I saw a headline today that made my skin crawl. Not because it was particularly antagonistic, or aggressive or demeaning. It made my skin crawl because of its simplicity. It made my skin crawl, because it was stated so routinely as if there was nothing out of the ordinary that this headline depicted. Nothing to see folks, just move along…
The story was: 13 Jews removed from the Temple Mount on suspicion they prayed.
Think about that… on the surface it was said without any malice, or accusatory tones and yet the scary, almost terrifying prospect is not so much the headline, but the story behind it. Because the Temple Mount is the Holiest site in the Jewish nation.
Now I don’t consider myself particularly religious yet I have a strong connection to my people as a whole including our history. And when you think Jews were removed from the Temple Mount on the suspicion of prayer, you have to ask yourself is this Saudi Arabia or Israel? The Temple Mount is a part of Jerusalem, which is a part of Israel and has been for the last three thousand years. Why should Jews not be allowed to prayer in their holiest site in their own capital in their own country?
Now I’m aware of the various reasons given for this blatant act of discrimination. From a Rabbinic ruling that it was not permissible to wanting to avoid stoking the conflict.
But unless you haven’t noticed, this gesture of goodwill has led to no goodwill at all! It has had the exact opposite effect, because the Arabs believe that Israel is soft and will do anything to avoid a conflict, including giving up their holiest site of all.
Unfortunately, the Arabs will always find an excuse to accuse Israel and the Jews of any issue at all, but they are acting like nothing more than spoilt little kids who cry at parties when they don’t get their own way.
There are some Jews who couldn’t care about the Temple Mount in the slightest, because they consider themselves completely non-religious. And yet it is so much more than that. It’s our connection to our history and the signals that it gives us serve as a reminder of how important our past is to us. It might be a religious site to some people, but for many others it’s a symbol of our nation too.
Jews should be allowed to prayer on the Temple Mount, just as Muslims pray at their holy sites in their countries. Why should Jews be the one discriminated against?
We should never have to see a headline that says Jews removed from their holiest site for praying. And not only should we not see a headline as such, we should also not allow the rampant destruction and complete lack of respect shown to that holiest site as well.
We’re a learning people who learn from the past so that it may guide us into the future. If Jews cannot exercise these basic and fundamental rights now, it means that those same rights cannot be guaranteed into the future.