Yisrael Medad
Analyst and commentator on political and cultural issues.

The Article 15 Movement

I think a new movement is called for. One that will champion complete freedom of conscience, the free exercise of all forms of worship, and no discrimination of any kind.

Would that be considered a rather modern idea? Revolutionary? One that only liberal radical would champion?

I’d call the new movement “Article 15”. And that is because those values and principles appear in the fifteenth article of the League of Nations decision to create a Mandate for Palestine. Here is the text:

The Mandatory shall see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, are ensured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.

The idea came to me several times in the past but I ignored it.  And then I considered it again after Friday’s events.

Recently in Israel, women who do not follow the Orthodox practice now have a place at the Western Wall to pray.  But Jews of all streams are still hoping to achieve a similar status on the Temple Mount.

What happened on Friday, the eve of the Passover holiday?  Jews were arrested for bringing goats into the Old City with the intention of sacrificing them on the Temple Mount.  They are connected with the Return to the Mount youth group.



As o this writing, at least one person is still behind bars, not having been allowed home for his Seder and being brought to the courtroom last night in leg irons and handcuffs. You would think the police could deal with the situation a bit more less brutal. And with a lot more sense.

In case you think sacrificing an animal is abhorrent, let’s recall that the Samaritans does exactly that on Mount Gerizim.  Here is how the ultra-leftist anti-religious Haaretz reported the event three years ago:

Samaritans Make Annual Sacrifice – and Preserve a Way of Life
Although there are now less than 800 Samaritans, their Passover sacrifice – set according to calendar different from the mainstream Jewish one – draws an even bigger crowd. The Samaritan community conducted its annual Passover sacrifice Tuesday evening under the leadership of a new high priest, as 50 sheep were slaughtered…

Sounds, well, romantic.

And last year, the equally liberal The Forward, has it this way:

Samaritans Sacrifice Sheep in ‘Hardcore’ Passover Celebration

This year, many visitors and tourists watched the proceedings. As we are informed,

Prior to the Six Day War, King Hussein of Jordan stopped that exchange and even sent a legion of Jordanian soldiers to protect the Samaritans so they could freely worship atop Mount Gerizim.

Jordan?  The same Jordan that maligns Israel vis a vis the Temple Mount?

Irrationality is the underlying aspect of the politics of the clash between Zionism and Jewish tradition on one hand, and one the other, with the Islamic Middle East wherein Israel is located. But there are logical solutions and methods to deal with unusual aspects of that reality.

And just maybe, the Article 15 Movement can draw together disparate groups on the basis of equality, coexistence and understanding, for all peoples of all traditions and all religious practices.


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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