The Battle For Jerusalem Rages On


SPECIAL NOTICE: To all of my American friends, happy 4th of July! And to all of my dear readers everywhere, you are invited to the 24th annual Ashdod, Israel 4th of July beach barbecue tonight at 7 pm.

UPDATES 9 am Israel time Thursday:

The fascinating and fast-breaking developments in Egypt have continue apace. Following the deposing of Mohamed Morsi at 10:00 pm last night:

*the head of the Muslim Brotherhood and his deputy have been arrested

*Egyptian media outlets are now operating under the “supervision” of the military; seven “reporters” from Al-Jazeera have been arrested

*former President Morsi and members of his cabinet have been placed under “house arrest” at an undisclosed military barracks. Morsi still claims to be president (in a video secreted out this morning), and has refused to be transported to Turkey, Yemen, or Qatar.

*the military has arrested members of a 4 man Hamas cell that was planning bombings in Cairo

*another 20 people have been killed in fighting between anti- and pro-Morsi demonstrators

What does the turmoil and “second revolution” mean for Israel? It is certainly too soon to say, but one thing is apparently certain: General Abdul Fatah Al-Sissi and his colleagues are no friends of the Islamists.  Not only is the Muslim Brotherhood reeling this morning, but also the Hamas leadership in Gaza must be wondering what is next.

TODAY’S BLOG:

While Egypt convulsed and celebrated yesterday, your humble servant was in Jerusalem again and up on the Temple Mount. It was a beautiful day, but everywhere I looked, the battle for Jerusalem raged . . .

The ramp to the Mughrabi Gate. We walked up the ramp at about 10:30 am.

The ramp to the Mughrabi Gate. We walked up the ramp at about 10:30 am. To our right, archaeological restoration was being done to the earthen ramp that fell apart some years ago. The rebuilding of the ramp is a cause celebre of the Islamic Wakf.

As we walked up, I snapped a picture of the Kotel (Western Wall) from an unusual angle (through one of the slats in the ramp to the left in the picture above):

The Kotel.

The Kotel. The Islamic Wakf is even outrageously attempting to decide who can pray or not at the Western Wall–in the Jewish Quarter.

Once on the Mount, we walked toward the Al-Aksa Mosque. Numerous Arabs were on the Mount–including hundreds of women:

This women's Koran study group is taking place in the shadows on the west side of the Al-Aksa Mosque.

This women’s Koran study group is taking place in the shadows on the west side of the Al-Aksa Mosque. No Jews or Christians are permitted in the Mosque.

We then crossed the courtyard and climbed the steps to the Dome of the Rock–that was built on the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples with stones from those Temples. Immediately a group of Arab school children appeared coming around the mosque on their way inside:

Arab elementary school children. Of course, whereas any Arab or Muslim can enter any religious building in Jerusalem, no Jew or Christian may enter any Muslim Mosque.

Arab elementary school children. Of course, whereas any Arab or Muslim can enter any religious building in Jerusalem, no Jew or Christian may enter any Muslim Mosque. So much for Arabs protecting holy sites . . .

Shortly thereafter we climbed down some of the stairs from the Dome of the Rock toward one of the exits from the Mount. But something stunning caught our eye. Four religious Jews had formed a line facing the mosque and were beginning to pray.

Immediately the Jerusalem police swooped in and escorted them away:

Look closely at the picture:

Look closely at the picture.  From right to left: a Jewish worshiper, another Jewish worshiper, a third Jewish worshiper, a Jerusalem policeman (in black), another Jewish worshiper (with a sack in his hand containing religious phylacteries, gesturing to an Arab man in striped shirt), another Jerusalem policeman (in a blue shirt), three Arab men beginning with the man in the striped shirt, and an Arab woman in the foreground.

Stop and think about the absurdity of this situation. Here we have a Temple Mount–the holiest place in Judaism–covered with Muslim Arabs who are able to come and go as they please. They can enter any building and pray until their heart’s content.

And yet, the minute that four Jews turn to pray toward (not even inside) the Dome of the Rock that holds the foundation stone, the center of the world for Jews, the place where Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac–they are carted off to the local police station.  All of us who witnessed this incident were sickened:

Taken to the police station for practicing their faith. There is no freedom of religion for Jews on the Temple Mount--Judaism's holiest place.

Taken to the police station for practicing their faith. There is no freedom of religion for Jews on the Temple Mount–Judaism’s holiest place.

From there we exited the only way possible–through one of the gates into the Muslim Quarter. The particular one we chose led through the souq (shuk). We stopped at a young coffee vendor where we could sit down and enjoy an expresso, Arabic style with a heavy dose of hel.

An older Arabic man and his son immediately struck up a discussion with us in fluent Hebrew:

The air in the shuk was an exotic mixture of coffee, perfumes, and candies.

The air in the shuk was an exotic mixture of coffee, perfumes, nargila smoke, and candies.

And what do you think it was that we talked about?

It turns out that the man was a Bedouin from Beersheva who had served as a tracker in the IDF. We talked about all the missiles from Palestinian Hamas in  Gaza that fell on our respective houses in Beersheva and Ashdod last November.

But just as we were being lulled into a fragrant complacency, out marched a group of young Arabs from a nearby juice shop:

Note the writing on the back of the leader's blue shirt: "I love Silwan." Each of the red shirts that the boys were wearing said the same thing.

Note the writing on the back of the leader’s blue shirt: “I love you Silwan.” Each of the red shirts that the boys were wearing said the same thing.

Silwan, as you may not know dear reader, is a Arab settlement that was built on top of a Yemenite Jewish community just outside the southeast wall of the Old City back in the early 1900s. It is now the home of the Ir David (City of David) project which houses such Jewish treasures as Hezekiah’s Tunnel. The T-shirts worn by the kids are a symbol of the Arab “resistance.”

As we walked through the shuk, there were all sorts of souvenirs available for purchase. A few caught your humble servant’s eye:

Note that the area encompassed by "Palestine" is Israel, colored decoratively by colors of the "Palestinian" flag.

Note that the area encompassed by “Palestine” is Israel, colored decoratively by colors of the “Palestinian” flag.

Finally, we left the Muslim Quarter and made our way down to the Kotel, where the Israeli flag flies high over the Plaza:

Perhaps it is behind this section of the Wall that the 3rd Temple will rise one day.

Perhaps it is behind this section of the Wall that the 3rd Temple will rise one day.

But our day wasn’t quite over yet. As we were leaving through the Jewish Quarter along the Cardo (the old Roman street that has been excavated), we came across yet another group of Arab school children.

What nonsense were they being indoctrinated with? Undoubtedly that “the first Palestinians came to Jerusalem thousands of years ago” and were defeated by the Romans . . .

Arab children. . . unlike Jewish children, they are free to move anywhere they want in Jerusalem.

Arab children. . . unlike Jewish children, they are free to move anywhere they want in Jerusalem.

The battle for Jerusalem–and for the truth–rages on.

 

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