The Dark Side of Jerusalem Day: Magnifying the Kotel and Minimizing the Temple Mount

The Six Day War of June 1967 was remarkable in many ways, but it also led to shameful disappointments.

  • The Victory of War. Vastly outnumbered in people and armory, the Israeli army nevertheless triumphed over the surrounding Arab Muslim countries which sought to destroy the Jewish State.
  • Victory of Right. While Israel fought a preemptive battle against Egypt and Syria, making its argument of self-defense slightly tenuous, the battle against Jordan was 100% defensive, and therefore the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” is wholly irrelevant to Israel’s retaking of eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria which were an integral part of the Palestine Mandate and rightfully “reconstituting their national home in that country.
  • Victory of Rights. The Arab Muslims of Jordan ethnically cleansed the Jews from eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank and forbade Jews from visiting or praying in Jerusalem from 1949-1967, while the broader Muslim world under the Ottomans had banned Jews from entering or praying at the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron for centuries. That ended in June 1967, as Jews were once again able to access their holiest and second holiest locations.

The victories were incredible and continue to be celebrated around the world in Jerusalem Day celebrations, highlighting the reunification of the city and Jewish control of their holiest city.

However, the Jewish generals and leaders of 1967 took two actions immediately after the victory which have led to a falsification of history and belief.

  • Giving Control of the Temple Mount to the Waqf. In an effort to end the war and keep the broader Muslim world from descending upon Israel, the Israeli government decided to hand control of the Temple Mount, the holiest location for Jews, to the Jordanian Waqf, who have maintained a policy of banning Jews from praying at the site to this day.
  • Clearing the Kotel Plaza. Arab homes had filled the area in front of the Kotel for centuries and the Israeli government quickly ordered the low-rise homes to be demolished to enable thousands of Jewish pilgrims to approach and pray en masse at the site.

Mughrabi Quarter before 1946

Clearing the Kotel Plaza, 1967
The combined efforts of giving away the Temple Mount and enlarging access to the Kotel has left the Jewish people and consequently the world with the false idea that the Kotel is the holiest place for Judaism. It is not, nor has it ever been. The Kotel, is just a large exposed segment of the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount built by King Herod 2,000 years earlier in an effort to give Jews greater access and movement on THE TEMPLE MOUNT, not so they’d worship a sliver of the wall which kept the mount from collapsing.

Now, some people even believe that the Kotel was actually the western wall of the Temple itself, also completely untrue.

Jerusalem Day is a moment to celebrate the incredible victory of Jews reestablishing their presence and rights in their holiest city. However, it is also a time to note how actions immediately after that victory reoriented our focus and prayers to a wall built by a mad king 2,000 years ago, rather than the “place which He will choose” (Deuteronomy 16:16), the Jewish Temple itself.


Related First One.Through articles:

It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Losing the Temples, Knowledge and Caring

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

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Pope Demanding that Jews Have Rights to Pray on The Temple Mount

Pope Francis visited Morocco in late March 2019. He signed a declaration together with Morocco King Mohammed VI that Jerusalem is sacred to three monotheistic religions and must be open and accessible to all religions.

Yet today, only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Jewish Temple Mount and any Jew seen mumbling under their breath is evicted from the site in fear that they might be praying. Further, while large groups of Christian visitors are allowed to roam the 35 acre site, Jews are only allowed to walk around in small groups, and are often accosted by “Mourabitan,” women paid by Hamas to harass Jewish pilgrims.

It is an interesting development for Jewish rights as Morocco hosted a United Nations conference on “The Question of Jerusalem” in Rabat in June 2018. Seemingly, the Arab world is now trying to position itself as the protector of the freedom of access and worship for the three monotheistic religions… even though when Arab Muslims controlled the Old City of Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967, they evicted every Jew and forbade any Jew from entering the city, and continue to attack Jewish visitors at every opportunity.

It is highly unlikely that the Pope will call out the Muslim world on their antisemitism, as many Christians are embattled minorities in Muslim-majority countries. However, this latest announcement could be a wonderful opening for the Pope to clearly advocate for allowing full and open Jewish prayer at their holiest location on the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

The Custodianship of a Child and Jerusalem

Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

The Arguments over Jerusalem

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

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Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas warned the Israelis to not turn their long political fight into a religious war after Palestinian Arabs murdered Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue in November 2014. Remarkably sensitive words of consolation (?!) from a head of state.

Just a few months later, Abbas and the Jordanians submitted a 33-page report to UNESCO outlining that the battle for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount was specifically about religion.

The situation is completely farcical from the outset. Jordan, which had attacked the nascent state of Israel in 1948 and illegally seized and annexed the “West Bank” and eastern Jerusalem in a move not recognized by any country in the world, submitted the Old City of Jerusalem to UNESCO in 1981, a year after Israel declared the city its unified capital. How does a country with no standing submit a city in a foreign land for consideration to UNESCO? Who knows?! Perhaps Turkey should submit some sites in northern Cyprus to UNESCO as well. Or better yet, Russia should submit East Berlin, a city divided in war that no longer has a distinct separated entity anymore and is no longer occupied by foreign forces.

To add insult to injury and absurdity, the March 2015 Jordanian/Palestinian document was not a review of the current condition of the Old City of Jerusalem, a matter which might interest UNESCO as part of its officially stated mission. Instead, it was an attack on Jews and the Jewish State, exactly the opposite of what Abbas asked from Israel.

The report mentioned the word Jews and Jewish 44 times (and not favorably). It also introduced a bizarre set of words such as “Judaize” and “Judaization” which it used 22 times. Here’s a meaty example:

“They all reassure their rejection of the attempts to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque or any of its components by the Israeli Occupation Authorities, its various organs and the extreme Jewish organizations, which attempt interfering with its administration, preventing and disrupting Muslim worshippers from entering and praying, hampering its maintenance/renovation/repair, and attempts to befog the religious historic Muslim exclusive right and identification by forced use of un-Islamic names such as “The Temple Mount” as part of the Judaization policy enforced by the Israeli Occupation Power of the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

Wow! Now I’m really befogged!

In case you wondered, “Al-Aqsa” is mentioned 109 times compared to only three for the “Temple Mount,” and, as you might have guessed, those three were not positive. In this quote, the Jordanians and Palestinians dismiss the historical existence of the two Jewish Temples:

“… as 2010 approached, the Davidson Center was constructed and the site was turned into an active museum of the so-called “First Temple and Second Temple.

For the Jordanians and Palestinians, the issue isn’t as much about the sovereignty of the land of eastern Jerusalem as much as it is about enforcing a “Muslim exclusive right” to the Old City and the Temple Mount.


Judaism’s holiest site

When the United Nations adopts Muslim anti-Semitic propaganda and says nothing about stripping Jews of their holiest site, no one should be surprised when religious Christians and Jews and decent people everywhere say enough is enough.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Would You Rather Have Sovereignty or Control

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

Time for King Abdullah of Jordan to Denounce the Mourabitoun

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

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A Sofer at the Kotel

Jews around the world just finished reading the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, and promptly began to start the Bible again from the beginning. The time between finishing the public reading and recommencing the weekly recitation was only a few minutes. For Jews, the Bible is a living document that is always being read and learned. There is no “finishing” the Bible; just completing it and commencing again in rapid succession.

The holiday of completing the weekly Torah readings is called Simchat Torah, the Joy of the Bible. The Jewish religious denominations take different approaches to mark the holiday. Hasidic men may be seen dancing in circles with Torahs in the streets; many Reform Temples unfurl the entire Torah with men, women and children holding a section in a large circle. There is a common moment of celebration, but unique methods of celebrating.

With such thoughts about the recent holiday, it is time to advance a principle which is inscribed towards the end of the Pentateuch: to write a Torah.

Some biblical commentators believe that biblical commandment is only applicable to kings; others have said that the king need not actually write the Torah, but to own one. Still others have suggested that the commandment is for everyone to participate in the writing of the Torah, perhaps by paying a scribe, a sofer, to write one on their behalf.

