Mounting malevolence

September 18, 2015 by Michael Kuttner
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In my pre Rosh Hashanah op-ed, I explained why there was no chance of genuine peace breaking out in the year ahead…writes Michael Kuttner.

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

Tuning into the news after the two-day Festival it was apparent that those with whom we are supposed to make peace are as far away as ever from accepting our legitimate presence here. Not only are they increasingly intolerant it is apparent that their inability to accept the notion of what most civilized people would call religious tolerance is growing.

The whole question of accepting that non-Moslems have an equal right to freedom of worship seems totally beyond the understanding of a large swath of those who are designated by the international community as peace partners. Let me add that it is not just the refusal to allow Jews to pray at sites which have been connected to Jewish history for thousands of years but also the ongoing persecution of Christians, the destruction of their Holy Places and the wholesale slaughter of entire communities.

The bone of contention at the moment is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This site, as any student of Judaism or history knows, is perhaps the most important place (together with the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron) for believing Jews. Its link to the Jewish People stretches back to the dawn of our connection to the Land of Israel, well before the advent of either of the two other monotheistic religions. Whether during independence or in long years of forced exile Jews turned in reverence and prayer towards Jerusalem and the place where the Temples once stood.

The Romans thought that by destroying most of the city they could erase the Jewish connection but in fact it had the opposite effect. In our prayers and rituals we reinforced our link to that place so that when eventually we returned to reclaim our land we naturally gravitated towards Jerusalem, the Western Wall and of course the Temple Mount itself. During our enforced absence the Moslem conquerors had built a Mosque on the mount exactly where the Temples had once stood. It must be emphasized that Jews never sought to destroy this Islamic place but merely to visit and pray at the wall which was the only remaining remnant of the Temple period. As it turned out this desire was seen as a threat and therefore fraught with danger by those who wished to go there. By the time of the British Mandate it became increasingly dangerous for Jews to worship at the Wall and the British authorities fearful of upsetting an increasingly militant and intolerant Islamic leadership made it even more difficult for Jews to freely worship at the site.

The seeds of today’s turmoil were planted then and in order to understand what the current furor is all about it is important to know something of the facts surrounding it. Eighty years of Al Aqsa incitement has nothing at all to do with the “occupation.” The call to “defend” the Mosque against imaginary Jewish onslaughts has been used with often deadly consequences since the 1920’s. The idea that Al Aqsa is threatened by Jews is an invention that goes back to the days of Haj Amin al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who gained notoriety as a Nazi collaborator. In the 1920’s he renovated the “Haram al Sharif” as the Temple Mount is known in Arabic and at the same time began to accuse the “Zionists” of plotting to rebuild the Temple. His incitement contributed to repeated outbreaks of violence against Jews that culminated in the Hebron massacre of 1929. Since then and right up until the present moment the same lies, hate and incitement have been the tools used by Islamic leaders to whip up the masses. Nothing in the script has changed one iota from then until today. If you need further proof take a look at this very latest evidence provided by courtesy of PMW.

http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=15707

For those who still believe that Abbas is our only hope take a look at this PMW link just released.

http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=15714

During the period when Jordan illegally occupied the old city of Jerusalem (1948-1967) not only were Jews ethnically cleansed and their properties stolen they could not even make pilgrimages to the place. Apart from anything else all Synagogues were destroyed (the Arab version of Kristallnacht). This example of Islamic intolerance caused no revulsion or demands for freedom of worship on the part of the international community or Christian Churches. After all it was only Jews being denied access to their most holy places and therefore this gross violation of basic human rights could be safely ignored.

After the restoration of Israeli sovereignty in 1967 Moshe Dayan the Defense Minister, in a gesture which he thought would gain Israel applause from the rest of the world, granted the Moslem religious authorities sole jurisdiction over the Mosque and by extension over the Mount itself. This act of unmitigated folly laid the foundation for subsequent Islamic terror tactics. The results can be clearly experienced today. Jews have no desire whatsoever to enter the Mosque, pray there or even replace it. Although we believe that one day the Temple itself will be restored on its original site nobody except for a few fringe groups believe this will happen before the Messianic age arrives. Nevertheless despite proof that destroying Moslem places of worship has never been on the agenda of Judaism (as opposed to actual such occurrences carried out by Islam and Christianity) wild accusations of such plans abound in the Moslem and Arab world.

