There is no more inconsequential act by a president than declaring a particular day as devoted to a cause. The economy, national defense and well-beings of individuals are not furthered by the action. It’s a bit of light theater, like pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving.
So one shouldn’t bother spending time reviewing such inanity. Except in this case, it symbolizes how President Biden believes his theater of goodwill while he undermines true freedoms.
On January 14, Biden proclaimed Religious Freedom Day. He correctly pointed out that in the early days of the country’s history, many people came seeking “religious liberty, risking everything to flee oppression, persecution, and discrimination because of their beliefs.” Because of those American roots and the belief in a new kind of democracy, “Our Founders enshrined the principle of religious freedom in the First Amendment to our Constitution, establishing it as a cornerstone of who we are as a Nation. Today, America remains a religiously diverse Nation — a land uniquely strengthened by the routine and extraordinary commingling of faiths and belief systems.”
But Biden completely skipped over the very first clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It is not only that every person can freely exercise their faith in the United States, but that the country has no official religion as well.
So when Biden signed off his proclamation that “I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth,” he enshrined his Catholic faith into a presidential declaration. That was completely inappropriate.
Further, Biden attested that his administration was working on behalf of religious freedom around the world. “My Administration remains steadfast in our efforts to lead and advance human rights including the freedom of religion around the globe at a time when many people are subject to horrifying persecution for their faith and beliefs…. We can only fully realize the freedom we wish for ourselves by helping to ensure liberty for all.”
How does Biden believe he helps ensure freedom and liberty for all faiths around the world, when he denies Jews their basic human right in their holy land? In the United States, how are non-Christian faiths to feel welcomed when its president ignores the very first clause of the first sentence of the Bill of Rights?
Isabel Kershner deposited an article in the international section of The New York Times on January 4, 2023 about an Israeli member of Knesset visiting the Jewish Temple Mount. It should have been posted in the opinion pages.
The article led off with a comment lifted from the Muslim Arab world that Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the holy site was “provocative.” Kershner used the term three times (highlighted in red boxes above). The visit was nothing of the sort. The Temple Mount has standard visiting hours as it did when Ben-Gvir visited on Tuesday.
That was unmentioned in the article. Instead the article was replete with characterizations of Israel as full of “right-wing” and “hard-line” extremists unfairly punishing Palestinian Arabs, rather than Israelis trying to live a normal life with genocidal anti-Semitic neighbors.
After Kershner said that Ben Gvir was provocative, she added this:
“The visit under heavy guard to the site – a frequent flash point in the Old City of Jerusalem where past Israeli actions have set off broader conflagration – was the first by such high level official in years and passed without incident. But coming two days after Mr. Ben-Gvir took office, it was an early indicator of the difficulties Israel’s new government , its most right-wing and religiously conservative yet, will face in the domestic and global arenas.“
This is a complete inversion of victim and aggressor. A visit by a prominent Israeli Jew to the holiest site in Judaism during regular visiting hours was not the trigger for violence, any more than a woman who rejected an unwanted incel’s advance deserves to be attacked. Adding the clause that Israel’s government is politically and religiously right-wing while saying nothing about the Islamic terrorist groups further paints Israelis as instigators of violence.
The picture accompanying the article showed many “Israeli security personnel” surrounding the visitors, but the article failed to report that Jewish visitors are frequently assaulted during their visits by radical Islamists. The security personnel were not just “near visitors” but there to guard Jews from marauding jihadists.
Kershner’s article continued in the same noxious vein. She wrote that Israelis had “a nationalist and religious agenda,” and held “hard line policies,” and Ben-Gvir “support[ed] a terrorist group.” She failed to mention that Hamas is a recognized terrorist group by the United States which seeks the destruction of Israel. She did not write about the Palestinian Authority’s “pay-to-slay” terror-incentive program. She ignored Palestinian polls which show half of all Palestinians supporting the murder of Israeli Jews in their homes, and ADL polls which shows that almost every Palestinian is an anti-Semite.
Quite the opposite. Her opinion piece masked as reporting said that Israelis are “hard liners” and Arabs are peaceful victims.
