web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘waqf’

Humiliated on the Temple Mount

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Last week, I went up to Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount).[1] I’ve been there a number of times before, but this time was different. In the past, I have gone to the Mount as part of an organized group of religious Jews led by a rabbi. This time, I was there as part of the course I’m taking to get my tour guide license. My classmates are mainly secular Jews, and there are some non-Jews in the class as well. I was the only rabbi with us.

In some ways this experience was even more uplifting and inspiring than my previous visits, and in other ways, it was even more infuriating and humiliating. Let me explain.

Security on the Mount is provided by armed Israeli police and unarmed officials of the Moslem wakf (religious trust), like this guy:

Wakf Guard

Wakf Guard

The policy of the Israeli government and police is to allow Jews to visit the Mount, but not to pray there, since that would apparently offend the Moslems. But for some reason, while the police vigorously enforce these prohibitions, they allow deliberate provocations from the other side. For example, groups of Arab women are bussed in to Jerusalem every day, just to follow Jews around the Temple Mount, shout loudly at them and taunt them (rumor has it they are paid a salary for their services). See this video for an example.

In previous visits I have gotten used to this intolerable situation. But this time, going “incognito” with a group not identified as religious, I was left more or less alone. Going up as a tour guide and not as a religious Jew also gave me the opportunity to enter a few places I otherwise would not have been able to, mainly the underground chambers from the time of the Second Bet HaMikdash known (inaccurately) as “Solomon’s Stables.” That was really amazing.

"Solomon's Stables"

“Solomon’s Stables”

So why do I say that my visit was also infuriating and humiliating?

In order to avoid offending the sensibilities of the Moslems, we were told in advance that we would not be allowed to display any outward Jewish symbols such as a kippa or tzitzit. These would need to be concealed. This bothered me greatly – do I really have to hide my Jewishness here, in the heart of Jerusalem??

But then it got worse. At one point the police told us we would need to remove our hats altogether and walk bare-headed. I explained that I didn’t want to do that; I always keep my head covered for religious reasons, it was a hat and not a kippah, and all the tourists on the Mount were also wearing hats (it was raining). But I was told that this is the rule and if I did not comply, I would have to leave the Mount immediately.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – I have never received a demand like that from a policeman, anywhere in any country (to the contrary; wherever I go, the police protect my rights). Was an Israeli policeman actually demanding that I remove my head covering??? Here, of all places??? I had to make a split-second decision: comply with the demand, or be expelled from the Temple Mount. I’m not sure if I did the right thing or not…but I complied.

A few minutes later, with my hat back on and in a better mood, I experienced an even more exhilarating aspect of the visit. On two separate occasions I needed to wait for my group (for example while they were in the areas that halacha prohibits entering). According to Jewish law, one is not allowed to engage in frivolity or idle chatter on the Har HaBayit, so those waiting times gave me the opportunity to observe the mitzva of mora mikdash – reverence of the holy site.

Although I am strongly opposed to them, I was careful to abide by the rules that prohibit Jews from praying out loud. So I simply stood still, staring at the Dome of the Rock (where the Holy of Holies is) and contemplated the awe-inspiring significance of the place. Even though I did not pray out loud and I made sure to follow the rules that my lips not be seen moving, I did manage to recite Psalm 24 to myself about five or six times. With a religious group, the police generally keep the group moving, so there is no time for that.

But then, a wakf guard noticed me standing there, absorbed in my thoughts and swaying softly. He immediately approached and told me that praying was forbidden. I responded that I was not praying; just standing there. He insisted that I stand in a different pose in order to make it clear that I am not praying. An Israeli policeman then asked me to sit down so that nobody would think I was praying.

Since descending from the Mount, the conflicted emotions of soaring spiritual inspiration combined with pain, humiliation and deep sadness have gotten me thinking. I have drawn three conclusions from this experience:

1) In spite of the indignities, we must be very grateful for the fact that we have the right and ability to visit this holiest of places in accordance with the demands of halacha and in safety and security.

2) The humiliation I felt at the hands of the authorities was once commonplace for Jews. Thankfully I have almost never experienced anything like that – certainly not here in Israel but not in any other country either. The experience was, therefore, a helpful reminder that the Redemption is still not complete. It highlights the paradox that although the city of Jerusalem has been rebuilt in the most splendid of ways, its most important part remains in ruins. I felt the churban very clearly there.

3) It is unconscionable that the Israeli government allows this type of disgrace to go on. We must use every legal means to pressure them to change this policy and allow Jews to pray openly and securely. If Moslems object and attempt to interfere, it is they who must be removed from the Mount.

