Gedalyah Reback

Jews Have a Right to the Temple Mount despite the Bullets

The attempted assassination tonight of Rabbi Yehuda Glick is the result of decades of contempt of Arab leaders toward Jews’ legitimate historical and religious links to their holiest site. As recently as last week, the King of Jordan again laid blame at Israel’s door for any violence on the Temple Mount, completely ignoring the knee-jerk, yet predictable rioting by Palestinian worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the plaza’s south end.

“Israel must stop these provocative actions and its systematic attempts to a new reality in Jerusalem. Israel knows that the Temple Mount is a red line not to be crossed for 1. billion Muslims around the world who will not remain silent amid these violations.”


King Abdullah II

But there are no violations. There are no plans to take sledgehammers to anything. There is no change in the status quo. Jews praying on the Temple Mount doesn’t interfere with the current layout of the plaza. There is nothing, absolutely nothing to Abdullah’s words.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem advocates for Jewish rights to pray on the Temple Mount the same as Muslims.
Rabbi Yehuda Glick (screen capture)

And yet, these things continue to be said. There is no protest from Western leaders who position themselves as voices of reason. There is no demand for clarification from the United States. It is all accepted wholesale that Arab leaders will continue insinuating that 1) Israel is trying circumvent the Muslim world and change the Temple Mount and ) that Jews have no justification or right or reason to have a connection to Mount Moriah, to pray there or much less make reference to the Temple there. At the same time, Palestinians flatly deny the Temples even existed. As supposed Researcher Omar al-Kharroubi puts it, “the ‎strange thing was that [although] the ‎Jewish story maintains that the alleged ‎Temple was built in the tenth century BCE, ‎the talk about it being located beneath the ‎Al-Aqsa Mosque began only 800 years ago. ‎In addition, the Jews began sanctifying the ‎Mosque’s Western Wall no more than 400 ‎years ago – ‘[a fact] which proves the ‎Jewish lie.”

We wonder why someone was shot over this?

Without a voice of rationality to protest the continued abusive language of Arab kings and sheikhs toward Jews’ reverence of their central holy sites, it is inevitable the Arab World will not respect Jews’ wishes in Jerusalem. Much less, the Muslim World as a whole will not accept any history or religious viewpoint that links Judaism and its followers to that site. In the absence of protest against these denials, self-justification rises to the point where even the request to pray is answered by bullets. Never mind anything having to do with actual practices in the actual Temple.

Under these conditions, a true peace agreement isn’t possible. No one is there to say to the Muslim side, “WAIT. Jews have tremendous interest in this spot. They have a tremendous need for it.” We need an arbitrator, or an ally that will openly say “This site is important to everyone. It is the undisputed center of Judaism. It will not be ignored when we talk about relations between Israel and the Palestinians, between Israel and the Arab World, or Israel and the Muslim World as a whole.”

This assassination attempt is the result of people fanning the flames, saying that a Jew praying on Judaism’s holiest ground is extremist.

It’s prayer. It’s a mild demand. It’s the most harmless of religious rites. Yet, here we are. A man is fighting for his life for advocating Jews merely pray at their Holiest site, likely shot by someone who doesn’t understand the value of the Temple to Jews; by someone who doesn’t understand Jerusalem is to Jews what Mecca is to Muslims; by someone who refuses to understand.

The Kaaba in Mecca is the Muslim equivalent to the Temple in Jerusalem for Jews (Public Domain Image by 128flashfire via Wikimedia Commons)
The Temple’s history cannot be denied. Its relevance cannot be ignored. Doing so emboldens people who believe they can suppress its significance to Jerusalem and the Jews living there. (model photo CC BY .0 Ariely via Wikimedia Commons)

This is an absurdity that can only be resolved by people caring much more loudly about the right of Jews to practice their religion on the Temple Mount as Muslims practice their faith at the Kaaba in Mecca. While the Noble Sanctuary is the 3rd holiest site in Islam, it is the 1st holiest for Judaism. Nothing trumps it. The Western Wall is merely a fence. And for all the value there and responsibility of Jews toward the Temple Mount, it was the mere protest that Jews should at the least be able to pray at their holiest site that has this man fighting for his life in the hospital.

What is more extreme? Is the advocacy that Jews should resume rights to a site that is the undisputed foundation of its Temples and the object of prayer for three millenniums, or is it people using molotov cocktails, stones and now guns to keep other people off that ground?

About the Author
Gedalyah Reback is an experienced writer on technology, startups, the Middle East and Islam. He also focuses on issues of personal status in Judaism, namely conversion.
Related Topics
Related Posts