Racism and discrimination in the Middle East - against whom?

Reflections upon returning today from a visit to israel with my children.

Ronn Torossian

OpEds "Lest they pray"; police escort Jews on Temple Mount
"Lest they pray"; police escort Jews on Temple Mount

Dominating certain news cycles was the fact that the State of Israel refused entrance permits to Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib preventing them from entering Israel.

They support a boycott of the Jewish state and are fundamentally against the country’s existence – why on earth would they be permitted to enter Israel?  Does America permit people dedicated to their country’s destruction to enter?

And that’s headline news? That two racists aren’t permitted to enter the country? And the fact that Israelis cannot enter countries, including Algeria, Brunei, Kuwait, Lebanon and countless other countries – that’s just business as usual?  It’s an antisemitic biased double standard.

Visited the Har Habayit – the Temple Mount – In the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday, August 25th. It’s one of the most contested religious sites in the world - it’s the location of the First and Second Temples, and the place where the third and final temple will be built.  It’s also the holiest place in Judaism and where Jews turn during prayer.  

Visiting is quite an experience.

Arrived with my children at 930 AM on Sunday, August 25th, and was it was very easy to access.  Before passing through metal detectors, we were asked our religion.  Then, after the metal detectors as we were identified as Jews, we were asked by the Israeli soldiers if we were carrying tefillin or any Jewish prayer books.  And after affirming we didn’t have any, we were then stopped (with my two kids) by what appeared to be a senior police office to ensure we understood that absolutely no prayer is allowed at all on the Temple Mount (at least by Jews). 

What a racist double standard.  Arabs can pray but Jews cannot. 

The area there is huge – and uniformed Arabs from the Islamic Waqf enforce strict rules. A couple hugging for a picture near us was screamed at by the Arabs to not touch on the Temple Mount.  Anyone entering with shorts is made to wear long pants and shirts, similar to rules at the Wall.

On the Temple Mount
צילום: INN:RT

Jews are only allowed to ascend the Temple Mount during very limited hours, and its closed to Jews every Friday or Saturday.

Arabs can pray freely.   Is that not racism in the center of Jerusalem? The Muslim Waqf controls the Temple Mount – where Jews aren’t allowed to pray.

Jews cannot pray at their holiest site, the Temple Mount, and that is ignored by the world.

Shameful.  There is indeed racism and discrimination well and alive in the Middle East.

Ronn Torossian is a Public Relations executive.