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Let Hallel’s mother and other Jews ascend the Temple Mount unimpeded

Why should Muslims be allowed to hold pro-Hamas rallies while Jews are barred from praying at the holy site?

I hate that she is having to ask permission to pray; she being Rina Ariel. Rina is the mother of Hallel Jaffa, the beautiful 13 year-old who was murdered in her bed by an Arab teenager. Rina is extraordinary. A woman of valor, to say the least, as is any mom/parent who survives the death of her child. She is not only surviving, though, whether she realizes it or not, she is trying to rally a nation out of somnambulism and appeasement.

Rina and her daughter Hallel shared a passion; a passion for the Temple Mount. In this day and age that passion puts them into the category of being right-winged, lunatic extremists. Imagine that. Jews who desire to freely ascend and/or pray where their forefathers prayed, and at the place their God chose to specifically place His name, are considered wacko nut-jobs, and even worse, are considered provocateurs.

Rina is specifically asking Prime Minister Netanyahu for permission to have a short ceremony on Tuesday on the Temple Mount for Hallel with about 250 other supporters. She pointed out that after thousands of Muslims were allowed to pray en masse on the Temple Mount during Ramadan, should a much smaller group of Jews not be allowed to pray together for a single hour.

Her request to Netanyahu also stated: We and Hallel have always felt a deep connection to the Temple Mount. We visited it and will continue to do so, as we believe that it is the house of God, and that it gives strength and life to each and every house in Israel. And as it is only from there that all deficits can be filled, it is only from there that we will receive any sense of solace. For this reason we are asking to perform the mitzvah of visiting the Temple Mount and praying there for the ascent of Hallel’s soul this coming Tuesday, with 250 people who have pledged to join and comfort us. It is very important that the event be coordinated with the police and not carried out in any manner of confrontation.

I am asking you now to make an exception, due to Hallel’s horrifying murder, and to grant us this event. Please do not divide us into groups, but allow all 250 of us to stand together at the Temple Mount.

I admire Rina’s boldness and passion to do this. But I’m also embarrassed for her and the entire nation of Israel that she has to ask for permission to do what should be a given and a fundamental right for every Jew.

If Arabs can hold ceremonies on the Temple Mount to pray but also to support terrorist groups like Hamas, it only seems fair that Jews could at least hold ceremonies on the Temple Mount in honor of Jews who are killed by terrorists.

If the murder of Jewish children cannot move the Israeli government to change the “status quo” of the Temple Mount, one has to wonder, God forbid, what it will take. Yet, Jewish leaders continue to act as if the “status quo” of appeasing Arabs by keeping Jews from ascending the Mount in large numbers and/or praying is curbing Arab violence against Jews.

Recently when non-Muslims were barred from the Temple Mount for two weeks due to Muslim violence on the Temple Mount during Ramadan, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat issued a statement supporting the decision to close the Mount to non-Muslims by stating, “Israeli police must be allowed to do its work and continue to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount. Yet, we must not make decisions under the pressure of violent riots. Only conduct coherent to maintaining the status quo will ensure long-term decline in violent incidents and quite in Jerusalem.”

It is borderline delusional that he believes that Jews maintaining the status quo of appeasement will ensure non-violence and quite. Where has he been during the killing spree that began in September 2015?

After Ramadan rioting on the Temple Mount, Meretz city councilman Dr. Meir Margalit said, “The violence is nothing new and comes from both sides. What is important now is not who started it, but who can stop it. And if the right wing really cares about the future of the city, they must stop provocative visits on the Temple Mount, even if it is not easy for them, because the future of Jerusalem is more important.”

(Perhaps I just didn’t look long and hard enough, but I had a hard time finding evidence of any recent Jewish violence on the Temple Mount.  Perhaps he was referring to the time Jews gave the Muslims yelling “allahu akbar!” at them a dirty look.  Or maybe it was a Jew who violently waved an Israeli flag on the Mount.  Otherwise, evidence of “Jewish violence”on the Temple Mount is hard to find and a convenient politically correct fabrication that makes for a convincing soundbite.)

Although Dr. Margalit adds that it is not a Jewish presence that he is against being on the Temple Mount, yet Jewish extremists with a political agenda, it must be noted that what is considered Jewish extremism is the desire to pray on the Temple Mount. Hence, in the minds of not only Arabs, but many Jews, Rina’s desire to pray and honor her daughter on the Temple Mount is considered an act of political extremism.

It is sad and dangerous that Dr. Margalit’s attitude makes the presence of Jews praying on the Temple Mount synonymous with Muslims rioting on the Temple Mount. How unbelievable that a Jew merely ascending the Temple Mount with the desire to pray is considered an act of provocation.

Rina has made it clear that her intent in ascending the Temple Mount is to honor her daughter, which will include the act of praying. It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs that a grieving mother, who wants to have a sacred moment on Judaism’s most sacred site, has to explain, justify, and practically beg to have such a moment. And how maddening that her presence would be considered provocative. This narrative is precisely what led to her daughter’s murder.  Because make no mistake about it, the slippery slope of considering a praying Jew provocative has easily led to the narrative and belief for many that a Jew’s mere existence is provocative.

I hope that Rina will not only awaken Netanyahu, but many more Jews as well, from somnambulating. And that they will see the presence of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount not only as a beautiful, peaceful event, but as a necessary one too.

About the Author
Camie Davis is a non-Jewish writer and advocate for Israel.
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