Harry Maryles wrote an article for The Times of Israel entitled “Unacceptable Provocation” expressing his belief that Jews ascending the Temple Mount are just that: an unacceptable provocation. I tried to get all of the hitting-my-head-against-the-wall angst out of my system before I wrote so I could respond to his assertion in a calm manner. But if I were not calm, my first response would be, “Are you freakin’ kidding me?”
But instead, I will calmly follow Maryles line of reasoning: The reasoning that Jewish action is partly, if not solely, responsible for Arab violence. Maryles says, “I can’t help thinking that this particular violent behavior by religious Muslims [on the Temple Mount] is a direct result of those Religious Zionists who feel they must assert their rights to pray on Har HaBayis.” Maryles feels that Arabs would not be so violent if Jews agreed to go to the Kotel, as he says, “For the time being we should be satisfied with what we do have. The Kotel — which is the closest non-controversial point to the Makom HaMkidash.”
Which is precisely what Shmuel and Chana Braun did. They took their baby, Chaya Zissel, to see the Kotel for the first time, not to see the Temple Mount. Funny thing though, the fact that they didn’t ascend the Temple Mount didn’t seem to matter to the “provoked” Arab who rammed his car into them as they waited for a train, resulting in the horrific death of Chaya Zissel. After seeing the Kotel, the Brauns got to see their baby murdered.
Remember a few years ago when families in Netanya felt like they had a right to celebrate Passover? Netanya is about 95 kilometers from the Temple Mount. But Jews celebrating Passover that far away from the Temple Mount were still considered provocative. Their provocation resulted in an Arab detonating a bomb at their seder.
What about the Fogel family? They weren’t close to the Temple Mount either. But of course they took the provocative action of building a home in the Heartland of Israel, much to the ire of the U.S. State Department who shows more concern about a Jewish-held hammer than an Arab-held knife. So although the Fogels were a considerable distance from the Temple Mount, they were still considered provocative.
And then there was Evyatar Borovsky. He wasn’t standing on the Temple Mount, aka the Gateway to Heaven, where his forefathers stood. Nope. He was just standing at Tapuach Junction in Samaria waiting for a ride. The nerve of him, huh? His audacity provoked an Arab who stabbed him to death.
Alexander Levlovitz wasn’t near the Temple Mount either. But he did have the nerve to act really Jewish by attending a Rosh Hashanah celebration. The provocative act of driving home after celebrating Rosh Hashanah resulted in his murder by rock throwing Arabs.
And speaking of acting really Jewish, Eitam and Na’ama Henkin had the audacity to do that too. They dared to celebrate Sukkot. Their brazenness resulted in being murdered in a drive-by shooting while driving home from Sukkot festivities.
Maryles’ equivocation of Jewish action on the Temple Mount, or anywhere else, causing Arab violence plays right into the hands of those who still peddle the deadly narrative that has been circulating for decades: that if Jews would just compromise their lifestyle or change their behavior, then Arabs would stop trying to kill them. And the narrative that Jews are somehow responsible, as the victim, for the violence perpetrated against them.
It is both maddening and disheartening to know that people like Maryles do not acknowledge the fact that when a Jew wakes up in the morning and decides to breathe, this is considered an act of provocation to those who want to destroy him or her.
A Jew’s desire to and the act of ascending and praying on the Temple Mount is not the cause of Arab violence. A Jew. That is the cause. Simply because a Jew is a Jew.
Thank Godת there are Jews in Israel and throughout the world who are diametrically opposed to Maryles’ point of view. Jews who know and understand that when Jews collectively act like Jews, like their forefathers of old, everything will change for the better. These kinds of Jews will bring peace through strength. And they will never apologize for being, nor for acting like Jews.