UPDATE 5:30 pm Israel time, Tuesday, September 24:
*Please note that today’s blog appears later than normal because of the fact that your humble servant has been marching in Jerusalem today–and will report on that experience tomorrow. As part of our visit to Israel’s eternal capital, we had intended to go up to the Temple Mount as we always do.
However, we were shocked to discover this morning that the Jerusalem Police had once again closed the Temple Mount to Jews apparently in response to a Muslim threat of violence. The closure was all the more egregious because thousands of Israeli school children had been scheduled to go to the Temple Mount in celebration of Sukkot. The entire event had been carefully organized with the Jerusalem Police by the Women for the Holy Temple Organization.
Knesset Minister Uri Ariel spoke for most Israelis today when he declared: “Closing the Temple Mount is an unprecedented scandal, and a violation of an explicit commitment of the Israeli police. It is inconceivable that a sovereign state would back down to threats rather than act against them, and this in violation of the most basic rights of ordinary citizens.”
*Five Israelis have been wounded in the last 24 hours in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria by “rock” and Molotov cocktail throwing Palestinian terrorists. Most of these injuries occurred when cars were attacked on the Mt. of Olives, in Hebron, on Highway 60, and all around the Tapuach Junction.
IDF soldiers have even been attacked in Hebron where Sgt. Gal Kobi was killed on Monday and at the site where Asher Palmer and his young son were murdered several years ago. Simply put, the situation on the ground is out of control.
Thousands attended the funeral of Sgt. Gal Kobi yesterday at the military cemetery in Haifa. One of the speakers requested by the family was Knesset Member and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett. A portion of his remarks follow:
“Once again we stand and cry for a son who went out into the field but did not return. Around us is a sea of hatred, our neighbors teach their little children to murder Jews. Some want us to lay down our weapons, and others want us to run away. Do not be mistaken; we will do neither. Though we may shed tears in Hevron, in Bat Yam, and in Haifa, we will continue to build.
We must stop giving our enemies the impression that Jewish blood is the cheapest commodity in the Middle East, and that there is no punishment for spilling it . . . We free terrorist murderers of Jews . . . The terrorists that killed Gal will be severely punished, and I promise that we will fight to ensure that there is not even an option for them to be released, ever.”
More eloquent words have rarely been heard around Israel of late, but they are just words.
This afternoon as your humble servant was exiting the Old City through the Jaffa Gate, a small booth had been set up by the residents of the Jewish community of Itamar. This community, as you may remember, has been especially hard hit by terrorism–more than 10 community members have been killed over the years, most recently the 3 children and parents of the Fogel family.
The purpose of the booth was to collect donations to fund further building in Itamar. It was gratifying to see so many people putting large and small amounts of shekels into the Itamar “jar”.
Building is one of the answers. Every time an Israeli is murdered, building in the eastern part of Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samaria should be accelerated. But the core issue is the incitement that the PLO promulgates in the homes and schools in all of the Palestinian controlled areas. It is there that “our neighbors teach their little children to murder Jews.”
The unfortunate reality is that we will never have peace with the Palestinians–no matter what absurd agreement Netanyahu and Livni may reach with the PLO.