But we must understand that the reason this is happening is that most of the Jewish people doesn’t understand the significance of this place. Imagine if the government wanted to restrict Jewish prayer at the Kotel. Any government that even attempted such a thing would be brought down within minutes, because the Israeli people would not stand for that. The humiliation at the Temple Mount will similarly end when the Jewish People are reconnected with it.

Thus, the solution to this injustice, like so many other things, comes down to the need to encourage more and deeper Jewish education. We must redouble our efforts to teach more Torah to more Jews everywhere. Ultimately that is what will lead to our Redemption.

[1]The halachic questions regarding entering the Har HaBayit should be the subject of a separate article. For now, I will say that many rabbis hold that it is prohibited at the present time to enter the Mount at all. However, I obviously follow a different opinion, also supported by many authorities, that allows it provided one immerses in a mikveh first and observes various restrictions regarding the areas of the mountain that are permissible, and regarding appropriate conduct on the Mount.

PLO Campaigns to Wipe ‘Temple Mount’ Off the Media Map

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

The PLO, to which the Palestinian Authority is subservient, has escalated its campaign to remove all connection between Judaism and the site of the destroyed Holy Temples by appealing to international media to stop using the ”inaccurate term Temple Mount.”

“The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is not a disputed territory and all other terms, therefore, are null and void,” according to a PLO statement published by the official Palestinian Authority WAFA news agency.

It claimed that the Al Aqsa mosque has been under exclusive Muslim sovereignty and control since the construction of the Dome of the Rock in 692 CE, which is a blatant lie.

During the period of the Crusaders conquest, the site was turned over to the Augustinians, who turned it into a church while the Al-Aqsa Mosque became a royal palace. The mosque building became the headquarters of The Knights Templar during the 12th century

Israel raised its national flag over the Temple Mount after the Six-Day War in 1967, but Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered that it be taken down, and he authorized the Muslim Waqf to supervise the site. Jews freely ascended the Temple Mount without any objection for several years after 1967.

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, run by Haredim, unwittingly aided and abetted the Muslim campaign to exclude Jews by ruling that Jews are forbidden from ascending the Temple Mount because they might walk over the buried ruins of the Holy Temples. An increasing number of national religious rabbis have permitted and even encouraged vesting areas of the Temple Mount where they say there is no such concern.

WAFA described the entire 36-acre site of the Al Aqsa mosque compound as a Muslim holy site.

The Palestinian Authority over the past decade has tried to eliminate any proof that the Holy Temples existed by removing hundreds of tons of debris that contained artifacts of the Temple period.

WAFA stated for media consumption that the Al Aqsa c=mosque compound is “sacred to approximately 1.6 billion Muslims around the world and [is] a symbol for all Palestinians.”

It added that the compound ”is located in East Jerusalem, an internationally recognized part of the Occupied State of Palestine” and alleged that “since Israel’s military occupation of East Jerusalem in the June 1967 War, several plots by settler organizations and other Zionist extremists to blow up the Mosque were uncovered by the Israeli authorities.”

The PLO strategy is to cash in on the Chamberlain-like appeasement preaching that “settler leaders, with the support of the Israeli government, continue to incite against this sacred site, and consequently provoke Palestinian fears and anger.”

According to the theory, Israel should not do anything that angers the Muslims.

It is no wonder that Iran still frees free to propose peace in the Middle East by annihilating Israel.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted, “Khamenei.ir ‏@khamenei_ir This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated. 7/23/14 #HandsOffAlAqsa”.

Foreign Ministry Scorns Muslim ‘Defilers’ on Temple Mount

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Israel’s Foreign Ministry blasted Arab rioters who have been attacking people on the Temple Mount over the past several weeks, pointing out “it is the rioters themselves who are defiling the Al Aqsa Mosque by transforming it into a base for attacks. They use the mosque’s furniture as barricades and launch fireworks from inside its premises.” The video clip below shows examples of Muslim Arab violence on the Temple Mount over the past several months. (Photo credit: Israel Police Spokesperson’s Unit)

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where both the First and Second Temples in Judaism were built, remains the holiest site in Judaism.

Known in Hebrew as “Har HaBayit,” the site is called “Haram al-Sharif” in Arabic (the Noble Sanctuary) by Muslims, and now contains the ‘Dome of the Rock’ as well as the Al Aqsa Mosque,’ which is considered to be the third holiest site in Islam.

The Al Aqsa Mosque is situated at the southern end of the Temple Mount plaza (esplanade), and covers only a relatively small part of its surface. Moreover, there is evidence that places the historical Jewish Temples on a different part of the Temple Mount than that which is occupied by the mosque.

