Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stuck on the Temple Mount

I had uploaded Arab caricatures and cartoons with anti-Semitic themes earlier this year.

Another now:


Before Jerusalem, There Was Shiloh

Otto Eissfeldt


(found here p. 89)

Original German


Hanukah is the Temple Mount Holiday

Here is Josephus on the First Hanukkah (December 164 BCE) from Antiquities 12.7.6-7 316-325  (1 Maccabees 4:36-59) 

...The generals of Antiochus's armies having been defeated so often, Judah Maccabee assembled the people and told them that after the many victories which God had given them they ought to go up to Jerusalem and purify the Temple and offer the appointed sacrifices

But when he with the whole multitude came to Jerusalem and found he Temple deserted, its gates burned down, and plants growing in the Temple of their own accord because of the desolation, he and those with him began to lament in their distress at the sight of the Temple. 

So he chose some of his soldiers and gave them an order to fight the men that guarded the upper city until he has purified the Temple. When therefore he he had carefully purged it he brought in new vessels -- the menorah, the table and the incense altar, which were made of gold, and hung up the veils at the doors and restored the doors themselves. He also took down the altar and built a new one of stones that he gathered together, and such as had not been hewn with iron tools. 

And on the twenty-fifth day of  the month Kislev...they lighted the lights that were on the menorah, and offered incense upon the altar, and laid the loaves upon the table, and offered whole burnt offerings upon the new altar. 

...And so Judah and his fellow citizens celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the Temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasure, but everyone feasted upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and they honoured God, and delighted themselves with psalms of praise and the playing of harps. Indeed, they were so very glad at the revival of  their customs and, after so long a time, having unexpectedly regained their right to worship, that they made it a law for their posterity that they should keep a festival celebrating the restoration of their Temple worship for eight days...


Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Western Wall, the Kotel, Is ... Al-Buraq



Jodi Ruderon Fits the News

A fair if brief wrap-up on the Temple Mount ends with this:

But in recent times, radical Right-wingers have refused to be satisfied with this [being allowed to visit the site under supervision but not permitted pray thereand have begun clamouring for prayer rights inside the compound itself. This has led to an increasing number of visits to the mount by Israeli activists, some of whom are said to have prayed surreptitiously, triggering clashes between Palestinians and the security forces.

This in turn has fuelled Palestinian accusations – refuted by Benjamin Netanyahu's government – that Israel is intent on overturning the status quo on the compound, which forbids Jewish prayer and cedes administrative control to Jordan. Yet the idea of Jewish prayer on the site is anathema even among many religious Jews. Many refuse to visit the site lest they enter an area where the Holy of Holies once stood, the most sacred part of the ancient temple and the place where the high priest – who entered only once a year on Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement) – is said to have communicated directly with God.
According to tradition, ordinary Jews were forbidden to go to the Holy of Holies – whose precise location is unknown – because they were ritually impure.
Jews are at fault because we stand on our rights?

The New York Times published an analysis by Jodi Ruderon, Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem, which includes this relevant passage:

The real struggle over the site, however, is...between two peoples who seem unable to find a way to simply share. After triumphantly seizing the site during the 1967 war, Israel quickly turned back all but security matters to the Palestinian religious authorities, the Islamic Waqf. Now, as more and more Jews challenge Israel’s prohibition on their prayer in their religion’s most sacred space, many Palestinians fear that what they really want is to take over the entire compound and replace its Dome of the Rock with a third temple...“Enough is enough,” Rabbi Benny Lau, a renowned modern­Orthodox figure who had previously opposed Jewish visitation to the site, said recently. “It can’t be that Muslims stand on the Mount, pray as they wish under the Waqf rule, and the Israeli nation will be degraded to the depths.”

As for this bit in there - "The site has been a flash point since the advent of modern Zionism. More than 100 people on each side died in a week of rioting in 1929 over access to the Western Wall below" - see here

But, again, the onus is placed on the Jews.

Arab intransigence, unwillingness to compromise or agree to arrangements of coexistence, their fanaticism and violence are ignored, downplayed or excused.

She quotes Yitzhak Reiter who tells her

“The extreme factions within both the Israeli and Palestinian communities realized that holy place is a symbolic asset, so to speak, in consolidating support for their struggle.”

The Arab terrorists are only a faction or has the entire "struggle" of the Arabs-who-refer-to-themselves-as-'Palestinians' been mainly extreme throughout all levels of the population?

She quotes one Ali Qleibo, a cultural anthropologist, who also composes poems, who tells her:
“The Israelis try to force it — it’s not through negotiation, it’s not through discussion, it’s not through any rational means: They use the police, they come in a brutal manner to take over the place...It becomes political when other people try to take the symbol.” 
And here is another example of his thinking:
Until the early twenties, before the massive influx of European Jewish immigrants, both Christians and Jews were ethnic minorities. Whereas the Greek Orthodox Christian indigenous population maintained its own class structure and social position through the centuries, which was deferred to by the Muslims, the Jewish community, because of the transience of its members, was less rooted.
Transience?  Less-rooted?

