...something is terribly wrong in Israel. After all, one of the state’s raisons d’etre was to provide Jews with the basic freedoms and protections other countries so often denied them. Yet here is the state itself depriving Jews of a fundamental freedom, and few even seem to care.
As Rabbi Yuval Cherlow pointed out recently, denying Jews the right to pray at their holiest site grossly violates their freedom of religion, making the silence of our “human rights” organizations unconscionable. “Anyone who doesn't fight for freedom of worship on Temple Mount,” he correctly noted, “is not a true advocate of human rights.”
No less hypocritical is the silence of our self-styled defenders of “the rule of law.” In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that “Jewish prayer should not be prevented unless there is concrete information about actual danger to [human] life” or the worshipers’ safety. Yet despite the security quiet of the past six years, police have consistently barred Jewish prayer on the Mount, in gross violation of this ruling.
Still, hypocrisy by human rights organizations and “rule of law” advocates is nothing new. What is truly disturbing is the inertia of our elected representatives – the people whose job it is to ensure that the Jewish state fulfills its purpose.
Two justifications are usually cited for the prayer ban. One is that halakha (Jewish law) itself bars Jews from worshiping on the Mount, so the ban doesn’t actually infringe on Jewish freedom of worship. The other is that allowing Jewish worship would spark Arab riots, because Muslims consider the Mount their exclusive preserve. Neither holds water.
...while haredi rabbis still maintain this view, most religious Zionist rabbis now consider it possible to distinguish the halakhically forbidden parts of the Mount from those that aren’t. Consequently, they not only permit ascending the Mount, but actively encourage it: In October 2009, for instance, leading religious Zionist rabbis publicly said Jews should go there frequently and in large numbers.
...The security argument, in contrast, was always specious, as proven by the success with which Jews and Muslims share another holy site: the Cave of the Patriarchs (Machpela) in Hebron...Thus while allowing Jewish worship on the Mount probably would spark Muslim outbursts at first, a consistent policy of penalizing Arabs rather than Jews for Arab rioting – instead of the current policy of penalizing Jews – would soon make such rioting as rare as it is at Machpela...Indeed, sharing the Mount is actually easier than sharing Machpela, because Jews and Muslims aren’t seeking to pray in the very same spot: Both Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located in areas that all halakhic authorities deem off-limits to Jews.
an example of where the Temple sanctum was
Permitting Jewish worship on the Mount would also serve Israel’s diplomatic interests. By banning Jewish prayer, Israel has convinced the world that the Mount is far more religiously important to Muslims than to Jews, though in reality, it is Judaism’s holiest site, and only Islam’s third holiest...banning Jewish worship on the Mount is a betrayal of everything the Jewish State is supposed to be. Two weeks ago, discussing another shocking incident, Robert Horenstein wrote in these pages [about the Women of the Wall] that “The nation-state of the Jewish people cannot be a place where one of its citizens can be taken into custody for carrying a Torah.” I agree. But the nation-state of the Jewish people also can’t be a place where Jews are arrested for praying at Judaism’s holiest site.
And so is Daniel Tauber:-
...it is almost unimaginable that in a civilized country founded on principles of liberalism, democracy and Return to Zion, a court of law would entertain arguments on whether a person was actually praying and therefore subject to penalty, or that the state would accuse a defendant of the crime of prayer – not of directly disturbing anyone with that prayer – but the mere act of prayer itself.
...At its core, however, the issue is not that complicated: A Muslim Arab population is ready to resort to violence of the most extreme kind when anyone opposes it or offends its religious-cultural sensibilities...[and] Israel dares not confront those making the threat of violence. Instead, Israel has adopted a decades-long policy whereby it passes on the restrictions demanded by the violent minority onto its citizens. It thus subjects Jews who wish to visit the Temple Mount to lengthy waits before entering the area and bars them from any outward sign of worship, from bringing in religious effects, such as tefillin (phylacteries) a tallit (prayer shawl) or prayer books, and from other religious actions. Violation of these rules can lead to being ejected, arrested, fined and/or banned from the Mount. As then-public security minister Avi Dichter explained in a 2008 letter...while “[i]t is not possible to arrest a person for conversing with his maker... it is possible to carry out an arrest for expressions of outward and demonstrative signs.”...This is despite Israeli law, which states that, “The Holy Places shall be protected... from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them” (Protection of the Holy Places Law, 1967).
JEWISH TEMPLE Mount activists claim that Israeli policy toward the site is bound up with the vitality of the Jewish state: Israel’s hold on the geographical and historical heart of the country – Judea and Samaria; its willingness to fight terrorism; and its confidence in the justice of its cause, both internally and before the international community.
They are correct...Like the British during the Mandate, Israel today fears “altering the status quo at the site” by allowing Jewish prayer as that may “serve as a provocation, resulting in disorder, with a near certain likelihood of subsequent bloodshed,” as Dichter explained in 2008.
The Supreme Court has largely accepted that rationale, holding that Jewish rights are to be balanced against the threat to public order, especially when there is a “near certainty” of violence. In making that assessment, the court has noted that while the police must not “recoil from using force” against criminals, “the force available to the police is not unlimited.” (See e.g., HCJ 83/292 Temple Mount Faithful v. Jerusalem District Police Commander).
While taking police resources into account on a particular occasion is sound policy, the court has ignored the state’s obligation to adopt a larger policy to secure public order and the free access of citizens to holy places without harassment.
In practice, the state’s rationale means that if a certain level of violence is threatened by those who oppose Jewish claims and the sovereignty and the existence of the Jewish state, their demands are to be met, while the rights of peaceful citizens, set in law, are cast aside.
This is not only legal confirmation of the “heckler’s veto” or the Muslim mob’s veto, but also of the anti-Semite’s veto.
It is a veto over Jewish religious rights, and the Jewish historical connection to and restored sovereignty in this country. The state of Israel should not be confirming or appeasing it, but fighting it with all of its might, so that the Jewish people can be a free people in their homeland, including their holiest site, the Temple Mount.
The unholy triangle of Rabbis-Government-Court.