This post is a proposal is to have a permanent sofer at the Western Wall, the Kotel, so everyone can participate in the mitzvah.

Background Issues

  1. Political. Discussions regarding Jerusalem, the Old City and the Kotel have been trapped in politics for many years. Who has or should have sovereignty and control is debated everywhere, with various advocates supporting Israel, the Palestinians, the Jordanian Waqf and the international community. Many leaders have sought to avoid the inherent religious nature of the location as they fear inflaming passions and violence among the three major monotheistic religions.
  2. Jewish Religious denominations. The Kotel plaza is currently caught in a fight within the various Jewish denominations. Recently, a dedicated space for non-Orthodox prayer has taken steps forwards-and-backwards, such as the expanded prayer area at Robinson’s Arch being approved and disapproved. The Jewish community outside of Israel (which is mostly non-Orthodox) has taken a sharply negative attitude towards Israel on this point, which is harmful on multiple levels to Israel and Jews worldwide.
  3. Education and performing a Mitzvah. Many people who come to the Kotel do not have a deep understanding of Judaism. They are foreigners who see an archaeological site caught in a political quagmire. Their visits often lack deeper religious engagement.
  4. Bridging the Israeli Ashkenazi and Sefaradi Communities. While the two communities often lead distinct lives, there is a chance for the two groups to create something together and forge a common bond, especially in Jerusalem.

The Opportunity

  1. Large Attendance. Jerusalem’s Old City – and the Kotel in particular – attracts millions of people a year. However, there has been no concerted attempt to actively engage the pilgrims and tourists in anything of religious or spiritual consequence. The plaza is simply an open space for pictures and pan-handlers.
  2. Spiritual Center. While the most sacred spot for Judaism is not the Kotel but the Temple Mount itself, it is the Kotel that has served as the religious symbol for Jews since the time of Suleiman I in the 1500s. While there is daily prayer at the Kotel, can there be more religious engagement?

Bar Mitzvah party entering the Old City of Jerusalem through Zion’s Gate
(photo: First.One.Through)

The Proposal

  1. Sofer at Kotel. The issues above can be addressed by adding a small building (about 47 feet wide) at the back of the Kotel plaza which would house a sofer who would write a Torah six days a week from 8:00am to 8:00pm. By giving a donation, visitors would be able to participate in the mitzvah of writing a Torah, as they observe the sofer write a word on their behalf.
  2. Ashkenazi and Sefardi approved. There would be both Ashekanzi and Sefardi sofers that would be approved by the chief rabbis of each group. The finished Torahs would alternate between being housed in an Ashkenazi and Sefaradi cases.
  3. One Sefer published each year. A Torah would be completed each year around Simchat Torah. The Kotel plaza would have a large celebration at the completion of the sefer.
  4. The World’s Gifts to Israel. The first two Torahs (first Sefaradi and second year Ashkenazi) would be housed at the Kotel itself. In future years, the Torahs would be sent around Israel to shuls, schools, hospitals and army bases.
  5. Everyone can participate. A woman from sherut leumi will welcome each participant in the entry room of the building, just outside of the sofer’s room. They will accept a donation of any sum from the visitor which will go towards the Kotel Torah effort. A pruta, or penny, will be enough to “purchase” a single letter in the Torah, and minimum donation levels for a word or a sentence. The participant will have the option of having a picture taken with the sofer, and having their name, city, and country be included among the thousands participating in the writing of the sefer Torah.
  6. The Sofer building. The building would not be very large. It would resemble an Ashkenazi Torah scroll viewed from above: narrow rectangular entry and exit room on either sides (each about 10’ by 16’) and a broader rectangle in the middle for the sofer which will have a large window providing natural light and for people to peer in. The roof with have a conical dome in the middle above the sofer’s room, to resemble a Sefardi Torah case when viewed from street level.
    1. The entry room will have materials for signing in, and a digital map showing where all of the participants for the current Torah have come from. Exhibits explaining how a Torah is written will be on the walls.
    2. The sofer’s room will have materials and the desk for the sofer, and room for a photographer to take pictures with the participants.
    3. The exit room will have materials related to restoring Torahs and digital tools like Sefaria and the Bar Ilan project.

Concern

Everything around the Kotel involves a global outcry. The United Nations has gone to such extreme and absurd levels that it has condemned Israel for mundane items like placing an umbrella in the Kotel Plaza. Placing a building at the back of the Plaza might generate similar protest, however, limiting its size may ameliorate some of the concerns, as well as not having any national flags atop the structure.

Conclusion

Bringing a sofer to the Kotel will hopefully allow all Jews to engage with the Judaism’s holiest space in a religious manner. Everyone would have a chance to perform the special mitzvah – even those with no knowledge of Hebrew and limited Jewish education. Participants will not only view the site from a physical and political basis, but also from a spiritual one.

For Israel, this can be a fence-mending opportunity. The global non-Orthodox community which feels disconnected from Israel and its Orthodox religious leaders will be able to stand in line and participate in writing the very same Torah as Orthodox Jews. This is a chance to open religion and the Kotel to everyone around the world.

There is a song that will be sung in a continuous loop at the building that houses the permanent sofer at the Kotel, words from the prophets Isaiah and Micha: “For the Torah shall come forth from Zion, and the words of God from Jerusalem.” Words that will hopefully bring unity to Jews around the world.

וְֽהָלְכ֞וּ גּוֹיִ֣ם רַבִּ֗ים וְאָֽמְרוּ֙ לְכ֣וּ ׀ וְנַעֲלֶ֣ה אֶל־הַר־יְהוָ֗ה וְאֶל־בֵּית֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יַעֲקֹ֔ב וְיוֹרֵ֙נוּ֙ מִדְּרָכָ֔יו וְנֵלְכָ֖ה בְּאֹֽרְחֹתָ֑יו כִּ֤י מִצִּיּוֹן֙ תֵּצֵ֣א תוֹרָ֔ה וּדְבַר־יְהוָ֖ה מִירוּשָׁלִָֽם׃

“And the many nations shall go and shall say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of the LORD, To the House of the God of Jacob; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Micha 4:2) (Isaiah 2:3)


Related First.One.Through articles:

Taking the Active Steps Towards Salvation

A Seder in Jerusalem with Liberal Friends

Here in United Jerusalem’s Jubilee Year

The Reform Movement’s Rick Jacobs Has no Understanding of Tolerance

The Jewish Holy Land

Today’s Inverted Chanukah: The Holiday of Rights in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria

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Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

Expulsion. Exclusion. Discrimination.

These are terrible actions, especially against civilians seeking to live and pray in their holiest city.

But they have been the reality in one of the great cities of the world – Jerusalem.

When the League of Nations (forerunner to the United Nations) sought to create space for Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land in 1922, it made clear that all parties should be free to live and worship according to their custom, as laid out in Article 15:

“The Mandatory shall see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, are ensured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.”

The United Nations tried to ensure that there would be freedom of access and worship when it took up the cause of Palestine in 1947. The UN planned on placing the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem into a “corpus separatum,” an international holy basin that would neither be part of a Jewish State of Israel, nor an Arab state of Palestine. While the Jewish Zionists accepted the plan, the Arabs rejected it and went to war to destroy Israel as soon as it declared itself an independent country in May 1948. By the war’s end in 1949, Jordan claimed all of Bethlehem and the eastern half of Jerusalem including Judaism’s holiest site, while Israel took the western half of Jerusalem.


The UN’s Corpus Separatum of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem

The Israelis gave citizenship to all 160,000 non-Jews in Israel, but the Jordanians instituted an ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the west bank of the Jordan River through eastern Jerusalem.

In April 1950, the Jordanians annexed the Old City of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the entirety in of the western bank of the Jordan River in a move that was not recognized by almost the entire world. The Arabs put up barbed wire and blockades and prevented any Jews from entering or visiting the Old City of Jerusalem including the holy sites of the Kotel, the Western Wall, and the Jewish Temple Mount.

In 1954, the Jordanians continued their discriminatory program and granted citizenship to the people of the west bank and eastern Jerusalem, specifically IF THEY WERE NOT JEWISH.

