Open Letter to Israel’s Arab Allies

Israel has received official diplomatic protests from Jordan and the UAE for cracking down on rioters on the Temple Mount who threw down rocks on Jews near the Western Wall. 

It is the longstanding Arab position that the Temple Mount and East Jerusalem should be part of a future Palestinian state. Notwithstanding that this for various reasons is not in the realm of the possible, Israel’s Arab allies must internalize that the Israeli police operate within the present political situation, namely that the Temple Mount is part of Israel’s undivided capital. That’s the de facto situation even if it is not recognized by most of the international community. Would Jordan and the UAE be more lenient than Israel with rioters who used mosques and their adjacent areas to attack civilians and police forces, including pelting them with stones? I surely cannot imagine that they would. Imagine if Jordan controlled the Temple Mount, would they be less harsh than Israel in dealing with radical rioters on the Temple Mount? I surely cannot imagine that they would.

Behind the criticism is the barely hidden Anti-Semitic discursive premise that Jews should stay away from the Temple Mount. But the fact is that the Temple Mount is under Israeli jurisdiction whether you refer to that as sovereignty or occupation and Israel is even if you consider Israel as the occupying power under international law responsible for maintaining law and order there and will surely continue to do so.

What then about the status quo? Non-Muslims have always been able to visit the Temple Mount and the Palestinian Authority approves of visits to the Temple Mount by non-Muslims who are not Jewish such as Christians. There has not ever been an Israeli policy to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. Visits without prayers by non-Muslims to the Temple Mount have always been part of the status quo, yet the Palestinians are seeking to alter the status quo by attempting to prevent Jews from visiting. Such horrendous Anti-Jewish discrimination of course is outright apartheid bigotry reminiscent of past segregation in South Africa and needless to say is completely unacceptable.

According to classical Islamic historians, the Jewish temples did exist on the Temple Mount and this not coincidentally is why the place became holy to Muslims as well. This is an indisputable fact. As a vegan and advocate of animal rights I am certainly no fan of animal sacrifice in a rebuilt temple, something which anyway is not on the table since the magnificent Dome of the Rock was built where the temple once stood. Whether Arab allies of Israel believe classical Muslim historians and the consensus among historians generally, the fact is that the Temple Mount has always been the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people and will always remain so. This is simply a historical fact and not recognizing it, is mere religious bigotry. Arab recognition and acceptance of the scholarly consensus of Jewish history certainly does not impinge on the status quo on the Temple Mount. Rather, it significantly contributes to the cause of peace, tolerance and coexistence.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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