It was the unforgettable, majestic, glorious day in June, 1967, as Jewish soldiers crashed through the walls of Jerusalem’s old city. Redeeming, reclaiming, liberating the ancient streets and alleyways; racing towards the Wall, scaling it and then – the electrifying words of the Commander, Motta Gur: “The Temple is in our hands! The Temple Mount is in our hands!”
There was not a Jewish heart that did not pound with a sense of Divine, historic moment. There was not a Jewish spine, so straight and proud after two millenia of being supine, that did not shiver in a sense of awe. There was not a Jew, though the most extreme of scoffers, who, at that moment, did not see G-d!
“The Temple Mount is in our hands!” Jerusalem of Gold, of holiness, of David; Zion, out of which the L-rd roared and uttered his voice. The Temple Mount, from which the trumpet the Holy One, Blessed Be He, blasted. “When our fee within thy gates, O Jerusalem” – we wept with tears of disbelief. For the Temple Mount was in our hands. . . “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the L-rd is round about people” – and we knew it to be true. For the Temple Mount in our hands. “Ye that stand in the courts of the House of G-d, praise the L-rd!” And we believed. For the Temple Mount in our hands!
Let me quote from a letter that appeared in the March 1979, issue of Maariv, Israel’s largest newspaper. It was written by a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav and is obligatory reading for all those who, for Zion’s sake, will not be silent: “It was the Shabbat, when many Jews come to visit the Old City of Jerusalem. . . . Suddenly, after leaving one of the gates near the Temple Mount, the rioting began. Tens of Arabs, throwing stones and carrying knives and broken bottles, came at us. A storekeeper leaped upon me and I joined the others fleeing, as my hand bled profusely, eyeglasses left behind.
“How could it happen in the State of Israel today? Arab police are responsible for the safety of the East Jerusalem region. ‘Autonomy’ already exists when Arab police see Arabs throwing stones and nothing is done to arrest them. One who was arrested was a yeshiva student who kept calm and tried to help others. Before my very eyes, the police leaped upon him like wild beasts. This can serve to show us what we can expect in the future under `autonomy’… ”
Jerusalem. Where in 1967, electric shocks of ecstasy, a national thrill of incredulity, swept the Jewish people throughout the world, as Israeli Jewish troops smashed into the Old City, sweeping terrified Arabs before them as chaff in the wind. Jerusalem, City of David, Jerusalem of the Temple Mount and Western Wall and Holy of Holies and Zion, was, once again, in Jewish hands – all of it, Jewish. By the tens of thousands Jews streamed through the alleyways of the Old City where just a few days before the Arabs had ruled and no Jew dared step. Now, the Arab – awed, shattered – groveled before the Jew whom he saw as being blessed by G-d and His miracles. Fear gripped the Arab in Jerusalem just as pride and confidence and certainty was the Jewish cloak in the wake of the awesome war of Six Days.
Jerusalem. Where, by 1986, less than 20 years later, Jews fear to go to the Wall by way of the Demascus Gate as Jews are stabbed and shot in the same marketplace and streets where a short time earlier they walked as Jewish giants on the earth. As night falls, only a handful of foolhardy Jews risk walking through what the Israelis allow to be called, still, the Moslem Quarter. No Harlem ever held greater fears for the Jew than parts of his own capital city. Nothing more underlines the obscenity of Jewish fears in their own capital than the picture report that appeared in the Jerusalem weekly, Kal Ha’Ir (August 4, 1984).
Three pictures; all taken in the Old City of Jerusalem. The first shows a hassidic Jew, surrounded by Arab youngsters, two of whom have snatched his hat from his head. The photo shows a policeman standing calmly by with obviously no intentions of intervening. He is, like the vast majority of police in the Old City, an Arab.
The second picture shows the Jew, watching helplessly as the Arabs taunt him. The Arab policeman has, by now, disappeared.
The third shows a large rock being thrown by an Arab youth at the Jew. It hit him in the head. Another day of Jewish pride in Jerusalem, Zion. The tragedy of Jewish glory turned into humiliation and fear by a Jewish policy that defies any normal logic and understanding.
Jerusalem, where the Jewish students on Mount Zion sign a petition of desperation, detailing not only sexual and criminal assaults on them by Arabs, but the cynical indifference and lack of any law enforcement by the local police – Arabs.