One of the most bizarre and disgusting results of the Islamic control of the Temple Mount are the restrictions on access to Jews who wish to visit the Mount itself. In addition Jews are forbidden to utter any prayers while on the Mount and even moving one’s lips can result in summary arrest by the Israeli police who enforce this blatant example of discrimination. Just imagine – a Jew visiting Judaism’s most holy site is forbidden to display any sort of religious expression. As many Jews begin to revolt against this, the incitement increases. Encouraged by a newly empowered Iran (thanks to Obama & Kerry) and whipped up by a religious and political leadership eager to use any method with which to attack and slander Israel, the Palestinian Arab mobs have increased their verbal and physical attacks against Jewish worshippers who wish to visit the Temple Mount.

Following in the footsteps of the British Mandatory authorities whose desire to appease Arab mob violence took precedence over Jewish civil rights, the international community today reacts in exactly the same manner. While Israeli security forces enforce measures to prevent and punish those causing mayhem, the USA, EU and of course the UN, demand restraint and insist that nothing be done to provoke violence. They even claim that Jews who pray there are liable to cause mayhem in the region, as though that doesn’t already exist. Stripped of its diplomatic hypocrisy this means that Jews should stop provoking things by visiting and wanting to pray in a place so fundamentally sacred to them. Jordan, that flawed custodian of religious freedom, threatens drastic action which given its own past sordid behavior is the height of hypocrisy. The Arab League, most of whose members wouldn’t know what religious freedom was and certainly don’t practice it, have now jumped on the bandwagon as well. The upcoming session of the UN General Assembly will undoubtedly witness another torrent of vile slander against the Jewish State all of it aided and abetted by the continuing shameful double standards emanating from Washington and other capitals.

It’s time that this farce is once and for all brought to a halt. We need, rather belatedly, to assert the rights of every religious believer to pray unmolested at their holy places.

As we recite the Avinu Malkeinu prayer during these days the plea for God to “nullify the thoughts of those who hate us, thwart the counsel of our enemies and seal the mouths of our adversaries and accusers” seems more relevant than ever.

Often the Lord helps those who help themselves. Now is the time to act decisively and restore freedom of worship for Jews in their own country.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel where he is J-Wire’s correspondent.   

Comments

5 Responses to “Mounting malevolence”
  1. Yaakov ben Yehuda says:

    Similarly , successively bibi Israel leaders one after another have forsaken the Jews , how to ensure they privilege the Jewish inhabitants on the temple Mount.

  2. Eleonora Mostert says:

    Ooops it didn’t stop every Jew from praying. It annoyed the Crap out of the Muslim sitting just inside the entrance to the Dome, but he didn’t have the guts to try and stop me. Don’t worry be Jewish. God is in control.

  3. Yaakov ben Yehuda says:

    Have you noticed how Jerusalem became the center of the world, the
    Temple Mount its nucleus? Why a city that has been neglected for
    centuries suddenly becomes the central axis of the news? Why a site
    where Jordan stored his garbage become the most important site of
    Islam? Everyone will answer: because of the return of the Jews and of
    Israel’s rebirth? But not only …

    The dream of the Muslims is to
    dislodge us from the land of Israel, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
    That everyone had understood it, I’m not telling you anything, however,
    the concept is abstract, too global and keeps us away from the
    perception of Arab maneuvers. But look carefully how the ultimate goal
    is taking place. First phase: the US Supreme Court decide that Jerusalem
    is not in Israel, a decision of incredible reach that has attracted no
    single Jews in the streets of big cities, even in Israel , Brazil
    follows the absurd decision of the USA – others will follow soon – to
    please them, and despite the declarations of intent, furtively israeli
    leaders freezethe constructions in the capital.

    Second phase: the
    Palestinian Arabs make mischief, terrorizing the Jews of Jerusalem,
    using all the weapons of hate, stones, firebombs, insults, threats,
    defamation, collect stones and other terrorist instruments at al-Aqsa to
    prevent the Jews to ascend the Mount. Netanyahu made a first trip to
    Jordan to assure the king that the status quo will be maintained: no
    Jews be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. This suits the wren who do
    not recall its ambassador.

    Third phase: Netanyahu’s police force
    applies to the letter the orders of the Prime Minister, that is to say
    everything possible to avoid that the Jews may pronounce from tip of the
    lip least blessing, even on water, which they have been prohibited.
    To enforce the repression, Yaalon makes the decision to apply to the
    Jews administrative detention which allows him to hunt the great leaders
    of the right and locking them without justification.
    Moreover the
    burning of the house of Duma, disguised as act “Jewish terrorist”, help
    him making such a decision. I say “in disguise” because I’m sure that no
    militants Jews would blindly killed a child. It’s impossible ! a
    Crazy, maybe, a Jewish activist, never.