These Arab policies of expulsion, exclusion and discrimination would remain in effect until June 10, 1967.

Just as the Jordanians launched an attack on Israel in 1948, it would do so again in June 1967. And just as Israel won more land in its defensive battle of independence in 1948-9, it would take more of the land that had been allocated as a Jewish homeland in international law in 1922.

At the end of the Six Day War the Arab edicts of expulsion and exclusion were eradicated, and Jews once again moved into their holiest city, rebuilt the destroyed synagogues and resumed praying at the Kotel.

However, the stain of discrimination still exists in Jerusalem, as the government of Israel handed administrative control of the Jewish Temple Mount to the Jordanian Waqf in 1967 in an effort to forge peace. To this day, the Waqf continues to prohibit Jews from praying at Judaims’ holiest location.

While June 10, 1967 began the process of dismantling apartheid in Jerusalem, there is still some way to go.


The Kotel in the Old City of Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

The Three Camps of Ethnic Cleansing in the BDS Movement

The Many Lies of Jimmy Carter

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Joint Prayer: The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

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Iran’s New Favorite Jewish Scholars

It is no secret that Iran despises the Jewish State, with calls to annihilate the “cancer” that is Israel. Iran’s leadership also enjoys provoking the ire of Jews generally, as it puts on exhibitions of Holocaust cartoons. To add to the insults, the Iranian media loves to showcase Jews that bash the Jewish State. It’s a spectacle for the Coliseum.

Press TV is a 24-hour English language news organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, with headquarters in Tehran. The Iranian news organization’s favorite Jewish group for many stories is the Neturei Karta, an extremist anti-Zionist religious group that can be counted as featured speakers in stories about the Iranian nuclear deal, Palestinian rights and Holocaust revisionist history. What better way to convince people that Jews are evil, colonialist, parasitic liars than having Jews make such statements themselves?

In December 2017, Press TV found a new group of Jewish scholars to feature in its Israel bashing stories. In an article entitled “100 Jewish studies scholars sign petition condemning Trump’s declaration,” Press TV reviewed a petition signed by over 100 Jewish university scholars that denounced US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and his decision to relocate the US embassy to the city. The news site quoted the petition almost in its entirety, it was that rich for the Iranian government.  Below is the scholars’ statement (not the Iranian government’s) with fact-checking inserted after each paragraph.

“We write as Jewish Studies scholars to express our dismay at the Trump administration’s decision to reverse decades of bipartisan U.S. policy by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and authorizing the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, outside of a negotiated political framework that ends the legal state of occupation and ensures respect for the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to Jerusalem.”

  • reverse decades of bipartisan U.S. policy.” The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 was passed with bipartisan Congressional support and specifically made clear that: 1) Jerusalem should be an undivided city; 2) it should be the capital of Israel; and 3) the US should move its embassy to Jerusalem. The Act’s presidential waiver allowing for a deferral every six months only related to moving the embassy to Jerusalem and providing such funding. The recognition of Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel passed with bipartisan support in 1995 – the opposite of what the statement claimed.
  • outside of a negotiated political framework that ends the legal state of occupation” The “political framework “is to arrive at a peaceful resolution to the disputed land by mutual agreement. The statement’s language about occupation and rights makes it appear that 1) there are no rights currently; 2) the entire peace process is just about those issues; and 3) that recognizing Israel’s capital undermines any of those discussions. All false.

“Jerusalem is of immense religious and thus emotional significance to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. It is the focus of national aspirations for both Israelis and Palestinians. We hope one day to see a world in which all inhabitants of the land enjoy equal access to the city’s cultural and material resources. Today, unfortunately, that is not the case.”

  • immense religious and thus emotional significance to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike.One would imagine that Jewish scholars would have a basic understanding that Jews, Muslims and Christians are not “alike” in their attachment to Jerusalem. Only Judaism reveres the city as its holiest location. That Jewish scholars could write such a statement – happily repeated by Israel’s enemies – is outrageous and dangerous.
  • We hope one day to see a world in which all inhabitants of the land enjoy equal access” It has only been under Israel that people have had equal access to Jerusalem. When the Arabs ruled the eastern part of the city from 1949-1967, they evicted and banned all Jews. When Israel reunited the city, it offered Israeli citizenship to any Arab that wanted it – and continues to extend such offer to this day. Quite different that Jordanians that denied citizenship to any Jews in the city. Further, the growth of the Arab population in Jerusalem surpasses the growth of Jews in the city. The “hope” of the scholars is the reality today- under Israeli rule.

“As the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem* has documented, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem endure systematic inequalities, including an inequitable distribution of the city’s budget and municipal services, routine denial of building permits that are granted to Jewish residents, home demolitions, and legal confiscation of property for Jewish settlement. In addition, Palestinians in the West Bank, unlike Jewish Israelis resident in that territory, require a special permit to visit Jerusalem’s holy sites.”

  • inequitable distribution of the city’s budget and municipal services, routine denial of building permits that are granted to Jewish residents” All Israelis – both Jewish and not Jewish – have their building permits go through the same approval processes. Some permits are approved and some are not. Under-investment in some predominantly Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem is a function of many factors, and something that the current mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat has been trying to address, but he faces constant opposition from the United Nations to make such investments. How do Israel’s critics not feel the least bit of hypocrisy as they both demand that Israel invest in Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, while also demanding that Israel abandon eastern Jerusalem altogether?
  • Palestinians in the West Bank, unlike Jewish Israelis resident in that territory, require a special permit to visit Jerusalem’s holy sites.” All citizens of Israel go through the same process of entering Jerusalem. Non-citizens must go through border control to enter anywhere in Israel, whether holy sites in Jerusalem or elsewhere. But they do have access and travel to Jerusalem’s holy sites every day – something that Jews were unable to do when Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs ruled the Old City illegally.

“In this context, a declaration from the United States government that appears to endorse sole Jewish proprietorship over Jerusalem adds insult to ongoing injury and is practically guaranteed to fan the flames of violence. We therefore call on the U.S. government to take immediate steps to deescalate the tensions resulting from the President’s declaration and to clarify Palestinians’ legitimate stake in the future of Jerusalem.

  • sole Jewish proprietorship over Jerusalem”  Are these scholars deliberately trying to be provocative? Israel has sovereignty over Jerusalem. It is a country that has a mix of Jews (75%) and non-Jews (25%), one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the entire Middle East. Israel has allowed the Jordanian Waqf to administer the Jewish Temple Mount since the country reunited the city in 1967. How do the scholars write “sole Jewish propriertorship” for an ethnically diverse country having sovereignty over a city in which it has allowed a Muslim Waqf to administer the Temple Mount, which denies the rights of Jews to pray at the site?
  • Palestinians’ legitimate stake in the future of Jerusalem.” What makes the Palestinian claim on Jerusalem legitimate? Do they have a legitimate claim on Jaffa? On Nazareth? The Israelis and Palestinian Authority will decide between themselves what kind of settlement makes sense. Do these scholars think that the US should not recognize any city in Israel or the State of Israel itself until it recognizes a State of Palestine?

The Iranian government has found new Jewish friends willing to publicly undermine Israel. And for Iran, these Jews have the added value of looking like hippy college professors as opposed to the black hat Neturei Karta rabbis.

Rabbi Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus (left), one of the petition’s signatories, member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, which supports BDS and the dismantling
of any Jewish privileges in Israel (like a Jewish star on the Israeli flag); and


Terri Ginsberg (right), who currently teaches at the American University of Cairo (she signed the petition as x-Dartmouth) who also blogs for the vi
rulently anti-Israel sites Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada

Just because the scholars don’t dress in a radical fashion, does not necessarily mean that their actions and statements aren’t extreme.

The petition ends with a request for comments to be sent to jewishstudiesstatement@gmail.com for rabbis that may or may not be on the list accidentally. Perhaps they would be interested in general comments as well.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Custodianship of a Child and Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

Today’s Inverted Chanukah: The Holiday of Rights in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The Battle for Jerusalem

Jerusalem, and a review of the sad state of divided capitals in the world

Is Your Capital Central to Your Country?

