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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Will Israel Also Remove an Umbrella from the Western Wall Plaza?

The latest spate of violence in Jerusalem during July 2017 has been described by the mainstream media as stemming from Israel’s erection of metal detectors on the Temple Mount in reaction to the shooting of Israeli security guards by Israeli Arabs. The explanation falls flat.

Metal detectors are found all around the world at mosques, churches and synagogues. Just a few hundred feet from the Temple Mount, metal detectors are in place at the entrance to the Western Wall Plaza. Security cameras  can be seen at the Vatican and Mecca. Metal detectors are found at the entrances to mosques throughout the Middle East.

So why the protest?

It is not about security. It is about control over the Temple Mount and the Al Aqsa Mosque that sits at its southern tip.

Many Arabs and Muslims strongly object to any Islamic holy site being under the control of non-Muslims (known as kafir, non-believers). Jews are supposed to have a lower secondary status (known as dhimmi) in lands that they consider as Islamic lands. As such, Jewish control over an Islamic holy site in a land that they view as Arab is considered extremely insulting to the honor and pride of many Muslims.

Muslims are not insulted by the presence of metal detectors to protect visitors from violence. They are outraged by anything that implies the authority and control of the Temple Mount by non-Muslims; even the placement of an umbrella to act as a protection from the sun.

That is neither a joke nor an exaggeration.

Arab states put forward a resolution at the United Nations in October 2016 condemning Israel for placing an umbrella in the Western Wall Plaza at the approach of a ramp that goes up to the Temple Mount (known as the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate).

“19. Deprecates the continuing Israeli unilateral measures and decisions regarding the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate, including the latest works conducted at the Mughrabi Gate entrance in February 2015, the instalment of an umbrella at that entrance as well as the enforced creation of a new Jewish prayer platform south of the Mughrabi Ascent in Al-Buraq Plaza “Western Wall Plaza”, and the removal of the Islamic remains at the site, and reaffirms that no Israeli unilateral measures, shall be taken in conformity with its status and obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict”

The authority of the Jewish State at the Temple Mount is repulsive to many devout Muslims, and they have taken to the United Nations resolutions and to violence to purge  such Jewish presence.

Will Israel remove an umbrella to keep the Muslim world from “resorting to violence,” the way it removed the metal detectors? Who is throwing shade on this topic?


The Western Wall and the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate
(photo: First.One.Through)


Related First.One.Through articles:

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

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