“We, the undersigned to this petition, are demanding security , for our lives and property. For the past ten years there have been ‘, thousands of incidents such as those outlined in this petition: Stabbings, rapes, attempted rapes, molestings, obscenities through indecent exposure, burglaries, vandalism. . . .” And the police do nothing. And Jerusalem becomes Arab autonomy. The tragedy of a Jewish policy that defies any normal logic and understanding.
A, Jewish policy? Say, rather a policy of Jews that was conceived in un-Jewishness and born in gentilized fear and timidity, a policy whose apex of humiliation is the desecration of Judaism’s holiest site – The Temple Mount. The very moment of glorious Jewish victory in 1967 was the beginning of a flight to shame.
It began immediately after the greatest Jewish victory and miracle in 2500 years. The terrified and cowering Arabs of East Jerusalem were approached by the Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. Not enough that the Israeli government of 1967 committed the worst of mistakes by not driving out the Arabs who hated Israel and had tried to wipe her out. Not enough that in their fear of “world opinion,” of what the Vatican and Islam might say, orders were given by the Israeli army to the liberators of the Old City not to use artillery to shell Arab positions lest they damage a single holy Moslem and Christian place (and how many Jewish soldiers died because of that policy!). The fearful and timid leaders of Israel immediately approached the heads of the Moslem community to assure them that the Temple Mount – the holiest of holiest of Jewish places – would remain in their hands. Jews were forbidden to enter there to pray, on their holiest site, a site stolen from them by invading Moslems who desecrated Judaism by building two mosques there. (And can one imagine the reaction of Moslems if Jews, conquering Mecca, built, on the holiest site of Islam – a synagogue?)
When in 1967, on the Fast of Tisha B’Av, the national day of mourning for the Jews, the anniversary of the destruction of both Temples, Army Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren and 50 Jews went to pray on the Temple Mount. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered the commander of the Central Command to prevent any further action that might incite the Moslems: “Honored Rabbi,” said the general, “if you will go up to the Mount again, I will be compelled to remove you by force.” The following day the Ministerial Committee in charge of the holy places met and unanimously forbade Jewish prayer that had been set for the following Shabbat. That was the beginning of a humiliating Jewish policy that stunned no one more than the Moslems who could not believe the manifestation of Jewish madness they had just seen.
From that day, the government of Israel, in a remarkable exhibition of masochism, has paved the way for a total change in Moslem attitude. From a frightened, cowering population, they turned into a confident, arrogant, dangerous one. From people who feared the Jewish conqueror, they became throwers of stones, knife stabbers, and grenade and bomb throwers. Most of all, the Temple Mount became once again theirs, this time returned to them by two-legged lemmings of the Mosaic persuasion – and they grow ever more passionately convinced that time is on their side.
The government, police, courts have all had a hand in the shameful, tragic Jewish descent into humiliation. Already on April 15,1969, responding to an order nisi against Police Minister Shlomo Hillel (who later went on to become Knesset Speaker), the State Attorney explained that Jews should not be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount because “premature prayer” (sic) there would raise grave security and international political problems. The years that followed saw police again and again forceably remove Jews attempting to pray on their holy site. Moslems watched in growing amazement, and growing arrogance and boldness, as the Jew who wished to enter as a tourist with camera and jeans was freely allowed access but the same son of Abraham entering with prayer shawl and prayer book was banned!
(In the years when American synagogues sold tickets for pews at High Holiday services, a rueful joke told of the Jew rushing up to the door without a ticket and telling the guard that he only wished to tell something to someone inside. Said the guard: “Fine, but if I catch you praying, I’ll throw you out.” The joke is alive and well today on the Temple Mount.)
Then, in 1976, a lower Jerusalem court, through Judge Ruth Or, ruled that Jews have a right to pray on the Temple Mount, but Police Chief Hillel blithely announced that he would continue to bar Jews. (This contempt for law is apparently endemic with Hillel as, nearly ten years later, in his capacity as Speaker of the Knesset, he announced that he would refuse to table certain bills by Knesset Member Meir Kahane, despite a High Court order to do so.)
The government hastily appealed the lower court order and on July 1, 1976, the Jerusalem District Court overruled Judge Or in a fascinating display of ghettoism. The court ruled that Jews who ‘ attempted to pray “demonstratively” (sic) on the Temple Mount were guilty of behavior “likely to cause a breach of the peace.” Jews had an unquestionable right to pray on the Temple Mount, but public order, ruled the court, overrules that right of prayer.