Corpus Separatum Ended Forever in 1995

The US Recognizes Israel’s Reality

A Response to Rashid Khalidi’s Distortions on the Balfour Declaration

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

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The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

On December 6, 2017, on the eve of President Donald Trump recognizing that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the New York Times decided to give its readers a primer on #FakeHistory.

The article entitled “The Current Conflict in Jerusalem Is Distinctly Modern,” gave a 100-year history that not only omitted important facts, it told a story that was an inversion of truth. Specifically:

  • The NYT led readers to believe that Jerusalem was an Arab city and that Jews recently began to immigrate there, when IN FACT, Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem since the 1860s
  • The NYT led readers to conclude that Jerusalem has never been important to Jews, and that it is just a recent phenomenon of right-wing Zionists, when IN FACT, Jerusalem has been central to Judaism for 3000 years for all Jews
  • The NYT will talk about the “corpus separatum” of the 1947 partition plan, but only refer to Jerusalem, when IN FACT, the Holy Basin referred to Greater Bethlehem and Greater Jerusalem, and Israel gave control of Bethlehem to the Palestinians 20 years ago

Below are some details highlighting the liberal rag’s distortions.

The Myth of Colonial Fingerprints

The lead-in to the article began to orient the reader about distinct 20th century aspects to the current conflict surrounding Jerusalem. It stated:

“the current one is a distinctly 20th century story, with roots in colonialism, nationalism and antisemitism.”

How was the story of Jerusalem remotely one of colonialism? Several international powers broke up the Ottoman Empire after its collapse; was Syria a French colonial enterprise? Read more in “Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies.

The article would go on to describe the nationalism of “religious settlers,” but never touch upon the deep antisemitism pervasive in Palestinian culture and actions.

Jewish Majority in Jerusalem for 150 Years

The article repeated long-standing #FakeNews by anti-Zionists that Jews were new-comers to Jerusalem, invading an Arab city:

“The three decades of British rule that followed Allenby’s march on Jerusalem saw an influx of Jewish settlers drawn by the Zionist vision of a Jewish homeland, while the local Arab population adjusted to the reality of the collapsed Ottoman Empire, which had ruled the city since 1517…. For Arabs, he said: ‘There was something of the shock at not being in the Ottoman Empire. There was a reordering of their society. The local Palestinian aristocracy, the big families of Jerusalem, emerged as leaders of the Palestinian national movement, which was suddenly being confronted by Jewish migration. Opposition to that migration fueled several deadly riots by Palestinians…‘”

This is an outrageous lie. The Times would have readers believe that there was an Arab majority in Jerusalem for 400 years. These “local Arabs” watched helplessly as the British allowed these foreigners to take over their city.

There were various demographic studies taken of Jerusalem for the past few centuries. They all agree that Jews have been a majority in the city since at least 1870, with the percentage growing well before the British took over in 1922.

Jerusalem population statistics from the JewishVirtualLibrary, which compiled statistics from a variety of places:

Year
Jews
Arabs/Muslims
Christians/Other
Total
1844
7,120
5,000
3,390
15,510
1876
12,000
7,560
5,470
25,030
1896
28,112
8,560
8,748
45,420
1922
33,971
13,411
4,699
52,081
1931
51,222
19,894
19,335
90,451
1948
100,000
40,000
25,000
165,000
1967
195,700
54,963
12,646
263,309
1987
340,000
121,000
14,000
475,000

From IsraelPalestinian.procon.org which also compiled data from various British censuses.

Year
Jews
Arabs/Muslims
Christians/Other
Total
1910
45,000
12,000
12,900
69,900
1922
34,000
13,500
14,600
62,500
1931
51,000
19,900
19,300
90,500
1946
99,300
33,700
31,400
164,400
1967
196,800
58,100
12,900
267,800
1972
261,100
74,400
11,800
347,300
1983
346,700
112,100
13,900
472,700
1995
486,600
171,700
13,900
672,2000

Jerusalem and Its Environs: Quarters, Neighborhoods, Villages, 1800-1948 by Ruth Kark, Michal Oren-Nordheim detailed the growth of Jews in Jerusalem after the Crimean War.

Year
Jews
Arabs/Muslims
Christians/Other
Total
1866
8,000
4,000
4,000
16,000
1887
28,000
7,560
7,070
42,630
1913
48,400
10,050
16,750
90,500
1931
51,222
19,894
19,335
90,503
1945
97,000
30,630
29,350
157,080

Regardless of the source of information, Jews were clearly the dominant religious group in Jerusalem for as much as 30 years before the first Zionist Congress, and 50 years before the Balfour Declaration. To state that the Jews were interlopers into an Arab city is patently false and a complete inversion of history and fact.

This is part of an ongoing false narrative that the New York Times gives its readers even regarding current events. For a despicable example, read “The New York Times will Keep on Telling You: Jews are not Native to Israel,” in which every Israeli – even those whose parents and grandparents were born in Israel – was described as a foreigner, while every Arab was described as a local.

The 1947 Partition Plan Included Bethlehem

The Times continued to go over history, touching upon the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

“After the war, in 1947, the United Nations approved a partition plan that provided for two states – one Jewish, one Arab – with Jerusalem governed by a ‘special international regime’ owing to its unique status. The Arabs rejected the partition plan,… Jerusalem was divided: The western half became part of the new state of Israel (and its capital under an Israeli law passed in 1950), while the eastern half, including the Old City, was occupied by Jordan.”

The Times will forever refuse to correctly state that the Holy Basin in the partition plan was much larger than just Jerusalem, and included Greater Bethlehem.


The “corpus separatum” of the 1947 UN Partition Plan

Israel handed control of Bethlehem to the Palestinian Authority in December 1995 as part of launching the Oslo Accords with some tangible results. That concession of handing over half of the corpus separatum is never mentioned by the Times.

The Crimes of Jordan

The fact that Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank, the eastern half of Jerusalem and Bethlehem were not sanctioned by the international community is NEVER mentioned, while the world’s opinion about Israel’s taking of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem is ALWAYS mentioned.

The fact that Jordan evicted all of the Jews from the eastern half of Jerusalem and the West Bank is NEVER mentioned.

The fact that Jordan gave citizenship to all Arabs in the newly acquired territories but specifically excluded Jews is NEVER mentioned.

Because for the Times, the problem is the Jews.

The Lie that Israel Doesn’t Care about Jerusalem

Throughout the article, the Times sought to portray Israeli Jews as ambivalent about Jerusalem as a capital city:

  • It was the for the British that Jerusalem was so important – they are the ones who established Jerusalem as a capital… It was not anyone’s capital since the times of the First and Second Temple.”
  • “Paradoxically, Zionism recoiled from Jerusalem, particularly the Old City,.. first because Jerusalem was regarded as a symbol of the diaspora, and second because the holy sites to Christianity and Islam were seen as complications that would not enable the creation of a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
  • Jerusalem was something of a backwater, a regression to a conservative culture that they [early Zionists] were trying to move away from,”
  • “The early Israeli state was hesitant to focus too much on Jerusalem, given pressure from the United Nations and European powers,”
  • “Having accepted the idea of international control of Jerusalem, the early Israeli leadership sought alternatives for a capital, perhaps Herzliya or somewhere in the south,”

Get the message? Israel really was never focused on Jerusalem until the 1967 war, according the Times.

But how does that warped narrative fit into the following facts:

  • Jews moved to Jerusalem both before and after the British Mandate took effect in remarkable numbers, as detailed above
  • The Israeli national anthem, written in 1877, was focused completely on Jerusalem.
  • Israel made Jerusalem its capital shortly after the war of independence concluded, in 1950. It placed all of its governmental buildings there.

All of these facts about the early Zionists also doesn’t include the facts that Jews have always faced Jerusalem when they pray, regardless of where they are in the world. They pray for the return to Jerusalem and the reestablishment of the city to its former glory, several times a day.

How does the Times spew the absurd notion that Jerusalem is a novel idea to Israeli Jews?

