Guest Post: Thoughts on Elul

The following is a guest post by Havah Hope. Some important things to think about during the month running up to the Days of Awe.

The morning of Rosh Chodesh Elul, if you are like me, you davened (prayed) these words:

May you bring us to Zion, Your city, in glad song, and to Jerusalem, Your Holy Temple, in eternal gladness.  There we shall perform before You our obligated offerings…”


והביאנו לציון עירך ברנה, ולירושלים בית מקדשך בשמחת עולם. ושם נעשה לפניך את קרבנות חובותינו…

HaShem did the God part.  HaShem brought us back.  Why haven’t we done our part?  Where are the “obligated offerings”?  The Israeli Supreme Court (no bastion of right wing/settler thought) has said we have a right to pray on the Temple Mount.  According to the rabbis at the Temple Institute (a great organization), we do not need a Temple to perform the sacrifices.  We only need to bring the altar they have made, which is ready, up to the Temple Mount.  So why are we not there?  Three words: POLITICAL WILL POWER.

When Netanyahu opened the Kotel tunnels, the Muslims went nuts.  When Ariel Sharon dared to walk on the Temple Mount, they started the second intifada.  But after a while, the violence died down and the Kotel tunnels are still open, and thousands of Jews go on the Temple Mount every year (and the numbers are going up).

I have a radical suggestion.  It is time for Jews to stop davening at the Kotel.  It is time for all Jews to start davening on the Temple Mount!

Will this be an easy change?  Nope.  Will it enrage the Muslims? Yup.  But it is worth it.  It is worth having to protect ourselves from enraged Arabs to assert our sovereignty over our holiest site.  Jordan will threaten us with war, no question.  But it is an empty threat.  Jordan will not have the backing of Saudi Arabia in a fight with Israel.  Saudi Arabia needs its alliance with Israel against Iran more.  The King of Jordan is very weak and only in power because Israel props him up.  Personally, I wish Mudar Zahran was strong enough and popular enough to take over, but frankly, his take-over, no matter how popular with the majority of Jordanians, would be seen as a coup.

So Jordan would fall into chaos and the Hashemite kingdom would be no more if they declared war on Israel.  Right now, Syria can’t help Jordan in a war against Israel, which only leaves Turkey and Iran to worry about.  Unfortunately, Turkey is no longer the bastion of secular Islam it once was.  There is no doubt that Turkey and Iran would both see this as an excuse to batter Israel both diplomatically and militarily.  That is one reason it needs to be done now.  Iran will soon have deployable nuclear weapons, thanks to Obama.

Making sure this is over militarily before Iran’s weapons are fully deployable is important.  Iran will not fight the war themselves, they will send in Hezbollah to do it.  And we (Israel) know we can beat Hezbollah.  Not only have we done it several times, but we have always allowed the international community to “force” us to pull out before we completely annihilated them.

Turkey is another matter.  Turkey is a NATO country.  While reasserting our sovereignty would not invoke the clause causing all of the NATO countries to rush to its aid (as attacking Turkey would), it is still not a step to be taken lightly.  Turkey has maintained its position in NATO solely due to its physical proximity to and political distance from Russia.  The reason that Turkey (which no longer shares any of the values of its NATO allies) has not been kicked out before this is that it has traditionally been a bulwark against Russian (Soviet) expansion in the region.  Turkey attacking Israel, a loyal ally to the US and NATO, could end that relationship.  There has been talk about kicking Turkey out of NATO before.  This might be the nail in that coffin.

There is one more thing to consider.  Turkey and Russia are backing opposite sides of the civil war in Syria.  Turkey might not want to add a ground war in Israel to that mix.  My estimation is that Turkey will talk big, but in the end not actually want to go to war over the Temple Mount.

That leaves Hezbollah, Hamas and Gaza.  As Israel clearly showed at the end of the Gaza war, we have their number.  We know how to hit them where it hurts: their leaders.  When Gaza wanted to continue the war three years ago after Israel called for a cease fire, we assassinated two of their leaders and they immediately agreed to a cease fire.  We could end any wars they start very quickly by going for the head of the snake rather than the tail.  Not to mention that the Hamas leadership in Gaza is at war with the Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah.  It is possible that in the “fog of war”, enough leaders of both organizations might wind up dead that a whole new regime would be needed to fill the vacuum.

So politically/militarily, it is clearly doable, and we have not even mentioned our most powerful weapon.  HaShem!  If we do this, and we need to completely commit ourselves if we are going to do it, HaShem will help us, just as HaShem helped us during the War of Independence and the Six Day War.  How do I know that?  Because that was the whole point of Purim.  Purim is about relying on HaShem and not leaders of secular nations, and in this case Israel counts as a secular nation.  We also know that HaShem wants us to rebuild the Holy Temple, because that’s what it says in the Torah.

Part of committing ourselves completely is a realization that while the UN passes resolution after resolution they are basically impotent.  The resolutions do nothing.  When the UN does send in peacekeepers, those troops are the first ones out anytime a conflict arises.  Israel abides by the UN resolutions not because it has to, but because it respects the UN. It is time for the UN to start earning some of that respect, by getting out of Israel’s way and letting Israel defend itself.

There is no question that this would take a huge leap of faith on the part of Israelis.  It would, but we can do it.  We have done it before, and this time we would get back the place where HaShem put HaShem’s name for ever and ever.

About the Author
Lisa Liel lives in Karmiel with her family. She works as a programmer/developer, reads a lot, watches too much TV, does research in Bronze/Iron Age archaeology of the Middle East, and argues a lot on Facebook.