Israel's Duplicitous Temple Mount Policy

Thursday, September 15, 2016 |  Tsvi Sadan

There is a ring of truth to what Rabbi Israel Eichler, an Orthodox member of Israel's Knesset, once said about anti-Semites. Jew haters, he told fellow parliamentarians, are only echoing what Jews themselves are saying. 

Every conceivable anti-Semitic libel was hatched in a Jewish mind, the rabbi explained. There are many examples of this disturbing phenomenon, the latest being a Palestinian news agency spreading yet another water-poisoning libel that was fed to it by the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence

Several months ago, Israelis were outraged over a UNESCO resolution referring to the Temple Mount area only as al-Aksa Mosque or al-Haram al Sharif. Prime Minister Netanyahu even went so far as rebuking France for being among the 33 countries that supported the resolution. "While we have no illusions as to the UN’s commitment to truth or decency," he wrote to French President Francois Hollande, "we were honestly astounded to see our French friends raise their hands in favor of this shameful resolution."

Outrageous as the UNESCO resolution may be, is it at all possible that it is yet another example of this vile self-accusing phenomenon? 

Freshman MK Yehuda Glick has repeatedly stated that "the [policy of] discrimination [against Jews] on the Temple Mount is obvious." Glick can no longer be brushed aside as a fanatic. In its September 9 issue, the weekly Makor Rishon ran an article exposing Israel's de facto policy against Jews on the Temple Mount.

For a long time now Israelis have been complaining bitterly about official discrimination evident in the severe restrictions on Jewish entrance and behavior on the Mount. Such was the case when two Jewish teenagers were recently charged with disturbing the peace by "bowing down" at Judaism's holiest site. Thankfully, the court acquitted the two, but the trial revealed how Israeli policemen have been trained to view the Temple Mount, which is worryingly similar to UNESCO's description.

Of the three policemen who testified against the teenagers, two were Arabs and one Jewish. Nevertheless, what they said in court reflects what they have been trained to say in police classrooms. In fact, it was the Jewish policeman who presented the most extreme view concerning the Temple Mount. When asked if he thinks that Jewish prayers on the Mount are the equivalent of terror attacks, the Jewish policeman answered: "Yes." When asked if his job is to disturb Jews in the middle of their prayers, this policeman said: "It is saving lives more than disturbing prayer. They could have prayed outside the Temple Mount."

The Arab policemen also did not express their own personal beliefs, but that of the Israel Police. When asked whether the whole of the Temple Mount is a mosque, one of the two Arab policemen answered: "It is a mosque from every possible perspective." When asked "and you say this as a representative of the Israel Police," the Arab policeman's answer was: "Of course." 

If this is the official Israeli stance regarding the Temple Mount, why should UNESCO be expected to contradict it?

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