When Jerusalem was reunited in 1967, Israeli officials decided to allow the Islamic Waqf Authority to continue to administer the site, in cooperation with the Jordanian monarchy. Israel also chose to uphold the existing status quo, according to which non-Muslims can visit the Temple Mount at fixed times, but are not permitted to conduct any prayers. Moreover, non-Muslims who visit the Temple Mount cannot enter the Al Aqsa Mosque itself, and are limited to visiting other parts of the site, mainly the large open spaces.

“It is very important to note that the Government of Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and will oppose all proposals to change it,” emphasized the Foreign Ministry in its statement released this week. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu emphasized a similar stance on Sunday prior to the start of the weekly government cabinet meeting.

“In the past few months, Palestinian radicals have been trying to breach the status quo by preventing Christians and Jews from visiting the Temple Mount,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“Palestinian rioters – incited by Hamas and the radical branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel – have attacked visitors as well as police with stones and fireworks, using the Al Aqsa Mosque as their base of operations. The Israeli authorities have sought to contain these attempts by Islamist extremists to escalate the situation on the Temple Mount.

“The ridiculous accusations that Israel plans to harm the Al Aqsa Mosque are utterly baseless. The fact that they are made not only by Islamist extremists but also by the mainstream Palestinian leadership is alarming and dangerous.

“It is the Palestinian rioters themselves who are defiling the Al Aqsa Mosque by transforming it into a base for attacks. They use the mosque’s furniture as barricades and launch fireworks from inside its premises, where carpets and wooden beams could easily catch fire. The rioters are also demonstrating their disrespect for the many Muslim worshippers who simply wish to pray in peace, as well as for the Islamic Waqf that manages the site.”

Israel Police, which is responsible for public order in Jerusalem, exercises extra caution — and some would say far too much care — not to hurt the sensitivities of Muslim worshipers on the Temple Mount.

Officers restrict themselves solely to entering the area specifically in cases “when riots must to be controlled.” Moreover, as a matter of policy, the police never enter the mosque itself, the Foreign Ministry points out.

Although they often find themselves in life-threatening situations, police officers who operate on the Temple Mount are only equipped with non-lethal means for self-protection.

Police Arrest Temple Mount Waqf Guard and Jewish Man

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

On Tuesday morning, Israeli police arrested a Waqf guard on the Temple Mount for allegedly attacking and threatening a policeman, according o a YNet report.

Also on the Temple Mount, a Jewish man was arrested for the crime of praying on the Temple Mount.

In this video, Moshe Feiglin talks about the Arab riots on the Temple Mount yesterday:

Arab Rioters Take Over Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day (+Video)

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Arab rioters succeeded in violently shutting down the Temple Mount this Jerusalem Day to everyone except Muslims.

One police officer has been injured so far by a rock hurled by a rioter as security personnel battle Palestinian Authority Arabs on the Temple Mount in the first hours of the morning on Wednesday.

Masked Arab youths have been hurling stones and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) since the start of the morning, once again effectively preventing Jews and anyone other than Muslims from reaching the site. Their handy weapons are stored in piled caches in and around the Al Aqsa mosque, one of two Muslim houses of worship located on the Temple Mount.

The Arab rioters are taken to calling themselves “Almoravids”, which were an early version of Muslim knights.

While only 250 Israelis managed to ascend to the Mount prior to the attack, four times that many — 1,000 foreign tourists — succeeded in reaching the site before police closed it down to everyone except Muslim ‘worshipers.’

Jews are routinely arrested on the site simply for moving their lips, in what might be construed as a prayer. The Waqf Islamic Religious Authority, which rules the site, forbids Jewish religious activity on the Temple Mount. It is part of the Western Wall complex and believed to be the location of the “holy of holies” in the ancient Jewish Holy Temple of Jerusalem, Judaism’s most sacred site.

Once safely shut down, police moved forward to take control the Temple Mount plaza area, according to Walla! The rioters have since retreated and are currently within the mosque, according to a local source, who said they are continuing to hurl rocks and firebombs at security personnel.

Police officers are using riot control methods in an attempt to disperse the mob.

Today marks the 47th anniversary of the liberation of the 3,000-year-old Jewish capital of Israel, the Old City of Jerusalem, from Jordanian occupation in the 1967 Six Day War. Jerusalem Day celebrates the unification of the holy city and its restoration as the healed capital of the Jewish State.


Arabs carrying Hamas flags on the Temple Mount chanting “With blood we will free Palestine.”

Pope Francis Lashes Out at Nazi Murderers During Yad Vashem Visit

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Pope Francis has had a busy day so far in the ancient Old City of Jerusalem.