Jerusalem is Important to All Jews, Not Jewish Extremists

The Times narrative continued that this once irrelevant city all of the sudden jumped into the minds of religious extremists after the Six Day War in 1967.

  • The turning points in 1967 were two: the great victory, including the fast shift from fears of defeat before the war to euphoria and the feeling that everything was possible, and the emotional impact of occupying the Old City…. Images of Israeli soldiers praying at the Western Wall… became seared into Israel’s national consciousness.”
  • “Jerusalem became the center of a cultlike devotion that had not really existed previously…. This has now been fetishized to an extraordinary degree as hard-line religious nationalism,”
  • “The victory of the right-leaning party Likud in 1977… helped solidify this new emphasis on Jerusalem as integral to Israel’s identity. Religious settlers became more prominent in political life in Israel,”
  • “As part of this shift, Jerusalem’s symbolic importance intensified,”

It is unquestionably true that many religious Jews flocked to Jerusalem. They have been doing so for thousands of years because it is the most holy city in Judaism. They are not “right-leaning” or “religious settlers.” They are people who came to live in their holiest city.

As further evidence of the long-standing importance of Jerusalem to the entire country – even the “secular European socialists” that the article highlighted – was Israel’s adoption of a particular menorah as its national emblem in 1949: the one that was pictured in the Arch of Titus in Rome. That menorah symbolized the ransacking and destruction of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem 2000 years earlier. The deliberate selection of that menorah as the symbol of the Jewish State of Israel was to show that the Jews had returned from the diaspora, to its sacred land and holiest city, Jerusalem.

Today, the entire Jewish people continue to be engaged about Jerusalem. The current controversy surrounding creating a pluralistic place for prayer at the Western Wall is because of the strong interest of Reform and Conservative Jews for Jerusalem. The notion that the city is only important to “cultlike… religious settlers” is absurd.

Jews Belong in Eastern Jerusalem

The Times continued its horrific background by concluding that Jews have no rights to be in the eastern part of the city:

  • “Palestinians say that Jewish settlers have encroached on East Jerusalem,”
  • “‘The entire international community has been in accord that Israeli annexation and settlement of East Jerusalem since 1967 is illegal, and refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,'”

As the Times never explained to readers that all of the Jews were evicted by the Jordanians in 1949, it made their appearance in the eastern half of the city seem strange and foreign. It is not. Jews returned to parts of their holiest city where they lived for centuries.

The Times also did not give background to the international laws of 1920 (San Remo) and 1922 (Mandate of Palestine), which both clearly and explicitly stated that Jews could live throughout Palestine – including the Old City of Jerusalem – and that no person could be excluded from living anywhere in the land due to religious beliefs.

No matter. The paper chose to quote anti-Zionists. It is surprising that it did not state that Zionism is a form of Racism.

Oh, and for those keeping score that Israel limits Arabs in Jerusalem, look at the statistics above again. Under the British from 1922 to 1948, the number of Jews and Arabs BOTH went up by three times. From 1967 to 1995, the number of Arabs in Jerusalem under Israeli rule tripled again, while the number of Jews only went up by 2.5 times. How does the Times keep giving people the impression that Jews overran the Arabs during British rule (when both groups grew by the same percentage) and that Israel has been forcing out the Arabs from Jerusalem (even though the growth of Arab residents surpasses Jews!)


As the world waited for the United States to recognize the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the New York Times fed its readers anti-Zionist red meat. It crafted an article that Jews never much cared for the Arab city of Jerusalem until 50 years ago, and that the only Jews who really care about it now are religious fanatics. The masters of #FakeNews are trying their best to instigate a jihad.


Related First.One.Through articles:

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

The Anger from the Zionist Center

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The Custodianship of a Child and Jerusalem

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Arabs in Jerusalem

Music video: The Anthem of Israel is Jerusalem

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Would You Rather Have Sovereignty or Control

The “Would you rather…” game has been played by young children, adults and seniors around the world. People in the game have a question poised between two seemingly comparable good or bad choices and must decide which is more appealing. The games can be funny or revealing about how people think. Examples include:

  • Would you rather be locked in a steam room for an hour or a walk-in refrigerator for 20 minutes?
  • Would you rather have to brush your teeth with peanut butter or wash your hair with prune juice?
  • Would you rather know the day you are going to die or the cause?
  • Would you rather give up your mobile phone for a day or drinking anything for two days?

The game can reveal something about an individual’s fears, preferences and priorities.

In February 2017, a group from the University of North Carolina, Florida State University and University of Queensland published a study in which they asked the study participants a series of “Would you rather…” questions to test how they valued their reputations. The study was entitled “Death Before Dishonor,” and produced interesting findings as to the lengths that people would go through (theoretically) to avoid being branded as a bad person. (A sample question was would you rather die immediately or live to 90 but be known as a pedophile?) The study concluded that people treated their reputations very seriously – to the point of death or dismemberment – or at least wanted the test-takers to believe that they were not terrible people.

Professional negotiators dabble with such “would you rather” tactics in particularly difficult negotiations, posing questions to the two parties which might reveal where they stand on seemingly intractable situations.

Consider the thorniest question in the long-running Arab-Israeli conflict: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

How would the Israelis and Palestinian Authority each respond to the question: Would you rather have sovereignty over the Temple Mount/ Noble Sanctuary or have control over it?

One scenario would have the Temple Mount be under complete Israeli sovereignty, but the Palestinian Authority would have administrative control over the 35 acre compound. For example, the PA could decide to restrict access to the compound only to Muslims, but an Israeli flag would be flying over the Dome of the Rock.

The other scenario would have the Temple Mount be part of a new country of Palestine. However, Israel would administer the site, and could open the platform to daily Jewish prayer services.

Each party would need to decide the critical rationale as to why it wants the site. Is it about religion (which would argue to have administrative control), or about national pride (which would argue for sovereignty).

If each party arrives at the same answer for the Temple Mount, an extra level of complexity would be added: the two sides would have to live with the opposite conclusion for the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. So if the Temple Mount became part of Palestine, and the Jews had complete administrative control over the site, the Cave of the Patriarchs would therefore be part of Israel, but under Palestinian administration.

The two parties might still come to the same conclusions so the impasse remains. But even though the situation is unresolved, there is better clarity as to the motivations of the parties, which could, in turn, bring additional strategies to resolve the situation.

Something to consider on the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Partition Plan.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Joint Prayer: The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

The US State Department’s Selective Preference of “Status Quos”

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Al Jazeera’s Lies Call for Jihad Against the Jewish State

Al Jazeera is a media company owned by the government of Qatar. It has been actively fanning the flames of hatred and violence in the Israel-Arab conflict, most notably, during the July 2017 tensions around the Jewish Temple Mount/ al Aqsa Mosque Compound.

The quotes below are from Al Jazeera’s website covering the background and story, followed by comments by First.One.Through. In summary, it is a tale of revisionist history in which Jews are European colonialist who have been stealing Palestinian Arab land for 100 years, and are now poised to continue their illegal activity by taking over Islam’s third holiest site. Unless the Arab world does something.


“The last couple of weeks have seen daily demonstrations and confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“Tensions have risen in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City after Israel shut down al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the first time since 1969, after a deadly gun battle between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli forces.”

  • occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.Israel reunified the city of Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed the eastern half of the city in 1980. It does not consider there to be an “East Jerusalem” which was an artifact of war waged by Arab countries in 1948.
  • al-Aqsa Mosque compound.” No mention that the site is the holiest location for Jews, the Jewish Temple Mount.
  • deadly gun battleDescribing the event as a gun battle between “Palestinian citizens” on one hand and “Israeli forces” on the other is a complete mischaracterization. This was an unprovoked attack by Israeli Arabs on Israeli policemen.
  • Palestinian citizens of IsraelRoughly 20% of Israelis are Arab, and are called Israeli Arabs. They are not “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” which would imply dual citizenship with a country called Palestine and Israel.

“The attack, which took place on July 14, ended in the deaths of two Israeli police officers and three Palestinian attackers. Israel subsequently closed the site for Friday prayers and reopened it the next Sunday with new measures of control, including metal detectors and additional cameras, at the compound’s entrances.”