Kershner claimed that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ignited the “second Palestinian intifada”, when it was actually deliberately launched by Yasser Arafat in the collapse of the Oslo Accords in which he led the slaughter of over 1,000 Israeli civilians in hundreds of terrorist attacks (also unmentioned). She said that Israel’s new government had an “uncompromising approach to the Palestinians,” as if terrorism and threats to murder deserve a compromise.
Perhaps only kill Jewish males and leave the females alive, like the Egyptians in the bible?
To underscore Kershner’s fake narrative on the peaceful ways of Muslim Arabs regarding the Jewish Temple Mount, she added this bit of malarkey:
“the [Temple Mount] compound was conquered by Israel during the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. Under an uneasy arrangement that has prevailed for decades under Jordanian custodianship, Jews are permitted to visit, as are non-Muslim tourists, but they are not supposed to pray there.”
This fantasy narrative for the ignorant has Israel forcefully seizing the Temple Mount and the Jordanians giving Jews and other non-Muslims the right to visit.
The Times is lying to its readership and inverting history.
The reality is the Jordan attacked Israel in 1948, ethnically cleansed all Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem, destroyed the synagogues and illegally annexed the Temple Mount compound, the Old City of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. During the eighteen years 1949-1967 while Jordan illegally held the Temple Mount, it barred Jews from even visiting the western wall/ Kotel, let alone the Temple Mount. Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967 and Israel took the Old City in a defensive battle. The Jewish State granted Jordan administrative rights on the Temple Mount while it provided security.
In short, it is Israel – not Arabs – which has tried to create a system of coexistence in the holy city and holy places, exactly the opposite of NYT reporting.
It is seemingly insufficient that Jews must fight to survive among genocidal jihadists in the Middle East and anti-Semites in the diaspora. Mainstream media is working to ensure that Jews will be hamstrung in public opinion, as the anti-Zionists attempt to sever the ties of the Jewish State’s critical backer, the United States, and leave Israel isolated among those hell-bent on its destruction.
Each society makes rules to govern its citizenry. It considers the tastes and preferences of its inhabitants and tries to balance enabling human rights and the maintaining of public order. Some countries opt to ban certain activities if they might lead to violence, while others believe that human expression cannot be stifled because of the reactions that might ensue.
The world has seen this play out in the recent past, with an interesting wave of defenses and condemnations.
Charlie Hebdo Drawings of Mohammed
France is a deeply secular society that prizes its freedoms, including freedom of the press. It was perfectly legal for a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, to draw pictures of the Islamic prophet even though it was highly provocative and upsetting to devout Muslims. Indeed, several Islamic radicals shot up the magazine’s headquarters, killing many of its writers. As part of the jihadists’ derangement, they followed up on that violent vengeance with a visit to a local kosher store to slaughter Jews who had nothing to do with the cartoons.
The western world rallied to the defense of France, with global leaders marching arm-in-arm in defense of freedom of expression and against reactive violence. The provocative nature of the drawings was dismissed as irrelevant.
Gay Pride Parade and Israeli Pride Marches in Jerusalem
The city of Jerusalem is both holy and contentious. It is the holiest city for Jews, the third holiest city for Muslims, and holy for Christians who don’t rank cities as commonly as Jews and Muslims.
It is also a politically sensitive city. Recommended to be an international city (along with Bethlehem) by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, it became divided between Israel and Jordan in the 1948-9 Arab-Israeli War. After Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967, the reunited city became completely Israeli, even while much of the world still considers it to be international or under negotiations for a final settlement.
The holiness of the city makes the annual gay pride parade offensive to many religious Jews, Muslims and Christians. While legal, the provocative nature of holding the event in Jerusalem has sparked violence, such as occurred in July 2015 when a Jewish man just released from a mental hospital, stabbed six people, killing one. The public condemned the violence and defended the right to parade.
For their part, proud Jewish nationalists flew Israeli flags through Jerusalem, including in predominantly Arab sections of eastern Jerusalem, to mark the reunification of the city. When Palestinian groups claimed the parade was “provocative” and threatened violence, the United States asked Israel to reroute the march away from Arab areas, an action it did not take for the gay parade.
Both legal marches went on as planned, with left-wing groups labeling the nationalist march as provocative, and right-wing groups stating the same about the gay parade.