He began his day on the Temple Mount, in the Al Aqsa Mosque, visiting with the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Waqf Islamic Authority. The pontiff was quoted as telling both, “May we work together for justice and peace.”

Given the violence that has emanated week after week from that quarter towards Christians and Jews alike, that would seem to be a tall order. There is no information about the response of the Arab officials to the Pope’s comments at the mosque. On the first leg of his journey to the Holy Land, yesterday, he made an unscheduled stop at the separation barrier that was built by Israel to prevent suicide bombers from infiltrating and murdering citizens in areas of the country that were under the government’s control prior to 1967.

The Pope was then led to Judaism’s holiest site for prayer by Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch. The Kotel (Western Wall) had been cleared of visitors for security reasons earlier by police. The pontiff bowed his head in prayer with his hand on the ancient stones. He followed those silent moments of communion with the Creator by placing a note in the Wall — an ancient tradition observed by nearly everyone who comes to the Wall — and embraced close Jewish and Muslim friends with him.

Francis met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres and made a quick visit to the Mt. Herzl cemetery where he laid a wreath at the tomb of the ‘father of Zionism,’ Theodore Herzl. He then visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center in a moving ceremony where he laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance and greeted six Holocaust survivors. There the pontiff questioned the role of G-d in the slaughter of the millions of victims murdered by the Nazis.

“The Father knew the risk of freedom, he knew that His children could be lost, yet perhaps not even the Father could imagine so great a fall, so profound an abyss,” he reflected. Having lit the memorial light in the center just minutes before, he compared the Nazi Holocaust to idolatry, and standing before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, himself a survivor, lashed out against the murderers.

“Who convinced you that you were G-d? Not only did you torture and kill your brothers and sisters, but you sacrificed them to yourself, because you made yourself a god. Today, in this place, we hear once more the voice of G-d: ‘Adam, where are you?’ Hear “L-rd and have mercy,” Francis prayed. “We have sinned against You. You reign for ever.”

The Pope also received from Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev a reproduction of a painting of a Chossid engrossed in prayer created in the Lodz ghetto by a teenage victim of the Holocaust.

He is expected to celebrate Mass at the Cenacle, the upper room in the complex where some believe the tomb of the Biblical King David is located – and where Christians believe the Last Supper took place, sometime before leaving to return to the Vatican in the afternoon hours.

There have been protests against the Pope’s visit to various sites in the Old City of Jerusalem by both Muslim and Jewish groups, both saying the leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church is intent on defiling their respective holy places of worship.

Arab Protesters Arrested on Temple Mount

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Six Arab protesters were allegedly arrested Tuesday on the Temple Mount in an unusual move in the Old City of Jerusalem after they harassed Jews by chanting slogans at those who were touring the site.

Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Jewish Press at midday that all six male youths who were involved in the incident were taken into custody by officers from the David District  “for attempting to disturb visits taking place.” He added that “visits on the Temple Mount are continuing regularly.” No entry restrictions were deemed necessary, he said. 

Generally police respond to such incitement by removing all tourists and closing the site to all visitors except Muslim women of all ages, and Muslim men with Israeli identity cards, age 50 and up. Jews are also arrested for even moving their lips when touring the Temple Mount, in fear they may be “praying” on the site.

Earlier this week two Knesset members announced they plan to propose a bill that for the first time would allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, using religious items such as a tallit (prayer shawl), tefillin (phylacteries) and a siddur (prayer book). The lawmakers did not tell Ynet, which published the report,when the draft of the controversial measure would be brought to the floor for a vote.

At present the Muslim Waqf Authority controls the Temple Mount site in tandem with the Jordanian government, under an agreement with the State of Israel. The site is located at the heart of the conflict between the Palestinian Authority and Israel; the PA insists that Israel hand over the Old City and a significant part of its capital city, Jerusalem, so it can create a new Arab country within Israel’s borders, using the Jerusalem piece as the capital for its new state, “Palestine.” Israel is expected to hand over all of its own Jewish holy places as part of that deal.

The Temple Mount, site of the “holy of holies” located within the two ancient Holy Temples in the Jewish faith, is the most sacred place on earth in the Jewish religion.

It is the third holiest site in Islam, and the place on which two mosques are built – the smaller Dome of the Rock, and the large Al Aqsa Mosque, wherein on most Fridays an imam delivers a fiery anti-Israel sermon urging followers to destroy the Jewish State.

Arab governments around the world use the site as an incitement tool with which to inflame passions and rally local Arabs against the state.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-protesters-arrested-on-temple-mount/2014/05/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: