendants (perhaps correctly) as a provocateur. This consideration is not a reason for detaining him or arresting a person with any justifiable basis only because of his opinions.
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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