    Fourth phase: for the
    second time, Jordan threatened to sever diplomatic relations with
    Israel, while King Abdullah knows that the security of his country is in
    our hands. The leader of Saudi Arabia called Obama to the rescue, which
    does not fail to condemn Israel for acts of terrorism, violent riots
    which the Arabs are responsible. Like asking an arsonist to put out a
    fire that he himself ignited. Abu Mazen, worthy successor to Arafat, and
    deceitful liar, demand that the world take action against Israel for
    acts of Arab violence he creates, promotes, finances, and ultimately
    requires that Jews no longer come “dirtying” the Temple Mount.

    What
    they all want is that the Netanyahu government, or other, whatever,
    prohibiting the entry of Jews to the Temple Mount. This is the first
    land parcel that Arabs will tear us, and not the least: the Temple
    Mount. You imagine it would be great for our enemies not only a
    political victory, but they will dispossess us the most powerful symbol
    of Judaism. The logical continuation of dropouts from the left and Moshe
    Dayan who handed the keys to the Jordanian Wakf the Holy of Holies.The
    Netanyahu government will do its best to get rid of the Jews diehards,
    the Zionist-religious party, bibi nothing.yaou will try make a coalition with Herzog,put behind bars right activists, proud pugnacious, no Jew worthy will
    not accept being an outcast in his own land.

  4. Gil Solomon says:

    Michael,

    The recent comments by Netanyahu to the UN Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon) that he will maintain the current status quo on the Temple Mount is a clear cut message that he has forsaken the Temple Mount and has no intention of exercising sovereignty over this holiest piece of real estate in all of Judaism. The current status quo also entails Israeli police assisting the Muslim Waqf in ensuring that the Temple Mount be Judenfrei. How many times are we to be subjected to seeing Israeli police hauling off Jews who dare to put on a Kippar or even move their lips in prayer while at the Temple Mount.

    Alas those inspiring words by Lt. General Mordechai Gur in 1967: “The Temple Mount is in our hands” is, in 2015 no longer applicable. Israel held all the cards in 1967 but has since squandered the lot in the headlong rush to appease formidable adversaries who are attempting to rewrite history with the fictitious “Palestinian” narrative.

    Putting aside Moshe Dayan’s heroic and spectacular military career, instead of acting in Israel’s interests, he sought to gain applause from the rest of the world by allowing the Muslim Waqf to retain control of this most holy of Jewish sites. In spite of total victory, in his zeal to appease the world, he ordered Israeli soldiers to remove the flag they erected atop of the Dome of the Rock mosque. He did not accept the symbolic “keys to the city” so to speak offered by the vanquished. Instead in an act that I regard as profound stupidity, this secular Jew, with not a clue as to the profoundness of what was at stake, allowed the Waqf to retain control of this site.

    The chaos we see today is not only a result of this act of insanity but of the actions of successive Governments who have never once countered the relentless Arab propaganda by Abbas & Co in their quest to claim the Temple Mount as a sacred Muslim site.

    Never have they stated the historical reality that Jerusalem itself is not even mentioned once in the Koran.
    Never have they made the case that the Temple Mount was Jewish from time immemorial and is a site where both Jewish Temples stood. The first being Solomon’s Temple constructed in 960BCE and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzer in 586 BCE with the second having been constructed in 520BCE and destroyed by Titus in 70AD. The silence from Israel on this issue is deafening. Had Israel retained this site, this is where foreign dignitaries would have been escorted to all these years and not to Yad Vashem, a memorial to our various gravesites.

    Today we see Netanyahu constantly stating how Jerusalem is the united and eternal capital of Israel. How it is united when right in the middle there is the Temple Mount, an area ruled by the Waqf and forbidden to Jews, with this edict enforced by Israeli police, is beyond me.

    Only recently Netanyahu stated he was willing to go back to negotiations with Abbas any time, any place, to talk peace without preconditions. Of course, the political elite will say this is “smart” politics as he knows that Abbas has no intention to enter negotiations. Unfortunately, the time for “smart” politics is over. The time now is for true leadership, leadership with a spine, to rise to the occasion and state that there most definitely are preconditions, at a minimum being a cessation of terror (aided, abetted and encouraged by the PA) and that the indoctrination of Arab children from kindergarten age in hatred must cease. These are minimum demands that should have been made years ago and if not complied with should have borne severe consequences.

    It is time for Israeli leadership to admit that they have got it wrong for decades. That magnanimous gestures and endless concessions have produced squat. In short, as far as the Temple Mount is concerned, it is time it be retaken by force.

    The enemies of Israel are akin to sharks which can smell blood in the water. It is time for Israel to get up off its knees, assert itself and speak and act effectively.

  5. Rami Reed says:

    Michael, you are absolutely correct. Unfortunately our leaders are bereft of the courage and the fortitude to act decisively and declare our rights of worship on the Temple Mount

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