The decision was mindboggling, the product of thinking most Jews assumed had disappeared with the Warsaw Ghetto revolt. To state that Jews had a right to pray on their holiest site and then to declare that this should be prevented because of fear of Arab rioting, was a paean to the shtetl of Minsk, Pinsk or Casablanca. But not even this was enough for the Israeli government, which wished to remove the decision that Jews have a theoretical “right” to pray on the Temple Mount and an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court. Meantime, Interior Minister Dr. Joseph Burg (himself a leader of the National Religious Party) declared that “the law will be kept.” (Translation: Jews will not be allowed to pray on their holiest site.)
The astonished Arabs saw that the Jews, far from meting out to them the punishment they deserved and that they had given to the Jews when they ruled the Old City, were allowing them to retain all the power and authority that they would use later to demand total autonomy and independence. The Temple Mount served as the most glaring example of the fact that, despite Jewish protestations to the contrary, the land taken in 1967 was not liberated but “conquered.” The Jews had come not as returnees to their own borders, but as an occupation army. One who loses his property and then unexpectedly finds it does not allow it to remain in the possession of another. He leaps upon it joyfully and cries out: “It is mine!”
The Arabs correctly understood Jewish “concessions” to be the product, not of goodness and grace, but of timidity and fear. And so, from a cowering Arab, the Jews produced a sneering, openly hating, stick bearing, stone throwing, grenade tossing thing – a time bomb waiting to explode.
The newspapers described some of the events. In 1979, as a number of yeshiva students came up to the gate of the Temple Mount to pray (in front of and not on the Mount itself), they were showered with rocks. Soldiers hid behind cars because they had orders not to shoot, lest The New York Times and Time magazine feature them on their front pages. The head of the Central Command, General Moshe Levi, watched the mob. Levi, a member of the leftist Hashomer Hatzair kibbutz, was later to become Chief of Staff and won undying something-or-other with his statement during a speech in Tel Aviv (May 25, 1986): “To say that the Arabs are the enemy is simplistic and dangerous. For me the Arabs are not the enemy.” When the Jew excels, he outdoes all others-especially in madness.
I return to the newspaper account of the Arab riot in 1979:
“‘Only in this state could such a picture emerge,”’ a police officer said angrily, yesterday, at the sight of the commander of the Central Command, Moshe Levi, and the head of the police central region, who entered the Temple Mount to meet face-to-face with angry Arab youths.
“The general walked over and asked them why they were holding sticks in their hands[!]. But during the entire conversation not one of them backed down and not one dropped his stick. ‘This is the real autonomy,’ muttered the same officer.”
Meanwhile, in 1980, the Knesset passed a new Jerusalem Law which declared in paragraph (3):
“The holy places shall be protected from any desecration or attack on anything likely to damage the rights of all members of religions to access to the hply places or their feelings concerning them.”
This paragraph which clearly – to all but those who would refuse to see – outlined the absolute right of Jews to access to their holy places, now seemed to guarantee that the High Supreme Court of Israel would order the government to allow Jews, on their holiest site, the same right of prayer that they allowed Moslems who had stolen the site. But no, the ghetto-shtetl syndrome remained part of the Israeli genetic code, proving once again that it is far easier to remove the Jew from the Exile than the Exile from within the Jew. On October 30, 1981, the High Court of Israel ruled on the issue. The following is the UPI wire service report:
“Jerusalem (UPI)–The Supreme Court today upheld the right of Israeli police to keep Jewish worshippers from praying on the Temple Mount because it creates a threat to public order, Israel radio said.”
A threat to public order. The Arabs might riot. Ah, if Meir Kahane were Prime Minister and the Arabs knew that the police had orders and full backing to use as much force as they desired to keep “public order” -is there one normal person who believes that there would be an Arab threat to public order?
Since then, the Arabs have systematically destroyed every vestige of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, destroying valuable archeological evidence. A memorial to the Arabs killed at Sabra and Shatila is even placed on the Jewish holy site. The Temple Mount is on our hands!…
The lemmingism of the Israeli government is incredible! Who can count the ways? In February, 1985, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Sa’ad a-din Alamei, told the French news Agency:
“Any Moslem who will give up one inch of Palestinian land will lose without benefit of appeal, every attachment to Islam.”