Israeli Jews on the Temple Mount
In sharp contrast to the legal actions above which are defended, the fundamental human right to pray at a holy site is deemed illegal and condemned. At least, only for Jews in Jerusalem.
The central point of prayer and holiest place on earth for Jews is the Jewish Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Jews around the world pray facing it, and many around the world make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year, as commanded in the Jewish Bible.
It has historic significance as the place where two Jewish Temples stood, and deep relevance today, especially to Orthodox Jews.
Jews have a basic human right to pray at their holiest location, as detailed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Even more, they have an accepted right to visit the Jewish Temple Mount according to rules laid out by the Islamic Waqf which has administrative rights on the compound.
But Arab extremists want to have none of it.
Wafa, the official Palestinian news site said “Israeli Jewish supremacist Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Tuesday stormed the compounds of al-Aqsa mosque in the occupied city of Jerusalem under heavy protection from the Israeli forces.“
The political-terrorist group Hamas’s news site said “Ben Gvir’s incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards on Tuesday morning constitutes a grave violation against the Palestinian people and their holy sites.” It condemned and mocked other Jews praying outside of the Temple Mount as “settlers [who] organized provocative dances and performed Talmudic rituals in the Old City and near Al-Aqsa Mosque.“
Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sinan Al Majali said “The storming of the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque by one of the Israeli ministers and violating its sanctity is a provocative, condemned move.“
While not directly condemning Ben-Gvir’s visit or mocking Jews who pray in Jerusalem, the US Embassy in Jerusalem said that Ambassador Thomas Nides “has been very clear in conversations with the Israeli government on the issue of preserving the status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites. Actions that prevent that are unacceptable.”
It is deeply disturbing that Israeli Jews visiting their sacred site is greeted by condemnation by not only radical Islamists, but by the western media and governments. Did those same people argue for the “status quo” of banning gay marriage? Segregation? Why do liberal values melt before jihadi zealots when it comes to the Jews?
Jews visiting and praying on the Temple Mount do so because the site is dear to them, not to antagonize Muslims. The people who condemn Jewish visitation and call it and act of “provocation” are not simply echoing radical Islamist propaganda, but denying Jewish history and Judaism itself, while simultaneously trampling on a basic human right.
On December 19, 2022, The New York Times published an article about a menorah that was lit in the window of a Jewish home across from a Nazi flag in Germany, in defiance of the edicts to ban Jews from participating in society. The descendants of that German family brought the menorah back to Germany to rekindle it once again.
It’s an interesting story on many levels. To consider the defiance and fear that the Jewish family must have felt in 1931 as Nazis gathered power in Germany, to openly declare their Judaism in the face of growing anti-Semitism. And then, eighty years later, to return to Germany after the genocide of European Jewry with that same menorah.
Chanukah candles lit in the ashes of millions of slaughtered Jews.
It was the only story that the New York paper would write about the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, other than some recipes for latke cocktails and how to make a DIY menorah. The actual holiday story of Jews expelling the Hellenist pagan rituals from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and throughout the Jewish holy land 2,200 years ago must have been considered too political for the anti-Zionist paper.
During the holiday, the paper preferred to write stories about Arabs who had “ancestors” in “modern day Israel” whose towns were destroyed at Israel’s creation. These “Palestinian citizens of Israel” (commonly called Israeli Arabs) have been trying to get back to the homes where their grandparents lived but have been blocked from doing so by the Israeli military and courts because the town sits in a buffer zone along Lebanon which is in a state of war with the Jewish State.
These are stories that neatly contour to the Times’ jaundiced narrative: Jews are native to Europe but were pushed out by Nazis, and Arabs are native to Palestine but were pushed out by Jews.
The actual Chanukah story disrupts the anti-Zionist propaganda, that Jews have thousands of years of history in Israel and not just throughout the land, but on the Jewish Temple Mount itself. That is where the original menorah of the Jews was lit, not in defiance of any edict but as a basic part of Jewish religious ritual.
Today, while Arabs may be blocked from returning to living in villages alongside the border of a hostile country by Israel’s military, Jews are considered to be in violation of United Nations edicts for going to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. While Israeli Arabs freely drive around Israel as recognized citizens of the Jewish State, countries around the world demand that Jews be forbidden from living and praying in their holiest city.
