The Jewish month of Tishrei occurs during September-October. This year, that month began September 13, 2015. For this Jewish month of Holy Days, Arab Muslims in and around Jerusalem rioted, attacked Jews and seemed focused on destroying the Jewish Holy season.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas fed a building Muslim Jew-hate frenzy with statements like, “the Al-Aqsa (the Jewish Temple Mount) is ours...and they [Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet (Ari Yashar, “Arabs Attack Police in Jerusalem's Old City”, Arutz Sheva, September 18, 2015).
Arab terrorists killed five Jews between September 13-October 4, 2015. They rioted repeatedly and launched dozens of attacks against Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City. Arabs rioted repeatedly on the Temple Mount, in both spontaneous and pre-planned attacks (ibid). They attacked and beat a number of Jewish boys and men in the Old City (for example, “Arabs Attack Jewish Boy in Old City of Jerusalem”, Jewish Press, September 13, 2015).
PA leaders didn’t call for peace. They didn’t call for a stop to the violence. Instead, they suggested publicly that conditions were ripe for a new intifada (“Senior Hamas Official: Time Ripe for 3rd Intifada”, Jewish Press, October 4, 2015). They incited against Jews (Hana Levi Julian, “Israeli Arab MK Zoabi Says ‘No Place for Jews at Temple Mount’”, Jewish Press, October 4, 2015).
Arabs attacked ambulances trying to rescue both Arabs and Jews injured in attacks. They called for Arabs to be armed (“Fatah Leader calls on Palestinian Authority to Arm Arabs”, Jewish Press, October 4, 2015). They assaulted Jews on the Temple Mount with apparent impunity (“Arab-Israeli lawmaker verbally attacks Jewish visitors to Temple Mount”, Jewish Journal, September 29, 2015). They attacked Israeli police countless times (Ari Yashar, “Arabs Attack Police in Jerusalem's Old City”, Arutz Sheva, September 18, 2015).
Rumours circulated within the Old City’s Jewish population that most of these attacks were not being reported upon in the press. Rumours said that the authorities were afraid to tell the truth about the number and intensity of the attacks.
Israeli authorities announced new measures to bring calm and to crush the riots (“Netanyahu: We'll Break This Terror Wave”, Arutz Sheva, October 6, 2015). Israel beefed up security forces in Jerusalem. But then the Arabs beefed up their response: for example, in one instance, Israeli police had to be rescued from a wild mob in an Arab neighbourhood (Cynthia Blank, “Police Force Rescued From Riot in Jerusalem's Shuafat”, Arutz Sheva, October 6, 2015).
But Israeli forces did get tough. They arrested a Jew who had dared to recite the “Shema Yisroel”—Judaism’s most famous prayer—while visiting the Temple Mount. They arrested another Jewish youth on the Temple Mount because he was ‘suspected’ of praying, ‘swaying’ in a manner that suggested he was praying (“Jewish Youth Arrested on Temple Mount for Swaying”, Arutz Sheva, October 1, 2015). These arrests took place even though Israeli courts have ruled that Jews must be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount (“Ruling: [Israel] Police must allow Jewish prayer on Temple Mount”, wnd, March 3, 2015).
While Arabs were banned from the Temple Mount because of their rioting, Jews were also banned. In fact, the United States called upon Israel to maintain the ban against the Jews in order to placate the rioting Muslims (“US Calls on Israel to Maintain Ban on Jewish Temple Mount Prayer”, Arutz Sheva, September 25, 2015).
Remember now, the Temple Mount is Judaism’s Holiest site on earth. It’s the place our prayers describe as ‘G-d’s dwelling place’. Keep in mind also that a 1994 Treaty between Jordan and Israel committed both Parties to protect freedom of access and freedom of worship at Jerusalem Holy sites to all religions. Jordan has the responsibility of ‘managing’ the Temple Mount, which means it’s supposed to allow Jews access and worship opportunities.
It doesn’t. It won’t. It refuses.
Muslims want Jews banned forever from the Temple Mount. Muslims claim the Mount is holy Islamic ground. But they desecrate the Temple Mount by rioting, stoning Jews and screaming ‘alla akhbar’ (in a most unprayer-like fashion) at Jews who visit the Mount.
To quash the rioting, Israel has gotten tough. It has begun to arrest Arabs. It’ll continue to do that.
But Israel’s ‘get-tough’ policy also extends to Jews. Yes, Israel will arrest Muslims for rioting. But it’ll arrest Jews, too—for praying.
When Israel arrests Jews for exercising their freedom of religion, it sends the wrong message to the world. It tells the world that even Israelis believe Muslims are more important than Jews in holy Israel.
Israel should protect Jews who wish to pray. Israel should announce to the world that Jews have a legal right in their Jewish Israel to pray at Judaism’s holiest site on earth.
Israel should send a Jewish message to the world, a message that declares clearly that the Temple Mount is Jewish, not Muslim.