  • ended in the deaths of two Israeli police officers and three Palestinian attackersAgain, there is no mention that the Israeli Arabs launched the unprovoked attack, and that the attackers were not Palestinian but Israeli Arabs.
  • measures of controlThe Israeli forces installed security measures, not of control. The choice of language of “control” is an attempt to enflame the ire of Palestinian Arabs.

“Palestinians have been refusing to enter the compound until Israel removes the new measures, which are being seen as the latest move by Israel to impose control and Judaise the city. They have been praying outside the gates in protest for more than a week.”

  • impose control and Judaise the cityAdding to the mischaracterization and seeking to inflame the passions of Muslims, Al Jazeera continued that not only was Israel seeking to “impose control,” but it was seeking to eliminate the Islamic presence at the compound. Al Jazeera turned the episode into a religious war, in which the Jewish State was trying to insert a false history on a purely Islamic holy place. Al Jazeera was both being completely deceitful and actively engaged in promoting a violent jihad.

“During Friday prayers on July 21, thousands of Palestinians came out to pray in the streets outside of Lion’s Gate, one of the entrances to the Old City. Tensions raged after peaceful demonstrations were violently suppressed by Israeli forces, resulting in hundreds of injuries. Four Palestinians have so far been shot dead in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, one of whom was shot by an Israeli settler.”

  • peaceful demonstrations were violently suppressed by Israeli forces As Al Jazeera did earlier in the article, it mischaracterized the Arabs as peaceful citizens confronted by Israeli forces. As before, there was no mention of horrific violence perpetrated by Palestinian Arabs, such as the murder of three Israeli Jews who were quietly having dinner in the town of Halamish on July 21.

“The following is a breakdown of why the al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a constant point of contention in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

1. What is al-Aqsa Mosque compound and why is it important?

Al-Aqsa is the name of the silver-domed mosque inside a 35-acre compound referred to as al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, by Muslims, and as Temple Mount by Jews. The compound lies in the Old City of Jerusalem, which has been designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, and is important to the three Abrahamic religions.

  • important to the three Abrahamic religionsbut the holiest location only for one: Judaism. Muslims venerate the cities of Mecca and Medina more than the Noble Sanctuary.

“The site has been the most contested piece of territory in the Holy Land since Israel occupied East Jerusalem, including the Old City, in 1967, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, the conflict dates even further back, to before the creation of Israel.

In 1947, the UN drew up a partition plan to separate historic Palestine, then under British control, into two states: one for Jews, mainly from Europe, and one for Palestinians. The Jewish state was designated as 55 percent of the land, and the remaining 45 percent was for a Palestinian state.”

  • mainly from Europe is a dog whistle for people to consider Jews as interlopers and colonialists from Europe. It is a farce. Jewish history in Jerusalem predates the birth of Mohammed by thousands of years. Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem since the 1860s. And most of the Jews in the world lived in Russia and the Arab world in 1947.
  • Palestinians in 1947 meant both Jews and Arabs. Palestinians co-opted the word to only mean Arabs when they created the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1964, to make the Arabs appear as the indigenous population of the land.

Jerusalem, which houses al-Aqsa compound, belonged to the international community under the administration of the UN. It was granted this special status for its importance to the three Abrahamic religions.”

  • Jerusalem was not the only area that was suggested by the UN to be a “corpus separatum,” a distinct entity to be administered by the UN. It was GREATER JERUSALEM AND GREATER BETHLEHEM that was proposed to be the international Holy Basin. Al Jazeera deliberately omitted mentioning Bethlehem, as Israel has handed it to the Palestinian Authority and does not want to make the PA’s administration of that city a question.
  • belonged to the international communityNothing belonged to the international community. The 1947 partition plan was a proposal – and it was roundly rejected by the Arab world. Al Jazeera omits the Arab world’s rejection completely.

“The first Arab-Israeli war broke out in 1948 after Israel declared statehood, capturing some 78 percent of the land, with the remaining areas of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza coming under Egyptian and Jordanian control.”

  • war broke out.” The 1948 war did not “break out” on its own; five armies from surrounding Arab countries invaded Israel with a stated goal of destroying the fledgling country.
  • capturing some 78 percent of the land.” Israel did not capture 78% of the land; it ended up with 78% of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. This was a small fraction of the land that was ascribed in international law in 1920 to be the homeland of the Jews. The vast majority of the land was given away by Great Britain to the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan.

“Israel’s increasing encroachment on the land intensified in 1967, after the second Arab-Israeli war, which resulted in the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, and eventually the illegal Israeli annexation of Jerusalem, including the Old City and al-Aqsa.”

  • increasing encroachment on the land…. Illegal Israeli annexation of Jerusalem This is a complete distortion in multiple levels. First, the entirety of the land was proposed to be made as a homeland for Jews according to international law. Second, the incremental land beyond the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan that Israel took in 1948 and 1967 were both as a result of DEFENSIVE WARS. Israel was invaded by five countries in 1948 and took incremental land that did not belong to any nation, and in 1967 it responded to an attack by the Jordanian army and took the land that the Jordanians themselves had illegally annexed.
  • In recounting the history of Jerusalem, Al Jazeera omits that Jordan illegally annexed the West Bank of the Jordan River including eastern Jerusalem, and evicted all of the Jews.

“The illegal Israeli control of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, violates several principles of international law, which outlines that an occupying power does not have sovereignty in the territory it occupies.”

  • violates several principles of international law. As described above, Israel took land that had been allocated to it by international law, in a defensive battle. This does not run afoul of international law. However, the Jordanian action of expelling all Jews from the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem in 1949 is contrary to the Geneva Convention.

“Over the years, the Israeli government has taken further steps towards controlling and Judaising the Old City and East Jerusalem as a whole. In 1980, Israel passed a law that declared Jerusalem the “complete and united” capital of Israel, in violation of international law. Today, no country in the world recognises Israel’s ownership of Jerusalem or its attempts to change the geography and demographic makeup of the city.”

  • controlling and Judaising the Old City and East Jerusalem.” As detailed above, Al Jazeera seeks to inflame the Muslim world against the Jewish state by using language like “controlling and Judaising the Old City and East Jerusalem.” It does this by ignoring the 3700 year history of Jews in Jerusalem and the unique relationship that only Jews have towards the city, such as being the only people that pray towards Jerusalem and make pilgrimages three times a year to the city. Further, Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem since the 1860s.
  • no country in the world recognises Israel’s ownership of Jerusalem.The Oslo II accords between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority recognized Israel’s control of Jerusalem, as did the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan.

“Palestinians in Jerusalem, who number around 400,000, hold only permanent residency status, not citizenship, despite being born there – in contrast with Jews who are born in the city. And since 1967, Israel has embarked on a quiet deportation of the city’s Palestinians by imposing difficult conditions for them to maintain their residency status.”

  • hold only permanent residency status, not citizenshipPalestinians in Jerusalem are free to apply for Israeli citizenship and thousands have already done so.
  • Israel has embarked on a quiet deportation of the city’s Palestinians.” The growth in the number of Arabs in Jerusalem surpasses the number of Jews and surpasses the growth of Arabs in almost the entire region.

“Israel has also built at least 12 fortified Jewish-only illegal settlements in East Jerusalem, housing some 200,000 Israelis, while rejecting Palestinian building permits and demolishing their homes as punishment for building illegally.”

  • Israel… built… Jewish-only illegal settlements…, while demolishing [Palestinian] homes as punishment for building illegally.” Al Jazeera played cute – and inconsistently – with the term “illegal.” It contended that Israel builds for Jews illegally but demolishes Arab illegal homes. In truth, Israel demolishes both Jewish and Arab homes that are built illegally according to Israeli law. It is Israel that is in charge with approving permits in its territories. The Jewish “illegal settlements” that Al Jazeera referenced are not illegal under Israeli law, but considered so by some countries.
  • The real racist laws related to living in Jerusalem are from the Palestinian Authority, which demands a country free of any and all Jews. Not mentioned by Al Jazeera.