Jews have been lighting menorahs for 2,200 years, even in the face of blatant anti-Semitism from neighbors, governments and media propaganda. And Jews will continue to light their menorahs in their windows as proud Jews, and visit the reestablished Jewish State, as they use the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda as the rags that they are.
A single menorah of defiance lit before a Nazi flag in Germany, dozens of menorahs held aloft in Montana in 1993 amidst a wave of anti-Semitic attacks, and thousands of menorahs lit in Jewish homes in Jerusalem and around the world today in the face of blatantly anti-Semitic articles and resolutions. Jews are indigenous to Israel and will always insist on the basic human right to practice their faith everywhere, especially in their holiest city.
Chanukah is a celebration of Jews purging the pagan practices of their holy Second Temple in Jerusalem, and expunging the Hellenists from the holy land. It is a worthwhile time to consider how Jews today think about the Jewish Temple Mount and the future of Jewish prayers on the site.
Reform Jews are the largest denomination of American Jews, accounting for roughly 33% of American Jews (right ahead of 29% of Jews of no religion) according to a 2021 Pew poll. Their authoritative rabbinic body, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) issued a resolution in 2015 about the Reform movement’s view of the Temple Mount. While it said that Jews considered it “holy”, it noted that it only was so because of historic significance. It added some important points:
There is “not to any hope for rebuilding the Temple, reestablishing sacrificial rites, or restoring any future Jewish worship where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock now stand”
“Supports the status quo on the Temple Mount which restricts prayer to Islamic, not Jewish, prayer.”
“Stands in opposition to those Jews who attempt to alter the status quo by praying on the Temple Mount, which is contrary both to traditional Jewish law and practice as well as peaceful co-existence.”
“Affirms the freedom of religion and the right of persons to pray where they choose, while at the same time, asserts that the interests of peace and safety are, in this unique and extraordinary circumstance, best served when some rights are suspended and legitimate religious passions restrained in deference to the rights and sensibilities of others.”
“Encourages efforts of the [Reform Movement’s] Israel Religious Action Center, in cooperation with the Religious Action Center, to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount while combating terror and incitement to violence.”
The Reform Movement repeatedly makes clear that it opposes Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount now and forever. It believes that Temple Mount is simply a relic of the past, and any Jew who seeks to pray at Judaism’s holy site is essentially inciting violence.
The Reform movement’s leaders echo this theme. Rabbi Rick Jacobs lied to his base during Chanukah 2016 that the Maccabees of 2,200-years ago fought for religious tolerance when they did did the opposite. The Maccabees fought for a Jewish Temple, period. Further, it is perplexing (revolting) that the movement advocates for religious tolerance seemingly for all religions except for Jews at their holiest location.
The Conservative Movement is the fastest shrinking denomination of American Jewry. For every Jew who joins, three leave according to Pew, with the vast majority migrating to Reform or Jews with no denomination.
The movement has said remarkably little about the Temple Mount.
Way back in 2001, the Rabbinical Assembly issued a resolution which said almost nothing about its position about the sacred site, other than confirming its holiness to Jews, and respectfully asking Islamists to stop proclaiming otherwise. It has issued no other official comments about the holy compound.
Its silence can be found in other places as well.
In 2016, the Conservative movement published a new prayer book, a siddur, meant to be more egalitarian which included a wide variety of contemporary commentators. The siddur sits somewhere between Reform and Orthodox denominations’ liturgy, but much closer to Reform as it relates to the Temple Mount.
While Orthodox Jews recite a short prayer after the central Amidah service three times a day (four times on Sabbath and holidays), as well as earlier in the morning service, asking for the Temple to be rebuilt, the Conservative Movement omitted it:
May it be Your will, Adonoy, our God, and the God of our Fathers that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days, and grant us our share in Your Torah. And there we will serve You reverently as in the days of old, and in earlier years. And let Adonoy be pleased with the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem as in the days of old and in earlier years.
Perhaps the Conservative movement agrees with Reform Jews that there is no need for a Third Jewish Temple and that Jews should be banned from the site. Or maybe it is just staying out of the fray.