She quotes another Muslim, Mustafa Abu Sway, dean of Islamic studies at Al Quds University and a member of the Waqf council, who continues the prevarications:

Islam does not prohibit outsiders from praying at Al Aqsa. The problem, he said, is that Parliament members have declared rebuilding the temple as their real goal.
No non-Muslim can pray there or read from the Bible.  That includes Christians.

And this is the posterior prayer position of Muslims there:

Their rears directed towards the sacred rock under the Dome since they turn towards Mecca.

All the news that fits the NYTimes' agenda.


A NYT/Jodi Ruderon Equivalency

"More than 100 people on each side died in a week of rioting in 1929 over access to the Western Wall below."

"On each side died"?

In 1929, after an incident at the Western Wall during Yom Kippur of 1928, following almost a year of vicious Islamic propaganda, intentional violent attacks of Jewish worshippers, passing donkeys through the small courtyard after opening a doorway in an Arab house, playing clanging Dervish music and more, the Mufti Amin El-Husseini organized murderous riots throughout the country in mid-August 1929.

The number of Jews murdered were 135, some of the victims raped, dissected and otherwise put to a horrible death.  The riots lasted almost three weeks.  A few Arabs were killed, seemingly, in revenge attacks, but the vast majority of the 116 Arabs who "died" were killed in self-defense by Jews but actually mainly by British police and troops while trying to restore order and protect the Jews.

The blood dripping down the stairs

The Jews did not die.

They were murdered.


Hacked to death.(*)

Zvi Yosef Kizelstein, his daughter Chaya (18) and son Yeshayhu


Babies crushed against doors, being swung by Arabs.

Limbs chopped off.

There is - and can not be - any moral equivalency in this matter.


In Jerusalem the Government published a refutation of the rumors that the dead Jews of Hebron had been tortured before they had their throats slit. This made me rush back to that city accompanied by two medical men, Dr. Dantziger and Dr. Ticho. I intended to gather up the severed sexual organs and the cut-off women's breasts we had seen lying scattered over the floor and in the beds. But when we came to Hebron a telephone call from Jerusalem had ordered our access barred to the Slonim house. A heavy guard had been placed before the door. Only then did I recall that I had inadvertently told a fellow newspaperman in Jerusalem about our gruesome discoveries.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Oxford Has Nothing on Jerusalem

Bill Bryson, in his Notes from a Small Island, wrote.

I am constantly filled with admiration at this – at the way you can wander through a town like Oxford and in the space of a few hundred yards pass the home of Christopher Wren, the buildings where Halley found his comet and Boyle his first law, the track where Roger Banister ran the first sub-four minute mile, the meadow where Lewis Carroll strolled; or how you can stand on Snow's Hill at Windsor and see, in a single sweep, Windsor Castle, the playing fields of Eton, the churchyard where Gray wrote his 'Elegy,' the site The Merry Wives of Windsor was first performed. Can there anywhere on earth be, in such a modest span, a landscape more packed with centuries of busy, productive attainment?

My response - Jerusalem.

Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
Kings. Queens. Princes.
Prophets.  Isaiah. Jeremiah.
Freedom fighters and liberators.
Two temples.
The Western Wall.
Torah. Talmud.
The Knesset.
Shmuel Yosef Agnon.
Uri Tzvi Greenberg.
Hebrew University.
Mir Yeshiva.  Porat Yosef Yeshiva.
Israel Museum.
Meah Shearim.  Rechavia.

And on, and on, and on.


Working at Jam'a A-Sattin

Jam'a A-Sattin (the 'Friday Hangout' Mosque) is just outside and south of the main Tel Shiloh area.  It was a Roman period building that was converted to a mosque when the Arabs invaded, conquered and then occupied the Land of Israel.

I've blogged about it before.

Recently, it has been undergoing a cleaning out and the walls are being strengthened and the site is being extended to the fullest of its boundaries.

I visited this past week and here are some photographic evidence:

More here.

Here is what piqued my interest as an amateur archaeologist.  What was the purpose for what seems to be a large outside courtyard?  We can observe that the soil was raised by having the west side (to the right in the picture below) level to the eastern side of the structure:

The work being done to strengthen the walls:

The inside of the main room:

You can discern the added exterior support wall:

An additional room added on:


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Safe Are Police Helicopters?

I was walking along a thoroughfare yesterday and passed an Arab house and its backyard vineyard

and then I looked ahead and saw an artificial mound

and when I moved passed it, I realized it was a landing pad for police helicopters

and how close is that Arab house?

Can you see the roof there?

So, how really safe are those helicopters?


Jabotinsky Won But Lost His Place on the Wall

I was at the Hebrew University yesterday for a conclave on Hillel Cohen's book on 1929 but that will be dealt with in another post.

