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      From the Hills of Efraim
      by Yisrael Medad
      This blog will be informative, highlight foibles, will be assertively contentious and funny and wryly satirical.
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      Yisrael Medad is a revenant resident of Shiloh, in the Hills of Efrayim north of Jerusalem.  He arrived in Israel with his wife, Batya, in 1970 and lived in the renewing Jewish Quarter, eventually moving to Shiloh in 1981. 

      Currently the Menachem Begin Center's Information Resource Director, he has previously been director of Israel's Media Watch, a Knesset aide to three Members of Knesset and a lecturer in Zionist History.  He assists the Yesha Council in it's contacts with the Foreign Media in a volunteer capacity, is active on behalf of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and is involved in various Jewish and Zionist activist causes.  He contributes a Hebrew-language media column to Besheva and publishes op-eds in the Jerusalem Post and other periodicals.

      He also blogs at MyRightWord in English and, in Hebrew, at The Right Word.

      Tevet 1, 5770, 12/18/2009

      If You're Going Up En Masse, Keep Your Mouth Shut


      According to this report, the publicity relating to a mass ascent to the Temple Mount was thwarted.

      A report in an Israeli newspaper, disseminated worldwide by United Press International (UPI) stated that Jews planned a “mass pilgrimage” numbering in the “hundreds” to the Temple Mount on Thursday.

      The “mass” throng actually consisted of only 200 Jews, but the reports set off panic among Arabs and left Jews outside the site as police blocked their entrance, as has happened several times in the past after Arab clerics spread fears of a “Jewish takeover.”

      A spokesman for the activists said, “The police provided no reason for their arbitrary decision. At one point police claimed that the Mount was closed due to the Moslem new year, which occurs on Friday and not on Thursday.

      Now, let's go back to the original story:

      A group of activists dedicated to bringing Jews to the Temple Mount told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that they were hoping to see hundreds of participants take part in a planned "mass pilgrimage" to the site scheduled for Thursday morning in honor of Hannuka

      ...a representative of the Organization for the Renewal of the Temple (ORT) - which is organizing Thursday's event - told the Post on Tuesday there had been no indication the planned pilgrimage would cause renewed disturbances...[despite this] Yosef Rabin, an ORT member, told the Post that the scuffle broke out after a number of Arabs standing nearby became enraged when his colleagues started to sing Hannuka songs and dance as they departed.

      ...Nevertheless, Rabin said, the trip had been calm and quiet up until the fighting broke out, and he added that his group was pursuing its goal of promoting awareness of the mount "through legal means only."

      "We do everything legally and in conjunction with the police," Rabin said. "And as long as we do, there shouldn't be any problem."

      ...Rabin said he had personally spoken with police about Thursday's pilgrimage and that they had told him there was no reason to believe problems would occur.

      "Our focus is on bringing people to the Temple Mount, nothing else," Rabin said. "And we've been making hundreds of phone calls, using lists we have, and sending out e-mails and Facebook messages to try and get as many people as possible to come."

      "Little by little, we're going to take back the mount," he continued. "And it will be done without violence or force."

      The spokesperson, who I checked, is not know to most other activists, perhaps should have spoken to the press after the ascent unless, of course, this Rabin fellow was a GSS agent.  Now, there's a neat conspiracy theory.

      If Rabin does exist, please contact me so I can clear your name.

      As for your political sophistication, that's another matter altogether.

      ============

      P.S.  There is indeed a Yosef Rabin (pronounced Ray-bin).  And yes, he is upset.  However, as I informed him, the two most major and central Temple Mount activists could not, when I contacted them, confirm his existence.  He insists he has been active for the last four months and feels that what I wrote above in my blog "might be legally considered character assassination".  I doubt that.  He does admit "going to the media may not have been the best move".  Okay, we can agree on that. It seems that a very central Temple Mount leader actually told him that this week and hopefully, will be aiding him in his enthusiasm.

      He also claims that he is a "part of the very few that safeguard the last thread of sovereignty for the Jewish People on the Mount".  I applaud him.  Indeed, as someone who substituted as tour leader for Dr. Yoel Elitzur the Thursday before Chanukah and ended up sharing tour guide duties with Rabbi Chaim Richman, has ascended the Mount a few times ever since my first ascent in September 1970, just 39 years ago, and who has written not-a-bad monograph (here) - I welcome him into the few.  I would guess that in the future, there will be no need for me to question not only his existence, and not only the extent of his activism but also his political sophistication which, of course, was the main point of my blog post.  My apologies, Yosef.  And good work for Har Habayit

      Oh, and that GSS throwaway?  That was just in jest.  Why should I presume that an activist would be in cahoots with them?