A New Policy to Making Hatred Unacceptable Starts With The Temple Mount and UNESCO

The massive terrorist attack in Nice, France cries for a change of policy not just towards the Islamic State but towards the world Arab Muslim community.  Mayor Rudy Guliani was able to significantly reduce murders in New York by cracking down on even petty crime in New York.  The way to reduce Arab Muslim terrorism is to no longer allow views that are common in the Arab Muslim community to be accepted as legitimate views.  As it concerns Israel, the most glaring example of this is Israel’s acceptance of a widespread Muslim opposition to Jewish and Christian prayer on the Temple Mount. Israel’s acquiescing to this opposition has emboldened Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to now try and get the world community to even negate the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is currently considering a resolution that outrageously denies a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and attempts to reclassify the Western Wall as a Muslim site.  The resolution refers to the Western Wall plaza as the Al-Buraq plaza and with quotes around the words “Western Wall” plaza.  A previous UNESCO Executive Board resolution was passed that referred to the Western Wall plaza solely as the Al-Buraq Plaza and further described Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of Machpela (burial place of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people)  as Muslim sites with Muslim names.  This current proposed UNESCO World Heritage Committee resolution is a continued negation of historical facts, Jewish history, and is overtly anti-semitic.   It is opposed by the State of Israel and American Jewry.

The proposed resolution was put forward by the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.  Israel is fighting the proposed resolution by lobbying countries to oppose it.  However, Israel has so far not taken any steps against those proposing the resolution.  The proposed resolution begs the question as to how can Israel give Jordan and the Jordanian Waqf continued authority concerning the Temple Mount if they are putting forth a resolution denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount?  If Israel was to have any Arab Muslims to deal with issues on the Temple Mount, does it not make logical sense that it needs to only be those Muslims that accept the historical fact of the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall? The Temple Mount is the holiest site to the Jewish people and Israel has a responsibility to protect its sanctity.  The Temple Mount’s sanctity cannot and has not been protected by those who reject the Jewish sanctity of the Temple Mount.

It has always been shocking that somehow Israel accepts as legitimate that Jordan and the Palestinian Authority should object to Jewish and Christian prayer on the Temple Mount.  Israel needs to call the opposition to Jewish and Christian prayer for what it is, namely unacceptable hatred.  Unfortunately, Israel has treated the opposition to Jewish and Christian prayer as a legitimate view by Jordan and the Palestinian Authority towards the praying by Christians and Jews.  Israel needs to end giving legitimacy to such religious bias.  This has nothing to do regarding the Rabbinical disagreement as to whether Jews should go on the Temple Mount and pray there today, the fact is that the UNESCO Resolution makes it clear that if Jordan and the Palestinian Authority had its way there would be no Jewish or Christian prayer at the Western Wall.   This is the obvious meaning of this UNESCO resolution.

Israel should make it clear to Jordan that if the UNESCO resolution is not withdrawn, Israel will end all of Jordan’s involvement on the Temple Mount.  Further, if Jordan and its representatives in the Waqf does not make clear its acceptance of Jewish history and its connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,  then Jordan and its Waqf representatives should have no place on the Temple Mount.  It is not surprising that there is continued conflict on the Temple Mount partly because Israel allows Muslims that hold anti-semitic views to have authority positions on the Temple Mount.  It is common sense that this needs to change now or the conflicts on the Temple Mount will continue and possibly escalate.

Israel recently came to a decision to withdraw funds from the Palestinian Authority that they are using to reward murderers of Jews.  The question many of us have is why is any money going to the Palestinian Authority that uses some of its money to reward murderers of Jews?  This goes for the U.S. Administration as well as some of the Jews being murdered are American citizens as well.  One of Abbas’ responses to these concerns is that this is our culture.  However,  King Hussein of Jordan showed that Israel need not accept this answer from Abbas as he visited every Jewish family home to express personal remorse when a Jordanian soldier murdered seven Jews.  He offered money to the victims of the murder not to the family of the murderer.   Israel should demand that Abbas act similarly.  Israel giving any money to the Palestinian Authority while they encourage acts of murder against Jews needs to end.  Clearly, what Israel has done for over 20 years since Oslo has not worked to stop such hatred from the Palestinian Authority so a change of policy is needed.

President Bill Clinton famously expressed shock when Yasser Arafat told him that there never was a Jewish Temple.    Such a belief by Arafat is anti-semitism and a rejection of historical fact.  It is a rejection of not just Judaism but Christianity as well. The Temple Mount will be a continued source of conflict as long as the Palestinian Authority does not accept the fundamental Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.  The UNESCO resolution makes it clear that their opposition to the Jewish connection and Jewish prayer on the  Temple Mount is just a step by them to stop Jewish prayer at the Western Wall.  Israel must make it clear that any opposition to the freedom of Jews to worship is anti-semitism.  Israel must stand up for its rights and put Jordan and the Palestinian Authority on the defensive.  Israel needs to take action to deter their push for this UNESCO Resolution.

If Israel and the world make it clear that opinions of many in the Muslim world that reflect hatred will not be accepted then it will empower those Muslims that think differently.   President Sissi of Egypt has been the first Arab Muslim leader to speak out against many of these widespread Muslim beliefs.  Dr. Jasser from Arizona has become a prominent American Muslim voice in favor of Israel and opposition to radical Muslim positions.  There are Arab Muslims that think differently and if they are supported then their voice will be strengthened.  Strengthening them is the first step towards isolating those that spew forth hatred.  Israel can take the first step toward making such hatred unacceptable by changing its policy and removing all Arab Muslims in positions of power on the Temple Mount that hold views that display hatred towards Jews and Christians.

About the Author
Farley Weiss is the president of the National Council of Young Israel, a member of the Conference of Presidents that represents around 25,000 Orthodox Jewish families and around 130 synagogues across America, the president of the intellectual property law firm of Weiss & Moy, P.C. with offices in Scottsdale, AZ, Boca Raton, FL, and Las Vegas, NV. He has authored opeds in the Arizona Republic, The Jerusalem Post, The Forward, and Hamodia, and has spoken around the country on political issues affecting Israel and American Jewry.