“2. The compound’s religious significance

For Muslims, the Noble Sanctuary hosts Islam’s third holiest site, the al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock, a seventh-century structure believed to be where the Islamic Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Jews believe the compound is where the Biblical Jewish temples once stood, but Jewish law and the Israeli Rabbinate forbid Jews from entering the compound and praying there, as it is considered too holy to tread upon.”

  • Islam’s third holiest site It is worth noting that Al Jazeera knows how to count and the importance of ranking as it wrote that compound is Muslims THIRD holiest site. However, it deliberately did not mention that it is the HOLIEST SITE FOR JEWS! No accident.
  • Jewish law and the Israeli Rabbinate forbid Jews from entering the compound and praying there Jews prayed on the Temple Mount until they were kicked off by Suleiman I around the year 1560. Almost all rabbis believe that it is permissible to ascend the Temple Mount, but should avoid entering the Dome of the Rock which was built on top of the location of the Temples. Did Al Jazeera mention that every Jew in the world prays in the direction of the Temple Mount while all Muslims pray in the direction of Medina? No, that would undermine its argument that the site is uniquely the holiest spot for Jews.

“The compound’s Western Wall, known as the Wailing Wall to Jews, is believed to be the last remnant of the Second Temple, while Muslims refer to it as al-Buraq Wall and believe it is where the Prophet Muhammad tied the Buraq, an animal upon which he ascended to the sky and spoke to God.”

  • believed to be the last remnant of the Second Temple The Western Wall is simply the retaining wall for the Temple Mount built by King Herod 2,000 years ago. It is NOT part of the Second Temple itself.

3. The site’s status quo

Since 1967,Jordan and Israel agreed that the Waqf, or the Islamic trust, would have control over matters inside the compound, while Israel would control external security. Non-Muslims would be allowed onto the site during visiting hours, but would not be allowed to pray there.

  • Waqf… would have control… inside, while Israel would control external security The agreement was that the Waqf would handle non-security matters while Israel would handle all security matters – inside and outside of the compound.

“But rising Temple movements, such as the Temple Mount Faithful and the Temple Institute, have challenged the Israeli government’s ban on allowing Jews to enter the compound, and they aim to rebuild the Third Jewish Temple in the compound.”

  • aim to rebuild the Third Jewish TempleThe goals of most of the Temple Mount activists are the basic ability to pray at their holiest site, not to rebuild the Temple nor destroy any Muslim sites. Al Jazeera’s statement is deliberately provocative.

“Such groups are funded by members of the Israeli government, though it claims a desire to maintain the status quo at the site.”

  • funded by members of the Israeli government The groups are NOT funded by the government but by individuals.

“Today, Israeli forces routinely allow groups, some in the hundreds, of Jewish settlers who live in the occupied Palestinian territories to descend on the al-Aqsa compound under police and army protection, stirring Palestinian fears of an Israeli takeover of the compound.”

  • Jewish settlers who live in the occupied Palestinian territories There are basic visiting hours established for non-Muslims to visit the Temple Mount, as has been the case for centuries. There is no BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against allowing visitors because of where they live – as it should be.
  • under police and army protectionThe police and army protection because the Waqf has allowed “Mouraboutin” gangs of men and women to harass and attack Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount.
  • stirring Palestinian fears of an Israeli takeoverAl Jazeera’s distorted narrative has led Palestinians to fear an Israeli destruction of al Aqsa, inverting the facts.

“In 1990, the Temple Mount Faithful declared it would lay a cornerstone for the Third Temple in place of the Dome of the Rock, leading to riots and a massacre in which 20 Palestinians were killed by Israeli police.

In 2000, Israeli politician Ariel Sharon entered the holy site accompanied by some 1,000 Israeli police, deliberately reiterating Israeli claims to the contested area in light of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s US-brokered peace negotiations with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, which included discussions on how the two sides could share Jerusalem. Sharon’s entrance to the compound unleashed the Second Intifada, in which more than 3,000 Palestinians and some 1,000 Israelis were killed.

And most recently in May, the Israeli cabinet held its weekly meeting in tunnels below al-Aqsa Mosque, on the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, “to mark the liberation and unification of Jerusalem” – a move that infuriated Palestinians.”

  • Al Jazeera cherry-picks three incidents over 27 years to lead people to believe that there is Israeli action to takeover the Temple Mount and build a Third Jewish Temple. It does not post any history of Israeli laws protecting Islamic holy sites. It does not mention that the Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount during regular visiting hours and never entered the al Aqsa Mosque and that the Second Intifada was launched by Arafat (fungus be upon him) because he could not bring himself to the necessary compromises to conclude a peace deal.

“Israel already restricts Palestinian entry into the compound through several methods, including the separation wall, built in the early 2000s, which restricts the entry of Palestinians from the West Bank into Israel.”

  • the separation wall, built in the early 2000s The Security Barrier was built by Israel in reaction to the horrific violence from Palestinians against Israeli citizens in the Second Intifada unleashed by Arafat (fungus be upon him). Al Jazeera called it a “separation wall” to make it appear that Israel is trying to cut off access to al Aqsa. Untrue.

“Of the three million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, only those over a certain age limit are allowed access to Jerusalem on Fridays, while others must apply for a hard-to-obtain permit from Israeli authorities. The restrictions already cause serious congestion and tension at checkpoints between the West Bank and Jerusalem, where tens of thousands must pass through security checks to enter Jerusalem to pray.”

  • pass through security checks As described above, it has long been established in agreements and law that Israel handles security. Added measures are taken when there is violence.

“The latest measures, including the new metal detectors, are seen by Palestinians as part of Israel’s efforts to impose further control on the site, and are a violation of the freedom to worship, protected under international law, according to experts.”

  • violation of the freedom to worship The only true violation to the freedom of worship and basic human rights is the denial of Jewish prayer at their holiest site.

“President Mahmoud Abbas recently announced that the Palestinian leadership had frozen all contact with Israel due to the growing tensions at al-Aqsa compound, saying relations would not resume until Israel removed all security measures.”

  • Israel removed all security measures Abbas wanted the INCREMENTAL security items removed, not ALL security measures. This is not a purge of Israeli security control over the Temple Mount which is the established agreed upon status quo.

4. Recent tensions

Tensions have been simmering near al-Aqsa for the past two years. In 2015, clashes broke out after hundreds of Jews tried to enter the mosque complex to commemorate a Jewish holiday.”

  • clashes broke outPalestinian Arabs rioted and went on a rampage to kill Jews; clashes didn’t simply break out of the thin air. Arab rioters attacked Jews at the Western Wall on the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av and the rioters retreated into the al Aqsa Mosque. Al Jazeera inverted the facts to make it appear that the Jews stormed the mosque as part of a holiday ritual. By September 2015, Israel labelled the Mourabitoun that continued to attack Jews on the Temple Mount an illegal organization.
  • Jews tried to enter the mosque complex Jews did not enter any mosque; they came to their holiest location during regular visiting hours, as they had every right to do. Visiting the site during Tisha B’Av has long been a Jewish tradition.

“A year later, protests also erupted after visits by Jewish settlers groups at the compound during the last 10 days of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, in contravention of tradition.”

  • contravention of tradition Israeli security forces had recently suspended the visitation rights of non-Muslims during the end of Ramadan because of Arab violence. This has not been a long-established tradition. It would appear that Al Jazeera likes some changes to the status quo if it impedes on the rights of non-Muslims.

“Most clashes in the compound have occurred because of Israeli settlers trying to pray within the compound, which directly violates the status quo.”

  • Israeli settlers Al Jazeera time-and-again refers to Jewish visitors as “settlers” to try to make their actions appear as illegal. They are ordinary Jews seeking a legal right to visit, and basic human right to pray at their holiest site. The clashes were precipitated by the illegal Mourabitoun, funded by Arab groups like the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which Israel finally labelled an illegal group in November 2015.

“Over the last two weeks, Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians demonstrating against the imposed measures, including the barring of Muslim men under the age of 50 from the holy site.”

