Yisrael Medad
Analyst and commentator on political and cultural issues.

Someone Wants My Access Denied

I know that Muslims wish to deny me access to the Temple Mount but I just discovered that a liberal, humanist and left-wing activist basically thinks I shouldn’t be on the Temple Mount.

This past Sunday, I ascended to the Temple Mount, accompanying a group of American Jews who were visiting during the Succot Festival..

At the end, I had the normative photograph snapped:

and I added this caption:

I know the backdrop is terrible but that’s all there is. At present. 
— ‎at Al aqsa mosque – المسجد الاقصى‎.‎

The location seems to be an automatic addition. As we should know, Al-Aqsa Mosque is but the southern structure.
I also uploaded the photo and text to various social media platforms.  Like Twitter.

Daniel Seidemann reacted. He is quite mainstream-accepted. He is often quoted as a knowledgeable source. He runs Terrestrial Jerusalem which, in 1984 semantics “works to identify and track the full spectrum of developments in Jerusalem that could impact either the political process or permanent status options, destabilize the city or spark violence, or create humanitarian crises.” To my understanding, it seeks to have Israeli control over what they consider “Arab areas” in the united capital reduced as much as possible

His first reaction was so:

Then he added:

I will tell to you to your face: this is precisely the reason you and your ilk should be permanently barred from entering the Mt.

To that, and the term “terrible” I employed, I quickly replied, referring to an incident in early 1921 with Albert Mond and then others:

Alfred Mond quoting Weizmann April 1921 — we have no intentions to the Temple Mount, Zionists want to protect it.
Did it help?

The quotation:
mond quotation1

I added in two more tweets:

& to your face if you adopt that tone:In 638 Arabs conquered Jlm and denied, from 1247 on Jews any rights there.They killed Jews who mistakenly walked in. They riot. Call us “stormers” and “breakers-in.” Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty Art. 9 unfulfilled.That is terrible.

And then he continued (and he duplicated it at his TerrestrialJerusalem):

You explicltly display contempt for Muslim holy site in the backgound, and implicltly threaten to replace it. You should be denied access.

By the way, that “mistakenly walked in” refers to two Jews, one in 1873 and another, Asher Itzkowitz on April 11, 1947, both murdered by Muslims in the Temple Mount.

I continued, and tweeted:

Imagine me suggesting you should be permanently barred from Jerusalem due to your politics…
Sorry…but in the future, I expect a Third Temple to be there.
They’ve had it since 638.
Give us a return turn.

I also, later, added this snap of Article 9 of the Jordan-Israel 1994 unfulfilled Peace Treaty which highlights how Jordan avoids its commitments:

The conversation went on and on.

And now, to the main point.

What bothers me is not Daniel’s political orientation. We’ve been acquainted, basically friends, for 30 years or so since we debated as a Gush Emunim vs. Peace Now team in the late 1980s, if I am not mistaken. I have no problems with people’s political or even ideological beliefs.

I was taken aback by the blatant twisting of my words, so as to provide Muslims and others with ammunition. He reminded me of the way the photo montage of the Zionist flag was fashioned, as if it were actually atop the Dome of the Rock, which first appeared in 1922 and then was used aggressively in 1929 to foment the murderous riots:

The heads of the Yeshivot in the Old Yishuv also used photomontages showing the Dome of the Rock with the Star of David and flags of Zion superimposed in fundraising appeals to Diaspora Jews. It thus came to be widely believed that a Jewish conspiracy was at work to replace the Muslim holy sites by a rebuilt Jewish Temple. The resulting tensions were exploited by both Palestinian Arab and Jewish nationalists.

And more on that here:

For a modern version in the LATimes, see here.

Furthermore, as I noted in my comebacks, I did not suggest taking a tractor to remove the Muslim presence, unlike the Muslim earthworks in 1996 when they used tractors to empty out the southern are of the Temple Mount to create a third mosque, the Marawani, and to destroy Jewish historical artifacts.  The Sifting Project is still going through the tons of earth and finding wonderful and important evidence of the Second and even First Temples, a reality the Muslims deny. I do not suggest blowing up or setting fire to any Muslim structure. I do, however, applaud police efforts to reduce terror threats. I was disappointed the security surveillance cameras were not set up. I am disheartened at the official policy of maintaining the 1967 status quo even as the Muslims incrementally alter it, in their favor.

My language was temperate and clear. It was directed to the future with no ominous threats.

On the other hand, his remark and terminology and framing were incendiary. Haaretz does it all the time. Note the phrasing:

Israeli Activists Celebrate Ancient Sukkot Rite Near FlashpointTemple Mount.

Whipping up sentiment so as to convince Muslims and reinforce their irrationality of an imminent and, at times, even an official Israel-government sponsored intervention is nigh criminal.

However, I do not want to avoid the main point: the fundamental and ongoing Jewish belief in a rebuilt and restored Temple. It is in our texts: the Prophets and the Talmud and the Rabbinic commentaries.  The religious proactive Zionism of Rabbis Kalisher and Alkalai in the early and mid 19th century were based on the renewal of sacrifices.  All this is unavoidable and cannot be denied.

But to compare this belief to Muslim-initiated violence against Jews, against the archaeological remains on the Temple Mount, to statements like that of PA head Mahmoud Abbas:

The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours… and they [the Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”

or the previous claim of Yassir Arafat that the Temple wasn’t in Jerusalem, that we witness is not only politically nasty, but totally provides the Muslim Arabs with Jewish-justified pretexts to injure Jews, and worse.

They act, with Seidemann’s assistance — intended or unintended — with impunity because we Jews have no rights, as he would have it, not even to hope and believe in our tradition and heritage. The Muslims can degrade us in favor of a winged horse, al-Buraq, but Jews cannot even be proud of real history and a hoped-for future.

Muslims can be who they are and how they are. That is accepted, even in a patronizing or paternalistic way.
Jews must be different or, implicitly, we cannot be Jews. We must erase as much as our “uncomfortable” past as possible, denude our character and identity.
I don’t think that’s what Zionism is all about, whether you are religiously observant or not.
And in any case, that approach never worked and won’t.

About the Author
Yisrael Medad, currently is a Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and Deputy Editor of the English Language Anthology of Jabotinsky's Writings. American-born, he and his wife made Aliyah in 1970. He resides in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive and is a volunteer spokesperson for the Yesha Council. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and is active is many Zionist and Jewish projects and initiatives.
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