The Mufti, by declaring a ban on any Moslem who sold land or houses to Jews, was clearly guilty of sedition against the Jewish state. On February 26, 1985, I wrote to the Chief of Police asking that criminal proceedings be opened against the Mufti and personally filed a criminal charge with the police commander of Jerusalem’s Old City. In my complaint I noted that if a Jew were to hand out flyers called on Jews not to buy from the Arabs of the Old City because they were enemies of Israel and pro-PLO, he would be arrested for sedition (indeed, a few months later, that is precisely what happened). On March 13, 1985, the office of the Chief of Police sent me the following reply:
“Your complaint has been investigated and it is clear that the material of the investigation does not indicate a criminal offense. Because of this, the police will not investigate the complaint.”
The successor to the other Mufti who in the twenties and thirties led pogroms against the Jews of the Holy Land and who in 1942 met with Hitler to discuss the “final solution” for the Jews there, should have been given a Nobel Prize for extraordinary ability to keep from bursting into hysterical laughter. And, indeed, the Moslem religious leader has good reason to believe that Jews are mentally limited.
When the PLO conference was held in Amman, Jordan, in November 1984, one of the telegrams sent to Arafat was from the Jerusalem Mufti. It read: “From Al-Aksa mosque (on the Temple Mount) we emphasize our support of your Council and renew our oath of loyalty to the man of struggle Yasir Arafat. . . . Continue forward on your path, we are with you.”
When the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel in January, 1986, called for a synagogue in the southeast part of the Temple Mount, Mufti Alamei declared: “Over the bodies of a million Moslems.”
The Israeli reaction? Timid and fearful silence, lest the Arabs, Moslems and world react. And so, a mentally unbalanced Jew, Alan Goodman, shoots and kills two Arabs on the Temple Mount declaring that he wishes to liberate the spot and “become king of the Jews.” Some thirteen years earlier, a Christian, Dennis Michael Rohan, set fire to the Al Aksa mosque. The Israeli court declared the Christian not criminally liable by reason of insanity. Yet Goodman, clearly unbalanced, received a life sentence plus two terms of 20 years. Once upon a time, in the Exile, the Jews would decide every major step by the proposition: What will the gentiles say? Then they created Israel, where Jews would be sovereign and free. . . . Laugh not, but rather weep for generations.
Jerusalem. Where the Palestinian autonomy and eventual state is being built. Jerusalem, which mirrors so much of the other desecration that fills the land. The Temple Mount is not in our hands. East Jerusalem is not in our hands. Judea and Samaria and Gaza and the Golan are not in our hands. The Biblical Eretz Yisrael which we liberated through G-d’s decree in 1967, is not in our hands.
“On Mount Zion which is desolate, there the foxes walk. . . (Lamentations 5).
The Temple Mount is in their hands, the foxes, the cunning Arab foxes. And the words of Motta Gur ring hollowly – and it is we who are to blame. We, who took a miracle and disdained it. We, who took holiness and profaned it. We, who were given a Zion, a Jerusalem, a Temple Mount – and gave it over to the jackal-foxes.
What we see today is a mini-renewal of Arab rioting, murder and pogrom of the twenties and thirties. Then, the Arab mobs surged into the streets shouting, “Addowlah ma’anah” (“The government is with us!”). They meant the British Mandatory occupation government. Today, the Arabs know that the Jewish “occupation” government, because of its fear of world opinion, has given strict orders to soldiers not to shoot. In that sense it has opened the door to Arab boldness and contempt and attacks on Jews. In that sense the Jewish government of occupation is also “with” them. The Arabs have smashed the dam of fear and it will spill over. If Jews are attacked on their way to the Wall, and if a Jew is seriously hurt, or, G-d forbid, murdered, and if the residents of the Jewish Quarter are in increasing danger-know that it is the Jews who are to blame.
He who controls the Temple Mount will control Jerusalem. And he who controls Jerusalem will control the Holy Land. And the desecration of the Land and of G-d is inconceivable. One shakes his head in utter incomprehensibility when reading the words uttered by Menachem Begin in 1977:
“If I become the Prime Minister, I will open the Temple Mount to Jews. I will not fear the reactions of the Christians and Moslems. ”
Begin became the Prime Minister. The Temple Mount is still in Arab hands.