  • In recalling “recent tensions,” Al Jazeera neglects to mention Arab violence, even the attack of three Israeli Arabs that killed Israeli border policemen on the Temple Mount in an unprovoked attack which set the latest crisis afire.

“Following the recent events, Israel has deployed 3,000 Israeli police and border police units around the compound.”

  • Al Jazeera’s narrative continued to show Israelis amassing force to make the Israeli government appear as unleashing an assault as opposed to providing security in light of Arab violence.

The Western Wall and Temple Mount, October 2016

“5. The greater context

Al-Aqsa is just a small area within Palestine, but it is a symbolic part of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.”

  • symbolic part of the conflict Is Al Jazeera stating that the conflict is really a war over religions more than about land?

“Though the mosque itself is significant for Muslims especially, even Palestinian Christians have protested against Israeli encroachment on the compound, joining Muslims in prayer outside of Lion’s Gate on Friday.”

  • significant for Muslims especiallyNo, the site is especially significant only for Jews, which Al Jazeera doesn’t mention at all.

“The issue of al-Haram al-Sharif stands as a symbolic, but very strong catalyser of the routine of injustice and oppression that Palestinians in Jerusalem are facing, and that causes a continuous eruption of popular anger and uprisings,” Yara Jalajel, a former legal adviser to the Palestinian minister of foreign affairs, told Al Jazeera.

“Recent clashes near al-Aqsa compound have also led to protests and violence throughout the West Bank and Gaza.”

  • very strong catalyzer Al Jazeera knows that the Temple Mount is a “strong catalyzer” of Arabs and Muslims around the world, so it fans the flames to increase violence against the Jewish State while promoting its viewership.

“With more restrictions placed on Palestinian access to the compound and ongoing calls by Israeli religious groups to allow Jews to pray at the site, many Palestinians fear a possible division of the compound.

“The Waqf stated on Wednesday that the longer Israel delays the removal of the new measures, the worse the situation will become.”

  • Palestinians fear a possible division of the compound.” The reason why Palestinians might fear a division of the compound is due to the history of Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron, which Al Jazeera never mentioned. That site – the second holiest for Jews – had banned Jewish prayer for centuries while under Ottoman and Jordanian control. When Israel took control of the site in 1967, it opened the site to Jewish prayer. Today, there are distinct time for Muslims and Jews to pray and visit the site. It has largely been a peaceful coexistence. That is seemingly a heretical solution for Jerusalem for the promoters of lies and Jihad at Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera not only lied about the history of Jerusalem, but it sought to incite a global jihad against the Jewish State as it tried to portray Israel as attacking al Aqsa. It actively contributed to murder and terrorism in its actions.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Al Jazeera (Qatar) Evicts Jews and Judaism from Jerusalem. Time to Return the Favor

An Easy Boycott: Al Jazeera (Qatar)

The United Nations’ Incitement to Violence

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The Invisible Flag in Judo and Jerusalem

They were not even supposed to be there.

Long marked for exclusion, their physical presence was repulsive to the locals. “Modern” society being slightly more “progressive” in the ancient Middle East as well as being more visible to a global audience because of the Internet, made it slightly more difficult to bar them. The vile creatures could stand there, but the rightful hosts would deny them space, honor or acknowledgement. These interlopers may be human, but their essence remained a problem.

They would sing no song, carry no flag, and represent no people.

In 2017.

In the United Arab Emirates Judo competition.

On the Jewish Temple Mount in the Jerusalem.

Judo Grand Slam

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosted the Judo Grand Slam in October 2017. The competition was nominally supposed to represent the best fighters in the judo martial arts from countries from around the world. Not simply from around the world, but from COUNTRIES from around the world.

The official website from the tournament listed 47 countries that participated in the event. Alphabetically, after Hungary at number 21 was “IFJ,” which stood for the International Judo Federation. Not normally considered a country, it was a name assigned to a country loathed by the host country. That despised country is Israel.

Israel is not a recognized country by the UAE. Not only does the country not have diplomatic relations with Israel, Israeli citizens are denied entry into the UAE.

That posed a problem for the UAE which was hosting the Judo tournament. Would the tournament be considered a farce if it excluded many of the best competitors? Israeli athletes had become champions in many global judo competitions and they qualified to compete at the IFJ event. How could the host country of the event deny entry to those people?

However strong their desire, the UAE could not bar the physical entry of the Israeli athletes. But that would be as far it would go.

  • The Israeli flag, national anthem and the name “Israel” would be banned from the entire program.
  • The Israeli athletes would be the only ones to not have a flag on their uniform.
  • The Israeli athletes would not have their national flag raised nor anthem played when they won medals.
  • And the name “Israel” would not even be listed anywhere among the 47 countries competing in the global event.

The “human rights” groups that monitor the Middle East would be silent. Human Rights Watch? Nothing T’ruah? Zero. OHCHR? Couldn’t be bothered. The Carter Center? You kidding me? Jimmy Carter?

Those “rights” organizations have no breath to support human decency if it means defending Israel or Israelis. For “progressive” groups, Israel is solely the object of scorn and condemnation.

The Jewish Temple Mount

For 3000 continuous years, there has been a single place which Jews have revered as their holiest location: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Jews had two temples there, and after the Second Temple was destroyed, Jews continued to pray in the direction of their holy temples. Until this very day.

At Israel’s founding in 1948, the surrounding Arab countries invaded in the hopes of completely destroying the new Jewish state. At war’s end, the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan took over the western side of the Jordan River through the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. The Jordanians promptly evicted every Jew from their illegally seized land.

The Jordanians annexed the region in 1950 in a move that was not recognized by virtually the entire world. In 1954, the Jordanians gave citizenship to every person that lived or had lived in these acquired lands, but deliberately excluded Jews to make sure that the Jews could not re-enter their land, including Jerusalem.

Israel reunited Jerusalem in 1967 after the Jordanians attacked Israel again. It reopened the Old City for Jews to live, visit and worship.

Well, not exactly.

The Israelis gave administrative control of the Temple Mount to the Islamic Waqf shortly after the 1967 war ended. The Waqf has denied Jews the right to pray at their holiest site. Jews cannot carry Jewish prayer books nor Israeli flags.

The Jews can be there physically as human beings, but nothing more.

Kotel Plaza, the closest an Israeli flag can come to the Jewish Temple Mount

And human rights organizations reacted: they were appalled that Jews were even visiting the Temple Mount.

Ir Amim, a radical left-wing organization had the following to say about Jews visiting the Temple Mount in October 2017:

Over the Sukkot holiday, the number of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound continued to rise: according to Temple activists, some 2,000 visitors ascended the Mount during the holiday. From Rosh Hashanah until the end of Sukkot, the number of Jewish visitors totaled about 3,000. These numbers, according to the estimates of the Temple Movements, represent an increase of 30%-40% in the number of visitors relative to last year.

More worrying than the increase in and of itself, however, is the evident change in policy by the police: Greater coordination and friendly relations have been witnessed between the police and Temple Movement activists. Larger and sometimes multiple groups of activists have been allowed to enter the compound, and restrictions on non-Muslim prayer on the Mount appear to have been relaxed. The police permitted a mass religious ceremony to be held, for the first time, near the Western Wall plaza, rather than within the Jewish Quarter as in previous years. Activists were also permitted to put up a sukkah, bearing the emblems of the Temple Movements, on the ramp leading to the Holy Esplanade.

These troubling changes in policy and relations between the police and the activists are undermining the spirit of the status quo on the Mount, if not eroding the status quo in practice.”

Ir Amim called it out: a small handful of Jews can be at Judaism’s most revered location, but they cannot be treated like everyone else.

Whether in Judo competitions or in Jerusalem, a small handful of Jews are reluctantly permitted to stand alongside every other human being on the planet. Still, they must be bleached of their Judaism and cleansed of their affiliations with the Jewish State. The racists, the anti-Semites and progressives know a good status quo when they see one.


Related First.One.Through Articles:

Israeli Olympians get their #IsraeliLivesMatter Moment

Dancing with the Asteroids

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

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