Op-Ed: Temple Mount: Sometimes an Honest Man Belongs in Jail
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
The founder of the Jerusalem Temple Institute, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, has been detained by the Israel Police. His “crime”? Visiting the Temple Mount, which Ariel helped to liberate from Jordan in 1967.
The rabbi, who served in the paratroopers unit that conquered the Old City of Jerusalem, was dragged on the ground by the Israeli authorities, treated like a criminal, a terrorist, a thief, a rapist, a gang leader.
Why? Because the State of Israel never really believed that the Temple Mount is “in our hands”. Israel didn’t assert control over it and strip the racist Islamic Wakf of its power. It didn’t transfer sovereignty over the site to the Arabs either. It didn’t have the courage or the suicide wish to cross this historic threshold, although Ehud Barak was very close to doing just that.
The policy implemented by Israel on the Temple Mount is pure and simple anti-Semitism.
Blind politicians, intellectuals and ordinary people fail to see what is in front of their eyes. That daily affronts against Jews take place in the very heart of Jerusalem, where freedom of religion should be set an example for the whole of humanity, but in fact there is a kind of Nazi hysteria against any authentic Jew with a beard and a skullcap.
Instead of venerating Jews such as Rav Ariel, Israeli police arrest them, question them in police stations, put their foot on their faces, deem them “a threat”, humiliate them, watch their face and hands carefully to see what they are doing, record their names in the “list of suspects”, film them all the time, search their bodies.
Only Jewish visitors, only people bearing surnames such as Ariel and Weiss, not the Husseins and Rajoubs, are subject to these racist restrictions. Meanwhile, hundreds of Muslims daily sit on the Temple Mount, receiving wages from Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with their sole task being to prevent Jews from praying.
By persecuting these pious and brave Jews on the Temple Mount, the State of Israel is turning the holiest spot in the world - for all mankind - into the only spot in the world where praying and singing is a crime.
It seems that for Israel the Temple Mount is not a holy mountain, but an experiment in the restriction of Jewish rights. Hitler would be proud of what happens on Temple Mount. His Nuremberg Laws could not have regulated the current situation any better on Judaism's most sacred sitel.
These honorable Jews, those who break the obscene “status quo” and risk prison to protest the Temple Mount situation, remind me of the Soviet Jews who fought for religious freedom and who on the feast of Hanukkah lit candles in prison as a sign of protest - and to tell the world that there was still light, still hope.
Now the Jewish people has a state. But there are still times when an honest man belongs in jail. It was true in Berlin's 1933, in Moscow's 1973 and in Jerusalem's 2013.