While most non-Orthodox American Jews do not focus on the Temple Mount even as they might pray facing it, the small Orthodox community actively prays about rebuilding the Third Temple, as seen above. Many have gone to the site in recent years, during the few hours in which visitation for non-Muslims is currently permissible.
In December 2013, the Chief Rabbis of Israel reimposed a ban on Jews ascending the Temple Mount, as Orthodox Jews began to do so with greater frequency. The rationale had nothing to do with angering Islamists, as it did with potentially walking on the most holy of spots, which is not permitted for Jews other than a High Priest, according to Jewish law.
Despite the ban, the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount has jumped in recent years as Orthodox Jews have rationalized that the location of the holy of holies is understood. In 2012, the total number of Jewish visitors was about 7,700. In October 2022 during the Jewish month of Tishrei, the figure was almost 8,000 according to Beyadeynu, an activist group encouraging Jewish visitation. The group estimates that the total this year doubled to about 50,000 from last year and it hopes to double again – to 100,000 Jews – in the coming year.
That figure remains a small fraction of the millions of Muslims who frequent the site at all hours.
In Israel, the Ultra-Orthodox Haredi community makes up 13% of the population and it is growing twice as fast as the rest of the country. There is roughly another 10% of Jews who are dati, or Modern Orthodox religious. Taken together, the 20%-plus Orthodox Israeli Jews is quite a bit larger than the 8% of Orthodox American Jews. Israel – and Jerusalem in particular – is much more Orthodox than world Jewry, as the devout Jews are drawn to the holy city much more than other Jews.
The increasingly secular nature of the majority of America’s Jews has fed a narrative that the Temple Mount is not central to Jewish prayer or aspirations. As Israel’s new government includes several Orthodox parties in the ruling coalition, the likely promotion of a greater Jewish presence at Judaism’s holiest spot will be cast as foreign and extreme around the world, when it is, and has always been, a basic component of Orthodox Judaism.
The New York Times used four journalists to cover the August 14 Arab terrorist attack on Israeli Jews in Jerusalem. The journalists reporting from Jerusalem, Seoul and Hong Kong (I have no idea why correspondents from thousands of miles away were needed) could not muster a clear and balanced report.
The article started with the usual anti-Israel bias with the headline “Eight Injured in Shooting in Jerusalem” which did not clearly label the attacker as an Arab Muslim nor the victims as Israeli and American Jews. While the article would eventually reveal that the attacker was a “Palestinian man”, it would never clearly state that the victims were all Jewish. Instead, the attack was crafted as between warring countries, continuing a trend of Palestinians and Israelis killed over the past few months.
The Times then mentioned Silwan, the neighborhood from where the Arab terrorist came, as having tension “between its Palestinian residents and a small but growing number of Israeli settlers.” While the Palestinian Arabs and Israelis are both “residents”, the Times opted to use the biased Palestinian narrative to describe the Israelis.
At that point, the paper shifted squarely to religion:
“Sacred to both Jews and Muslims, the nearby Temple Mount houses the third-holiest mosque in Islam and was the location in antiquity of two ancient Jewish temples that remain important to Jewish identity.“
According to the Times, while the Temple Mount is “sacred to both Jews and Muslims”, the site is really more important to Islam, as it “houses the third-holiest mosque in Islam”. For Jews, the site is merely a talisman and “important to Jewish identity.”
That’s a deliberate insult to millions of Jews around the world. The Temple Mount is THE holiest location for Judaism.
Continuing the trend, the article mentioned that “Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs the Gaza Strip” celebrated the attack, but did not quote Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cheering the shooting as well, posting on Facebook “Praise to the one whose rifle only speaks against his enemy. Long live our people’s unity and long live the free hero. Praise to the rifle muzzles, our people will fight the occupation with all kinds of resistance. Save your bullets and use them against the occupation, only the occupation!!”
Why did the paper opt to only refer to the “Islamist” political-terrorist group but not the secular political one which controls the presidency and Areas A and B? Does the Times believe that the conflict is a religious one or a political one? It pivoted back-and-forth in the article inelegantly.