On the way in, I walked over to observe this new wall

It commemorates the founding fathers of the university:

The simple fact is that in the period prior to World War I, someone else prominent not included was involved, Ze'ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky:-
The horrors of the1903 pogrom against the Jews of Kishinev had the profound effect of spurring Jabotinsky's Zionist pursuits. He became a pivotal force in organizing self-defense units and fighting for Jewish minority rights in Russia. Jabotinsky was elected as a delegate to the 6th Zionist Congress, the last in which Theodor Herzl participated. During this period, Jabotinsky championed the spread of Hebrew language and culture throughout Russia, as well as the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

To be specific, Jabotinsky was a member of the 'working committee' appointed following the 12th Zionist Congress of 1913 (it was actually the 11th Zionist Congress that adopted the first operative decision to proceed with the establishment of a university in Jerusalem).  That committee of five was supplemented by Jabotinsky along with Weizmann, Ussishkin and Wolffsohn. Jabotinsky was right up there with the rest (see Shmuel Katz's "Lone Wolf").

However, in the spring of 1914 he had a falling out with Weizmann who had had a change of mind (he groveled for Rothschild money) and preferred a research institute model rather than a university with a medical school, science and, as Jabotinsky urged, a school of commerce.  His letter of April 20th caused Weizmann to distant Jabotinsky from the project.  On June 7, the Working Committee met and Jabotinsky, who summed up the argument as between "a decisive revolutionary act and a plaything" lost the vote.

However, in early 1928, the university's own board of governors as well as its Academic Council admitted that due to "Revisionist agitation', they were opening the school year.  He had written in 1925 after the groundbreaking ceremony that the university was in danger of becoming a bluff if it did not seek to aid the Jewish students of Europe rather than becoming a show-case ivory tower.  In fact, during 1927-28, he had organized a campaign among those students to write to the university officials and Zionist leaders urging the idea that Jabotinsky had been promoting a decade earlier.

In the vote, Weizmann opposed the Jabotinsky idea but it won they day.

Nevertheless, as it appears, he lost his place on the wall:


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Forked? It's a Perforated Tongue

...the presidency denounces the killing of worshipers at a place of worship in West Jerusalem," the statement said, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

"The presidency also denounces all violent acts no matter who their source is, and demands an end to the ongoing incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the provocative acts by Israeli settlers as well as incitement by some Israeli ministers," it added.

So, a non-event of supposed "violent acts" of "incursions" and "provocations" by Jews, all a fabrication and in any case in the spirit of freedom, is aligned up in an expression of moral equivalency by the Palestinian Authority President (last elected almost a decade ago).

And just last week

The Palestinian president on Tuesday accused Israel of provoking a “religious war” as new violence between the sides broke out in the West Bank, leaving a Palestinian man dead, amid mounting concerns that the long-running conflict is entering a new and dangerous phase.  Mahmoud Abbas blamed the latest tensions on a series of visits by Jewish worshippers to Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site. 

P.S.  His incitement.  More.

And now his bodyguard explains.


Pal. factions praise.


Temple Mount 1862


Snapped during visit of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom, to the Middle East.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Matt Lee vs. Jen Psaki

Here, relating to the situation on the Temple Mount:

QUESTION: Jen, you mentioned that the proof is in the actions, clearly, but you’ve only cited one action and that was on the part of the Israelis to open up – to drop the age restriction. Have you seen any affirmative action from the Palestinians to do what President Abbas said that he was going to be doing?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, obviously, these discussions happened last night, and we certainly anticipate that there will be in the coming days.

QUESTION: Right. But there was – I mean, there was pretty quick and demonstrable action taken by the Israelis. I’m just wondering if you saw any quick and demonstrable action taken --

MS. PSAKI: There’s public and private actions, but I don’t have anything more specific.

QUESTION: All right.

MS. PSAKI: We’ll see what happens in the next couple of days.

QUESTION: Is it – I’m not sure I understand why you think that it is wise to announce that the two sides have – or that three sides have agreed to steps to calm things down and then to keep them secret. It seems to me that this is exactly the way the peace talks collapsed by you and them trying to keep everything secret, which only leads to all sorts of speculation and tempers flaring based on inaccurate speculation and information and flat-out erroneous reports that are driven by people with agendas that you – with the – I don’t want to use the word “extremist,” but people with agendas to try and disrupt or continue the – continue the conflict.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt --

QUESTION: I just – it doesn’t make any sense to me that you wouldn’t want them – that you would want these alleged steps that were agreed to to become public. That way, people know what to expect.

MS. PSAKI: Well, we sent a strong message that there were – there was an agreement to take affirmative steps in order to hopefully generate some calm in the region. There was an evaluation and discussion made by all the parties involved that this was the best way to proceed.

QUESTION: Right. But there was an evaluation and discussion made by all parties involved when they agreed over a year ago that they would get a deal by – within a year’s time or within nine months’ time. And look where that is – nowhere.

MS. PSAKI: Well, we still have no regrets about how we handled or how we managed the process last year either.



If Only: State's Psaki on the New Two-State Solution