Tom Nisani
Tom NisaniIsrael National News

Claims that the "discourse of rights doesn't apply to the Temple Mount, therefore Jews should not pray on the Mount," are, simply stated, absurd. Such statements confuse the concept of political leanings, which are personal and variable, with inalienable rights granted by the State through its very nature.

The rights of Jews on the Temple Mount find their basis in nothing less than Israel’s Declaration of Independence, and its focus on the dual rights of freedom of religion and free expression for all.

There are a few arguments that people in Israel use against Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount:

1. The people who claim that on the Temple Mount Jews feel discriminated against while throughout the rest of Israel, Palestinians are discriminated against.

Huh? - Palestinians all over Israel? Those are Arab citizens of Israel. And putting aside the identity mistake, why should Jews be punished because of any other discrimination? That’s classic “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

This claim also says that the "Al-Aqsa compound" is the "last thing the Palestinians have left and that they are worried that the third holiest site in Islam will be taken away from them". First of all, no one is trying to take anything away from any Muslims – Palestinian or Israeli Arab – and certainly not Al Aqsa.

The real purpose of this fear projection is to create a smokescreen that justifies Muslims denying all of what they fear for themselves to Jews. Again there is zero sense that a fear of being deprived of Muslim rights might fairly also apply and be relevant for Jews. The bottom line though is there is no place in Israel where Arabs are denied the right to pray because of their religion.

2. When those who claim that "a nation that conquered a piece of land isn't allowed to harm the conquered nation's holy sites," there are two immediate reactions. Firstly, there is no harm being inflicted on any holy site, except if the lack of a Judenrein Temple Mount is harm inflicted. Secondly, the term “conquer” is a misnomer for the liberation of that which has been Jewish land for thousands of years.

3. some claim that if we as Jews argue that "we were here first" regarding the Temple Mount, we will open the door to different claims of various nations who once practiced their religions in other sites throughout the land and would like to do that again; however, the Jewish nation draws its sources from the Bible and believes, to this day, in the quote from the Book of Isaiah "my house will be a house of prayer for all nations". Unlike Jordanians and Palestinians, we will welcome prayer by other nations on the Temple Mount, something that's simply impossible today because of Israel's surrender to the antisemitic Jordanian Waqf.

4. Another claim is that those requesting to pray on the Temple Mount are a minority in Israel and therefore their demands shouldn't be granted. This is an even more delusional and outrageous claim since a part of the essence of democracy is to preserve the basic rights of the entire population. It is fascinating to see how people can explain, on the one hand, how the Palestinians are discriminated against throughout Israel, and then, on the other hand, approve of discriminating against Jews on the Temple Mount "because they are a minority". Today, more than half of the Knesset members ascend or support ascendence and prayer on the site, therefore this claim is fundamentally wrong!

5. It is very common, even easy to advocate against Jewish prayer while using the security argument. But, in fact, it was precisely the Supreme Court that ruled on dozens of occasions, specifically addressing the Temple Mount, that Jewish prayer can't be prevented unless there is a clear and immediate danger. Another question is why those people don't use the same security argument when writing about discrimination against Palestinians?

6. Sometimes people claim that the "Muslims can't accommodate Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount" and that only once after the conflict with the Palestinians is over it can be further discussed. First of all, it's worth mentioning that many, many Muslims around the world have opined that there is no reason to prevent Jews from praying on the Temple Mount. Secondly, what fundamental civil or human rights issue should go unaddressed because circumstances don’t warrant it?

Lastly, the state of Israel is an independent, sovereign state committed first and foremost to its citizens, and so the claim that one must wait for an "agreement" in order to provide basic, civil rights to law-abiding citizens is not only dangerous but also clearly anti-democratic.

The author is the CEO of the Beyadenu Temple Mount movement