The four journalists contributing to the story made a final pivot at the end of the article, writing “Israeli efforts to build archaeological and tourism attractions in Silwan, mostly celebrating the area’s ancient Jewish heritage, are perceived by Palestinians as a means of eroding Palestinian claims to the city.” This pivoted the conflict as neither political nor religious but a historical one. In this case, the Times seemed more comfortable pointing out that Jews have a much longer history in the region than the Arabs who first came more recently. Perhaps it does so, questioning whether history truly fuels the conflict, or is a talking point between the parties.
The Times is dancing around the political and religious nature of the Israeli-Arab conflict. While the anti-Zionist paper is comfortable making political arguments which make Israel look like the larger and more powerful political actor, it is loathe to point out that Israel has a much deeper religious claim to the land and Jerusalem. Perhaps the liberal media fears that too much information will educate readers about the profound logic of Israel retaining full control of the Old City of Jerusalem, in direct opposition of Palestinian political goals of seizing the site from the Jewish State.
In the 1986 film “Highlander”, immortal demi-gods roam Earth, interacting with people but caring mostly about other immortals. They live knowing that they must confront others like themselves and battle to the death, because in the end, only a single one can exist.
Monotheistic faiths often behave similarly.
Adherents of Christianity, Islam and Judaism have fought each other for supremacy. Many wars demanded death or conversion. As it related to places, the victor often took over holy sites and either demolished them or changed them to the winner’s religion, demonstrating superiority of their God.
Consider the Hagia Sophia in today’s Istanbul, Turkey. The building was originally built as a church around 537CE. When Ottoman Muslims conquered the city in 1453, they converted the church into a mosque. It remained so until the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, when shortly thereafter, the secular Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk turned it into a museum. In the summer of 2020, Islamist Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan converted it back to a mosque, angering much of the western world.
Christianity and Islam battled for superiority in Europe and in the holy land for centuries. From 1095 to 1291 the church waged several crusades. The demand for armed pilgrimage to Jerusalem set the region on fire, with the paltry number of Jews in Europe and holy land left as victims on both sides.
When Christians ultimately failed to take Jerusalem, they turned to purge the Jews and Muslims of Europe. Various edicts preceded and followed the expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492 and in Portugal in 1497. Thereafter, Muslims were effectively routed from the peninsula, virtually completely by early in the 17th century.
Polytheists fought with monotheists as well. When Alexander the Great came to the Jewish holy land, he Hellenized the region. When the Romans came a few hundred years later, they destroyed the Second Jewish Temple and installed pagan gods. They renamed Jerusalem and the region in an attempt to vanquish the monotheist Jews.
Jews however, have uniquely not waged religious wars. While Christians and Muslims have long histories of invading lands and forcing people of different faiths to convert, Jews have no such imperative.
The reason is quite simple and completely misunderstood by non-Jews. While most religions contend that their belief system is supreme and that adherents to other faiths are either an affront to their god(s) and/or are doomed to damnation, Judaism is a particular faith, not a universalistic one. It does not demand that people of other faiths convert or that they are damned. It was always designed to be a local religion in the land of Israel for a specific tribe – the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Other faiths are free to worship as they desire.
The notion seems conceited to many and has sometimes led to anti-Semitism.
How can a supreme God produce a bible just for one community? If that were true and others want such relationship with God, they need to become the new Jews. This replacement theology placed Christians as the successors to Jews through Jesus. Islam held much the same, replacing Christians via their prophet Mohammed.
The Jews contend that they didn’t supplant any faith nor have they been supplanted. However, they do object to their religious places of worship being destroyed.
While Christians and Muslims may seek to place the Dome of the Rock and al Aqsa Mosque on top of the Jewish Temple Mount to show that their faith is supreme and replaced the old, Jews have no such dogma. There is no desire to “supplant”; just to have their own place of worship once again.
Today, Islamic fanatics shout that “al Aqsa is in danger” to foment a jihad against the Jews. It is based on tenets not found in Judaism but in their monotheistic faith. Jews simply want to pray on the Temple Mount and rebuild their temple, but not to confront or show superiority to Islam.
The sentiment is captured in the Jewish Bible in a section read on the eighth day of Passover, in the book of Isaiah. While Isaiah 11:6 is famous, reading through to ninth sentence captures the fuller message:
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
That “holy mountain” is the Jewish Temple Mount. It can house the monotheistic faiths that believe in peace and coexistence. “The wolf will live with the lamb” will occur when the world’s great religions internalize their common bonds and stop fighting each other for dominance. Together, “they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” enabling the Third Jewish Temple to exist beside the al Aqsa Mosque.
The Islamic false perception that al Aqsa is in danger is rooted in its own conception of religious superiority and how it is manifest. When Muslim leaders internalize that Judaism has no such ethos, hopefully it will welcome the building of the Third Jewish Temple and help realize the vision of the prophet Isaiah.
The New York Times has formulated a new approach for reducing the importance of the Temple Mount to Jews and Judaism by reframing the language of its journalists.
Refer to the site by the preferred name of Muslims, “al Aqsa Mosque compound”
State that it’s the holiest location IN JERUSALEM for both Muslims and Jews
There was a time – before the Democratic Slide on Israel – that the paper would refer to the site as the Temple Mount, or sometimes the Temple Mount/ al Aqsa compound. No longer. Now the paper’s official designation is Al Aqsa Mosque compound, and if appropriate for context, will add that Jews call it the Temple Mount. Such is the approach of the anti-Israel United Nations, and now seemingly, of the global paper.
As the paper reduces the Jewish connection to the site, it is simultaneously elevating its status among Muslims.
The paper does not inform readers that Al Aqsa is the THIRD holiest site for Muslims, and that Muslims face Mecca when they pray, even while standing at the mosque. Instead, the paper states that within the narrow confines of Jerusalem, it is Islam’s holist spot.
With such qualifier, the paper equated Judaism’s holiest site, where all Jewish prayers have been directed for 3,000 years, in the city that only Jews made into their capital every time they had self-determination, and where they are directed to visit three times every year, to having a status on par with Islam. That the very word “Zionism” is specifically about Jews returning to Jerusalem is lost on the paper despite the legions hired to cover the region. No religion nor people have as close a connection to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem as Judaism and the Jews. None. But the Times misleads, misinforms and misdirects.
That the editors of The Times let this fly is absolutely horrible journalism. That the paper’s editors likely directed this action based on it showing up repeatedly under different bylines, is outrageous.
The New York Times is involved in a disinformation campaign to reduce the significance of the Jewish Temple Mount and of Jerusalem to its liberal readership. You should ask yourselves and them why it is doing so.
In 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty that saw Israel relinquish roughly 380 square kilometers to Jordan and set a framework for the two countries to live peacefully together side-by-side.
The treaty had a section that dealt with religious tolerance. Article 9.2 is often misquoted by Jordanian King Abdullah that he is a “custodian” of Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, when it merely states that “Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.” Abdullah never talks about clause 9.3:
Despite the treaty to promote religious tolerance, peace and freedom of worship, Jordan praised Palestinian Arab rioters on the Jewish Temple Mount in April 2022. Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh said “I salute every Palestinian, and all the employees of the Jordanian Islamic Waqf, who proudly stand like minarets, hurling their stones in a volley of clay at the Zionist sympathizers defiling the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation government.“
This is appalling on its own – a senior government official promoting violence against civilians – and flies in the face of the tenet of the peace treaty signed between the parties. Article 4.3B states that each country will “refrain from organizing, instigating, inciting, assisting or participating in acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, subversion or violence against the other Party,” which is exactly what the Jordanian Foreign Minister did.
It gets worse.
It was reported that Jordan is now asking the United States to pressure Israel to give complete control of the Jewish Temple Mount Compound to the Jordanian Waqf, and to forcibly ban Jewish prayer at Judaism’s holiest site.
Jordan seemingly doesn’t believe there is any price to pay for instigating violence against Israeli Jews, and should actually be rewarded with a greater role in the land Jordan illegally seized in 1949 and then formally withdrew from in 1988.
Israel might want to keep its part of the peace treaty with Jordan in acknowledging the “special role” Jordan plays narrowly at the al-Aqsa Mosque, much the way a guardian takes care of a ward with “special needs.” Make them feel important. But everyone understands that the guardian is in control and will make all substantive decisions.